As his second year begins, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio is finding that being mayor is much harder than running for mayor. After a long series of missteps, de Blasio starts year two falling in the polls, out of favor with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, still distrusted by the city’s police department, and accused of giving big-dollar jobs to buddies.
August started off badly as de Blasio’s office was heard slamming Governor Cuomo over the city’s recent effort to combat an outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease. At a press conference, de Blasio spokesperson Karen Hinton slammed the Governor for what she perceived as a flawed response to the disease, prompting the Governor’s office to ask de Blasio just why he is attacking them over his own failures to respond to the outbreak.
De Blasio was so embarrassed that he had to rush out to claim that his office’s chief spokesperson was not speaking for his office.
The mayor also recently lost a major battle with the Millennials’ favorite transportation smartphone app service, Uber, when he proposed limiting the company’s growth in the city; he had to back off when it became clear he had badly miscalculated his support to squash the popular Internet-based company.
Now, as he begins his second year, de Blasio’s popularity is taking a tumble, as a new poll shows that 44 percent of New Yorkers disapprove of his performance as mayor. De Blasio’s approval rating has never been lower, and the current percentage is down 11 points from this time last year.
Worse for the mayor, almost 50 percent say he does not deserve re-election at this time, and 47 percent say they would not vote for him in 2017; only 41 percent say he deserves re-election.
Even The New York Times noted on Sunday that “messes are piling up” for de Blasio.
These missteps have been occurring almost since his first day in office. It was de Blasio, criticized as the “self-declared progressive man of the people,” who in December, built a 12-foot-high privacy fence around Gracie Mansion to keep the riffraff of the city from seeing his personal business.
But these new negatives come at the same time that a new report finds that de Blasio has been giving friends and buddies lucrative jobs at taxpayers’ expense.
According to one case reported on Friday, de Blasio gave an unadvertised city job to the “life partner” of a top aide.
De Blasio invented the job of “campaign director” and gave it to Stephanie Yazgi, the “life partner” of his close aide Emma Wolfe. The position was never made public or advertised as city jobs are supposed to be and pays a healthy $150,000 a year at the expense of taxpayers.
The mayor defended the new job and excused the salary, saying that a “delayed grant” will take over the new salary sometime later. He also claimed the job somehow represented a fulfillment of his pledge to “introduce reforms.”
Finally, de Blasio is still not right with officers in his own police department that earlier this year were seen physically turning their backs on him when he attended public events because of the way he criticized the department over the riots earlier this year.
In fact, this past weekend, the mayor took severe criticism for going to the gym to work out as dozens of NYPD officers engaged in a six-hour standoff with a suspect who had already shot a veteran firefighter on Staten Island.
Constant missteps like these are causing citizens to feel de Blasio is a disconnected elitist who lacks any sort of feeling for the common folks–and his ratings show it.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.