Wednesday, April 23, 2014


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NY1 Political Director Bob Hardt's daily look Inside City Hall.

NY1 ItCH: De Blasio Tries To Slay The Wild Dragon

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It's tricky running for mayor but it's much trickier trying to run the city. Knowing that a feel-good TV ad with his son will no longer help him, his interimness, Bill de Blasio, is busy trying to assemble his cabinet while also pressing on with his pledge to bring universal pre-K to the city.

Reading "Where the Wild Things Are" to a bunch of kids in East Harlem yesterday, De Blasio joked about his predicament next year, saying : "This dragon, that represents the fiscal challenges we face." But a dragon may be nothing compared to Gov. Cuomo, who has hardly embraced the mayor-elect's plan to raise taxes on New Yorkers making more than $500,000 a year.

While Cuomo may try to help de Blasio find the money another way besides embracing a tax hike, there could still be a political battle between the former colleagues, setting up an early fight to determine who's the Democratic Alpha Dog in New York State.

And while Cuomo's certainly on de Blasio's mind, he's finally making an announcement today about his new cabinet, with much speculation centering that he will reveal his selection for police commissioner.
Interestingly, the frontrunner seems to be former Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, the first top cop for Rudy Giuliani – a man who de Blasio has repeatedly called one of the most divisive mayors in city history. Should he pick Bratton, De Blasio will clearly try to separate Bratton from Giuliani's legacy. But some of the biggest complaints about that legacy center around tattered police-community relations.

De Blasio could also decide to pick Chief of Department Philip Banks, who would become the NYPD's third African-American Police Commissioner. But de Blasio will also have some explaining to do if he promotes a top aide to Ray Kelly, whose stop-and-frisk tactics became the bête noire of the mayoral campaign.

As these difficult decisions are made, the real transition for de Blasio will begin. It will be a switch from the warm-and-fuzzy family man to a mayor-elect who is going to step on more than a few egos. But being mayor means that you're always going to be pissing someone off – and it also means never having to say you're sorry.

Let the wild rumpus start!

Bob Hardt

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