Thursday, November 21, 2013

Mayor-elect de Blasio names Gilmartin, Lewis to his 60-member transition team; did press give candidate a bye?

As part of his 60-member volunteer transition team, Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio yesterday named MaryAnne Gilmartin, President and CEO, Forest City Ratner Companies and Bertha Lewis, President and Founder, The Black Institute--and, more importantly, Forest City Ratner's partner on the Atlantic Yards affordable housing since she headed New York ACORN.

de Blasio has long had a relationship with Lewis--he owes her and the associated Working Families Party big-time for his entire political career. And it's understandable that he'd have a relationship with Gilmartin, given the importance he's placed in getting Atlantic Yards affordable housing done.

But her prominence confirms just how important that relationship is--one I suspect will pay off with carrots, not sticks, regarding Atlantic Yards.

From the announcement

His transition office issued a news release:
Mayor-Elect Bill de Blasio today announced the appointment of 60 experienced leaders and experts to his transition committee that will assist him in building a progressive, competent and diverse city government.
“These leaders are volunteering their expertise in every issue and area of municipal affairs,” said Mayor-Elect de Blasio. “Together, they will join Transition NYC Co-Chairs Carl Weisbrod and Jennifer Jones Austin in helping me to assemble a team that’s devoted to building one great city where everyone shares in our prosperity.”
“My charge to the transition team is to identify women and men from every part of our city and walk of life that share a commitment to progressive and competent city government,” said de Blasio. “They will be advising me based on their wealth of experience and knowledge of specific issue areas and government agencies.”
I'm not sure Forest City Ratner's "commitment to progressive and competent city government" trumps it's commitment to a "responsive and accommodating city government."

(Note that Gilmartin and Lewis were not mentioned in the New York Times round-up.)

Why was press late on de Blasio?

Capital New York yesterday reported:
Speaking on a panel of political journalists and consultants at the CUNY journalism school on Tuesday night, NY1's Errol Louis suggested that the media initially dismissed Bill de Blasio's mayoral campaign because they underestimated his support among black voters.
The press, he said, assumed that Bill Thompson would get a majority of the black vote and saw de Blasio as an outerborough white ethnic candidate, in the mold of Ed Koch or Anthony Weiner. But that's not how the voters saw de Blasio.
"It turned out he was a black candidate, in terms of voting," Louis said.
"People identified with the wife, people identified with the daughter, people identified with the son, people identified with the family as a whole," he told Capital after the panel.
POLITICO's Maggie Haberman said "De Blasio is coming in as one of the least-scrutinized mayors in history," suggesting that, "beyond a few signature policy initiatives—universal pre-K, for instance—the media had not investigated what a de Blasio administration would look like.

Well, as I wrote 10/31/13, we should blame the New York Times, in part, because a team of reporters practicing he-said, she-said journalism gave de Blasio the undeserved last word despite a record of slipperiness and absence on Atlantic Yards.

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