The 1970s was an extremely difficult era for New York City. The local economy was in shambles, drug dealers and prostitutes operated freely in Times Square and crime was out of control. The city was not a safe place to live and the police constantly had their hands full. Thanks to two transcendent mayors, Ed Koch and Rudy Giuliani, the city saw an incredible resurgence and became the global power it is today. It can’t be emphasized enough how important it is for large cities like New York to have competent leadership. Unfortunately, it’s becoming more and more clear that the city is desperately lacking that necessary leadership today from it’s recently elected Democratic mayor, Bill De Blasio.
From the start, De Blasio was never qualified to be mayor. Thanks to a complacent mainstream media, De Blasio’s mayoral campaign was able to completely gloss over his radical leftist past that involved traveling to Nicaragua and raising money for Daniel Ortega and the violent Sandinista political party. This association alone should be grounds for eliminating De Blasio as a serious candidate but it wasn’t and there’s more.
Throughout his 20s and 30s, De Blasio was actively involved with non-profit organizations and political groups focused on advancing socialist ideology in Latin America including a group supporting the Cuban revolution which birthed the Castro regime, one of the most tyrannical governments in modern history. The mayor was able to distance himself from all of that by re-branding himself as a “progressive” and immersing himself in local politics by working for David Dinkins, the highly unpopular one term mayor who served between Koch and Giuliani. This questionable past was not enough to prevent De Blasio from being elected mayor of New York but since taking office in January he has wasted no time showing the people why they should have chosen someone else. Anyone else.
As far as the day to day practical operations of running the city are concerned, De Blasio has failed on many levels. His ineptitude has ranged from being notoriously late to important events to bungling the snow removal process in key areas. He issued taxpayer dollars to give private sector bus drivers a raise which basically erased a previously agreed upon city contract with the workers. A major tax increase that De Blasio campaigned on was rebuffed by the Democratic governor of his state and he also managed to break several campaign promises including raising salaries for Pre-K teachers. The list of controversial moves goes on and on and it hasn’t even been a year.
All of these shortcomings from the mayor pale in comparison to the most egregious error that he has made during his brief time in office. One of the most important duties as mayor of New York is to work with the NYPD which is responsible for protecting the public. Not only has De Blasio failed to do that effectively, he is primarily responsible for creating a rift between the public and the police that current NYPD Commissioner William Bratton says he hasn’t seen since the previously mentioned dark decade of the 1970s.
From the beginning, De Blasio has adopted positions that aren’t popular with police officers. Former New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly even went so far as to say that De Blasio ran an “anti-police” campaign for mayor in 2013. The mayor has been a vocal critic of the NYPD’s “stop and frisk” tactics which many law enforcement experts believe has sullied the reputation of the department as a whole.
That initial tension hit a tipping point after the highly publicized death of Eric Garner at the hands of police in Staten Island in July. Rather than take the diplomatic stance of supporting the police, sympathizing with the black community and urging calm after the grand jury decided not to indict the officers involved, De Blasio chose to stoke the flames of racial division and criticize the NYPD. In his press conference following the non-indictment, De Blasio explained that he worries about whether his own son, who is half black, is safe from police racism. That irresponsible comment might be understandable from a political commentator or uninformed celebrity but not from the mayor of New York City.
This divisive statement not only outraged the police, inspiring them to demand De Blasio not attend the funerals of officers killed in the line of duty, it helped further the dangerous narrative that cops are racist. De Blasio has also failed to condemn or stop vitriolic protests, most notably, a march in New York City involving race hustler Al Sharpton which was documented to contain protesters chanting the phrase “What do we want? Dead cops! When do we want it? Now!”
Tragically, those protesters got their wish a few days ago when two NYPD officers were executed in broad daylight by a man claiming to be seeking revenge for the killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. The backlash against De Blasio was immediate and wide ranging. Police officers turned their backs to the mayor when he when he visited the hospital where the murdered officers were transported to and former Police Commisioner Bernard Kerik boldly accused De Blasio of having blood on his hands.
Unfortunately, Kerik is partially right. While it may not be fair to hold De Blasio directly responsible for the acts of a crazed killer, there is no doubt he made the situation worse. He has certainly neglected his responsibility as mayor to protect the police who protect the people. For whatever reason, De Blasio is not a fan of the police and his decision to undermine the NYPD supports the idea that the NYPD is racist. It also validates, intentionally or not, the radical beliefs of those who hate the police. Ismaaiyl Brinsley, the man who murdered the two officers, was one of those people. There is a direct link between racial animosity, anger toward the police, and the killing of the two officers. De Blasio knows that and he still chose to pick sides in this already contentious climate instead of do what most intelligent mayors do and represent all of the people.
While De Blasio is now claiming that he has always supported police (there are certainly sound bytes to support that) he unknowingly admitted that he is responsible for making the racial divide worse when he called for protesters to cease their demonstrations on Monday out of respect for the slain officers. This actually proves the argument that he has been making things worse by confessing that the protests are not respectful to cops. If the protests are peaceful and they have nothing to do with supporting or not supporting police, why would they need to be halted in order to not disrespect cops? The truth is, the protests do have a significant negative effect on how cops are viewed by the public and that view has a significant negative effect on how the public treats police.
The people of New York apparently agree with this assessment. A recent Bloomberg poll shows that 56% of New Yorkers disapprove of how De Blasio is handling relations between the police and the community and less than 50% approve of his overall performance as mayor. Petitions have begun to circulate online demanding a recall election.
Based on the mayor’s radical roots, spotty record after only a year in office, and reprehensible actions toward the NYPD, it is the belief of SGR that the calls for his removal are legitimate and will only grow louder. That’s a good thing, not only for the people of New York, but also for those who are responsibly fighting for racial harmony rather than recklessly fanning the flames.
– Andrew Mark Miller