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Bill de Blasio

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Title: Bill de Blasio  
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Subject: New York City mayoral election, 2013, New York City Public Advocate election, 2009, New York City mayoral elections, Michael Bloomberg, New York City mayoral election, 2017
Collection: 1961 Births, American People of German Descent, American People of Italian Descent, American People of Lucanian Descent, Brooklyn Politicians, Columbia University Alumni, Former Roman Catholics, Living People, Mayors of New York City, New York City Council Members, New York City Mayoral Candidates, 2013, New York Democrats, New York University Alumni, People from Brooklyn, People from Cambridge, Massachusetts, People from Manhattan, Politicians from Cambridge, Massachusetts, School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University Alumni, Truman Scholars, United States Department of Housing and Urban Development Officials, United States Presidential Electors, 2004
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Bill de Blasio

His Honor
Bill de Blasio
109th Mayor of New York City
Assumed office
January 1, 2014
Preceded by Michael Bloomberg
3rd Public Advocate of New York City
In office
January 1, 2010 – December 31, 2013
Preceded by Betsy Gotbaum
Succeeded by Letitia James
Member of the New York City Council
from the 39th district
In office
January 1, 2002 – December 31, 2009
Preceded by Stephen DiBrienza
Succeeded by Brad Lander
Personal details
Born Warren Wilhelm, Jr.
(1961-05-08) May 8, 1961
Manhattan, New York, New York, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Chirlane McCray (1994–present)
Children Chiara
Residence Park Slope, New York (Private) Gracie Mansion (Official)
Alma mater New York University (B.A.)
Columbia University (M.A.)
Website Government website
Personal website

Bill de Blasio (born Warren Wilhelm, Jr.,[1] May 8, 1961, later renamed temporarily "Warren de Blasio-Wilhelm") is an American politician who is serving as the 109th mayor of New York City. From 2010 to 2013, he held the citywide office of New York City Public Advocate, serving as an ombudsman between the electorate and the city government. He formerly served as a New York City Council member, representing the 39th District in Brooklyn, which contains Borough Park, Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Gowanus, Kensington, Park Slope, and Windsor Terrace. De Blasio, the Democratic Party nominee for mayor of New York City in the 2013 election, defeated Republican Joe Lhota with more than 73 percent of the vote. De Blasio is the first Democratic mayor of the city since David Dinkins was in office from 1990 to 1993.[2]

He ran for mayor promising to end stop and frisk and heal bitter relations between the New York Police Department and many New Yorkers, especially African Americans. His tenure has seen a spike in anti-police protests and disaffection with law enforcement, and he has been charged by the NYPD union with putting the interests of protesters above those of the police. He initiated new de-escalation training for officers,[3] reduced marijuana prosecutions,[4] and oversaw the beginning of body cameras worn by police.[5][6] De Blasio approved a $41 million settlement for the five men whose convictions in the 1989 Central Park jogger case were overturned[7] and ended a post-9/11 surveillance program to spy on Muslim New Yorkers.[8]


  • Early life and education 1
  • Early career 2
  • New York City Council (2001–2009) 3
    • Elections 3.1
    • Tenure 3.2
    • Committee assignments 3.3
  • New York City Public Advocate (2010–2013) 4
    • Election 4.1
    • Education 4.2
    • Housing 4.3
    • Affordable housing 4.4
    • Campaign finance 4.5
  • Mayor of New York City (2014–present) 5
    • 2013 election 5.1
    • Tenure 5.2
      • NYPD relations 5.2.1
      • Horse-drawn carriages 5.2.2
  • Political positions 6
    • Transit service and traffic safety 6.1
    • Charter schools 6.2
    • Universal Pre-K 6.3
    • Religious freedom 6.4
  • Personal life 7
  • See also 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10

Early life and education

De Blasio was born Warren Wilhelm, Jr., in Manhattan. He is the third son of Warren Wilhelm and Maria (née de Blasio).[1][9] His father was of German ancestry, and his maternal grandparents were Italian immigrants:[10][11] his grandfather, Giovanni, was from the city of Sant'Agata de' Goti, Benevento, and his grandmother, Anna (née Briganti), was from Grassano, Matera.[12] (his maternal family's surname was originally capitalized as "De Blasio.")

