Eric Adams is no Bill de Blasio, and for that all New Yorkers can be grateful. Where the Putz was a late sleeper, chronically absent and disdainful of the city he allegedly served, Mayor Adams hits all five boroughs and his days start early and end late, suggesting he regards sleep as wasted time.
Yet an alarming similarity is beginning to emerge. Both men drifted off course by replacing the mandate they won from voters with peculiar flights of fancy.
De Blasio’s pledge to battle the “tale of two cities” degenerated into a mush of wasteful spending on cockamamie ideas that benefited donors and hurt the lower income people he ostensibly wanted to help. He handcuffed police, tried to starve successful charter schools that served mostly nonwhite children and created Thrive, the $1.25-billion bust of a mental health program, as a playground for his wife.
Adams’ folly is different in detail but has the same potential to hijack his tenure. Plain for all to see, he is taking his focus off the crucial war against crime that got him elected and is putting his attention on turning the city into a vast welcoming mat for foreign migrants.
With about 15,000 in New York already, he talks about having as many as 75,000 migrants living here and is building an enormous tent city at Orchard Beach in The Bronx.
Supposedly, new arrivals will stay there only for a few days until space opens in a city homeless shelter.
But that verges on delusional when there already are 58,000 people living in the shelters scattered around the city, a population that usually grows as the weather turns colder.
You don’t have to be a cynic to believe there will be inevitable fights over which group is more deserving of a shower and warm bed now and scarce affordable housing units later. All city services will be stretched to meet the needs of so many poor people, with at least 1,400 migrant children enrolled so far in the public school system.
Meanwhile, residents around Orchard Beach, many of Hispanic origin themselves, are not happy about having so many newcomers foisted on them without warning. A local Assembly member is lobbying for nearby police precincts to get added staff over fears of crime.
Given the lack of vetting at the border and the hardships and poverty the migrants have endured, the fear is rational. And that gets to the heart of the problem: Any action Adams takes that makes New Yorkers feel less safe undercuts the central promise of his mayoralty.
Perhaps he has forgotten the flight of so many residents as crime and COVID turned parts of the city into a ghost town. His plea for workers to use mass transit and come back to Midtown offices is already falling on deaf ears because fear still stalks the subways and too many streets.
Adams’ detour into the migrant mess is also strikingly incoherent in other ways. The same mayor who recently ordered budget cuts for all city agencies, including the NYPD, is now taking a no-expense-spared approach to a problem the city cannot possibly manage, let alone solve.
Adams, instead of conceding they are right and using his relationship with Biden to drive home the point, is acting as if the problem can be solved if only Americans opened their doors and wallets wider.
Although he has been unsparing in his attack on Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, for sending some 2,500 migrants to New York, Adams still can’t bring himself to blame Biden, a fellow Democrat, for the remainder. At a news conference Tuesday, the closest he came was when he said that “I am frustrated with the fact that this is a national issue that must be resolved.”
In that case, why not pick up the phone, call the White House and tell the president to secure the border now?
Still, the mayor’s request for $500 million from the feds says what he won’t. Additionally, the vast size of his request underscores the debt the feds have to the border states, who are dealing with numbers of migrants far, far beyond anything New York can imagine.
More than 4 million people have crossed from Mexico in the 20 months Biden has been in the White House. In proportion to Adams’ request, the border states would be entitled to tens of billions of dollars.
Unfortunately, the mayor’s refusal to get in Biden’s face resembles his unwillingness to go to the mat with Albany Democrats over other issues, especially crime.
His repeated bid to get bail and other laws changed to keep dangerous criminals off the streets brought mostly cold shoulders from Gov. Hochul and legislative leaders. Instead of raising holy hell and enlisting the public for support, the mayor seems to have given up and accepted defeat.
That’s a terrible mistake because, as I have noted, he will never have more leverage with his party than he has now. With Hochul facing a dogged and increasingly well-funded opponent in Republican Lee Zeldin, and with Republicans pushing to capture as many as five more New York House seats, the mayor has a unique opportunity to get something significant in exchange for supporting Hochul, Biden and Dem House candidates.
But as it stands, Adams appears content to be a party yes-man even though the city is getting hosed.
When he was elected, a jubilant and cocky Adams promised to be a new kind of Democrat and show the nation how to run a city. Surely this fainthearted surrender to the party bosses is not what he had in mind.
Dem’s media edge
Reader Robert Semel uses football as an analogy to describe the advantage Democrats have over the GOP. He writes: “Dems have the mainstream media playing tackle and guard on offense, as well as formidable defensive linemen who do not play by the rules. They also have the media as announcers in the broadcast booths.”
Profs go for woke
Steve Marcinak suggests the education world needs to update the Ph.D. degree to reflect what most colleges actually do.
“Doctor of philosophy doesn’t cut it anymore,” he writes. “Schools need to change the diploma to read ‘Indoctrinate’ because that’s the reality.”
GOP “DON” obstacle
Gary Kantrowitz offers what he calls a sad thought: “Republicans have two things to fear leading to the midterms: The Democrats’ candidates and Donald Trump.”