Bill de Blasio

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Bill de Blasio


Bill de Blasio (born Warren Wilhelm, Jr.;May 8, 1961) is the Mayor-elect of New York City. Since 2010, he has held the citywide office of New York City Public Advocate, which serves as an ombudsman between the electorate and the city government and is first in line to succeed the mayor. He formerly served as a New York City Council member representing the 39th District in Brooklyn (Borough Park, Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Gowanus, Kensington, Park Slope, and Windsor Terrace). He was the Democratic Party nominee in the 2013 election to become Mayor of New York City. On November 5, 2013, De Blasio won the mayoral election by a landslide, receiving over 73% of the vote and will become the first Democratic mayor of the city in nearly 20 years.[1]

Soviet visit

Bill de Blasio toured parts of the communist Soviet Union as the Cold War raged.

de Blasio listed the trip on a résumé from the 1990s. Under “travel,” he said he visited “West Africa, Europe, Israel, Puerto Rico, USSR.”

A de Blasio campaign spokeswoman confirmed that her boss went to the United Soviet Socialist Republic as a student in 1983.

“When he was a presidential scholar at NYU, Bill attended an annual trip that took him to Lithuania and Russia. In other years, he traveled — along with other presidential scholars — to Spain, Israel and Senegal,” said de Blasio spokeswoman Lis Smith.[2]

Nicaragua

In 1988, de Blasio went to Nicaragua to do social work in support of the Marxist revolutionary cause, the Sandinistas had been running the country for almost a decade. Their brutality was well-documented. Mr. DeBlasio, who also did fundraising for supporters of the military government, either didn't know about Sandinista repression or he didn't care.[3]

Cuba

In an interview with a New York radio station, some hints emerged when he was asked about his decision to honeymoon in Cuba in 1994. Mr. de Blasio said that he doesn't excuse the "undemocratic" regime, but he also argued that it has accomplished "some good things" like "in health care."[4]

Dinkins disciple

The David Dinkins years are best summarized by the opening lines of The Power of the Mayor: David Dinkins 1990-1993, written by the moderate Democrat Chris McNickle. “David Dinkins,” wrote McNickle, “failed as mayor … When David Dinkins governed, many New Yorkers felt adrift.” They “lacked confidence” in his ability “to run the city.”

Those looking to explain away Dinkins’s failings as New York suffered from record high levels of crime and taxes, a shrinking job base, and a dangerously swollen debt, insisted that New York, with its competing ethnic identities and intransigent interest groups, was simply ungovernable.

A key element in Bill de Blasio’s appeal to liberal activists and older African-Americans has been attempting to revive the reputation of Dinkins, New York’s first black mayor. The Dinkins mayoralty meant a great deal to De Blasio, who met his wife and came of age in local politics while both were working for the Dinkins administration. Dinkins, according to de Blasio, was, unbeknownst to the public, a staunch and effective crime fighter. His problem, argues de Blasio, was communications, not substance, though many who lived through the paralyzing fear of the Dinkins years would probably disagree.

Talking to Salon, de Blasio gives Dinkins credit for expanding the number of cops in New York City with the “Safe Streets, Safe City” program and for bringing the great crime fighter Bill Bratton to the fore. But neither is true.

It was City Council Speaker Peter Vallone who took the lead in expanding the police force. And in the wake of an out-of-town tourist murdered in Times Square, it was the tabloids—with screaming headlines like “DAVE, DO SOMETHING”—that forced the issue.[5]

Gaspard friendship

Patrick Gaspard got his first taste of campaign work doing advance for the 1988 presidential campaign of Jesse Jackson, during which time his energy and affinity with local political organizations caught the notice of Harlem-based consultant Bill Lynch, whose office floor Gaspard got in the habit of crashing on. In Lynch's office Gaspard began a friendship with now New York Councilman Bill de Blasio[6].

Mayoral race

In the 2013 New York mayoralty race there were four significant early Democratic Party candidates.

