After rising from fourth place into front-runner and ultimate winner of the Democratic New York mayoral primary, it’s been more or less a forgone conclusion that Bill de Blasio would become New York’s newest mayor.
He is the first Democratic mayor in two decades, following three-term Republican-turned-independent
King Triton Michael Bloomberg, and Republican Rudy Giuliani. As an admitted progressive, de Blasio has faced accusations that he is a “closet socialist,” atheistic” and “anti-church.”
Such is the fate for any liberal candidate who believes in things like racial tolerance, a woman’s right to choose and the wealthy pay a fairer share of taxes.
Now that his opponent, Jospeh Lhota, is on his way to the political abyss, we congratulate de Blasio on his ascension. We also hope that he actually governs like an actual Democrat and sets a standard that other politicians can follow across the country. Below is a list of 10 things Mayor Bill de Blasio needs to do for New York City.
Best of luck, Bill. Please don’t make anyone miss Bloomberg. Well, no one ’round these parts, but you get me.
1. Ending Stop and Frisk
Don Lemon may see the value in stop and frisk (although he seemed to hate racial profiling when it happened to him years ago), but there’s a reason that his job is news reading and not analyzing. The highly contested policy has long been proven to not be the crime deterrent that its proponents boast it to be. It is racial profiling, plain and simple. It doesn’t work. If you want to really fight gun violence, take on the NRA, not young Black and brown men across the city.
2. Raising Taxes on the Rich
de Blasio has called on raising taxes on the rich, rallying against the city’s political establishment for perpetuating the idea that NYC is “a tale of two cities.” 46 percent of New Yorkers are living at or near the poverty line. de Blasio has been candid about needing a large voter turnout to convince a reluctant state government to allow his tax agenda to become law. Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo has already voiced opposition to the idea of raising taxes, presumably due to his potential presidential bid. Those Democrats in the state legislature fear the ramifications of a tax raise on the 2014 elections. Regardless, it is the right thing to do. As de Blasio said himself, “It’s a reality we all see with our eyes. We know that some people are doing well in this town and most people are struggling. And it is our mission, it is our sacred obligation, to lift their burden in any way we can.”
3. Expanding Pre-Kindergarten
de Blasio’s campaign has pushed for the expansion of pre-kindergarten and after-school programs. de Blasio said he would cover the cost of both by raising taxes on New Yorkers earning more than $500,000 a year.
4. A Smarter Take On Health
Bloomberg’s wealthy father knows best approach to curbing certain health problems in New York was well intentioned, but often impractical. As Democratic New York political consultant Jerry Skurnik explained to The Atlantic, paid sick days seem like a far more important way to help New Yorkers get healthy versus outlawing oversized sugary drinks that people can get around anyway.
RELATED: De Blasio Family Photos
5. Addressing Income Inequality
As Gabriel Grand explained at PolicyMic:
De Blasio himself has pledged to sign legislation to end police racial profiling; whether or not he manages to follow through on this promise remains to be seen.
Either way, in order to bring real change to the South Bronx, the future mayor will have to address deeper issues. Most experts agree that crime is a symptom of socioeconomic inequality. The real challenge, then, will be to bridge the growing income divide that exists between those who make millions on Wall Street and those who get by on food stamps and minimum wage salaries.
de Blasio is right to push for a fairer tax system, but there needs to be a greater effort with respect to expanding access to affordable housing and boosting wages. He has been a champion for the voiceless in his campaign and has promised to create 200,000 units of affordable housing.
6. Reforming Leadership
In July, de Blasio told a Harlem crowd, “We are going to start a new chapter in the city.” But as one Democrat told the New York Daily News, “He (de Blasio) talks about changing the city. First he’s going to have to show people he can run it.” Fair enough. de Blasio will soon negotiate several city labor contracts that are due for renewal. He will also need to overhaul the leadership of city agencies like the New York Police Department. The sooner, the better.
7. Keep Crime Down
Please, please don’t prove this ad right. It will only lend credence to the idea that Democrats are “soft on crime.” Same goes for terrorism.
8. Improve Relations With The Muslim Community
Racial profiling in NYC goes beyond Stop-and-Frisk. It’s been made made clear for some time now that the NYPD’s Demographics Unit secretly mapped Muslim communities. Writing at Al Jazeera America, Faiza Patel explains: “[The NYPD] created lists of bookshops, kebab houses, hookah bars and food stores frequented by Muslims, and it kept notes on the mundane conversations that officers overheard there. The NYPD also sent informants into mosques to eavesdrop on sermons and conversations among worshippers.” Like stop-and-frisk, this must end.
9. Addressing Climate Change
To Bloomberg’s credit, as NYC mayor and head of C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, he has done much in the way of advocating that cities better prepare themselves in the wake of natural disasters caused by climate change. This includes setting new goals for carbon gas emissions, plus taking measures that will allow a city to maintain better resilience with storms like Hurricane Sandy. This is one Bloomberg model that de Blasio should follow.
10. Curb The Rising LGBT-Bashing
By the end of August, the NYPD was on pace to investigate about twice the number of anti-gay incidents in 2013 compared to 2012. The incidents range from slurs to felony attacks to murder. This includes 21-year-old Islan Nettles, a transgender woman who died from injuries she obtained from a group of men who beat her profusely after finding out she was not born a home in Harlem. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who lost her bid to become New York’s first openly gay mayor, said of the rising attacks, “I would argue it’s worse both in number and severity. I mean, a man was shot in Greenwich Village because he was gay. I thought those days were long, long behind us.”