De Blasio was raised in Cambridge, Massachusetts.[13] His mother graduated from Smith College in 1938, and his father graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Yale University. His mother was 44 years old when he was born, and he has two older brothers, Steven and Donald.[9] His paternal grandfather, author Donald Wilhelm, graduated from Harvard University.[9] Although he was baptized as a Christian in a Roman Catholic church (but not confirmed), Blasio is non-practicing. He speaks Italian.[9]

De Blasio stated that when he was 7 years old, his father left home; his parents divorced shortly after that.[14] In a 2012 interview, de Blasio described his upbringing: "[My dad] was an officer in the Pacific in the Army [and fought] in an extraordinary number of very, very difficult, horrible battles, including Okinawa.... And I think honestly, as we now know about veterans who return, [he] was going through physically and mentally a lot.... He was an alcoholic, and my mother and father broke up very early on in the time I came along, and I was brought up by my mother's family—that's the bottom line—the de Blasio family."[15] In September 2013, de Blasio revealed that his father had committed suicide in 1979 while suffering from incurable lung cancer.[16]

He eventually adopted his mother's family name of de Blasio because his father was "largely absent," and he wanted to embrace his Italian heritage.[17] In 1983, he changed his legal name to Warren de Blasio-Wilhelm, which he described in April 2012: "I started by putting the name into my diploma, and then I hyphenated it legally when I finished NYU, and then, more and more, I realized that was the right identity." By the time he appeared on the public stage in 1990, he was using the name Bill de Blasio, as he is called "Bill" or "Billy" in his personal life.[15] He petitioned to officially change his name to Bill de Blasio in December 2001, after the discrepancy was noted during an election.[17]

De Blasio received a B.A. from New York University, majoring in metropolitan studies, a program in urban studies, and received a Master of International Affairs from Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs.[18] He is a 1981 Harry S. Truman Scholar.[19]

Early career

De Blasio's first post-college job was part of the Urban Fellows Program for the Quixote Center in Maryland. In 1988, de Blasio traveled with the Quixote Center to Nicaragua for 10 days to help distribute food and medicine during the Nicaraguan Revolution. De Blasio was an ardent supporter of the ruling socialist government, the Sandinista National Liberation Front, which was at that time opposed by the Reagan administration.[21]

After returning from Nicaragua, de Blasio moved to New York City, where he worked for a

Civic offices
Preceded by
Stephen DiBrienza
Member of the New York City Council
from the 39th district

Succeeded by
Brad Lander
Political offices
Preceded by
Betsy Gotbaum
Public Advocate of New York City
Succeeded by
Letitia James
Preceded by
Michael Bloomberg
Mayor of New York City
Party political offices
Preceded by
Bill Thompson
Democratic nominee for Mayor of New York City
Most recent
  • Official mayoral website
  • Official campaign website
  • Appearances on C-SPAN