According to Communist Party USA member Danny Rubin, writing in the People's World;[7]

It is widely agreed that the politics of the four range from Christine Quinn, toward the right, to Bill de Blasio, to William Thompson, to John Liu on the left. Council Speaker Quinn's politics are similar to Michael Bloomberg's but still better than any of the non-Democrats. Yet her election would hardly change the direction of the city. While appealing to some because she would be the first woman and first openly gay mayor, her positions on issues go against their interests. She continually slows down and compromises all pro-working families legislation, such as holding up a vote on sick leave. She joins the Republicans in pledging to reappoint Ray Kelly as police commissioner, despite his stop-and-frisk policy. She has strong real estate developer financing.

Support

According to Danny Rubin of the People's World, Christine Quinn, Anthony Weiner, and Bill de Blasio will likely divide up the bulk of the white vote, with de Blasio getting more of the liberals. DeBlasio also has been endorsed by SEIU 1199, the city's biggest union, and could garner some additional big union endorsements and of the Working Families Party.[8]

Communist comment on election victory

According to NYC Communist Party USA organizer Estevan Bassett-Nembhard;[9]

The 2013 New York City elections were a thunderous mandate for progressive change in the nation's largest city. A broad democratic front with labor, and racially and national oppressed people at the lead, has elected a new city government on the platform of reversing the 20 years of Republican rule that preceeded it.
Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio, Public Advocate-elect Letitia James, and a victorious city council progressive caucus campaigned hard, telling voters that they had the heart to fight and defeat the right-wing agenda. They received overwhelming support in response.
With the 2014 mid-term elections looming, candidates throughout the state and nation who are straddling the fence or wavering in their support of working families have been put on notice.
Since the historic election of David Dinkins to the office of mayor, the city has held five mayoral elections. In consecutive races the united front that elected the first African American executive was divided and conquered by an alliance of reactionary sections of the 1 percent.
After two decades of City Hall catering to the now 70 billionaires and 365,000 millionaires that occupy its five boroughs, a new electoral majority has emerged victorious and ready to chart its own course for a new New York City.
Bill de Blasio is mayor-elect in large part because he has the heart to challenge stop and frisk and support higher taxes on the rich. His son Dante leading the way, the campaign asked New Yorkers to reject the criminalization of poverty and to address that poverty instead.
In response, a desperate Republican Party red baited de Blasio throughout the contest but the message of equality could not be stopped. De Blasio continued growing his support through election weekend despite sound trucks and front page newspaper articles calling him a socialist. Far from letting this put him on the defensive, our next mayor used each of these attacks as opportunities to clarify his commitment to social and economic justice. His popularity rose with each slander, totaling an astonishing 74 percent of the vote.
Letitia James, the councilwoman from Brooklyn, won a historic campaign for Public Advocate as the first African American woman to hold that or any citywide elected office. In the primary and runoff elections James developed a diverse coalition rooted among labor and the racially oppressed and also received strong participation from liberal-leaning white communities.
The James campaign also contributed to a ground-shaking mobilization in central Brooklyn that promises to change the terrain of struggle in the entire city. The largest concentration of people of African descent on the eastern seaboard sent machine candidates packing by voting their class interests. Brooklyn Boro President-elect Eric Adams and District Attorney-elect Ken Thompson, like Public Advocate-elect Letitia James, are consistently progressive African Americans and will be vital contributors to the reshaping of our city.
Melissa Mark Viverito and 10 other members of the NYC council Progressive Caucus won races for City Council head to head against rightwing fronts like Good Jobs NYC and Students First, who had targeted her and other candidates favorable to the 99 percent. The two organizations were unsuccessful in defeating a single progressive candidate.
Grassroots forces like Community Voices Heard (CVH) are now moving the conversation to the post election with an eye for expanding programs like participatory budgeting. They and others have plugged into initiatives like 13 Progressive Ideas for NYC (13boldideas.org), which brings together the various organizations and institutions of the peoples movement, packaging their cutting edge solutions in 13 clearly presented proposals to rebuild our city.
Talking Transition (Talkingtransitionnyc.com) on the other hand is working to involve thousands of New Yorkers in an open conversation about the mayoral transition and future of the city in the process and connecting them with the above-mentioned groupings of labor and community.
What we win at the ballot box can be lost at the picket line. The struggle to realize the progressive mandate and to recalibrate city government toward progressive change began Nov 6, one day after elections.
Taxing the rich to fund pre-school and after school, outlawing racial profiling, significantly increasing the minimum wage, ensuring retroactive pay and contracts for public workers, ending infill and privatization attempts in public housing, ending the co-locations and privatization attempts in public education, preservation and construction of housing that is truly affordable and more are on the line.

