New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton abruptly announced yesterday that he would resign his position effective September 1. He had already signaled that he would not remain after the end of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s term ends in 2017. He will be taking a position in the private sector and will be replaced by …
Tag: Bill De Blasio
Aug 03 2016
Dec 30 2014
First let me say this: Supporting the police while calling for reform and justice are not mutually exclusive. Lives matter, all of them. This is not a zero sum game. That said, some of the members of the NYC Police Department and the bigots that support the institutionalized racism of the agency have gotten on my last nerve.
The vast majority of police officers are good people, just as the vast majority of people who are protesting in the streets across this country are good people. But some of the leadership, politicians and talking heads in the mainstream media need to shut up and listen. The people of this country deserve to be heard. The heads of the police unions in NYC seem to have forgotten that they are the employees of the people of NYC. Mayor Bill de Blasio, who was elected by 74% of those who voted in November, is their boss. He was elected to reform an increasing out of control and militarized police department. He’s doing a good job. You can tell by the squealing of the racists who can’t see beyond their own hatred of people who just want to live in peace, make a decent living and raise their children in a safe city. People should not have to fear the police.
For the last 20 years under two Republican corporate administrations, the NYPD was expanded and given unprecedented powers. The commissioners that were appointed by Mayors Rudolph Guiliani and Michael Bloomberg, that includes the current commissioner William Bratton, ran the department like it was an army and felt that they were not accountable to its citizens. The policies of “Broken Glass” and its offshoot “Stop and Frisk” were inherently racist and have led to the feeling of distrust in the minority communities of the city. It has led to the abuse and deaths of mostly young men of color and, now, two good men, NYC police officers, have been assassinated by a deranged man seeking vengeance. The union heads, especially NYC Police Benevolence Association President Patrick Lynch, decided to make the death of Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Lui a political football for their hurt feelings.
What is Lynch so fired up about? He is vilifying Mayor De Blasio because the mayor, as the parent of mixed race children, spoke the truth about what every parent of a child of color must tell them about the police:
“This is profoundly personal to me,” de Blasio said. “I was at the White House the other day, and the president of the United States turned to me, and he met Dante a few months ago, and he said that Dante reminded him of what he looked like as a teenager. And he said, ‘I know you see this crisis through a very personal lens.’ And I said to him, I did.”
De Blasio went on to note that he and his wife, Chirlane McCray, who is black, “have had to talk to Dante for years about the dangers that he may face.”
The mayor described his son as “a good young man, [a] law-abiding young man who would never think to do anything wrong” — but he noted that “because of a history that still hangs over us, the dangers he may face, we’ve had to literally train him, as families have all over this city for decades, in how to take special care in any encounter he has with the police officers who are there to protect him.” [..]
he mayor described “that painful sense of contradiction that our young people see first, that our police are here to protect us, and we honor that, and at the same time, there’s a history we have to overcome.”
“For so many of our young people, there’s a fear,” de Blasio said. “And for so many of our families, there’s a fear.”
It has been bad enough that since the mayor made that statement that Mr. Lynch went tirade in an attempt to make the police the victims and not the innocent people they have abused and killed. He and other members of the NYPD have only exposed their racism.
Besides the incredibly insulting act of turning their backs on Mayor de Blasio as he was leaving Woodhull Hospital after the deaths of the two officers, what got me really angry with these bigots were two incidents that showed just how completely ignorant some of the police really are. The first was this stupid and, very likely expensive stunt by an anonymous “group of current and retired NYC Police Officers, Detectives, and Supervisors”
Friday morning, a small plane flew over New York City with a banner attached that read: “De Blasio, Our Backs Have Turned to You.” The sign, a reference to some NYPD officers protesting against Mayor de Blasio following the shooting deaths of Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos last weekend, was the work of a “large and unified group of current and retired NYC Police Officers, Detectives, & Supervisors,” according to blogger and former cop John Cardillo. [..]
Ashley Chalmers, the owner of the plane, told the New York Daily News that the people who rented it “wish to remain anonymous,” though Cardillo said he was contacted by the NYPD group on Friday and asked to release a statement.
Stay classy, guys, exposing, not only your bigotry, but the need to learn to write a sentence.
