Sunday, November 10, 2013

Tom Hayden: Bill de Blasio Is The "Harbinger Of A New Populist Left"

The supporters of Bill de Blasio, winner of the New York City mayoral election, responded to his campaign themes regarding the income inequality that soared under the Bloomberg era and the NYPD's stop-and-frisk practices in minority communities. Income inequality and racial profiling, of course, are issues relevant to the entire country. Tom Hayden writes in The Guardian that de Blasio is the "harbinger of a new populist left in America":

De Blasio is positioned to...shift the nation's dialogue, policies and priorities in a progressive direction – assuming he delivers on his campaign pledges...

Among De Blasio's first challenges will be prodding Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state legislature in Albany to permit local tax increases to fund universal pre-kindergarten in New York City...

De Blasio has direct power over New York City's $70bn budget and re-zoning policies, which, under Bloomberg, showered favors on a real estate industry bent on competing with London and Hong Kong at the expense of residential neighborhoods...

De Blasio also can tackle income inequality by signing the living wage ordinance on city contracts, or by preventing Wall Street developers getting special city abatements – measures that Bloomberg vetoed. De Blasio didn't flinch on the issue when confronted in closed meetings with developers during the campaign.

When De Blasio first raised his opposition to the police stop-and-frisk policies, according to Vincent Warren of the Center for Constitutional Rights, the candidate began rising in the polls against other contenders in the Democratic primary...

...From 2008 to 2012, the NYPD stopped nearly 2.9 million New Yorkers, a majority of them young, about 85% black or brown. On average, 88% of those stopped were completely innocent of any crime or misdemeanor.

When a federal appeals court halted a judicial order ordering detailed changes in the NYPD last week, De Blasio expressed "extreme disappointment" and pledged to move forward on police reform from day one. How he will do so is procedurally muddled for the moment, but there is little doubt that another staple of the Bloomberg era is ready for the dustbin.

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