Bill de Blasio is grasping at straws to prove that his administration has accomplished anything positive for the city. In an interview with the Washington Post‘s E.J. Dionne this weekend, de Blasio insisted that his administration had done great things during his short tenure and that he was “very proud” of filling potholes in particular.
The interview, an extensive one, covers everything from de Blasio’s disastrous attempt to impose a new tax on the city’s wealthy to the fundamental “fairness” of depriving New Jersey of fireworks displays. De Blasio spoke at length about how he is facing a “real, extraordinary level of opposition to change” because he is “fighting inequality.” According to him, “a lot of people take exception to that.”
Particularly on the charter school matter, he described the waves of protests from parents, educators, and even Governor Andrew Cuomo as “a $5 million ad campaign against us really over a few fairly small decisions that were consistent with everything we said we were going to do.” He accused charter school leaders of having “more than one agenda” and making it difficult for him to shut down successful education programs.
Mayor de Blasio had some unkind words for the education programs of the Bloomberg administration, as well. “They were not engaging parents. A lot of times, a very unequal outcome occurred where the new school coming into the building did very, very well [while] the school that had been there for decades, generations, was put at a disadvantage; it lost a lot of its rights in its own buildings,” he said of the Bloomberg administration’s policies, suggesting that parents were “very upset” with Bloomberg’s choices to open more charter schools.
Mayor de Blasio’s administration has been sued both by supporters and opponents of charter schools, and parents raged that their children were “crying” in the streets upon the announcement that their successful charter schools would be orphaned under de Blasio’s proposals.
Dionne allowed de Blasio to discuss his successes as mayor, as well, instead of continuing to describe his failure to implement a tax to pay for a universal pre-Kindergarten program as a success and describing the tax’s “beauty.” These were limited. “I’m very proud of the potholes we’ve filled at an unprecedented level,” Mayor de Blasio noted. “It should get front-page headlines. It doesn’t but it’s really pertinent to people’s lives. There’s been a massive increase in the number of potholes we’ve filled.”
Unfortunately for Mayor de Blasio, the pothole situation in New York City has not been given the A1 treatment in New York’s newspapers. Instead, his conflicts with parents, demands for higher taxes, and diminishing poll numbers have begun to define a mayoral tenure still in its infancy but with potential to exacerbate many of the worst problems facing New Yorkers today.