Then while attending the funeral of Police Officer Rafael Ramos, some of the police officers decided it was the place to throw a temper tantrum insulting the memory of a fallen officer and his grieving family:
Thousands of police officers from across the nation packed a church and spilled onto streets Saturday to honor Officer Rafael Ramos as a devoted family man, aspiring chaplain and hero, though an air of unrest surrounding his ambush shooting was not completely pushed aside.
While mourners inside the church applauded politely as Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke, hundreds of officers outside turned their backs on him to protest what they see as his support for demonstrators angry over killings by police.
The rush of officers far and wide to New York for Ramos’ funeral reminded some of the bond after the Sept. 11 attacks and Superstorm Sandy. Vice President Joe Biden promised that the “incredibly diverse city can and will show the nation how to bridge any divide.”
Still, tensions were evident when officers turned away from giant screens showing de Blasio, who has been harshly criticized by New York Police Department union officials as a contributor to a climate of mistrust that preceded the killings of Ramos and his partner, Wenjian Liu.
All this poutrage by Mr. Lynch, former Mayor Guiliani and company directed at Mayor de Blasio is because he spoke to the terrible fact that police departments throughout this country treat people of color differently and minority children, especially the boys, must be given “the talk.
“If you are stopped by a cop, do what he says, even if he’s harassing you, even if you didn’t do anything wrong. Let him arrest you, memorize his badge number, and call me as soon as you get to the precinct. Keep your hands where he can see them. Do not reach for your wallet. Do not grab your phone. Do not raise your voice. Do not talk back. Do you understand me?”
The mayor gave the talk to his biracial teenage son so this wouldn’t happen to him.
And as John Cole at Balloon Juice noted
And let’s remember what is so particularly ugly about this- this is motivated as much by the desire to not reform and to maintain the current institutional racism as it is the current contract talks and union elections. Fuck Patrick Lynch and his goons.
If some members of the NYPD don’t like the reforms that Mayor de Blasio was elected to enact, they can go find other jobs. There are plenty of qualified people, who are working two and three underpaying jobs, to replace them. Either that or learn to listen.
Apr 17 2014
As promised during his campaign for New York City Mayor, the New York City Police Department has disbanded the unit that was spying on the Muslim community. Announcing the shut down yesterday, Police Commissioner William J. Bratton said that he wants to heal the rifts between the Police Department and minority communities that have felt alienated as a result of policies pursued during the Bloomberg administration.
“The Demographics Unit created psychological warfare in our community,” said Linda Sarsour, of the Arab American Association of New York. “Those documents, they showed where we live. That’s the cafe where I eat. That’s where I pray. That’s where I buy my groceries. They were able to see their entire lives on those maps. And it completely messed with the psyche of the community.”
Ms. Sarsour was one of several advocates who met last Wednesday with Mr. Bratton and some of his senior staff members at Police Headquarters. She and others in attendance said the department’s new intelligence chief, John Miller, told them that the police did not need to work covertly to find out where Muslims gather and indicated the department was shutting the unit down.
The Demographics Unit, which was renamed the Zone Assessment Unit in recent years, has been largely inactive since Mr. Bratton took over in January, the department’s chief spokesman, Stephen Davis, said. The unit’s detectives were recently reassigned, he said. [..]
Based on Mr. Davis’s remarks, the Police Department appears to be moving its policies closer to those of the F.B.I. Both agencies are allowed to use census data, public information and government data to create detailed maps of ethnic communities.
The F.B.I. is prohibited, however, from eavesdropping on and documenting innocuous conversations that would be protected by the First Amendment. F.B.I. lawyers in New York determined years ago that agents could not receive documents from the Demographics Unit without violating federal rules.
The units records, however, must be preserved due to lawsuits that have been brought against the department and the city in federal court. Last January, U.S. District Judge Charles Haight, Jr. documents turned over for discovery. City officials have admitted last year that the unit never produced any terrorism leads.
Mayor de Blasio said in a statement Tuesday that the closing of the unit was “a critical step forward in easing tensions between the police and the communities they serve, so that our cops and our citizens can help one another go after the real bad guys.”
