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Bill de Blasio will be sworn in as mayor of New York City by former President Bill Clinton.De Blasio, a Democrat, will be inaugurated as the 109th mayor of the nation's largest city during a ceremony Wednesday on the City Hall steps. His transition team announced Saturday that he will be sworn in by the former president. De Blasio worked in Clinton's administration in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Clinton will use a Bible once owned by another former president, Franklin D. Roosevelt. The de Blasio transition team says former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton also will attend the New Year's Day ceremony.De Blasio managed her successful 2000 Senate campaign.De Blasio is succeeding Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is leaving office after three terms.
One era ended and a new one began one minute past midnight Wednesday as Michael Bloomberg turned over the reins of City Hall to New York City’s 109th mayor, Bill de Blasio.Standing beside his wife, Chirlane McCray, and kids, Chiara and Dante, de Blasio took the oath of office in front of their Park Slope home as a tiny, handpicked crowd looked on.“I want to say to all of you how grateful we are,” de Blasio said to the crowd, which included Democratic activist Howard Dean and actor Steve Buscemi.“From the beginning, this has been our family together, reaching out to the people of this city to make a change that we all needed. I want to thank you for having brought us to this moment.”De Blasio, who had his entire block of 11th Street cordoned off for the occasion, thanked his neighbors. But at least one resident was sick of the charade.“This is our neighborhood, too, you know,” fumed Richard Elovich, who voted for the mayor.“He didn’t have to close off all of 11th Street. I’d kind of like to go home sometime tonight.”In an interesting bit of trivia, de Blasio could not become mayor until he paid a $9 registration fee to City Clerk Matt McSweeney.McSweeney accepted a wad of bills from him, and walked off without counting the money.De Blasio then headed to a local bar with his family to celebrate. He becomes the first Democratic mayor of the overwhelmingly Democratic city since David Dinkins in 1993.De Blasio, who during the campaign blasted many of Bloomberg’s key policies, made a surprise invitation to collaborate with the outgoing mayor during an impromptu encounter on Tuesday.“When the time comes, we can also talk about some good works we can do together,” said de Blasio, who was checking out preparations for his inauguration at City Hall when Bloomberg happened to walk by.“I thought we share many, many priorities — and would love to talk about it,” de Blasio added.Bloomberg was gracious, said he respected de Blasio and told him, in typical Bloomberg fashion, to “do a good job.”Meanwhile, de Blasio’s ceremonial swearing-in before 5,000 well-wishers at City Hall at noon Wednesday will be the main event.According to preliminary plans, Harry Belafonte — who will open the ceremony — was to sit right behind the new mayor, while Hillary and Bill Clinton were slated for front-row seats across the aisle.Also expected in the front row were Bloomberg, Dinkins, Sen. Charles Schumer and two others who will be sworn in — Public Advocate Letitia James and Comptroller Scott Stringer. Among celebrity supporters of de Blasio, Cynthia Nixon is expected to be in the third row. She was scheduled to introduce “Pippin” star Patina Miller, performing John Lennon’s “Imagine.”Bill Clinton was to use a Bible once owned by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, on loan from the upstate FDR presidential library, to swear in the mayor.At City Hall Tuesday, Bloomberg stood on a desk in the bullpen room where he gave a farewell speech and thanked his staff for their work.“I think it’s . . . fair to say that we’ve shown this country and the world that you can have a great city that includes everyone,” Bloomberg said. “Thank you for everything you’ve done. Thank you on behalf of the 8.4 million people we were lucky to work for.”Shortly after 5 p.m. Bloomberg left City Hall for the last time as the city’s 108th mayor.
