After de Blasio, NYC must elect a crime-fighting mayor to avoid disaster
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The stakes in the mayoral election could not be higher for the future of New York City. Either New Yorkers choose to reverse our city’s dismal downward direction by saying “No way” to filth, discord and mayhem, or we see more shootings and thuggish brutality accompanied by the further hollowing out of the tax base as people flee. The choice is that stark.
Mayor Bill de Blasio inherited a prosperous, safe city and, along with his progressive colleagues, ruined it. Even in the ’70s and ’80s, the legendary “bad old days,” New York still had the foundations of a successful city. We had laws on the books that could quell disorder and make neighborhoods happy and functional — we just didn’t enforce them effectively.
But the criminal justice “reforms” of the last eight years have vitiated our system of enforcing the law and punishing criminals. These changes have codified chaos. Mayor de Blasio decided not to fight a judge’s flawed ruling that NYPD practices, including “Stop, Question, and Frisk,” were unconstitutional, and instead voluntarily placed the police department under the supervision of a federal monitor.
De Blasio and a radical City Council decriminalized quality-of-life offenses that had made our communities livable, thereby signaling to the agents of bedlam that the streets were theirs. As the bar of acceptability is ratcheted down, disorder spreads so that last year’s scandal slowly becomes this year’s norm. The latest “random” street assault or bodega beating — which two years ago would have been notorious — is now just part of the bleak background noise of de Blasio’s New York.
The elimination of bail in most cases, combined with changes to the procedure of discovery of evidence in criminal cases, could have been contrived by the villain in a Batman movie bent on flooding Gotham with sociopathic career criminals and terrified witnesses. Undoing these laws at the state level will require the next mayor to apply astute political leverage among Albany legislators increasingly dominated by vocal ideologues who count felons among their most cherished constituents. Recall that it demanded a huge political fight to prevent Albany’s elected radicals from letting released inmates get $15,000 checks from the multibillion dollar “Excluded Worker Fund.”
Getting workers back into Midtown office buildings and busloads of grannies into the orchestra seats at “Jersey Boys” is going to require safe streets and subways — full stop. The vigorous prosecution of turnstile jumping routinely captured illegal guns and discouraged countless would-be mass shooters from toting their pistols to begin with. The next mayor needs to reinstate the anti-crime unit — rename it whatever sounds good — and begin arresting scofflaws again.
Mayor de Blasio has poisoned race relations in New York with the endless iteration of the disparate effects that race has had on everything from statues to the availability of fruit to garbage cans to vaccination rates. But this toxic obsession has affected no area of municipal life so perniciously as in the schools. The Left’s idée fixe about “school segregation” — in a system that is 85 percent nonwhite to begin with — is absurd, especially when New York City schools are funded by a rigorously equitable formula, not by local property taxes that favor schools in well-off neighborhoods.
To listen to the mayoral debates, you would think that “services” for the poor are a new idea that nobody ever thought of before. But the city already spends about $13 billion, not including another $30 billion on the school system, on its massive social service infrastructure. Many of these programs, like the $3 billion spent annually on the homeless, or the hundreds of millions of dollars poured into mental health “awareness” under ThriveNYC, ought to demonstrate that more money isn’t necessarily the answer. But many candidates want to waste breath blowing up the same tired old balloon of social welfare that liberals have been huffing and puffing into for 55 years.
This election is critical, as the city is peering into its own grave. Certain candidates continue to repeat the calumny that police violence is the major problem facing New Yorkers. These people must not be allowed near City Hall. Choose wisely.
Seth Barron is managing editor of The American Mind and author of the new book, The Last Days of New York” (Humanix Books), out now.
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