Skip to comments.De Blasio’s radical agenda for NYC
Posted on 11/12/2013 9:58:30 PM PST by Tailgunner Joe
Democrat Bill de Blasio defeated Republican challenger Joe Lhota last Tuesday in the New York City mayoral race by nearly 50 points (73-24), giving Democrats their first mayor elected on the party line since 1993. De Blasio is a self-described social democrat in the mold of Europes socialist parties, and may turn out to be the most leftwing politician to ever sit in Gracie Mansion. He campaigned on an agenda to turn away from the policies of the Giuliani and Bloomberg administrations and usher in an era of substantial change in the city. Whether he can turn his overwhelming victory into the progressive agenda he pressed for during the campaign is still unclear. He will have to deal with a state government in Albany with a Republican controlled Senate and overcome likely opposition from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a fellow Democrat.
In an interview on New York public radio during the campaign, de Blasio said in addition to the leftist politics of Europe, he was very deeply influenced by liberation theology, which I learned about in the years I worked on Latin America. Liberation theology is a movement with its beginnings in the Roman Catholic Church in Central America that seeks to assist the poor by affecting governmental change. The movement is often associated with communist and socialist revolutionary groups in Central and South America. De Blasio said New Yorkers should view him as, a consistent progressive with a very strong activist worldview.
That activist worldview was present in de Blasio from his days at NYU in the early 1980s. Bill Wilhelm he later took his mothers family name was a well-known student activist at NYU, leading student protests against tuition increases and demanding student representation on the Board of Trustees. After graduate school at Columbia, where he earned a masters degree in international affairs, de Blasio took a job with the Quixote Center, a Maryland-based organization that worked to raise money and deliver humanitarian aid to supporters of Nicaraguas Sandinista government. It was 1988, and the United States was supporting the Contra rebels against the socialist Sandinistas led by president Daniel Ortega. De Blasio traveled to Nicaragua to oversee the distribution of aid to families supportive of the government. He remains unapologetic about his support for the Sandinistas.
Im very proud to have been deeply involved in a movement that rightfully thought U.S. policy toward Central America was wrong-headed and counter-productive and not in line with our values, de Blasio told New York public radio. Im proud to have been involved in the effort that was challenging that.
De Blasios affinity for leftist politics was an issue in the campaign. He was forced to explain a 1983 trip to Soviet Russia and his 1994 honeymoon in Fidel Castros Cuba, in violation of the United States embargo against that communist nation. De Blasios campaign explained his Soviet trip as a part of NYUs Presidential Scholar program, of which he was a member. De Blasio never directly answered questions about his honeymoon, saying only that he has believed that the U.S. embargo has been counter-productive for a long time.
De Blasio campaigned on a promise to bring his activist brand of progressive politics to City Hall. In his role as Public Advocate, de Blasio has been a crusader against proactive police tactics put in place under Giuliani that have been widely credited with transforming New York into the safest big city in the country. His office produced a report showing a disparity in the racial makeup of people stopped by the NYPD under the Citys stop and frisk program. De Blasio blames the gap on racial profiling and has vowed to reform the program. The City is currently appealing a federal judges order blocking stop and frisk. De Blasio vowed on the campaign trail that he would drop the Citys appeal, replace the leadership of the police force, and introduce a strong racial profiling bill.
On taxes, de Blasios central proposal is a 5-year increase in the Citys income tax on incomes over $500,000. The money raised would be used to fund universal pre-kindergarten and after-school programs for New York school kids. De Blasio promised to replace the tax after five years with another revenue stream or cuts in City spending. But he may not ultimately get his way on revenues. New York Citys income tax is subject to state legislature approval. Even if the bill makes it past the Republican controlled state Senate, Governor Cuomo, who has aspirations to run for president, will likely resist any tax increase in the run up to the presidential campaign.
De Blasios activism is most clearly seen in his plans for education. He has for all intents and purposes declared war on charter schools. Charter schools are public-supported schools operated by contract, or charter, which are exempted from many of the regulations governing traditional district schools. The contracting authorityusually the stategives administrators, teachers and parents greater autonomy in exchange for greater accountability for producing positive and measurable educational success. Typically, charter schools receive less financial support per pupil because they are funded solely by the contracting authority, whereas public schools receive state and local funding. This funding gap can make it very difficult for charter schools to operate in urban areas, where the premium on space causes operating costs to soar. Many city school districts seek to balance the disparity by housing or co-locating charter schools inside public schools with available space.
Despite research that shows charter school students outperform their peers in City schools in both reading and math especially among African-American and Latino students de Blasio said he does not favor charter school education. He has vowed to make the process of co-location more difficult for new charter schools and said he would end the practice of giving co-located charter schools free space. Those comments sparked a protest by thousands of parents, who marched across the Brooklyn Bridge to demand that the City continue its support for the 700,000 students that attend the Citys 180 charter schools. De Blasio remains undeterred.
New York State granted the Mayors Office direct control of city schools under Bloomberg, meaning that de Blasio will get to appoint the next City Schools Chancellor. Reports have indicated that he is considering the radical head of the American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten, for the position. Weingarten is a fierce opponent of charter schools, school choice, and even teacher evaluations. Weingartens AFT wants little accountability for teachers when students are not learning, and less power for parents to do anything about it.
It speaks volumes about de Blasios activism that he would even consider naming a career union head to run the Citys schools. Doing so would be quite literally putting the fox in charge of the henhouse and would have disastrous consequences for the Citys education system. But this is de Blasios brand of strong activism and substantial change. On crime, taxes, and education, de Blasio seems determined not to learn the lessons of the past 20 years in New York City, with the likely result that the New York of the late 1980s and early 1990s will return under his watch. Some progress.
Just leave us the hell alone, how about that?
We’ll see if this guy is any worse the Bloomberg.
A 100% white Obama?
I was born in NYC, but don’t look for any help from me, your all a boat load of Jerks out there! I’m a Texan now for 25 years and love it!
It never stops. Sure we get a few more failed Stalins and Hitlers, but they will be just more stepping stones to oblivion.
“A 100% white Obama?”
This guy makes Obama look like Michelle Bachmann.
You know he’s nuts when Cuomo has to check him.
This guy makes Obama look like Michelle Bachmann.
Not really. Obama must restrain himself and not let his true colors shine like this Commie can.
NYC elected a radical Social Democrat Mayor in 1965 named John Lindsay (a Socialist Republican Congressman). He changed NYC, alright. Almost a million people flooded out of the city during and following his disastrous tenure. de Blasio is Lindsay Part Deux.
Not the Obama I see behind that mask.
Will there be any middle class people left on Manhattan by the time he leaves office?
All true, except the first sentence. The last Democrat elected mayor was Dinkins in 1989.
Why doesn’t he just cut spending now oh that’s right because he is a liar and has no intentions of cutting spending. The leaset he could do is make the tax for 4 years the length of his term.
The guy is almost a cartoon character Lefty. “Sandalista” marries angry black lesbian and honeymoons in Cuba. If someone made up that character for a spoof it would be considered over the top.
Well NY you are about to get what you deserve.
There aren't any now except for single people or childless couples living in closet-sized apartments.
I'm sure DeBlasio can fix that...
He’s gonna make Bloomberg look like Coolidge....
Worse than Bloomberg? How about ‘Detroit’ worse?
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