De Blasio’s 2020 presidential candidacy is a complete farce
New York’s own Mayor Bill de Blasio will make it official Thursday, announcing his candidacy for president. Of the United States.
If you’re not laughing, then you don’t know Bill de Blasio like we know Bill de Blasio.
As the hometown paper and preferred foil, let us explain why Democrats across America shouldn’t waste time or money on this guy.
He is both incompetent and crooked; oblivious and arrogant. He won his current job in a fluke election back in 2013, yet ever since has seemed certain that he’s destined to be a major national figure — despite falling on his face time after time.
It’s no coincidence that de Blasio was the only Democratic candidate with net negative approval ratings among fellow Democrats in a recent national poll. He has nothing interesting to say — at least, not if he’s telling the truth.
Cash for ‘favors’
Let’s start with the “crooked” problem. As City Journal’s Bob McManus put it: “You would have to go back to Jimmy Walker, and maybe earlier than that, to find a mayor so egregiously inclined to use the municipal fisc as a political piggy bank.”
New York City has tough campaign finance laws, complete with a generous 8:1 match of public funds for smaller contributions — all designed to stop officeholders from selling access and favors.
After taking office in 2014, de Blasio did a complete end-run around those limits by setting up a nonprofit he controlled, the Campaign for One New York — and selling City Hall to CONY donors.
The most notorious favor was the lifting of a deed restriction: With City Hall pushing bureaucrats to OK the change, a developer paid $16.1 million to remove the requirement that a building be a health care facility — and made a $72 million profit by turning it into high-end condos.
News of such outrages eventually led the mayor to shut down CONY, even as he protested that many donors didn’t get favors. But when he finally released a long-promised column on that point, he only managed to specify four favors that donors didn’t get — and two of those donors did get other rewards.
In the meantime, the feds spent months investigating. De Blasio escaped criminal charges because the US Supreme Court has set an impossible bar for proving “pay to play” corruption. But at least two of his donors have pleaded guilty to bribing him.
And the US attorney took the unusual step of noting publicly that multiple City Hall “transactions appear contrary to the intent and spirit of the laws,” citing “several circumstances” where Hizzoner “made or directed inquiries to relevant city agencies” on behalf of donors.
He played similar games by having favor-seekers donate to his preferred candidates in state elections — with his political team directing how the cash was spent, namely on de Blasio’s favorite consultants. The Manhattan DA ripped this scheme for violating the “intent and spirit” of state campaign finance laws.
The city’s Conflict of Interest Board has now officially banned de Blasio-style fundraising for pet nonprofits — but the (mayorally appointed) board conveniently didn’t bar using federal PACs in the same way, and de Blasio has done just that to fund his Fairness PAC, the launchpad for his presidential campaign.
To be clear, all the dirty cash has gone to fund his personal agenda: CONY helped pay for his pathetic efforts to be a kingmaker in the 2016 Democratic primaries, such as his bid to host a “progressive-issues forum” in Iowa . . . which failed because not even Bernie Sanders cared to sign up.
Failing kids and homeless
De Blasio’s pratfalls on the national stage have been comic; his failures here in the city tragic.
We’re thinking particularly of the children who died thanks to mismanagement at the Administration for Children’s Services.
De Blasio took office vowing to fix ACS, yet his pick to run it, Gladys Carrión, abandoned key management practices, such as agency-wide video conferences where top staff reviewed casework best practices.
Other progressive politicians, including then-Public Advocate Letitia James, issued reports warning that ACS was going downhill; the mayor ignored them.
Then children who’d been on ACS’s radar — in homes the agency had been called to investigate — started dying from abuse. Zymere Perkins, 6, beaten to death. Jaden Jordan, 3, same fate.
Weeks later, after Mikey Guzman, 5, joined the list despite 13 ACS visits to the home, de Blasio finally forced Carrión out and hired a technocrat to get the agency back on track.
This wasn’t the first time he’d ignored warning signs. In 2015, he spent weeks denying that the city faced a new homeless crisis. The Post had to run photographic proof — including of large, permanent encampments — before de Blasio started to admit the truth.
Since then, he has doubled homeless spending to $2.9 billion. Yet the city homeless population still stands at over 58,000.
The NYCHA disaster
Another de Blasio disaster area is public housing. Although he claims he puts affordable housing at the center of his agenda, the mayor pulled reform of the troubled New York City Housing Authority off the table from the start, even squelching the efforts of his handpicked NYCHA chief, Shola Olatoye, to make the workforce more flexible so that after-hours repairs would be possible.
Olatoye was eventually forced out by scandal involving falsified inspections for lead paint. But a US Attorney’s Office criminal investigation eventually revealed a horrifying system — in place before de Blasio, but continuing unimpeded on his watch — for deceiving federal inspectors about a host of dangerous defects.
Under de Blasio, NYCHA’s 400,000 residents have suffered growing problems of no heat during bitter-cold winters, sickening mold, broken doors, inoperable elevators — you name it.
The agency is now in federal receivership — a damning judgment on the mayor’s management.
$1 Billion wasted
These are hardly his only huge failures: His “Renewal Schools” program was supposed to turn failing schools around, where his predecessor had put them in for complete reorganization. After five years of poor results, and $750 million down the drain, de Blasio abandoned the program.
He’s still standing by ThriveNYC, a new program for the mentally ill rolled out in 2015. It’s run by first lady Chirlane McCray, with some $250 million in annual funding. But more than three years on, neither McCray nor her aides can show how it has helped anyone, or even explain exactly where the money has gone.
Meanwhile, cops are left to deal with the troubled New Yorkers who roam the city’s streets and subways. They also have to face off against sometimes violent “emotionally disturbed people,” including some with long records of mental health issues.
As for his self-indulgence: Nothing speaks more to it than the mayor’s insistence on beginning almost every workday with an hours-long diversion from Gracie Mansion to the gym in his old Brooklyn neighborhood. Thanks to his police escort, that’s a small caravan of SUVs burning carbon on the trip — even as de Blasio lectures loudly about the need to act against climate change.
These are just some of the reasons why another poll showed that de Blasio is the candidate that Democrats across New York least want running for president.
Take it from those who know him best: If you want to beat President Trump, don’t waste a second on Bill de Blasio.