Public Advocate Bill de Blasio appeared on “Good Day New York” this morning to talk about his effort to change the Bloomberg administration’s shelter food policy program, and he was asked by co-host Greg Kelly if all of the 2013 mayoral candidates would just spend the next several months bashing the mayor.
Mr. de Blasio disgreed, and laid what sounded like the themes he would hammer home over the next year or so as the mayoral campaign heats up.
“There are areas where I agree with mayor. I think he has done a very good job for example in general on public health and the environment,” he said, although it is worth noting that the shelter policy he was objecting to was in fact a public health measure.
“There are areas where I disagree,” he continued. “I think as we see with some of the situations with our schools, I think our schools are stalled right now. We need to make a lot more progress. I think the discussions we are going to have in the next months about the future of city will be one that acknowledges some of the strengths and weaknesses of the mayor but I can tell you one thing–people in this city do not feel they are getting the help they need in terms of the economy, small businesses, job creation. These are the areas people feel the city government is not doing enough and that is something we need to talk about”
It will be interesting to watch how the 2013 contenders take on the mayor’s record. Clearly his agenda remains very popular among some constituencies, especially, as Mr. de Blasio notes, in the areas of public health and the environment (although surely there are others, too) but there remains a nagging suspicion that “city government is not doing enough.”
Mr. de Blasio was also asked about today’s front-page feature in The New York Times about UFT president Michael Mulgrew’s close relationship with the city’s top contenders for mayor, including Mr. de Blasio. Mr. Kelly wondered how he could be close with the head of the city’s teachers union and still be a tough negotiator come contract time (or whatever other issues come up.)
“Of course you can be independent and neutral. You have to be to be a leader,” Mr. de Blasio said, and added, “I think a good relationship with labor leaders helps get things done for the city.”
Mr. de Blasio, it should be noted, is perhaps counting on the support of labor more than any other contender to the mayoralty.
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