Dante’s not-so secret weapon was on display at victory party. Photo: The Black Star News
[Black Star News Editorial]
Divide and rule took a terrible beating and was sent packing Tuesday in New York City.
Voters rejected a return to the Giulianism that had been embraced by Republican Joe Lhota’s campaign. In the race for New York City mayor, Democrat Bill de Blasio was handed a landslide victory — a veritable mandate.
Where de Blasio embraced a theme of hope and renewal of progressive politics, challenger Lhota sold fear and division. He saw a New York of the have-a-lots who needed to be protected from the hoards. A de Blasio victory would translate into a return to high crime rates, Joe Lhota claimed.
Lhota would double up on Stop-and-Frisk, the unconstitutional apartheid-style policing where police are permitted to stop any Black or Latino males for questioning without probable cause. Lhota ran television advertisements that depicted a city living in fear from criminals.
The ads depicted flashes of lawless streets and darkened subway cars where attacks on innocent commuters would also spike.
Voters totally rejected Lhota’s pitch on Tuesday. Ironically, during his concession speech not long after the polls closed at 9PM Lhota had the audacity to refer to New York City as a multi-cultural and diverse metropolis for the first time; only after his record loss did he see fit to speak some truth. He still praised Giuliani and claimed the renewal was due to the divisive former mayor even though community policing, which set the trend for record reductions in crime rates, started under David Dinkins, New York’s first African American mayor.
During de Blasio’s celebration speech at the Park Slope armory, in Brooklyn, there was a sense that the City is entering a new era of progressive politics. The victor spoke of “shared hope” and “shared optimism.” Speaking with supporters who attended the celebration it was clear that they shared the feelings.
Daisy Johnson, of Far Rockaway, Queens, says she hopes once he’s in office the new mayor will put money into youth programs to combat abysmal unemployment levels.
De Blasio received the most sustained cheers when he spoke about: taxing wealthier New Yorkers a little more in order to finance universal pre-k education and after school programs; better relations between the police department and the community it serves; affordable housing; stopping the conversion of hospitals into luxury condos; and, narrowing the income and wealth inequality in New York City.
De Blasio, flanked by wife Chirlane, son Dante, and daughter Chiara, spoke about making New York the global magnate where hopes and dreams can still be realized. He acknowledged that the challenges are considerable but that they can be surmounted.
New Yorkers believe he is the right person to lead the drive judging by the record support. He must now assemble a stellar and diverse team to help him fulfill the vision of a tolerant City for all its residents.
City Council Member Robert Jackson (District 7, Harlem) says de Blasio’s family, was the best reflection of New York City’s diversity. He also had a message to Lhota: “The election is now over, let’s all work together …” Jackson says he’s confident de Blasio will get together with all the unions for successful contract negotiations that will give workers “the raises that they deserve.”
Voters also did the right thing and voted: Letitia James as Public Advocate; Scott Stringer as Comptroller; and, Ken Thompson as King’s County District Attorney.
After they are sworn into office, this publication will keep eyes on them, to compare their performance with their campaign promises.
But today, The Black Star News congratulates the new mayor, new public advocate, new comptroller, and new King’s County DA.
Hope prevailed over fear-mongering.