Will De Blasio Meet Bloomberg Standards?Attention, New Yorkers: Start the new year with a prayer for our new mayor. Given the enormous challenges he faces, Bill de Blasio will need more than ordinary help. Divine intervention is required.His problem starts with closing the divide he helped to create. He won a massive victory by promising to turn the page on the Bloomberg era. But polls show that the same people who endorse his lurch to the left also give Mayor Bloomberg a strong approval rating of 53 percent.They give even higher marks to Ray Kelly, the greatest police commissioner in history, despite de Blasio’s mean-spirited attacks on him. New Yorkers also support charter schools, even though de Blasio doesn’t.The results represent collective schizophrenia, and it all comes to a head today as de Blasio occupies City Hall. The first Democrat to set up camp there since David Dinkins was evicted in 1993, he faces the task of delivering on his radical agenda while simultaneously persuading skeptics that he will not break what Bloomberg and Kelly fixed.There’s no obvious way to do both, and the challenge is complicated by the fact that November’s turnout — under 25 percent — was the lowest in at least 60 years. So de Blasio’s mandate comes from only a sliver of the electorate.And Bloomberg is no easy act to follow. Twelve years is a generation in politics, and his ubiquitous marks on the city, from record-low crime to record-high jobs, set new standards. Backsliding on those gains could spark a stampede for the exits.It is impossible to know how far left de Blasio intends to go, in part because he has been so slow to fill out his team. His promises of a “diverse, competent and progressive” government could be innocuous rhetoric or a red flag, depending on whether he actually values race, ethnicity and liberal litmus tests more than competency.After all, there is no ideological way to pick up the garbage. You just do it.Still, there are some things de Blasio can say at his inauguration today that will help set the right tone. He should demonstrate that he intends to be the mayor of all New Yorkers, not just those who share his appetite for class-warfare and socialist-inspired redistribution.The best way to do that is to be generous with praise for Bloomberg and Kelly. Simple grace notes are expected in our system of peaceful transitions of power, and it is disappointing that de Blasio has not expressed any. Indeed, he has ignored historic accomplishments, suggesting he doesn’t value or understand how much the city has changed for the better.That is alarming, because the policies of the last 20 years, covering the tenures of Rudy Giuliani and Bloomberg, have produced a Golden Age.The evidence is everywhere that New York works for more people in more ways than ever. And it does so against the odds and national trends.The fear during the Dinkins years was that the city was ungovernable and would collapse from crime and decay. Giuliani reversed the tide, and then came 9/11. When Bloomberg took office, the fear was that the city would be hit by terrorists again or would never recover from the first attack.All those fears proved to be unfounded, but only because Giuliani, Bloomberg and Kelly pulled off man-made miracles. Their success unleashed a level of prosperity that nobody imagined.Of course, Gotham is far from perfect, and there is much to fix. But so much progress had been made that de Blasio will find it far easier to screw up what works than to make dramatic and wholesale improvements.A simple recognition of that life dynamic would help set a unifying tone today. Here’s a cheat sheet if de Blasio needs one. All he has to say is this: “Thank you, Michael Bloomberg. And thank you, Ray Kelly. You made New York better and we are very grateful for your outstanding service to our great city.”At that point, he will rightly deserve the best wishes and prayers of all New Yorkers.
De Blasio Tells New York, ‘We Will Not Wait’ on Inequality Chang W. Lee/The New York Times By THOMAS KAPLANPublished: January 1, 2014 Claiming his place as the 109th mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio delivered an inaugural address on Wednesday that focused on the issue of inequality, promising that the attention he gave to the subject when he was running for office was not merely campaign rhetoric. Outside City Hall, in front of an audience that included members of his family, luminaries like Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton and hundreds of ordinary New Yorkers, Mayor de Blasio spoke of the city’s history of embracing liberal causes, and he laid out a mayoralty that emphasized social and economic justice. “We are called to put an end to economic and social inequalities that threaten to unravel the city we love,” he said. “And so today, we commit to a new progressive direction in New York. And that same progressive impulse has written our city’s history. It’s in our DNA.” He called on “millions of everyday New Yorkers, in every corner of our city,” for their help. “Our work begins now,” Mr. de Blasio told the audience, saying he would push for the development of affordable housing, the preservation of local hospitals and the expansion of prekindergarten. For several causes, he punctuated his call for action with the words: “We won’t wait.” Mr. de Blasio, 52, was formally sworn in shortly after midnight in a brief ceremony in front of his family’s rowhouse in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Shortly after 1 p.m., he was ceremonially sworn in by former President Clinton, in whose administration he had served as a regional official in the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Mr. de Blasio was sworn in using a Bible once owned by Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He spoke for about 20 minutes, during a ceremony that began with hip-hop music and ended with an invitation for New Yorkers to meet the new mayor. A Democrat, Mr. de Blasio begins his term as an emblem of resurgent liberalism, offering hope to progressive activists and officeholders across the country — but also as an untested chief executive whose management of the city will be closely scrutinized. Previously the city’s public advocate and before that a city councilman, Mr. de Blasio rose out of obscurity in a crowded Democratic primary field as he shaped his campaign around the “tale of two cities” — a succinct summation of the rising income inequality he vowed he would urgently address as the next mayor. “We will make this one city,” Mr. de Blasio said in his inaugural address. “And that mission — our march toward a fairer, more just, more progressive place, our march to keep the promise of New York alive for the next generation — it begins today.” The mayor also spoke of his proposal to expand prekindergarten and after-school programs by increasing taxes on high-earning New Yorkers. “We do not ask more of the wealthy to punish success,” he said. “We do it to create more success stories.” Mr. de Blasio won a landslide victory on Nov. 5 over the Republican candidate, Joseph J. Lhota, seizing on an anxiety among voters that the city was increasingly becoming a gilded enclave for the rich, and vowing a sharp turn from the administration of his predecessor, Michael R. Bloomberg, who had served for 12 years. The new mayor appeared at City Hall on Wednesday with his wife, Chirlane McCray; his 19-year-old daughter, Chiara; and his 16-year-old son, Dante. Mr. de Blasio’s successor as public advocate, Letitia James, who had been a city councilwoman, was also inaugurated on Wednesday, as was the new city comptroller, Scott M. Stringer, who had been the Manhattan borough president. Children played an unexpectedly prominent role in the swearings-in of both Ms. James and Mr. Stringer. Dasani Coates, the 12-year-old girl at the center of a recent New York Times series about the plight of the 22,000 homeless children in New York City, was called upon by Ms. James to hold the Bible while she was being sworn in. In the series, Dasani and her family — her parents and seven siblings — were living in a decrepit room in a homeless shelter in Brooklyn. On Wednesday, Dasani looked happy but slightly nervous, chewing gum as she solemnly watched Ms. James take the oath of office. Afterward, Ms. James held Dasani’s hand during her speech, and referred to her as her “new BFF.” Earlier, as Mr. Stringer raised his left hand (not his right) to be sworn in, his young son Max, whom his wife, Elyse Buxbaum, was holding, squirmed and seemed to register a few audible objections. But Mr. Stringer managed to get through his oath. Afterward, he joked of Max, “He’s not quite ready for a television commercial yet, but we’re working on it.”
