Congratulations, Mayor de Blasio — Now, Resign!

Photo: Gersh Kuntzman
Photo: Gersh Kuntzman

We are happy that Mayor de Blasio has decided to run for president. It never hurts to have more New Yorkers in the race, if only to force the rest of the nation to confront its bias against the urban quality-of-life issues we cover every day at Streetsblog.

But as the mayor makes his case to the nation be the 46th president, he must resign, for the good of his current constituents.

For too long, the preparations for the presidential run have seized de Blasio’s attention on so many initiatives. We are concerned that vital work, even on the mayor’s once-cherished initiatives such as Vision Zero, will simply be shelved as the mayor galavants around the nation, as if caucus-goers in Brooklyn, Iowa, are going to care if de Blasio builds out the bike network in Brooklyn, N.Y.

There’s plenty of evidence that work is already being slow-walked:

  • A redesign of Amsterdam Avenue, once a de Blasio priority, languished for over two years because the mayor didn’t get personally engaged amid community board obstruction.
  • The fourth phase of the Queens Boulevard redesign — literally de Blasio’s signature street-safety project — has been stalled for over a year. There’s no timetable.
  • Central Park West, where Australian tourist Madison Lyden was killed by a truck driver, still doesn’t have a protected bike lane.
  • Congestion pricing passed as a vague measure by the state earlier this year, with the details of how it will be implemented put off. It’s already being watered-down with exemptions, putting it — and the revenue for the transit system that it was created to generate — at risk.
  • Multiple community groups have called for the city to close just a few streets to car drivers — an initiative that needs mayoral approval. Other world capitals – London, Paris, Madrid, etc. — have improved quality of life by closing small parts of their central business district to cars. This mayor can’t be bothered to even consider it.
  • De Blasio has not even been involved in a battle to save his own administration’s plan for a single playstreet in Jackson Heights, which a car dealership destroyed by exercising overlooked property rights at the last minute.
  • He told us more than a month ago that he intended to take action against recklessly driving cops — but nothing has been done.
  • State officials are working on a way to help food delivery workers do their jobs legally. De Blasio’s only contribution to that effort has been to arrest the low-wage workers. He needs to be part of the solution.
  • We can’t even get an answer from City Hall about what kind of lines it plans to paint on Dyckman Street, where the city removed a set of protected bike lanes in August (!) and has left the wide roadway completely devoid of lane markings since.

Government insiders tell us it has become increasingly difficult to get the mayor to sign off on these and other initiatives — or create new ones — during this period when de Blasio has been getting ready to announce. On Wednesday night, Council Speaker Corey Johnson was asked about de Blasio’s increasing lack of leadership on Vision Zero and said he thought the mayor was fighting old battles and not moving ahead aggressively.

“I’m not sure that he has embraced that the conversation has moved on,” Johnson said.

That conversation will continue from now until the mayor’s certain defeat in Iowa next February — that’s more than eight months — without the mayor himself. Reminder: this comes as New York is in the middle of a 21-percent uptick in road deaths this year versus the same period last year. A cyclist who died this week in Crown Heights was the 10th bicycle rider to die this year — matching the total for all of last year.

The mayoralty of New York City is often said to be the second most important job in the country. It needs someone in the west wing of City Hall who shows up to work every day (perhaps even after a gym workout) with 100 percent focus on the lives of his fellow New Yorkers.

The mayor, of course, has a choice: He could resign to fully focus on his presidential ambitions, putting Public Advocate Jumaane Williams in charge of city government. Williams, at the very least, has no other job, so his focus would be entirely on running the city.

Or the mayor could remain in office, but empower his talented commissioners and deputies to do whatever it takes to get the job done — explicitly instructing them to take action to improve the lives of New Yorkers, without having to wait for a mayor who has his attention on every other town except this one. We trust DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg to do the right thing — so it has been frustrating to watch her stymied by her boss’s limited focus.

So go out there and get ’em, Mr. Mayor — but step aside and let someone else run the city.

  • thomas040

    What would happen if he resigned? Who would take over in the interim?

  • Zero Vision

    ‘We trust DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg to do the right thing…”


    You must mean “We trust DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg will never stand up to her boss and perhaps agrees with her philosophy to maintain as much parking as possible while an epidemic of traffic violence squashes innocent kids and seniors left and right.”

  • madbandit

    It’s right there in the article.

  • You make good points about de Blasio’s inattention to his duties. But Buttigieg isn’t resigning as mayor of South Bend, Indiana. And Sanders and Harris and Booker aren’t resigning from the Senate.

    When Lindsay ran for president he didn’t resign as mayor, and neither did Koch when he ran for governor.

    Anyway, we shouldn’t worry, because de Blasio won’t be preoccupied with this futile effort for very long.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Be careful what you wish for. There is a long history of examples that show that when you get the Black guy, it’s because the excrement has hit the fan, or its about to.

