Monday, November 18, 2013

Chill Out, 1 Percenters: de Blasio's support for Atlantic Yards (and more) puts him in NYC political mainstream

In Chill Out, 1 Percenters, an op-ed in yesterday's New York Times, former hedge fund manager turned documentarian and journalist Neil Barsky warns against those painting Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio as a dangerous radical.

He writes:
Concern about Mr. de Blasio’s intention or ability to spoil the party is misplaced for several reasons. It exaggerates his radicalism — thanks in part to his own rhetoric — and underestimates the strength of the city’s economic foundation. And it fails to take into account the consensus that has emerged over the past quarter-century about how New York City should be governed.
The conventional wisdom about New York City’s recovery goes something like this: Edward I. Koch (1978-1989) restored the city’s fiscal footing and boosted its morale, but did little to stem the chaos of his era. David N. Dinkins (1990-1993), according to this narrative, was a weak leader who stood helpless while gangs roamed the streets freely and sent the city to the precipice, at which point Rudolph W. Giuliani (1994-2001) saved the day with a combination of tough talk and innovative policing policies, while Mr. Bloomberg (2002-2013) and his brilliant police commissioner, Raymond W. Kelly, built and improved on that record.
There is a grain of truth to this narrative, but it ignores the degree to which Mr. Koch planted the seeds of the city’s recovery, dismisses meaningful contributions by Mr. Dinkins, and overstates Mr. Giuliani’s impact. In fact, Mr. Bloomberg and his three predecessors have been remarkably consistent about how they dealt with the city’s two bedrock issues, economic development and crime-fighting, and there is every indication that Mr. de Blasio fits neatly into the consensus.
...None of this necessarily means that Bill de Blasio similarly understands the formula that has kept New York economically balanced. But his close relationship with the real estate industry, including his support for the controversial Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn, his overtures to Mr. Giuliani’s former police commissioner, William J. Bratton, and his choice of the city government veteran Carl Weisbrod to co-lead his transition all point to the fact that he falls well within the mainstream of New York City politics.
(Emphasis added)

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