Mayor de Blasio will be out of office in fewer than 60 days, and nobody is happier about it than he is. All the city’s headaches will belong to Eric Adams the minute the ball drops in Times Square this New Year’s Eve.
Every day in Gotham brings a new story of street savagery, which has depressingly become the new normal. Murders remain well ahead of where they were when de Blasio came into office in 2014 — not what people usually mean when talking about “going out on top.”
The local unemployment rate remains high, and the city is still minus about 400,000 jobs from its pre-pandemic peak. The Dems came to power in DC just in time to shower de Blasio with billions of dollars in play money, allowing him to expand city services, rehire all his furloughed municipal workers and continue to pour cash into failed boondoggles like ThriveNYC and his “Cure Violence” initiative.
The city faces some major challenges in the next few years, as rich New Yorkers continue to leave, taking their tax revenue with them. Mayor-elect Adams says he’s ready to roll up his sleeves and get to work. Here are some of the city’s major “problem areas,” with some suggestions for how he can begin to address them:
- Street crime is rampant, with shootings turning upper Manhattan and The Bronx into free fire zones. Times Square is fast becoming a top spot to miss instead of a feel-good tourist trap for busloads of “Jersey Boys” fans and M&M’s store enthusiasts. Adams needs to revive the NYPD’s anti-crime unit at once — name it something else, call it the “Equity Squad” if necessary — but get the guns off the streets.
- Rikers is a disaster. De Blasio appears to have allowed the city’s jail complex to deteriorate, allowing him to feed the narrative that the place is so bad that closing it is the only solution. Nonsense. Adams needs to ditch the borough-based jail plan and reassign the money to build state-of-the-art, humane jails on Rikers Island.
- The schools are not a social-engineering experiment. Throw away de Blasio’s plans, which are unworkable and beside the point. Instead of getting rid of Gifted and Talented programs and the SHSAT, expand opportunity by letting charter schools breathe. Charters serve exactly the minority students that the teachers union and their hired hands in elected office claim to love and serve — so what’s the problem?
- After a few years of success, de Blasio’s Vision Zero plan has thrown a rod through the engine block. Traffic deaths are way up, and as with street crime, lax enforcement has a lot to do with it. Cops need to get aggressive about reckless drivers to make the streets safe for pedestrians and cyclists.
- COVID is petering out, thankfully, but Mayor Adams is going to have to deal with a huge labor-relations problem resulting from the vaccine mandates. It may be good policy to require municipal workers to get the vax, but with thousands of cops, firefighters, sanitation workers and corrections officers sitting idle, there are going to be heavy-duty scheduling and logistics issues popping up.
- On top of that, Adams is soon going to have to enter contract negotiations with the city unions, and he’s already indicated that he’s not going to drive a hard bargain on retiree health-care costs — possibly the lowest fruit for him to reach for to achieve savings. But the fiscal picture is not too pretty, so something — either benefits or services — will have to give.
Mayor de Blasio is leaving none too soon. Let’s hope the new administration doesn’t find the drawers in City Hall stuffed with mouse droppings and unpaid bills.
Seth Barron is the author of “The Last Days of New York: A Reporter’s True Tale.”
Credit: Source link