External links

  1. ^ a b Dan Janison (August 17, 2013). "A refresher on candidate Bill de Blasio".  
  2. ^ Michael Barbaro; David W. Chen (November 6, 2013). "De Blasio Is Elected New York City Mayor in Landslide".  
  3. ^ Marc Santora (December 4, 2014). "Mayor de Blasio Announces Retraining of New York Police".  
  4. ^ Matt Schiavenza (November 10, 2014). "New York City's Incomplete Marijuana Reform".  
  5. ^ Ross Barkan (March 14, 2003). "Bill de Blasio Says New York Will Seek Federal Funding for Body Cameras".  
  6. ^ Henry Goldman (December 3, 2014). "NYC to Test Body-Worn Cameras for Police, De Blasio Says".  
  7. ^ Henry Goldman (September 6, 2014). "Settlement Is Approved in Central Park Jogger Case, but New York Deflects Blame".  
  8. ^ Matt Apuzzo; Joseph Goldstein (April 16, 2014). "New York Drops Unit That Spied on Muslims".  
  9. ^ a b c d "25 facts about New York City's new Mayor Bill de Blasio".  
  10. ^ John Cassidy (August 14, 2013). "Bill de Blasio's Moment: Can He Handle It?".  
  11. ^ "Paid Notice: Deaths: Wilhelm, Maria (Nee De Blasio)".  
  12. ^ "Voto a New York: Grassano per De Blasio".  
  13. ^ Javier C. Hernández (August 20, 2013). "That Boston Fan? He Wants to Run New York".  
  14. ^ Jennifer Fermino (June 10, 2013). "Bill de Blasio mayoral campaign ad tells of demons of an alcoholic father".  
  15. ^ a b Allan Wolper. "Conversations with Allan Wolper: Bill de Blasio".  
  16. ^ Anna Sale (September 30, 2013). "WNYC News Exclusive: Bill de Blasio Speaks with WNYC About His Father's Suicide".  
  17. ^ a b Greg Smith (September 22, 2013). "Mayoral hopeful Bill de Blasio has had three different legal names, court records show".  
  18. ^ "The Contenders: De Blasio's Activism Grew Upon Arrival In The City".  
  19. ^ "The 2012 Annual Report of the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation" (PDF). The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation. Retrieved September 20, 2013. 
  20. ^ "New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio".  
  21. ^ a b c d Javier C. Hernández (September 22, 2013). "A Mayoral Hopeful Now, de Blasio Was Once a Young Leftist".  
  22. ^ Colin Campbell (December 6, 2012). "Bill de Blasio For NYC Mayor: Can The Public Advocate Go From Master Strategist To Mister Mayor?".  
  23. ^ Adam Dickter (July 17, 2013). "The Political Education Of Bill de Blasio".  
  24. ^ Catalina Camia (June 19, 2014). "'"Charlie Rangel's rival endorsed by 'New York Times.  
  25. ^ James Warren (October 27, 2013). "De Blasio's early audition".  
  26. ^ Matt Pacenzat (April 1, 2001). "Dream Off?". City Limits. 
  27. ^ a b "About Bill De Blasio". Office of the Public Advocate. Retrieved August 13, 2013. 
  28. ^ "NYC Council 39 - D Primary Race - September 25, 2001". Our Campaigns. Retrieved September 20, 2013. 
  29. ^ "New York City Council 39 Race - November 6, 2001". Our Campaigns. Retrieved September 20, 2013. 
  30. ^ "New York City Council 39 Race - November 4, 2003". Our Campaigns. Retrieved September 20, 2013. 
  31. ^ "New York City Council 39 Race - November 8, 2005". Our Campaigns. Retrieved September 20, 2013. 
  32. ^ "Filing, on behalf of the Council, an amicus brief in support of the plaintiffs in the litigation between individual tenants and landlords captioned Rosario v. Diagonal Realty LLC. (Res 0803-2007)". New York City Council Legislative Research Center. Retrieved January 21, 2013. 
  33. ^ "Processing of applications for permanent housing for clients of the HIV and AIDS Services Administration. (Int 0535-2005)". New York City Council Legislative Research Center. Retrieved January 21, 2013. 
  34. ^ "Domestic Partnerships. (Int 0501-2007)". New York City Council Legislative Research Center. Retrieved January 20, 2013. 
  35. ^ "Provision of language assistance services. (Int 0038-2002)". New York City Council Legislative Research Center. Retrieved January 21, 2013. 
  36. ^ "Committee on Education".  
  37. ^ "Committee on Environmental Protection".  
  38. ^ "Committee on Finance".  
  39. ^ The "Committee on General Welfare" .  
  40. ^ "Committee on Technology".  
  41. ^ "For New York City Public Advocate".  
  42. ^ David W. Chen (July 16, 2009). "Snubbing Green (Gently), Sharpton Backs de Blasio".  
  43. ^ Julie Bosman (September 16, 2009). "De Blasio and Green in Runoff for Advocate".  
  44. ^ "NYC Public Advocate - D Runoff Race". Our Campaigns. September 29, 2009. Retrieved September 20, 2013. 
  45. ^ "New York City Public Advocate Race". Our Campaigns. November 3, 2009. Retrieved September 20, 2013. 
  46. ^ "2009 Election Results".  
  47. ^ Julie Bosman (January 1, 2010). "Public Advocate Takes a Challenging Tone, and Thoughts of 2013 Are Near".  
  48. ^ Celeste Katz (December 8, 2010). "Bill de Blasio Unimpressed With Cathie Black's Hedging On A Public School Do-Over For Her Kids".  
  49. ^ Jill Colvin (November 15, 2010). "Public Advocate Wants Cathie Black to Hold Open Meeting With Parents, Administrators". DNAinfo New York. Retrieved October 16, 2013. 
  50. ^ "Protects Against the MTA Continue in Effort to Save Student MetroCards" (Press release). Office of the Public Advocate. February 18, 2010. 
  51. ^ "Public Advocate de Blasio & NYC Parents Fight to Protect City's Daycare Centers". Office of the Public Advocate. 
  52. ^ "Consensus for Reform: A Plan for Collaborative School Co-Locations" (Press release). Office of the Public Advocate. July 20, 2011. 
  53. ^ "In 11th Hour Push, Public Advocate de Blasio Brings Voice of Parents to City Hall" (Press release). Office of the NYC Public Advocate. June 20, 2011. Retrieved January 1, 2014. 
  54. ^ Henry Goldman (October 4, 2012). "De Blasio Proposes NYC Tax Surcharge on Wealthy for Schools".  
  55. ^ a b Ann Pierret (August 12, 2013). "Up Close With NYC's Mayoral Candidates: Bill de Blasio (D)". WFUV 90.7 FM Public Radio from Fordham University. Retrieved August 14, 2013. 
  56. ^ Javier C. Hernández (October 8, 2013). "City's Charter Schools Fear Having de Blasio for a Landlord".  
  57. ^ Amber Sutherland; Yoav Gonen; Leonard Greene (October 9, 2013). "Thousands rally against charter-school rent plan".  
  58. ^ Einhorn, Erin (20 June 2010). "Public Advocate Bill de Blasio: Section 8 housing subsidies cuts will cost city". NY Daily News. Retrieved 11 August 2015. 
  59. ^ Ben Chapman; Erin Einhorn (August 30, 2010). "New website aims to shine light on city's worst slumlords".  
  60. ^ Yee, Vivian; Navarro, Mireya (February 3, 2015). "Some See Risk in de Blasio’s Bid to Add Housing". New York Times (New York). pp. A1. Retrieved 8 February 2015. 