    Consider our first Black Mayor, David Dinkins. He took office in the early stages of the late-1980s-early 1990s recession, worse than any since in New York City, and the crack epidemic, and spent his term raising taxes and cutting services.

    We got our first Black Governor, David Paterson, and our first Black President, Barack Obama, just in time to allocate the fiscal pain from the Great Recession — more tax increases and service cuts, more infrastructure deterioration.

    And it isn’t just here.

    In Chicago, Harold Washington became the first Black Mayor in 1983, just as the “deindustrialization” recession of the early 1980s, which clobbered the Midwest, was gutting the tax and job base of that city.

    Things were also going to hell when Coleman Young took over in Detroit, and Kenneth Griffin took over in Newark. Etc. While the Move incident didn’t help, Wilson Goode inherited an economic and fiscal freefall in Philadelphia.

    We finally made it! And now we’re going to…wait a minute! What do you mean all the money is gone! Not only today’s money, but next years and all the future years, gone to those who cashed in the city in deals with themselves that can’t be taken back. And now its MY job to impose suffering on those who never got any of the benefits to pay for it?
    Hope you are ready, Jummane.

  • Larry Littlefield

    A line has been added to the city budget, Message of the Mayor, for federal aid for teacher pensions. Not education. Health care. Not other public workers’ pensions. Not the old age of the vast majority of less well off workers who don’t even get pensions. It currently has zero in the line item. Why is it there?

    How much money and support could DeBlasio get for secretly promising to sell out anyone and anything else to divert money to teacher pensions? Getting the teachers what they were promised in the Red States, and getting them vastly more than they were promised, at the expense of everyone and everything else, in NYC. Perhaps even allowing the UFT to order its state legislators increase their pension benefits again, and say it cost nothing.

    Then you have the money tree being shaken with regard to the carriage horses again. And the fact that new housing development is being exempted from property taxes for 45 years! under the new 421a deal, with everyone else having to make that up in higher taxes and service cuts.

    This is just like Trump. DeBlasio is not an idiot. That’s is both giving them too little credit — and far too much credit.

    Of those you mention, I’d consider voting for Booker. Also Warren, Kloubuchar, and Yang. I might give Buttigieg a look. Otherwise, it’s taking advantage of the fact that I’m not in a swing state to write in Daffy Duck again.

  • r

    Yeah, but part of BDB’s pitch is that unlike Buttigieg, he has a tough job as mayor of the country’s biggest city. So either it’s a really tough job that demands his full attention or it’s actually quite easy, giving him time to run for president, and he doesn’t deserve a whole lot of credit for doing being mayor. He has to pick one.

  • qrt145

    On the positive side, maybe he’ll be too busy now to say that delivery workers should just get a car. Maybe now that he’ll be on vacation (sorry, campaign) the police will be less inclined to harass people for show based on the whining BdB listens to when he’s on the radio.

  • Bluewndrpwrmlk

    I never took him seriously, why should I now? More theatrics.

  • Sassojr

    The best thing that could ever come from his soon to be failed presidential bid (he wouldn’t even win NYC) would be his resignation.

  • Larry Littlefield

    I’m not a fan — nor one of the many people who can’t stand the guy.

    In many ways he’s a lightweight fortunate enough to be Mayor at a time when he gets to throw a few nickels to regular people while still pandering massively to the privileged and entitled, rather than taking them on.

    But he is not a joke. The joke is on us.

  • Joe R.

    A bunch of reasons he should resign even without running for President, starting with the fact he’s grossly incompetent and in over his head.

  • Joe R.

    It would be a bit ironic if he ran, and actually won, as he would be the Democrat’s version of Trump—basically an incompetent fool who won through an improbable sequence of events.

  • HamTech87

    Not sure Jumaane Williams would be better on safe streets stuff.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Again, not fools. Cynical operators.
    Alan Chartok upstate has it right.

  • Bravo. He should go now that he is foolish enough to believe that Mayor of NYC is not the final stop for elected leaders.

  • Gersh Kuntzman

    Larry, just so you know, I deleted one of your comments (you know which one). If you want to resubmit, please do so in a manner that conforms to our commenting rules. Thanks!

  • Amerisod

    Don’t wish him on the rest of the country.

  • Larry Littlefield

    I don’t see why. I think I provided a convincing history that Afro-American elected officials have frequently inherited really lousy situations from their predecessors. Seems to happen over and over.

  • Frank Kotter

    Exactly this. It’s just one in the long line of grandstanding and double standards that makes this guy insufferable.

  • Frank Kotter

    ‘Prolly Nottenberg’, please.

  • cjstephens

    Indeed. Does he have anything to show in his political career that has supported safe streets? I see him has yet another windshield perspective pol like De Blasio.

  • Ishamgirl

    What were people thinking by electing this commie ahole the first time, let alone a second time?