That son of his looks like a good little commie, doesn't he?
Earlier, as Mr. Stringer raised his left hand (not his right) to be sworn in, his young son Max, whom his wife, Elyse Buxbaum, was holding, squirmed and seemed to register a few audible objections. But Mr. Stringer managed to get through his oath. Afterward, he joked of Max, “He’s not quite ready for a television commercial yet, but we’re working on it.”
Riding to Utopia…By Bob McManusJanuary 2, 2014 | 7:32amWho would have anticipated the day when the most moderate elected official in city government would be Scott M. Stringer — the Upper West Side uber-liberal and protégé of left-wing gadfly Rep. Jerrold Nadler of Manhattan?Well, yesterday that day arrived. Thank you, term limits.For it was term limits that powered the sea change evident on the frosty steps of City Hall yesterday afternoon — perhaps the most wrenching shift in governing philosophies, attitudes and priorities New York has experienced in recent memory.A new mayor. A new comptroller. A new public advocate. All of the left, and soon to be joined by a fundamentally new City Council — perhaps to be led by a hard-core activist from East Harlem who thinks Gov. Cuomo, a liberal icon in most quarters, is actually an Albany-based iteration of Republican Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin.And not one of them has ever had a private-sector job of any consequence — or a public-sector one, for that matter. And of them all, only one — Stringer — has been around long enough to have absorbed a sense of the limits of government.So, folks: Can you spell “bumpy ride?”A caveat: Inauguration Day is always about rhetoric; about refining and reinforcing campaign promises, about what Mario Cuomo used to call the “poetry of government.”The heavy lifting — the “prose,” as the former governor put it — is to be found in the dense grey documents of governance: the budgets, the briefing papers, the testimony that agency heads and others will deliver at City Council hearings and in Albany.And, of course, in City Hall whispers, over power-lunch place settings and in eyes-only memos prepared by lobbyists and other special-interest representatives as the new administration, and the new City Council, take shape.But what of yesterday’s rhetoric? There was a lot of it — mundane for the most part, some of it a little silly and just about every word calculated to create an effect of one sort or another.One speaker compared New York City to a “plantation,” about as ahistorical an allusion as can be imagined, but one that speaks to a sense of grievance so profound, and so bizarre, that no mayor could ever assuage it. But Mayor de Blasio is going to have to try, because it’s widely held.Comptroller Stringer himself promised to harness the power of his office — by implication, the investment influence of the city’s massive pension funds — to solving social problems. This puts sets his agenda on a collision course with his fiduciary responsibilities; here comes big trouble, in other words.And former President Bill Clinton spoke gravely on income inequality — and amusingly. After all, has there ever been a president so intimate with the top of the 1 Percent than the Man from Hope?Which means that Clinton will soon find de Blasio’s hand in his pocket — if the new mayor has his way, of course.“Now I know there are those who think that what I said during the campaign was just rhetoric, just ‘political talk’ in the interest of getting elected,” said de Blasio Wednesday.Don’t you believe it, he declared — reiterating his pledge to seek higher taxes on the 1 Percent, as well as stiffer levies on the cost of doing business in New York through paid-sick-leave mandates and such.And all of this is will happen in service to an over-arching goal, he declared:“When I said we would take dead aim at the Tale of Two Cities, I meant it. . . We will give life to the hope of so many in our city. We will succeed as One City. We know this won’t be easy; it will require all that we can muster. And it . . . will be accomplished by all of us — millions of everyday New Yorkers in every corner of our city.”Utopia on the Hudson? Really?Well, yesterday was Bill de Blasio’s big day — hard-earned and his to enjoy.Tomorrow, and next week, and next year, is another matter altogether. It should quickly become clear whether he truly believes Utopia is attainable — or whether he’s just spooling out pie-in-the-sky promises to clear the way for the big paydays the special interests that elected him are expecting.Either way, New York’s term-limits tsunami has surrounded him with enablers. If the gospel according to de Blasio works, it’ll be a happy day for the American left. If not — and such nostrums never really have done much to create economic equity — that’s worth knowing, too.Forward.