Promises, as we all know, are a politician’s trademark, and we’ve heard our share of them from everyone from the current occupant of the White House to the next occupant of Gracie Mansion. President Barack Obama has announced so many promises that we’ve lost count of them, none of which are more game-changing than his Affordable Care Act, which remains unfulfilled—a fact that is not altogether his fault.
Closer to home, we have the promises of Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio, and his agenda is chock-full of important items that he insists must be done to live up to his declaration that it’s “a new day” in Gotham.
Addressing a partisan crowd last Saturday at the National Action Network, de Blasio reiterated his promise to tax the rich, to expand the creation of affordable housing with a challenge to the real estate industry and to continue his push for the reform of stop, question and frisk.
These are big promises, and all of them are dependent on the cooperation he receives from those on the other side of the plans. Will his tax proposal get the traction it needs in Albany from our state legislators to become a reality, thereby allowing him to keep his promise to use those funds to shore up his pre-K dream? Will the real estate moguls concede any ground in the steps to improve the expansion of affordable housing? And then there’s the NYPD and its egregious policy of stop-and-frisk that is nothing more than racial profiling; how will the incoming mayor get his arms around this troubling issue while ensuring the safely of the city?
Overarching these promises is his plan to bridge the gap between the poor and the well-to-do, putting an end to what he has coined with a Dickensian nod as “a tale of two cities.”
That would mean doing something dramatically different than the previous administration did about the homelessness facing some 50,000 New Yorkers. That would mean sitting down with the more than 100 public unions and hammering out contracts that would be a notable advance on improving the city’s quality of life. And he must appoint a police commissioner who is endowed with a similar concern about the current policies and is ready to be unequivocally poised for reform.
There is certainly an overflowing plate of other things de Blasio has promised to improve, including the transit system, minimum wage, equality of pay for equal work and even the proliferation of bike lanes and the horse-driven carriages.
But we will be satisfied if some of the major promises are kept and given his unwavering attention, and stop-and-frisk is clearly at the very top of this list.
Promises made are very easy, but promises kept are another thing; on this subject, we have a few promises ourselves, and that’s to make sure the mayor keeps his. During his presidential campaign, Obama, taking a page from FDR’s playbook, told the American people to make him do what he promised. And in that spirit, Mayor de Blasio, you can bet that we’ll keep our promise to keep your feet to the fire.