  61. ^ Suzy Khimm (September 22, 2010). "Bill de Blasio: Citizens United Avengers".  
  62. ^ a b David W. Chen (January 27, 2013). "De Blasio, Announcing Mayoral Bid, Pledges to Help People City Hall Forgot".  
  63. ^ "De Blasio Announces Mayoral Campaign".  
  64. ^ "Candidates 2013 Citywide Elections". New York City Campaign Finance Board. 
  65. ^ Michael Barbaro; Tom Giratikanon (April 13, 2013). "A Viewer's Guide to the Mayoral Candidates".  
  66. ^ Jon Schuppe (April 17, 2013). "Anthony Weiner at 2nd Place in Democratic Mayoral Poll by NBC New York/Marist".  
  67. ^ Erin Durkin (April 23, 2013). "Sarah Jessica Parker backs Bill de Blasio".  
  68. ^ Kristen A. Lee (December 7, 2012). "'"Alec Baldwin names Bill De Blasio as his pick for next New York City mayor, knocks Christine Quinn as 'untrustworthy.  
  69. ^ "Endorsements". Bill de Blasio for Mayor. Retrieved July 30, 2013. 
  70. ^ Joe Coscarelli (August 27, 2013). "All the Celebrities in Bill de Blasio's New Ad".  
  71. ^ Simone Weichselbaum (July 18, 2013). "Bill de Blasio, Dan Squadron and other Brooklyn pols storm LICH after SUNY sends in closure plan".  
  72. ^ Anemona Hartocollis (July 10, 2013). "De Blasio Arrested, Just as He Wanted".  
  73. ^ David W. Chen (August 14, 2013). "New Poll Suggests That de Blasio Is Now First Among Voters".  
  74. ^ "De Blasio Surges Past 40% In New York City Mayoral Race".  
  75. ^ Nikhil Kumar (September 11, 2013). "Race for New York Mayor's office sees Bill De Blasio edging it".  
  76. ^ Michael M. Grynbaum (September 16, 2013). "A Display of Democratic Unity as Thompson Cedes to de Blasio".  
  77. ^ Michael Greenberg (September 23, 2013). "How Different is de Blasio?".  
  78. ^ "Working Families Party Leaders Back Bill de Blasio for Mayor of New York City" (Press release).  
  79. ^ "Mayor - Citywide Recap" (PDF). NYC Board of Elections. Retrieved November 5, 2013. 
  80. ^ Sam Roberts (November 6, 2013). "New York: Voter Turnout Appears to Be Record Low".  
  81. ^ Michael M. Grynbaum (January 1, 2014). "Taking Office, de Blasio Vows to Fix Inequity".  
  82. ^ Michael M. Grynbaum. (December 31, 2013). "De Blasio Draws All Liberal Eyes to New York City".  
  83. ^ a b Kelly Weill (February 12, 2014). "De Blasio Adds $35 Million to Snow Removal Budget".  
  84. ^ a b Annie Karni; Edgar Sandoval; Corky Siamaszk (January 23, 2014). "Mayor de Blasio admits mistakes in snow removal on New York's Upper East Side".  
  85. ^ Marc Santora (February 13, 2014). "Winter Offensive Takes Toll on East Coast".  
  86. ^ "Mayor de Blasio Signs Legislation to Create Municipal ID Card". City of New York. July 20, 2014. Retrieved September 16, 2014. 
  87. ^ "NYC municipal ID card details unveiled".  
  88. ^ Eliana Dockterman (January 30, 2014). "New NYC Mayor Drops Stop-and-Frisk Appeal".  
  89. ^ Benjamin Weiser (October 31, 2014). "Unions’ Bid for Role in Stop-and-Frisk Suits Is Rejected by Court".  
  90. ^ Shoshana Davis (January 9, 2014). "NYPD's Bratton, Miller on stop-and-frisk and job qualifications".  
  91. ^ Saki Knafo (December 27, 2013). "New Group Launches Fight Against de Blasio's Top Cop".  
  92. ^ Nicole Akoukou Thompson (December 15, 2013). "Bill de Blasio Mayor: NYC Mayor-elect Selects Stop-and-Frisk Innovator William Bratton as Police Commissioner; Latino Candidates Snubbed?". Latin Post. 
  93. ^ a b Joseph Goldstein (February 12, 2014). "Mayor's Call Did Not Prompt Pastor's Release Police Say".  
  94. ^ "De Blasio: I did not ask for bishop to be released".  
  95. ^ Michael M. Grynbaum (February 13, 2014). "Mayor judgement debated after his call to police about a supporters arrest". 'The New York Times. Retrieved March 30, 2014. 
  96. ^ Amanda Holpuch (December 21, 2014). "De Blasio at centre of police storm after two NYPD officers shot dead".  
  97. ^ Erin Durkin (December 3, 2014). "De Blasio talks of worries for son Dante after grand jury declines to indict cop in Eric Garner death".  
  98. ^ Joanna Walters (December 7, 2014). "New York mayor Bill de Blasio refuses to endorse Eric Garner grand jury decision".  
  99. ^ a b Tara Palmeri (December 12, 2014). "Cops tell de Blasio: Stay away from our funerals".  
  100. ^ "Gunman murders two NYPD officers in Brooklyn before shooting himself".  
  101. ^ Maggie Habermas; Glenn Thrush (December 23, 2014). "De Blasio’s nightmare: New York’s mayor has lost the police — and maybe much more than that".  
  102. ^ a b "Backlash Against De Blasio In Wake Of NYPD Officers’ Deaths Takes To Skies".  
  103. ^ Dean Schabner (December 27, 2014). "Hundreds Turn Their Back on de Blasio at NYPD Officer's Funeral".  
  104. ^
  105. ^
  106. ^ Allie Malloy (January 1, 2014). "Bill de Blasio: Central Park's horse-drawn carriages should ride into history".  
  107. ^ Erin Durkin (March 9, 2014). "'"Liam Neeson blasts Mayor de Blasio for skipping carriage horse stable tour: 'He should have manned up and come.  
  108. ^ Better Transit for New York City
  109. ^ Matt Flegenheimer (February 18, 2014). "De Blasio Outlines Steps to Eliminate Traffic Deaths".  
  110. ^ Conor P. Williams (March 3, 2014). "Why Is Progressive Hero Bill de Blasio Throwing Charter Schools Out of New York City?".  
  111. ^ Kenneth Lovett; Glenn Blain (March 4, 2014). "Gov. Cuomo boosts charter schools, going over Mayor de Blasio's head — again".  
  112. ^ Ginia Bellafante (March 6, 2014). "How de Blasio's Narrative Got Hijacked".  
  113. ^ Daniel E. Slotnik (April 26, 2014). "New York Finds Space for 3 Charter Schools".  
  114. ^ "Mayor de Blasio Presses Forward With Pre-K Plan -- NYMag".  
  115. ^ Jeanne Sahadi (January 8, 2014). "De Blasio's plan to tax the rich".  
  116. ^ Brit milah#Metzitzah
  117. ^
  118. ^
  119. ^
  120. ^
  121. ^
  122. ^
  123. ^
  124. ^ a b Michael Howard Saul (January 1, 2013). "Family in the Spotlight".  
  125. ^ Mara Gay (July 28, 2014). "De Blasio Finally Settles Down at Gracie Mansion".  
  126. ^ Flegenheimer, Matt (June 19, 2015). "De Blasio Prods Graduates to Challenge Injustice (and Son to Take a Joke)". The New York Times. Retrieved June 20, 2015. 
  127. ^ Dana Rubinstein (August 23, 2013). "Bill de Blasio and a brief history of public-school parents for mayor". Capital New York. Retrieved September 8, 2013. 
  128. ^ Jonathan Lemire (December 24, 2013). "NY Mayor-elect's Daughter Tells Of Substance Abuse".  
  129. ^ Michael M. Grynbaum (February 1, 2014). "A Mayor Most Everybody Looks Up To, Even When He Slouches".  
  130. ^ Beth DeFalco; Bob Fredericks (November 8, 2013). "6-foot-5 De Blasio to be NYC's Tallest Modern Mayor".  


