With the Bill de Blasio era in the rearview mirror, New York City Mayor Eric Adams has quickly established himself at City Hall. But there’s a line of demarcation between what elected officials hope to get out of the next four years and what some activists expect they will get.
New York City Comptroller Brad Lander said that Adams is more than capable of handling the big problems.
“The challenges facing our city, and this new administration, are significant—from getting a handle on the pandemic to ensuring we are making the best possible use of new school funding to help our students heal, learn and grow,” stated Lander. “I look forward to working with Mayor Adams to make local government work better and holding it accountable to the needs and goals of New Yorkers.”
There’s been some controversy surrounding Adams’ appointments to his administration. One involved his brother, Bernard, who was appointed deputy police commissioner by the mayor. Adams explained his reasoning on Sunday with belief that his brother will be the best to fight the current rise in anarchists and white supremacy.
“…I have to put my life in someone’s hands, I want to put it in the hand of the person I trust deeply, because that is a very personal process of your security.”
However, the controversy proved too much for Adams. On Wednesday, he demoted his brother, a retired police sergeant who recently worked as a parking administrator, to executive director of mayoral security. He’ll be making, according to the New York Times, $210,000.
For Adams’ sake, everyone else is his administration doesn’t raise a collective eyebrow. He’s appointed several women into positions of power. He named Lorraine Grillo, who served as CEO of the School Construction Authority and later under de Blasio as a “deputy mayor, the top deputy mayor.” Appointments of women such as Sheena Wright (president and CEO of United Way of New York City) to deputy mayor for strategic operations and Anne Williams-Isom (previous Harlem Children’s Zone CEO and chair of welfare studies of the Fordham School of Social Service) as deputy mayor for health and human services have earned him praise from several officials.
New York State Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte said Adams bringing women of color to the forefront shows how committed he is to the city government resembling the people who live in the five boroughs.
“This is a mayor who’s going to ‘get stuff done,’ including reducing gun violence, tackling high unemployment and jump-starting our recovery by helping small businesses stay alive and thrive,” said Bichotte in a statement. “The fact that he has placed so many women, and women of color, in senior positions—from his Chief Advisor, to five deputy mayors, to police Commissioner Keechant Sewell—speaks volumes to his commitment to creating an administration that is as qualified as it is reflective of the equity he believes in for our City’s future. Alongside the new DOE Chancellor and Chief of Staff, they make a formidable team.”
Mike Prohaska, business manager of Laborers’ Local 79, added to the Assemblymember’s point, stating that Adams will be a champion of working-class New Yorkers.
“We look forward to partnering with Eric Adams’ mayoral administration to create good-paying union jobs and real entry into our city’s economy for Black and Brown New Yorkers,” said Prohaska. “We think Adams is off to a strong start as mayor of New York City, and setting a clear agenda for growth, public safety, and justice. Adams’ administration is rightly focused on lifting up working-class communities of color hit hardest by COVID, systemic racism, and lack of opportunity. Crafting and implementing policies that create real entry into our city’s economy and industries will empower working-class New Yorkers who have too often been left behind.”
But one place Adams hasn’t gotten too much praise comes from anti-police and prison brutality activists. With his desire to bring back solitary confinement, increase NYPD patrol units on the subway and plainclothes units that some have deemed overly aggressive, people such as local activist Josmar Trujillo think it’ll be more of the same.
“The expectation for the Adams regime is that he will continue in the legacies of past mayors, criminalizing the poor and placating to the rich,” Trujillo said. “By filling his cabinet with people tied to corruption, and even gifting a top police post to his brother, Adams is signaling that he will do whatever he wants. He’ll soon understand that a city of families, workers and people looking for change can’t be run like a police precinct’s locker room.”
“Sending more NYPD officers into our subway systems will not create safety, but it will increase interactions between police and homeless communities, which we know leads to unnecessary and harmful criminalization of New Yorkers,” said Sala Cyril, spokesperson for Communities United for Police Reform. “NYPD officers have routinely brutalized and harassed homeless New Yorkers and other New Yorkers in our subway system, forced homeless New Yorkers off the subways, and even forcibly removed a subway passenger who asked officers to wear masks to keep all riders safe from the COVID-19.
“While Mayor Adams claims that NYPD officers will not intervene unless any crimes are occurring, the presence of police officers alone stands to escalate situations to the point of violent crisis.”