A top aide to Mayor de Blasio blasted the city’s elites for refusing to acknowledge the good work the administration has done – and accused them of hating the mayor because he’s not in their posh “golf club.”
“Most of the people in [City Hall now] are not familiar to [our critics]. In the past 12 years they’ve been hanging out at [East Hampton’s posh private golf course] the Maidstone Club with [Bloomberg’s people] and it’s been really nice and easy,” Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen said in a lengthy profile of the mayor in Vanity Fair.
“But at the end of the day … paid child care, building rental housing, creating a ferry system—these are things any smart person running a city would be doing. The fact that these people don’t go to the same golf club as Bill de Blasio? O.K., whatever. That’s all this is about.”
The long feature, which has been in the works for months and was released hours before the mayor makes a MSNBC appearance with his wife Chirlane McCray, also includes interviews with the mayor, who says his willingness to shake up the status quo has brought criticism.
“I came in saying I was going to change things and acted on it, and I think there are some people who don’t like the changes, so they fill in the blanks any way they want,” de Blasio said, when asked about the perception that he’s not interested in the day to day managing of the city.
De Blasio was also asked if he still believes young minority men should be careful of police, a reference to the mayor’s revelation last December that he told his son Dante to “take special care” with cops after the death of Eric Garner in Staten Island.
De Blasio said the conversation was about a “history” that parents of color have to deal with.
“Why can’t we be honest about that and recognize it’s something we need to overcome? I think we’re in the process of overcoming it. I think that conversation’s going to be a lot more rare over the next 10 or 20 years from now, but we’re not quite there yet,” he said.
At the time his remarks to his teen son, who is half black, set off a firestorm among the NYPD, and Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association Patrick Lynch said the mayor had thrown cops “under the bus.”
But the Rev. Calvin Butts told Vanity Fair that de Blasio didn’t do enough for black New Yorkers after Garner’s death, and for failing to fire the cop who administered the chokehold the medical examiner ruled contributed to the Staten Island man’s death.
“I think he feels comfortable in whoever is advising him that the black community is in his pocket,” said Butts, an influential black pastor in Harlem.
He added, “I feel strange saying this, but ‘People in the black community, please, don’t be taken for a ride by this man.’ ”
Butts, who supported de Blasio’s 2013 election challenger Bill Thompson, said he can’t get a meeting with the mayor’s commissioners, and came close to accusing him of being a racist.
“We’ve seen liberal racists before,” Butts said.
“I’m not going to call him a racist just yet. I just think that his posture shows great disrespect for the black and brown communities. Great disrespect. I will not call him the r-word. But it’s terrible now. It’s condescending.”
In the article, de Blasio concedes he does need to work on improving himself in one aspect. He said his frequent tardiness is probably the result of allowing too many people to speak in meetings.
“I do feel it’s my obligation to listen, sometimes to a fault…. I don’t want to have a meeting and leave the room without resolution,” he said. “I understand why it’s something I have to do better on.”