Flynn Club support

In 2014, the New York based Communist Party USA Elizabeth Gurley Flynn Club wrote;[10]

Sometimes, we must be free to disagree with Democrats on selected issues, even those whom we have supported, such as Obama on a national level, Jerrold Nadler, a progressive Congressman from Manhattan, and Bill De Blasio, who is New York City's new progressive mayor. For example, we should be free to advocate a general reduction of our country's military and to disagree with the Obama Administration's expansion of some sections of our military forces.

Aggressive agenda

In November 2013, Strode into Al Sharpton’s Harlem headquarters, DeBlasio also spoke of having a “not only progressive, but aggressive agenda.”.[11]

Transition team

Education/children

In November 2013, Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio announced the appointment of his 60-member transition committee, and it includes 10 individuals with experience in education and children's issues.

The group includes parent leader Zakiyah Ansari, advocacy director of the Alliance for Quality Education. Ansari was a frequent gadfly throughout Mayor Michael Bloomberg's tenure on issues of school choice, charter schools and parent engagement, among others. The Brooklyn mother has eight children, all of whom either attend or graduated from public schools. She's also been a vocal advocate for additional state educational aid and for early childhood education, a central theme of de Blasio's campaign.

The other members of the transition team with experience in education and children's issues include:

  • Maxine Griffith, will Executive Device President and Special Advisor for Campus Planning at Columbia University.
  • Jeremy Travis, president of John Jay College of Criminal Justice at CUNY
  • Kim Sweet, Executive Director of Advocates for Children of New York, which has fought to help children with special needs in the city's public schools.

de Blasio appointed Jennifer Jones Austin, a former deputy commissioner with the Administration for Children's Services, as co-leader of his transition team. WNYC reached out to some of the newly appointed members and was told they were asked to decline media requests for comment.

"It's a group of people who share a progressive vision for the future of the city, who are known in their fields of endeavor as being effective and strong leaders, and who share a clear commitment to diversity in leadership for the future of the city," De Blasio said.[12]

0ther key people included;

North Star Fund 35th Gala

In 2014, at Chelsea Piers, North Star Fund held its annual Community Gala. This 35th Anniversary Community Gala was a spectacular celebration of North Star Fund and the achievements of our diverse community of philanthropic and grassroots activists and organizers. The event raised $870,000, which broke every previous record.

Notable guests included Mayor Bill de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray, Katherine Acey, Nisha Atre, Martha Baker, Andrea Batista Schlesinger, Jay Beckner, Ingrid Benedict, Bill Bragin, Peter Brest, Art Chen, Bobby Cohen, Joe Conason, Larry Condon, Anne Delaney, Maddy deLone, Deni Frand, Elizabeth Gilmore, Elspeth Gilmore, Mark Green, Gary Hattem, Pierre Hauser, Michael Hirschhorn, Sarah Kovner and Victor Kovner, Dal LaMagna, Josh Mailman, Christine Marinoni, Christina McInerney, Pam McMichael, Ruth Messinger, Cynthia Nixon, Shola Olatoye, Ana Oliveira, Erica Payne, Lisa Philp, Mark Reed, Rinku Sen, Tani Takagi, Elizabeth Wagley, Michael Waldman, Maggie Williams, Barbara Winslow, and Kyung Yoon.[13]

WFP pre-election gathering

Bill de Blasio addresses the gathering

Many high-power politicians–United States Senator Charles Schumer, Mayor Bill de Blasio, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Public Advocate Letitia James and State Senator James Sanders–fired up a hundreds-strong crowd of supporters of the labor-backed Working Families Party 9/9/2014 with speeches vowing to keep Republicans from controlling the State Senate, to raise the minimum wage, to create a public financing system for state elections and to organize low-paid fast food and airport workers.