See also

Standing at a height of 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m), de Blasio is the tallest mayor in New York City's history.[129][130]

De Blasio and his wife, activist and poet Chirlane McCray, met while both were working for Mayor Dinkins' administration and married in 1994.[124] They lived in Park Slope, Brooklyn before moving into Gracie Mansion,[125] the traditional residence of New York City mayors. They have two children: Dante, a graduate of Brooklyn Technical High School currently attending Yale University as a member of the class of 2019,[126] and Chiara, a student at Santa Clara University in California.[62][124][127] His daughter Chiara addressed her own challenges with substance abuse and depression in late December 2013, through a four-minute video that the mayor's transition team released.[128]

Personal life

In 2015, de Blasio repealed a rule asking Mohels to inform parents of the risks of metzitzah b’peh, an oral circumcision ritual that was linked to 17 cases of infant herpes, brain damage,[116] and two deaths since 2000.[117] The rule, which had been passed by the city’s Board of Health in 2012 (under Bloomberg), required parents to sign a consent form, and had been called an infringement on religious freedom by Jewish leaders who sued the city in federal court[118] and pressed their followers not to comply.[119] De Blasio himself called the consent form "offensive".[120] After de Blasio installed allies and donors on the New York City's Board of Health,[121] a new policy stated that the mohel could be banned for life if he tests positive to herpes and the DNA strain matches the infants, but only after a child has been infected, and not in a situation where a mohel tests positive but his DNA strain does not matches the infant's.[122] It was also revealed that under de Blasio, the city made sure that new infections were never publicly disclosed. [123]

