Getting into Adams Head: How Can I Get Off to a Successful Start As Mayor of NYC?

Why was the primary scheduled for June?  Why do I have to wait around for six months?

For decades primary elections were held the second Tuesday in September, in citywide races if no candidate received 40% a runoff election three weeks later and the general election the first Tuesday in November.

A federal judge ruled the September/November dates violated a law regarding overseas military ballots

Before 2012, the congressional and state primaries both took place in September. Separate votes happened after a U.S. District Court judge ruled that the primary date violated the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, which says overseas service members must get absentee ballots at least 45 days before a federal election to make sure the ballots can be sent back and counted in time.

The June primary victory and meager Republican opposition in the general election means the presumptive mayor has almost six months to prepare for his/her ascension.

I know the overriding issue is crime; it was the issue that propelled me to Gracie Mansion.

The crime statistics are troubling,

                 (one year from 2020 to 2021)    (two years)

Murder                       +4.7%                          +37.2%

Shootings                  +22.2%                        + 105.4%

Hate Crimes              +118.2%                      + 49.5%

While the murder numbers are declining they are still far above numbers for the past decade.  Maybe a reviving economy and the full opening of school will depress the numbers. I have to have a crime fighting scenario ready to go from day one, and I need a high profile police commissioner, one that I know and trust.

I have to balance vigorously fighting crime with not returning to the police tactics of Giuliani and Bloomberg. I have to balance “defund the police” and “lock them up.” I can’t risk alienating the very people who put me in office and I have to reduce crime.

I’m seriously considering a woman for commissioner.

I need a City Council Speaker who I can work with, and, who can keep their members in line.

The 51 City Council members will select a Speaker in early January, 35 members of the Council will be newly elected, and, many of the members are “progressive,” far more progressive than me. In the past the County Democratic leaders “negotiated;” chairmanships of key committees, capital projects, the horse-trading that is as old as Paleolithic man.  De Blasio supported Corey Johnson, a Speaker who worked with him and kept his members in line. I have to get involved; not getting someone I can work with will make life hard.

Aside from the police commissioner the school chancellor is the highest profile job in my administration.

De Blasio kept a tight rein, a very tight rein on his three chancellors; the line between educational decisions and political decisions was, to be kind, blurred.  After almost eight years the SHSAT is still unchanged, centrally run gifted and talented classes still in place (although this year the selection is by teacher recommendation) and the School Diversity Advisory Group report, co-chaired by Maya Wiley gathers dust.

I can’t send mixed messages.  

I’ll keep the SHSAT and my chancellor will push to integrate more schools.

De Blasio talked the talk and didn’t walk the walk, his bipolar behavior caught up with him.

After police commissioner selecting a chancellor will be a crucial choice. I could select the current acting chancellor or a former NYC superintendent (de Blasio brought back Carmen Farina), or another high profile New Yorker, some urge me to look for a national figure, a nother tough decision, I’m leaning towards a New Yorker.

The education budget is richly funded with American Rescue Act and Campaign for Fiscal Equity dollars; however, for only for two years, just in time for my next mayoral campaign,

(Read thorough explanation of NYC school funding here) and for the next fiscal year I have to live with de Blasio’s budget.

A crucial issue is working with Michael Mulgrew, the teacher union president. As borough president I had an amicable relationship with Mulgrew, while we disagreed on charter schools changes in the law can only be made in Albany and Mulgrew is a major player in Albany. I’m a blue collar guy and Mulgrew began as a carpenter, De Blasio’s Renewal initiative was a failure and his new initiative looks like a retread, I need something understandable to the public and widely applauded.

De Blasio’s commitment to pre-K and 3 for all will have a deep and lasting impact, maybe I should continue the investment in children, Norm Fruchter at the NYU Metro Center suggests a safety net for early childcare (Read here)

The teacher contract doesn’t expire until September, 2022; an early contract would be a huge plus.

I have to build a highly regarded team and satisfy conflicting interests

Who do I appoint to the Rent Guidelines Board? The Board determines rent increases for rent stabilized apartments; after the pandemic rent freeze landlords want rent increases, the real estate interests did contribute millions to my campaign, another tough decision.

We need more housing, a lot more housing, and home ownership. A new Mitchell-Lama program, we’ll need Albany, maybe housing for teachers and other city employees, Mulgrew and other union heads can be partners. The landlord-tenant relationship is fraught with conflict, home ownership is building assets.

The line of office seekers is long: how do I reward supporters and fill jobs with competent and loyal employees?

I know the rumors about “inappropriate financial dealings” have followed me for years.

I have almost six months to prepare myself, surround myself with the “best and the brightest,” and loyalist.

We have to build a “first hundred days,” a rollout of major initiatives, not just words, fully constructed programs across the city and across the policy landscapes.

Six months gives us the time to get out of the starting gate ready for the race to rebuild New York.

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