Good egg Eric Adams needs to get hard-boiled and keep his promises
Seven months into Mayor Adams’ tenure, here is New York City at a glance.
Subway ridership remains well below pandemic levels, only about half of private office workers have returned full time to their workplaces and public schools are facing steep declines in enrollment as parents abandon the failing system.
Unemployment stands at 6.2%, nearly double the national rate. The ruinous tax burden continues to be an incentive for the middle class and the well-to-do to escape the five boroughs.
Most critically, the relentless wave of violent crime and public disorder show no evidence of slowing down, with major felonies 37% higher than last year. Cops are under attack, homeless vagrants are everywhere, streets are filthy and New Yorkers don’t feel safe because they aren’t safe.
Adams, the ringmaster of this dystopian circus, campaigned on the promise to be the solution to all of it. To his credit and, in stark contrast to his awful predecessor, he is indeed the city’s No. 1 booster.
During private meetings with business leaders and others, the mayor consistently gets high marks for understanding the scope of the problems and pledging to get New York back on track. His frequent appearances at crime scenes and tragedies reveal his heart is in the right place.
But it’s getting late in the day for good first impressions and promises are no longer enough. The results don’t match the rhetoric and there is a sense the ballyhooed Gotham comeback has prematurely plateaued.
The daily headlines of murder and blood are unnerving. Alarmingly, there is nothing to suggest serious change is in the works. The cavalry is not coming.
Before it’s too late, Adams must change the storyline of his mayoralty and chart a new course. The first step involves breaking some eggs.
His Mr. Nice Guy performance isn’t working at persuading others to join him. Now and then, he needs to be a junkyard dog and show fierce passion. Although he gets snippy with the media, the mayor should also pick fights with the right people and create some trouble — good trouble — of his own.
He’s got the bully pulpit and it’s time he started using it to recruit partners and shame opponents.
We saw the first hint of a possible new approach Tuesday when he surprisingly joined GOP lawmakers in calling for a special Albany session to deal with violent crime.
His fellow Democrats are certain to reject the idea, but that will just prove the point that the political class is not the city’s friend. The mayor should say so loudly and clearly.
His supposed Dem allies hold power in Washington, Albany and the City Council, but most act as if they want to see him fail and the city suffer.
President Biden, Gov. Hochul, and state and city lawmakers have done next to nothing to stem the city’s bleeding. Adams’ modest request for bail reform and several other crime-control measures could have made a significant difference in the battle to take back the streets. Instead, he got a fig leaf to hide the cold shoulder Hochul and other Albany Dems gave him.
The council had billions to play with in the new budget but not a dime for new cops. Then again, the mayor didn’t make much of an effort to drum up support for hiring more officers, so he could hardly expect the leftists down the hall to join him.
If, on the other hand, he had called for defunding the police and shrinking the force, he would have carried the day in a landslide.
Similarly, most of the city’s district attorneys have followed the radical ways of Manhattan’s Alvin Bragg in finding creative ways to turn ’em loose. It’s as if they get secret marching orders from George Soros.
Would it hurt for Adams to summon them to City Hall and read them the riot act? Put them on the spot and make them sweat — that’s the sort of thing successful mayors have always had to do.
Predictably tired of risking their lives only to be tarred as the bad guys, cops in large numbers are calling it quits. Who can blame them?
Yet the NYPD cannot be immune from criticism if officers fail to do their jobs. In recent days, The Post spotlighted two incidents where police dropped the ball on enforcement.
Not enough progress
Whether it’s pols or police, Adams won’t be able to rally anyone to his cause as long as there is no penalty for not helping. In fact, by failing to call out lawmakers who are sitting on the sidelines, Adams looks hesitant and weak.
Perhaps he believes that the righteousness of his cause, combined with logic and endless patience, will win over his party. Someday soon, his gentle manner seems to say, Dems will realize the profound error of their ways and recognize the need for less leniency and more law enforcement.
He’s dreaming. He will get nothing unless he demands it and backs up those demands by waging holy political war against those who are content to watch New York be destroyed.
Sometimes nice guys actually do finish last and the mayor is risking that fate. With the quality of life decreasing and crime increasing by the day, a turnaround gets harder and harder to achieve.
Even the modest gains the NYPD made in reducing murder and shooting incidents are largely disappearing as the bloody summer wears on.
When he was elected, Adams promised to be the new face of his party and show America how to run a city. The words were bold and remain appealing, but New Yorkers are getting impatient for proof he can back up the talk with results.
Reader Howard Siegel spots a hole in media coverage, writing: “While discussing Joe Biden’s COVID diagnosis, the press just happened to mention that his doctors had to discontinue his heart medication while he is taking the antivirals. Perhaps it would have been nice if Candidate Biden had informed the American voter that he was a cardiac patient. The fact that Kamala Harris is literally a heart beat away has become even more ominous.”
Calling Don 2-time loser
Reader Arlene Ross is no fan of the idea that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis should be Donald Trump’s running mate in 2024. She writes: “Trump took the law into his own hands after the judges who reviewed his fraud claims rejected all of them. He tried to illegally overturn the results of an election he lost. Trump is the only Republican who would lose to the Democratic candidate, in a very winnable race.”