On Nov. 7, Mayor de Blasio won re-election as New York City’s 109th mayor with a resounding victory over six other candidates. I genuinely believed de Blasio was the only qualified candidate in the race, despite some reservations about the pace of his progressive politics and some “gray areas” pertaining to his business/personal relationships. Nonetheless, I firmly believe de Blasio is the necessary choice for the next four years without a shadow of doubt. That being said, the era of good feelings has come to a close, and it is now time to get back to work.
There are still several areas of concern I think this mayor must address immediately. As the winter months arrive, we must figure out a long-term solution to the issue of homelessness. There are far too many New Yorkers in overpriced city-subsidized hotels, in unsafe shelters or just on the streets. I am not a housing or homelessness expert, but the mayor has many of those individuals at his disposal. I implore him to utilize them to come up with a robust solution that makes sense for all five boroughs and that does not waste money in the equivalent of $4,000/month hotels. Proactive steps can be taken in conjunction with landlords to anticipate families and individuals who are in need of reduced rent or temporary assistance. I know the city has begun to think of creative ways to solve this crisis, but expediency is essential as the cold months grow nearer each day.
The day after the mayor was elected, he held a news conference to lay out the beginnings of his new agenda, primarily the crown jewel of the extension of universal pre-K in the form of 3-K. Although commendable, the mayor still exhibits a contentious relationship with the press corp. In an era of “steamroll” politics in D.C. that border on dictatorial with each passing day, it is imperative that the mayor exhibit maturity, patience and leadership when speaking to the press and answering their questions in a robust and holistic manner. What is the point of serving the needs of New Yorkers and then refusing to articulate your plans, defend your ideas or explain the benefits of these policies? The press might challenge the mayor, as they should, but hopefully in the next four years the mayor will realize that the press can actually become allies to help promote his policies.
I am optimistic about the next four years. I do think it is necessary to have a mayor who clearly articulates his unwavering support for immigrants and marginalized communities in NYC. The mayor has surrounded himself with talented and hardworking individuals throughout the various sectors of the city. Let’s hope he listens to them in the upcoming months as we move forward. Oh, and congratulations again, Mr. Mayor!
Christina Greer, Ph.D., is an associate professor at Fordham University, the author of “Black Ethnics: Race, Immigration, and the Pursuit of the American Dream” and the host of The Aftermath on Ozy.com. You can find her on Twitter @Dr_CMGreer.