This a major step in that healing process but doubts still remain. Ms. Sarsour and New York Times reporter, Matt Apuzzo, discussed the unit’s shut down with Democracy Now‘s Amy Goodman.
Transcript can be read here
Jan 03 2014
As of 12:01 on January 1, New York City saw a “regime change” and Wall Street’s mayor Michael Bloomberg departed stage right. As DSWright at FDL News Desk pointed out the former mayor was looking peeved during yesterday’s public swearing in of the the new mayor, Bill De Blasio, whose election was a slap in the face to Bloomberg and his policies. It was hard for “Mayor Mike” to put on a happy face while he was being chastised by activist Harry Bellafonte.
The inauguration opened with a speech by one of de Blasio’s biggest supporters, long time activist Harry Belafonte who condemned Bloomberg’s New York as “Dickensian.” Belafonte then went on to discuss changing the Stop and Frisk law to push back against a racist justice system. De Blasio made ending Stop and Frisk one of his key campaign pledges .
A speech was also given by President Bill Clinton who noted that de Blasio had served in his administration in the Department of Housing and Urban Development and as a campaign manager for Hillary Clinton’s Senate campaign. Clinton was one of the few speakers to celebrate Bloomberg’s tenure as mayor before pivoting to say that inequality was a problem that “bedeviled the country.” He then swore de Blasio in as mayor.
Full transcript of Mayor De Blasio can be read here.
Welcome To The People’s Republic Of The Big Apple
By Charles Pierce, Esquire Politics Blog
Well, New York inaugurated a new mayor and that was the cue for a lot of people to lose their shit almost entirely. It’s a rare day in January when you hear the plaintive wailing of conservatives, “Help us, Bill Clinton. You’re our only hope.” [..]
It hardly needs be said that Bill de Blasio was elected to do certain things and that, as mayor, he intends to do them. Some of them will get done. Some of them won’t. Long ago, I sat with a guy named Frank P. Zeidler, who once was mayor of Milwaukee and was an actual Socialist, the last of his party to be elected mayor of a major American city. He explained that, in his day, and as a practical matter, being a “Socialist” mayor meant you were in favor of things like filling potholes everywhere in the city, and that you believed in the concept of a municipal fire department. Within my lifetime, what de Blasio proposed in his inaugural address was little more than what most mayors were expected to provide for the citizens of their cities. That this is seen as revolutionary is nothing more than a measure of where the country’s politics have gone adrift. But if he does represent a renewed vigor in what Howard Dean liked to call the Democratic wing of the Democratic party, then what de Blasio represents has the potential to wrong-foot the Clintons in a very interesting way. He is connected to them — and to Cuomo, another ambitious trimmer — by his resume, but no longer by his politics. That matters less than whether or not de Blasio actually can wrench the city over which he presides in the direction he would like it to go. The Scary Liberal is still a formidable bogeyman to people terrified of their own best interests.
We wish the “scary liberal, socialist” Mayor De Blasio the best of luck, he’s going to need a lot of it to achieve his goals.
Oct 13 2012
Last week, Bill De Blasio, New York City’s Public Advocate and possible mayoral candidate, proposed raising taxes on NYC residents making over $500,000 to provide funds for “more pre-kindergarten classes and after-school activities for students in grades six through eight”:
Mr. de Blasio argued that improvements in early childhood education were critical to improving the city’s long-term economy and its middle class. He estimated that the new programs would cost about $500 million, which could be generated through a small tax surcharge on New Yorkers who earn $500,000 or more. [..]
A person earning $1 million in annual income would pay an additional $2,120 under Mr. de Blasio’s plan, which was modeled after a similar surcharge used to hire new police officers under a 1990s anticrime initiative of Mayor David N. Dinkins, Mr. de Blasio’s former employer. Any new surcharge would require approval by the State Legislature.
New York’s three term billionaire mayor, Michael Bloomberg was horrified stating that Mr. De Blasio’s proposal was “about as dumb a policy as I can think of.”
