Taking Care of Business: Labor Hero de Blasio Pitches Merchants And Real Estate Machers In 2013 Run-Up
One afternoon last week, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio held a hearing 15 floors up in the Municipal Building on the subject of skyrocketing (and often inaccurate) water bills. The session was crowded with reporters and regular New Yorkers waving copies of their water bills. It was a unique occasion, marking the first time that any public advocate had convened a public hearing. At issue was the most mundane stuff of government, filled with charts, accusations of tin-eared bureaucrats and discussions over how to reform obscure oversight agencies.
It also marked a significant shift in the 2013 race for mayor.
For as much as the powwow allowed homeowners to gripe about the Department of Environmental Protection, the hearing was really aimed at small business owners, who often get stuck with the bill when rates skyrocket. Combine that with what Mr. de Blasio’s aides called a “major speech” to the city’s grandees about fostering economic growth at NYU the week prior, and a new focus by Mr. de Blasio on the city’s accelerating use of fines on restaurants and small business owners—including a lawsuit to determine exactly how much the city government has been relying on revenue from fines—and it adds up to a picture of a top contender to be the city’s next mayor making a concerted pitch to the city’s business community. Read More