The crowd, a mix of union members and activist groups like Vocal-NY and New York Communities for Change, crammed into the basement of Manhattan’s Saint Vartan’s Armenian Cathedral for the event, entitled “Justice for Workers.” The evening started with a reading by poet Maria “Mariposa” Fernandez, who read a piece detailing the difficult life of a Hispanic service worker that simultaneously railed against pollution, an America “ruled by warmongering men,” “U.S. colonialism and imperialism” and the Atlantic slave trade.

The goals laid out are ambitious, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo has sometimes wavered on whether he will support all of the party’s liberal initiatives. Mr. de Blasio–one of the earliest supporters of WFP, and who brokered the deal that secured Mr. Cuomo its endorsement this year–pointed to his struggle to attain the mayoralty last year as a source of inspiration.

“I just want to say, I am your poster child! Whenever somebody tells you something can’t be done, you can’t win the election, too far back in the polls, people won’t come out, just have them call me,” Mr. de Blasio said. “Anybody who tries to tell you the people aren’t listening, they don’t understand. Anybody who tells you that the people aren’t going to vote their own interest, their own economic interest, misunderstands this momentum here.”[14]

Metropolitan College gala

Metropolitan College of New York celebrated its founding with a 50th Anniversary Gala, Thursday, October 23, 2014 at the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan. Themed, “Amplify the Dream”; the Gala highlighted the school’s dynamic history. The Gala’s honorary chair was Mayor David Dinkins, New York City’s first Black mayor.

“I am honored to serve as honorary chair of MCNY’s Anniversary Gala,” said Mayor Dinkins. “For half a century, MCNY has not only produced professional citizens in New York City, but those who are also socially-responsible and share a commitment to give back and make our society a better place for all New Yorkers.”

The distinguished members of the honorary committee include: Mayor Bill de Blasio, Gale Brewer, Manhattan Borough President; Ruben Diaz, Jr., Bronx Borough President; Senator Kirsten Gillibrand; Carmen de Lavallade and the late Geoffrey Holder; Fernando Ferrer, Vice Chairman, MTA and former Bronx President; Ruth Messinger, President, American Jewish World Service; Senator Charles E. Schumer and Reverend Al Sharpton. The Gala honorees include: Helen LaKelly Hunt (Changemaker), Dr. Edison O. Jackson (Trailblazer) and R. Rick Baker (Champion). Robert Sargent Shriver was honored posthumously.[15]

21st Century Democrats

21st Century Democrats successfully endorsed Bill de Blasio for New York mayor in 2014.[16]

Greetings to Communist gathering/"We're Not Going Back"

March 2015, a crowd of New Yorkers lined up at the security desk in order to make their way up to the third floor to Melba's Restaurant and the annual "We're Not Going Back" celebration of African American culture and struggle.

2014's guest speaker was Angela Davis, and the occasion was held downtown at the Henry Winston Unity Hall. This year's featured speaker was the newly elected mayor of Newark, the Honorable Ras Baraka.

The meeting's theme was "Support City Officials Who Fight for Equality, a Living Wage and Against Racism."

Estevan Bassett-Nembhard, New York organizer of the Communist Party USA, opened the program, greeting the over 200 participants and emphasizing the need for unity in the vital struggle to end racism. "We stand on the shoulders of those who defeated slavery and Jim Crow. Our history tells us that united we stand and divided we fall." He continued, "We're not going back! Our pledge is to stick together."

Naquasia LeGrand chaired the event, winning a round of applause when she announced that she was a fast food worker and an organizer of that movement.

A large and politically diverse host committee was formed to welcome Mayor Baraka, including representatives from labor, fast-food workers, police reform, immigrant rights, LGBTQ, religious and peace and justice movements. Among them were Alisha Garner, the sister of Eric Garner murdered by police on Staten Island, and elected officials including State Senator Bill Perkins, State Assemblyman Keith Wright, along with a representative of City Council member Ydanis Rodriguez. Baraka received proclamations from Perkins, Wright and Rodriguez. He also received a letter of welcome from Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer stopped by briefly to greet the gathering crowd.

