Just in case it wasn’t already clear from the barbs on his Twitter feed, Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson is not a fan of Bill de Blasio’s vision for the city.
During an appearance tonight on NY1, the man who has become the mayor’s chief mouthpiece continued to dig into the sudden front-runner in the mayor’s race, doubling down on previous criticism and accusing the city’s public advocate of flip-flopping on term limits.
The attack comes as various forces are ramping up their efforts to halt Mr. de Blasio’s unexpected gains in the polls with just two weeks to go until the primary.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration came out swinging against a new policy book released this morning by Democratic mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio—slamming it on everything from its name to its proposals.
The 69-page book, entitled “One New York, Rising Together,” lays out dozens of ideas it claims “will reverse New York City’s growing economic divide through progressive reforms and renewed investments in education, small businesses, and affordable housing.” They include a universal city ID card regardless of immigration status, an expansion of the city’s bus system and gunshot-sensing technology in high-crime neighborhoods.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg made a splash by endorsing President Barack Obama this afternoon, however the billionaire’s backing won’t come with any campaign cash from the mayor’s new super PAC. Sources familiar with Mayor Bloomberg’s plans told Politicker “his PAC is not going to be contributing to the president’s campaign.”
Lena Dunham, the star, creator and producer of HBO’s hipster-ific series Girls, took to Twitter today to encourage her more than 200,000 followers to take on the Tea Party by “eat[ing] dope shit” at a series of dinners dedicated to raising money to defeat a “targeted list” of Tea Party incumbents picked by a liberal super PAC. The dinners are hosted by hosted by a group called Downtown For Democracy and Ms. Dunham’s real-life best friend, Audrey Gelman (who uses the handle @grumplstilskin on Twitter and works as press secretary for Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer) is a member of the Downtown For Democracy Board.
“Want to eat dope shit for a wonderful cause? Support D4D and my oldest best #girl @grumplstiltskin,” Ms. Dunham tweeted along with a link to the dinner series.
One afternoon earlier this month, Bill de Blasio, the city’s public advocate and a potential mayoral candidate, held a press conference on the steps of City Hall to unveil a new report and suggest a modest reform. The New York Police Department has seen the number of people it has stopped and frisked skyrocket, often without yielding any evidence of a crime. Mr. de Blasio suggested the agency simply record the number and location of their stops, just as they record murder, thefts and rapes under CompStat, the computerized police accountability system that is credited with keeping the city’s plunging crime rate low.
A few hours later, Howard Wolfson, Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s deputy mayor for communications and an old pal of Mr. de Blasio’s from their days on the Hillary Clinton Senate campaign, sent out a blistering response.
circle of life
After Public Advocate Bill de Blasio announced his platform for reducing the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk tactics yesterday afternoon, Mayor Bloomberg’s office responded rather sharply, stating through Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson, “Mr. de Blasio may be nostalgic for the days when the ACLU set crime policy in this city, but most New Yorkers don’t want rampant crime to return.” Although he had already responded through a spokesman, Mr. de Blasio pushed back even further on the criticism in a conference call with reporters earlier this morning.
“The thousands and thousands of people demanding a response here would like to see the mayor talk about their response, instead of bluntly this very crass counterattack we saw yesterday, which did not in any way shape or form address the issue,” Mr. de Blasio said, while stating that the mayor “is turning a blind eye” towards mounting criticism.
Dial 'M' For Mayor
Howard Wolfson’s phone was ringing off the hook yesterday. As of this writing, the deputy mayor for government affairs has received at least 1,024 calls on his office line today from constituents asking him to preserve funding for child care and after-school in the Mayor’s Executive Budget. The telephone tempest was organized by Campaign for Children, a group dedicated to fighting proposed cuts to childcare and after-school programs run by the Administration for Children’s Services and the Department of Youth and Community Development that were included in Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s preliminary budget plan.
Deputy Mayor for Government Affairs Howard Wolfson and New York Times Metro Editor Carolyn Ryan battled on Twitter this afternoon over an article that pointed out a city ad warning oversize portions of sugary drinks can lead to diabetes and potentially lost limbs used photoshopped pictures rather than real amputees. Mr. Wolfson sent out four tweets over a four hour period defending the ad and asking whether the Times uses real subscribers or actors in its ads.
It is not hard to imagine that four years ago, if a few thousand Iowans had decided to vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton instead of Barack Obama, Howard Wolfson would now be at the front podium of the White House briefing room, whacking the Washington press corps for their supposed slights against President Clinton, or flying around the world on Air Force One, given a seat in a sweet spot near the Leader of the Free World, whispering into her ear about the political and historical ramifications of whatever crisis of the moment was unfolding.
Yesterday Howard Wolfson slammed those politicians who are considering running for mayor in 2013 for not answering what he called–six times, in fact–the “central question” facing them and the city: ”Do you believe that the tenting and tarping should have continued in Zuccotti Park or do you think that it should have been stopped?”
Today, we reached out to Christine Quinn, Bill Thompson, Bill de Blasio, Scott Stringer, John Liu and Tom Allon and asked them to respond to our post, especially to the question of whether or not tents and tarps should be allowed to remain in the park.
Only three of the potential candidates responded to our inquiry.