De Blasio looks to help 'everyday people' of New York

 
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio gives the State of the City address at La Guardia Community College on 10 February 2014 Bill de Blasio's policies are at odds with some fellow Democrats - including plans to raise some taxes

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It was LaGuardia Community College, scrubbed up for the day, but well-worn and rather ordinary, that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio chose for his first State of the City address.

The site was rather different from the glamorous venue picked by outgoing Mayor Michael Bloomberg for his last such speech.

The new mayor's choice is deliberate: if the world's most celebrated city is a heady mixture of grit and glitz, Mr de Blasio is insisting some of the stardust has to rub off on those he calls "everyday people".

Mr de Blasio's rhetoric is uncompromising - he warns that New York faces a crisis of inequality, that while Wall Street has bounced back to new highs after the recession, the ladder to the American dream has been pulled out of sight for many Americans.

In his speech, he rejected the idea that he is sowing the seeds of class war but demanded that the work of all should be valued, not just that of those at the top.

There is policy meat on these political bones - he will insist that property developers build cheaper homes alongside luxury ones.

There's a promise to raise the minimum wage and for a tax rise on the wealthy to pay for preschool education. A pledge too, to allow illegal immigrants to flourish, and not be forced to live in the shadows - something he repeated in Spanish.

He made clear that what he called the "broken policing policy" of stop-and-frisk would end.

But he also admitted that doing the central economic part of all this in a fiscally responsible way would be hard.

The BBC spoke to New Yorkers in the Bronx to find out how they think a shift in policing will impact their lives

His promise to raise taxes puts him head-to-head with Democratic New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, and presumably many of the most powerful people in the city. As President Barack Obama has found out, even fairly modest commitments can be difficult to deliver.

Although New York has been a Democratic city for the last 20 years, it has voted for pragmatic mayors friendly to finance, rather than idealists. Mr de Blasio is trying to break that mould.

There's a lot of interest in what his project might mean, both in the wider US and in the UK, and whether it heralds a political new wave of activism.

The left would argue that his election means that a radical agenda can woo the voters. But the real test is whether he can deliver that for his supporters without unduly dismaying the doubters.

 
Mark Mardell, North America editor Article written by Mark Mardell Mark Mardell North America editor

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  • rate this
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    Comment number 67.

    65Germany is just angry right now because the US is better at spying on it than it is at spying on the US and because a US assistant Secretary of State said "bleep the EU"

    In this case MK is right.There is no other engine of wealth that can remotely compare with American capitalism for creating wealth.It was the reason the industrial revolution succeeded and modern management and organization

  • rate this
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    Comment number 66.

    ref #63 Stealing from the rich to give to Labor union is not Robin hood its called extortion
    ref #65
    Bolvarian thuggiers are those nations like Venezuela, nolivia and others who steal land and property from private companies and beat up minorities. Boliviar was a thug himself. You might want to learn some history

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 65.

    61 Magic

    Your comparisons are puerile - what have any of them to do with the greed of the few (and what are Bolvarian thugguries?)

    And what a sad day when BBC moderators remove a quote from Spiegel, a highly respected journal, regarding American capitalism!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 64.

    Sieu: they are not good places to live or work

    Cities are just very politically polarized towards Democrats
    and intolerant of anyone who is not a Democrat

    With NYC Mayor Gov Cuomo saying something like non-Democrats are not welcome in NYC and De Blasio saying he is going to boycott America's much loved St Patty's Day Parade
    it is a very worrisome sign for USA's future

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 63.

    De Blasio is the "Robin Hood" of our times. What happened to following the Consititution of your country. Why are the rights of some more important than the rights of others?

 

Comments 5 of 67

 

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