Religious freedom

Bill de Blasio is an advocate of Universal Pre-K, the availability of publicly funded pre-kindergarten for all New York City residents.[114] De Blasio sought to fund the program by increasing taxes on New York City residents earning $500,000 or more.[115]

Universal Pre-K

Approximately two months after the initial decision, the mayor's office announced that it had found space for the three schools. The city will lease three buildings from the Archdiocese of New York which were previously used as Catholic schools, and will renovate and maintain the properties. The three charter schools are run by Success Academy Charter Schools.[113]

The New York Times emphasized that de Blasio approved fourteen charter school co-locations and denied approval for just three, suggesting that the mayor is being unfairly cast as being opposed to charter schools.[112]

Bill de Blasio's decision to deny the use of public space to several New York City charter schools provoked controversy. This decision overturned an arrangement made by the Bloomberg administration which allowed for "co-locations" where charter schools were housed in public school buildings.[110] The mayor also revoked $200 million of capital funding that had been earmarked for charter schools.[111]

Charter schools

In 2014, de Blasio released a report dedicated to "better transit for New York City." Some of the ideas brought up in the report were to rebuild Penn Station/Madison Square Garden, create more bus rapid transit routes,[108] and a "Vision Zero" initiative to reduce traffic-related deaths in the city.[109] He has also advocated for an extension of a subway line along Utica Avenue.

Transit service and traffic safety

Political positions

Such a position incurred the opposition of carriage supporters such as actor Liam Neeson, who in March 2014 challenged the mayor to visit the Clinton Park Stables with him. The mayor declined the invitation, saying he would visit on his own.[107]

At a December 2013 news conference, de Blasio reiterated that he would outlaw Central Park's horse-drawn carriages when he took office, supporting animal rights groups that believe the horses are treated inhumanely. He said, "We are going to get rid of horse carriages, period." Anti-horse carriage activists gave financial support to him during his mayoral campaign, and summarily dismissed his opponent, Christine Quinn, for her support of the industry.[105] He confirmed to the media that he hired legal counsel who will deal with the legislative approach. De Blasio has proposed replacing the horse carriages with electric antique cars as a tourist attraction.[106]

One of the many carriage horses present throughout Central Park

Horse-drawn carriages

On December 26, a plane pulling a banner stating "De Blasio, Our Backs Have Turned To You" was spotted. John Cardillo, a former NYPD officer as well as a blogger, tweeted out a picture of the plane with the banner saying that a coalition of both retired and current NYPD officers had paid to have the banner flown, and the same group had asked him to release a statement which states they no longer have "confidence" or believe in the "ability to lead New York City" of the mayor.[102] The following day, de Blasio attended the funeral of officer Rafael Ramos. While the mayor made his remarks, hundreds of officers were seen to have turned their backs to the giant screen projecting the mayor giving his speech,[103] further highlighting the continuing tension.[102] Some officers also repeated the action at the funeral of Wenjian Liu.[104]

Following the December 20, 2014 deaths of two NYPD officers in "execution" style, numerous police unions issued statements blaming de Blasio for their deaths and police officers turned their backs to the mayor when he visited the hospital where the two officers' bodies were taken.[100] The same week, Politico printed a statement from an unnamed "former aide" of the mayor, who claimed that de Blasio had believed the police were spying on him during the election. According to his report, de Blasio would not speak on his cellphone until he was out of earshot of his security detail, whom he believed were listening in on his conversations.[101]

In response, the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association of the City of New York, the city's largest labor union for police officers, issued a flier encouraging members to request that de Blasio, as well as Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Vivereto, not attend their funerals should they die in the line of duty.[99] De Blasio and Mark-Vivereto criticized the move, issuing a joint statement which read in part: "Incendiary rhetoric like this serves only to divide the city, and New Yorkers reject these tactics."[99]

On December 3, 2014, de Blasio stated in a speech following a grand jury decision not to indict NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of Eric Garner that he and his African American wife, Chirlane McCray, had had many conversations[96] with their son regarding taking "special care in any encounters he has with the police officers who are there to protect him."[97] The mayor explained that what he and his wife did was "What parents have done for decades who have children of color, especially young men of color, [which] is train them to be very careful whenever they have an encounter with a police officer," adding "I have talked to many families of color. They have had to have the same conversation with their sons."[98]

New Yorkers demonstrating against police brutality at Pace University in November 2014