Capital New York reports that Bloomberg– whose net worth as the country’s 10th richest person increased from $22 billion to $25 billion over the course of six months this year— responded to a question Monday about de Blasio’s tax, saying, “Well if you want to drive out the 1 percent of the people that pay roughly 50 percent of the taxes, or the 10 percent of the people that pay 70-odd percent of the taxes, that’s as good a strategy as I know. That’s exactly the ways to do it, and then our revenue would go away, and we wouldn’t be able to have cops to keep us safe, firefighters to rescue us, teachers to educate our kids.”
Mayor Bloomberg has flip-flopped from his position in 2008 backing NY State Governor David Paterson’s tax on millionaires:
I can only tell you, among my friends, I’ve never heard one person say I’m going to move out of the city because of the taxes. Not one. Not in all the years I’ve lived here. You know, they can complain, ‘Ugh, I got my tax bill, it’s heavy.’ But my friends all want to live here.
The “good” Mayor has been in England, where he maintains a home and a business, addressing Britain’s governing Conservative Party on Wednesday. He compared his governing style to the right wing austerity government of Prime Minister David Cameron:
Mr. Bloomberg noted that both he and Mr. Cameron had taken office amid crises – the mayor in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and the prime minister during the world economic crash.
Mr. Bloomberg said he and Mr. Cameron had each made difficult decisions on the economy, a reference to the sweeping austerity measures Mr. Cameron has introduced. Balancing his own city budget, Mr. Bloomberg said, involved “raising taxes and cutting spending, and let me tell you, that didn’t make me the most popular man in New York.” [..]
Conservative officials, who have felt hampered by their coalition government with a liberal party here, also expressed admiration for the New York police commissioner, Raymond W. Kelly, who visited London before the Olympic Games this summer. “They run things a bit like we’d like to,” one official said, “if we didn’t have to worry about inconveniences like compromise.”
The British conservatives would love to be able to crack down o civil liberties as Bloomberg and his private army, the New York Police Department, has. What our world traveling mayor failed to point out to his austerian buddies was that NYC’s rich make 40 times more that the average poor person living in the city. Nor would he have mentioned that NYC’s poverty rate reached its highest point in a decade rivaling some Sub-Saharan countries:
Median household income in the city last year was $49,461, just below the national median and down $821 from the year before (compared with a national decline of $642). Median earnings for workers fell sharply to $32,210 from $33,287 – much more than the national decline.)
New Yorkers at the bottom end of the income spectrum lost ground, while those at the top gained.
Median income for the lowest fifth was $8,844, down $463 from 2010. For the highest, it was $223,285, up $1,919.
In Manhattan, the disparity was even starker. The lowest fifth made $9,681, while the highest took home $391,022. The wealthiest fifth of Manhattanites made more than 40 times what the lowest fifth reported, a widening gap (it was 38 times, the year before) surpassed by only a few developing countries, including Namibia and Sierra Leone.
It is well past time that taxes on the wealthiest were raised, and not in just New York City. Richard (RJ) Eskow thinks the tax rates for the highest earners should be doubled:
Forget the “Buffett rule.” It’s not enough. What’s more, “letting the Bush tax cuts expire for the rich” isn’t enough either — although it might get us halfway there.
As for that “Simpson Bowles” so-called “deficit reduction” plan: It’s a hoax, another ploy to give the ultra-rich yet another huge tax cut — unless you believe that the lobbying fairy will magically grant a wish that’s never been granted before: an end to billionaires’ loopholes.
If you buy that — which I don’t — then the plan’s just grossly unfair.
The real moment of truth Washington won’t face is this one: It’s time to admit that we can’t rebuild our economy — or balance the Federal budget — without raising taxes on the very wealthy. That’s what Simpson, Bowles, and all their highly-funded friends won’t tell you: We need to raise their taxes a lot.
And by “a lot,” I mean doubling them.
Let’s be clear: I’m not talking about imposing sharp increases on incomes over $250,000 or even $500,000, at least not until the economy’s healthier. At those levels an expiration of the Bush tax cuts would probably be enough. But once you hit income of a million dollars a year and over, we should go back to the higher tax rates that were in place for millionaires during the Nixon years.
Not a bad idea, at least until the economy has stabilized and there is a handle on regulating Wall St.
Oh and Mr. Bloomberg, do NYC a favor, resign and stay in England.