Posted by Leonard Steinberg on April 13th, 2014

Many have asked my opinion of Mayor De Blasio’s first 100 days in office: I was lambasted by many for vocalizing my support of him……surely someone in real estate could not support this obviously liberal mayor for New York City? Well, I did. And I did so with good reason. I felt working WITH the inevitable mayor would be much better for all New Yorkers than working against him. So here is an assessment of his first 100 days with some thoughts for his next 100 days.

Here is the good news: first and foremost, his focus on crime and safety is admirable and his choice in Police Commissioner (Bill Bratton) was outstanding. Comparing the first quarter of this year to the first quarter of last year, murders are down 9.5%, shootings are down 3.4%, robberies are down 7.2%. That is a great start, and he deserves credit for this. Of all the issues De Blasio opponents had, their biggest fear of soaring crime has been squashed. Keep up the great work in this department Mr. Mayor!

The Mayor has emphasized traffic safety, clamping down hard on out-of-control cab drivers (remember cab drivers always used to whine that Mayor Bloomberg was being too tough on them?) Traffic deaths are down 26% in the first quarter of this year. That’s a great start. His focus on jay-walkers is impressive too and needs to be expanded, but now he should clamp down equally hard on out-of-control cyclists who appear immune to the law. He should also obey the law personally, so running red lights, jay-walking and speeding just because you are the Mayor won’t cut it. Especially when he is notoriously late. Set an example.

The Mayor’s ‘TALE OF TWO CITIES’ election theme continued throughout his first 100 days: Now he should apply this theme to ALL areas, not just a select few. His personal real estate tax bill is a quarter of many equally valued New York properties: he should publicly acknowledge this gross disparity and vow to fix the corrupted real estate tax system, of which he is a huge beneficiary. His silence on this subject is deafening. He is not to blame for this problem: the Bloomberg administration kept this mess growing throughout its 12 years. But now its time for him to fix this once and for all…..if he is indeed the Mayor of Fairness.

De Blasio’s plan to charge rent to charter schools was scuttled when Governor Cuomo squashed it (as expected), and his demand for power to increase the minimum wage in New York City went nowhere either. I would propose he encourages any school system that produces strong results before trying to appease the Teacher’s Union whose priorities and motivations seem skewered at best.

The Mayor’s skills at managing huge snowstorms was put to the test, and he did not fare too well. Manhattan needs to be cleaned up as a priority as it is the economic driving force of all of New York. A sleepy lane in Park Slope should never be the priority of snow ploughs. I agree equal and fair treatment is needed, but his priorities need adjustment on this subject. Those who voted against you should not be punished with poor service. Especially those who pay a huge proportion of the tax bills. Making statements such as “our sanitation workers and all the city agencies involved did a remarkable job of keeping this city clear” should be avoided when they simply are not true. There were snow days where many parts of our City were a thorough disgrace.

De Blasio got the $300 million funding for Pre-K schooling: Bravo. And an equal thanks to Governor Cuomo for not raising taxes to achieve this. When seeking funding for programs, it may be a good idea for our mayor to address waste first: I see thousands of City lights on at times where its bright outside. This is probably just the tip of the iceberg and I know if he were to really sink his teeth into the inefficiencies of government, hundreds of millions could be saved.

De Blasio also expanded paid sick leave, the first bill he signed into law. Now he should monitor whether this law is being abused or not.

De Blasio’s focus on AFFORDABLE HOUSING is admirable: I think he learned the hard way that making something affordable in New York is a lot tougher when land, union labor and materials are so incredibly UN-affordable. This will continue to be a huge challenge. In the next 100 days he should do a City-wide audit of all those receiving affordable housing benefits: I would bet there are many, many abusers of the system that could create IMMEDIATE affordable housing for those that truly need it. The system whereby a ‘select chosen few’ are the beneficiaries of affordable housing is neither fair nor equal. And affordable housing should not be anyone’s ‘right for life’. Those most deserving should be the priority.

Mayor De Blasio’s public disdain for luxury real estate has waned a bit: I believe he has seen the light that real estate truly is the ATM of New York tax dollars and economic activity. Imagine if we stopped all the luxury housing construction today how many jobs would be lost, how much tax revenue would be lost, how much economic activity would be lost? It appears Mayor De Blasio is more aware of this now than 100 days ago……he should continue to encourage luxury construction AND affordable housing construction, all the while remembering we are a capitalist society.

Garbage collection in the City is antiquated at best: it is the cause for unsanitary conditions, unsightly streets and a huge contributor to congestion. Our Mayor needs to address this and bring garbage collection to the 21st Century.

De Blasio is learning that his role as Mayor is mostly that of effective manager…..this should be his focus. Political activism is great for obtaining votes, but then reality sets in. Mr. de Blasio served eight years in the City Council and four years as public advocate, but he entered City Hall with little management experience. Efficiency should trump all. Fairness can only be achieved through discipline. An un-disciplined New York is a chaotic New York.