In February 2014, Mayor de Blasio came under criticism for making a call to the police shortly after one of his supporters was detained by the police. Pastor Bishop Orlando Findlayter—the founder of the New Hope Christian Fellowship Church, and a friend of de Blasio—was pulled over by the police for failing to signal on a left turn. Bishop was then detained by police on outstanding warrants and for driving with a suspended license.[93] De Blasio is alleged to have called the police on Findlayter's behalf. Findlayter was released shortly thereafter. In a press conference, de Blasio told reporters that—while he had called the police to make an inquiry regarding Bishop's arrest—he did not request the police to release Findlayter.[94] A spokesperson for the mayor stated that de Blasio's call occurred after the police already had decided to release Bishop.[93] While both the police and City Hall denied that the mayor asked for preferential treatment, City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer stated that the mayor's behavior was problematic, because "the mayor shouldn't be involved in any way about somebody's arrest."[95]

De Blasio selected Bill Bratton to be New York City Police Commissioner, a position he previously held under former Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Bratton, who introduced stop-and-frisk under Giuliani, promised it would be used "legally, respectfully" and less frequently.[90][91] Some de Blasio supporters were disappointed with Bratton's appointment.[92]

De Blasio ran for mayor making opposition to the NYPD's "stop and frisk" policy a centerpiece of his campaign.[88] The practice had been challenged by civil rights groups in federal court, where it was ruled unconstitutional in 2013. The federal appeal to this decision filed by the Bloomberg administration was promptly dropped by de Blasio upon taking office. De Blasio vowed to settle cases with claimants who had ongoing litigation against the police for stop and frisk arrests. The NYPD union appealed the decision without de Blasio's support, and was rejected.[89]

NYPD relations

In July 2014, de Blasio signed a bill that created municipal identification cards for all residents regardless of their immigration status, helping them secure access to city services.[86] Homeless New Yorkers are also eligible to obtain the "IDNYC" cards, so long as they register a "care of" address. The IDNYC card program was launched January 1, 2015.[87]

In the first weeks of de Blasio's mayorship, New York City was struck by a series of snowstorms.[83] De Blasio was criticized by Upper East Side residents who said efforts to clear the snow seemed to be lagging in their wealthy neighborhood.[84] The mayor apologized the next day, admitting that "more could have been done to serve the Upper East Side."[84] On February 13, heavy snowstorms again hit the East Coast. Under instructions from the mayor and the School Chancellor Carmen Fariña, the city's public schools were kept open. The decision was criticized by teacher unions, parents and the media as up to 9.5 inches of snow fell that day.[85] By the middle of February, the city had been forced to add $35 million to the Sanitation Department's budget for snow removal costs.[83]

De Blasio was sworn into office on January 1, 2014, by former President Clinton. In de Blasio's inaugural address, he reiterated his campaign pledge to address "economic and social inequalities" within the city.[81] The New York Times noted that "The elevation of an assertive, tax-the-rich liberal to the nation's most prominent municipal office has fanned hopes that hot-button causes like universal prekindergarten and low-wage worker benefits... could be aided by the imprimatur of being proved workable in New York."[82]


In the general election, de Blasio defeated Lhota in a landslide, winning 72.2 percent to 24 percent.[79] Voter turnout for the 2013 election set a new record low of only 24 percent of registered voters, which the The New York Times attributed to the expectation of a landslide in the heavily Democratic city.[80]

After the primary, de Blasio was announced as the nominee on the Working Families Party line.[78]

On September 16, second-place finisher Bill Thompson conceded, citing the unlikelihood of winning a runoff, even if uncounted absentee and military ballots pushed de Blasio below the 40 percent threshold. Thompson's withdrawal cleared the way for de Blasio to become the Democratic nominee against Republican Joe Lhota in the general election.[76] Exit polls showed that the issue that most aided de Blasio's primary victory was his unequivocal opposition to "stop and frisk."[77]

Preliminary results of the September 11 primary election showed de Blasio taking 40.1 percent of the votes, slightly more than the 40 percent needed to avoid a runoff.[75]

De Blasio moved up in the polls and by mid-August he emerged as the new leader among the Democrats.[73] He reached 43 percent in a Quinnipiac poll released a week before the primary.[74]

De Blasio gained media attention during the campaign when he and a dozen others, including city councillor Stephen Levin, were arrested while protesting the closing of Long Island College Hospital.[71] De Blasio and Levin were released a few hours later with disorderly conduct summonses. Fellow Democratic mayoral hopefuls Anthony Weiner and City Comptroller John Liu were also at the protest but were not arrested.[72]

Despite his poor starting rank in the primary race, de Blasio was able to gain the endorsements of major Democratic clubs such as the Barack Obama Democratic Club of Upper Manhattan as well as New York City's largest trade union, SEIU Local 1199. Celebrities such as Alec Baldwin and Sarah Jessica Parker endorsed him, as did prominent politicians such as former Vermont Governor Howard Dean and U.S. Congresswoman Yvette Clarke.[67][68][69] By August, singer Harry Belafonte and actress Susan Sarandon had endorsed de Blasio.[70]

