by Ben Max
On the road to becoming Mayor-Elect, Bill de Blasio prevailed over many others vying to replace Michael Bloomberg come January. Most notable among them were Democratic primary opponents Bill Thompson, Christine Quinn, John Liu, Anthony Weiner, and Sal Albanese; and general election opponents Joe Lhota, Adolfo Carrion, and Jack Hidary.
To varied degrees of detail, each had his or her own policy platform of ideas for moving the city forward. While de Blasio has outlined a vision for the city and has a robust platform highlighted by the three or four headliners that lured more than enough New York City voters to his corner, he may consider stealing a few ideas from those he vanquished on his way to the throne.
For example, Hidary, a technology entrepreneur who received few votes, speaks of establishing small business incubators in each borough through public-private partnerships. He also emphasizes increasing the regularity by which students engage in authentic learning experiences in school. These are two savvy suggestions that de Blasio and his team may want to take a close look at.
From Lhota, his closest, though not close, rival in the final tally, de Blasio may want to follow through on the promise to himself or have top representatives of his administration hold regular town hall meetings in each borough. Additionally, Lhota’s call for deconstructing the city’s ballooning budget to streamline and find savings would, of course, behoove the new mayor, especially if his proposed tax hike on the city’s highest earners doesn’t pass the Albany sniff test and he needs to find a way to fund his promised education expansions.
While Adolfo Carrion’s campaign never took off, he did emphasize the need for enhanced job training programs, especially those that focus on tech skills.
Harkening back to the crowded Democratic primary field, Mayor-Elect de Blasio and his transition team may want to take a close look at Bill Thompson’s plan to offer one tuition-free year of CUNY education to any New York City high school grad with an average of B or better.
Thompson also called for requiring banks to report suspected financial abuse of seniors, something that Team de Blasio might consider pursuing; and, on policing, Thompson mentioned trying to encourage more veteran officers to embrace tougher assignments, a structure for which Mayor de Blasio may push as part of his contract negotiations with the police union.
Christine Quinn ran her campaign with a “results” mantra, attempting to highlight legislation passed during her time as City Council Speaker. In terms of forward thinking, a couple of Quinn ideas worth consideration by the de Blasio camp are her call for more support for veterans, including a City grant program for vets trying to start their own small businesses; her intention to pursue additional portfolio-based assessment schools; and her call for a “regional export council” aimed at increasing NYC-based manufacturing and doubling NYC exports by 2020.
From John Liu, the only candidate that often ran to the left of de Blasio on the issues, the mayor-elect may want to look at his proposal to offer homeless families vouchers to support their transition into permanent homes.
With his two books of ideas, totaling 125, Anthony Weiner put forth many policy recommendations. Of those, there are several that Mayor-Elect de Blasio might be wise to examine. Among them are Weiner’s calls for including financial literacy coursework in city schools; mobilizing small business adjudication vans; providing fully paid parental leave for City employees (three months for mothers, six weeks for fathers, he said); and negotiating public sector union workers paying a small portion of their health insurance premiums.
Hand in hand with de Blasio’s plan for universal full-day pre-kindergarten for all the city’s four year olds would go former rival Sal Albanese’s call for a focus on pre-natal through age three education and care, including the opening of “pediatric wellness centers” around the city. De Blasio and his team may also want to take a close look at Albanese’s “fair tolling plan” aimed at revamping the City’s tolls and increasing revenue.
The de Blasio transition team, the leaders of which were announced last week, is surely already sorting through de Blasio’s own policy recommendations and preparing to bring in experts in all areas to consider the best and the brightest – people and ideas – for moving the city forward. There may be room, I humbly recommend, to take a look back through the ideas others espoused throughout this election season, a few of which I have highlighted here, by some of those de Blasio was able to defeat on the strength of his own campaign ideas and messaging.