I have been thinking, ever since the election of Bill de Blasio, of what it means to experience a progressive thinking mayor. So now I can report, a month into this new way of being: it feels great
After all, it has been 20 years since New York City has had that experience. In those 20 years, in the aftermath of 9/11, I moved to rural Virginia–to write a book, and to help a friend with her farming and restaurant enterprises. Even though I have been back for several years, I haven’t felt much like a New Yorker–and never changed my voter registration. I did rail about things like “Stop and Frisk” that I felt put my Black son on a collision course with the NYPD–a crash he was unlikely to survive.
So it was a moment of relief and real comfort–is unbridled hope too strong an emotion?–to hear our new mayor agree to settle the Stop and Frisk lawsuits…to abandon the appeal that the Bloomberg administration was adamant about…to say to the judge who had found the procedures unconstitutional racial profiling, ” Yes, you are right and we will do the right thing.”
Bill de Blasio’s surprising saunter into City Hall was based on this promise; the pledge to amend the story of NYC as a two-tiered city of rich and poor; and to provide education for our pre-school children by “taxing the rich.” . The specific proposal was ” raising $340 million to pay for 48,000 new pre-kindergarten slots and $190 million for after-school programs by raising taxes on residents making more than $500,000, from 3.88% to 4.41%, for five years.” (NYT) We’ll see how this plays out with Governor Cuomo’s preK plan that will spare ” the rich.”
Our new mayor had his hands full with not one, but two major dumps of snow in his first month in office. My daughter, who lives on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and I had always laughed that no matter what kind of weather the rest of NYC was getting, the UES would be fine because that’s where Mayor Bloomberg–and the rest of the 1% lived. And it was.
We also laughed during this year’s second storm when the Upper East Side was a mess– and some wondered if the 1% were already being punished.
While the new mayor apologized and said some mistakes were made, one couldn’t help thinking that things have sure changed around here.