Bill de Blasio, Welcome and Godspeed

For those who are in the hopes and dreams honeymoon stage with Mayor de Blasio, I have some news.

NYC loves its patrician mayors. John Lindsay, Michael Bloomberg. Well, both of them left the city in terrible shape. Lindsay made labor concessions at the price of delayed maintenance which is still crippling growth, particularly in the outer boroughs. Collapsed West Side Highway anyone? Crumbling el stations.

And Bloomberg was no different. I’m glad that he made NYC healthier and more environmentally sound. People will need something to enjoy as the storm clouds gather.

What’s Bloomberg’s legacy? Detroit.

Don’t laugh. I’m calling it. Laugh at Detroit today. Cry with it tomorrow. It’s the bellweather.

Bloomberg left a city where none of the major unions has a contract. Not. One. He never dealt with unmanageable labor costs. City employees will ultimately have to contribute to their health care. And don’t get me started on the state of the pensions.

So what is reasonable to expect from the new mayor?

  • No more stop and frisk.

There’s going to be a fight here that the mayor may not be able to win.

Not just stop and frisk, but the contemptuous attitudes that undergird it are symbolic of problems with the NYPD that go far beyond New York. Racial tensions go back to the 1600s! But I think there is a basic flaw in the science of police work. It’s based on the neighborhood beat. Beat cops can make decisions based on being familiar with residents. Those days are long gone. No matter what the race, cops live far from those they patrol. The emphasis on statistics has created cook books and spin. So we argue that stop and frisk made New York safe again when real crime rates began falling under Dinkins.

I don’t care who the commissioner is. I want to see de Blasio nurture several progressive in the middle ranks to ensure a better future.


  • More outer borough infrastructure focus.

Time to deal with cronyism and stagnation. This will be harder than you can imagine. Poverty and the perils of gentrification are tough obstacles. People will think that you can do more than you can. Disabuse them of this thought. Empower them.


  • Progressive Agenda

The civil rights leaders never anticipated that the nation would allow public schools to fail in order to avoid meaningful integration of all kinds. They did.

Mayor, please pick a few small fights that you can win. Strategize the hell out of a few big fights that will make a difference. It will take smarts and courage. If you make token appointments of people who aren’t ready to wield power like Machiavelli and manage like Six Sigma, this agenda will be screwed for another generation.

Don’t overpromise. Stay low. Suit up. Deliver quietly. More gracious in victory than in defeat … or even the people who benefit will turn against you.


Fingers crossed.


About liftingasweclimb

Mildred Lewis writes and directs for theater, television, film and the web. She's also a full time professor, Christian, activist and troublemaker with a passion to save as much of the world as she can.
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