As the evening ended one participant said, "This was a great event that showed that left and center forces in our city can work together to build principled unity and a stronger movement to help defeat racism and poverty."[17]

Secret Meeting/Progressive Agenda

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio held a closed-door meeting at his mayoral residence on April 2, 2015, to create the Progressive version of the 1994 Republican “Contract with America.” De Blasio called his update the “Progressive Agenda” and its stated purpose was to address “income inequality” in the U.S. A dozen far-left leaders attended the closed-door meeting, including George Soros’ son Jonathan Soros. Jonathan claims to support removing money from politics, yet hypocritically serves on several boards at the Open Society Foundation (OSF). OSF has given more than $550 million to liberal organizations. Other liberal leaders at the April 2 meeting were Katrina vanden Heuvel of The Nation, “disgraced” former Obama advisor and 9/11 Truther Van Jones, Marian Wright Edelman, and liberal economist Joseph Stiglitz. In an April 6 interview on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, de Blasio confirmed that key elements of the Progressive Agenda included: a progressive tax (driven by the Buffett Rule -- which argues that wealthier individuals should have to pay higher taxes), universal free pre-kindergarten, and a $15 minimum wage. De Blasio said the full Agenda would be unveiled at the May 12 event in Washington, D.C. [18]

According to Rolling Stone, other attendees included Sherrod Brown, the populist senator from Ohio, and Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy. The novelist Toni Morrison showed up, delighting de Blasio and McCray. Other attendees included Arizona Congressman Raúl Grijalva, chair of the House Progressive Caucus.][19]

Endorsed AAFE 2016 banquet

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References

  1. [2013-08-17. Retrieved 2013-09-20. Jump up ^ The New York Times (November 6, 2013). "De Blasio Is Elected New York City Mayor in Landslide". The New York Times. Retrieved November 6, 2013.]
  2. NY Post, De Blasio visited Communist USSR in college, By Carl Campanile and Yoav Gonen, November 3, 2013
  3. WSJ, Bill de Blasio, From Managua to Manhattan, By Mary Anastasia O'Grady, , Oct. 6, 2013
  4. {http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303722604579113481450122544, WSJ, Bill de Blasio, From Managua to Manhattan,By Mary Anastasia O'Grady, Oct. 6, 2013]
  5. Politics Beast, Is New York City Mayoral Candidate Bill de Blasio the New Dinkins? by Fred Siegel Sep 5, 2013 4:45 AM EDT
  6. http://www.politickerny.com/4185/patrick-gaspard-writes-poems-collects-comics-kills-obama
  7. PW, New York City elections hold promise of change, by: Danny Rubin, March 21 2013
  8. PW, New York mayoral race: look at social forces behind candidates, by: Danny Rubin, June 6 2013
  9. elections: Overwhelming mandate for progressive change, by: Estevan Bassett-Nembhard November 13 2013
  10. Discussion: Political Tactics in New York by: ELIZABETH GURLEY FLYNN CLUB, NEW YORK CITY June 2 2014
  11. [http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/nyc-council-set-lean-left-article-1.1519653, New York City Council set to turn sharply left toward a more liberal agenda,BY ERIN DURKIN / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS CITY HALL BUREAU SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2013, 1:22 AM]
  12. School Book, de Blasio Transition Team Includes Many Names in Education, Child Advocacy Wednesday, November 20, 2013 - 05:07 PM By BETH FERTIG
  13. MY Social Diary 2014. North Star Fund
  14. Observer, Working Families Party Hosts Pol-Studded Pre-Election Pep RallybBy Will Bredderman | 10/09/14
  15. METROPOLITAN COLLEGE OF NEW YORK HOSTS 50TH ANNIVERSARY GALA 20 October, 2014
  16. Century Democrats, 2014 candidates
  17. PW, Mayor Ras Baraka tops Harlem evening of black culture and struggle by: Jarvis Tyner March 18 2015
  18. MRC Newsbusters, Earth to Chuck Todd: George Soros Backs New 'Progressive Agenda' with $159 Million By Alatheia Larsen | May 12, 2015
  19. [http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/mayor-bill-de-blasios-crusade-20150506?page=2 Rolling Stone, Mayor Bill de Blasio's CrusadeBY MARK BINELLI May 6, 2015