Bill de Blasio with his wife, Chirlane, (left) and children Chiara and Dante at a rally in New York City in 2013

The Democratic primary race included nine candidates, among them Council Speaker Christine Quinn, former U.S. Representative Anthony Weiner, and former New York City Comptroller and 2009 mayoral nominee Bill Thompson.[64][65] After Weiner joined the race in April, early polls showed de Blasio in fourth or fifth among the candidates.[66]

On January 27, 2013, de Blasio announced his candidacy for Mayor of New York City in the fall election.[62][63]

2013 election

Mayor of New York City (2014–present)

De Blasio has been a vocal opponent of Citizens United, the January 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision which overturned portions of the 2002 McCain-Feingold Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act. He argued that "corporations should not be allowed to buy elections," and launched a national campaign by elected officials to reverse the effects of the court decision.[61]

Campaign finance

Atlantic Avenue, in Brooklyn East New York, which has been scarred by decades of poverty and crime, is the first test and focus of de Blasio’s strategy on affordable housing, one of his chief policy initiatives central to his platform of reducing inequality. Skeptical long-term residents resist change such as high-rises on streets currently lined with rowhouses and small apartment buildings in poor neighborhoods which would strain the subways, pack schools and push longtime residents out. Since 2012 city planners have been working to bring residents to forums to consult on the process. The plan is to "invite developers to build up local streets in exchange for more units of affordable housing." They will invest in new trees, parks, sidewalks, schools, shops, restaurants that will lead to better services.[60]

Affordable housing

In June 2010, de Blasio opposed a New York City Housing Authority decision to cut the number of Section 8 vouchers issued to low-income New Yorkers. The cut was announced after the NYCHA discovered it could not pay for approximately 2,600 vouchers that had already been issued.[58] The Housing Authority reversed its decision a month later. Two months later, he launched an online "NYC's Worst Landlords Watchlist" to track landlords who failed to repair dangerous living conditions. The list drew widespread media coverage and highlighted hundreds of landlords across the city. "We want these landlords to feel like they're being watched," de Blasio told the Daily News. "We need to shine a light on these folks to shame them into action."[59]


In September 2013, de Blasio voiced his opposition to charter schools, maintaining that their funding saps resources from classes like art, physical education and afterschool programs. He outlined a plan to discontinue the policy of offering rent-free space to the city's 183 charter schools and to place a moratorium on the co-location of charters schools in public school buildings. He said, "I won't favor charters. Our central focus is traditional public schools."[56] In October 2013, nearly 20,000 demonstrators marched across the Brooklyn Bridge to protest de Blasio's proposal to charge rent to charter schools.[57]

During his mayoral campaign, de Blasio outlined a plan to raise taxes on residents earning more than $500,000 a year to pay for universal pre-kindergarten programs and to expand after-school programs at middle schools.[54][55] He also pledged to invest $150 million annually into the City University of New York to lower tuition and improve degree programs.[55]

In June 2011, de Blasio outlined a plan to improve the process of school co-location, by which multiple schools are housed in one building. His study found community input was often ignored by the city's Department of Education, resulting in top-down decisions made without sufficient regard for negative impact. He outlined eight solutions to improve the process and incorporate community opinion into the decision-making process.[52] The same month, he also criticized a proposal by the Bloomberg administration to lay off more than 4,600 teachers to balance the city's budget; de Blasio organized parents and communities against the proposed cuts and staged a last-minute call-a-thon. Bloomberg restored the funding, agreeing to find savings elsewhere in the budget.[53]

As public advocate, de Blasio repeatedly criticized Mayor Bloomberg's education policies. He called for Cathie Black, Bloomberg's nominee for New York City Schools Chancellor, to take part in public forums and criticized her for sending her own children to private schools.[48][49] In March 2010, he spoke against an MTA proposal to eliminate free MetroCards for students, arguing the measure would take a significant toll on school attendance.[50] Three months later, he voiced opposition to the mayor's proposed budget containing more than $34 million in cuts to childcare services.[51]


De Blasio was inaugurated as New York City's third Public Advocate on January 1, 2010. In his inauguration speech, he challenged the administration of Mayor Bloomberg, specifically criticizing his homelessness and education policies.[47]

On September 15, 2009, de Blasio came in first in the Democratic primary, garnering 33 percent of the vote.[43] He won the run-off primary election on September 29, defeating Green, 62 percent to 38 percent.[44] In the general election on November 3, de Blasio defeated Republican Alex Zablocki in a landslide victory, 78 percent to 18 percent.[45][46]

In November 2008, he announced his candidacy for New York City Public Advocate, entering a crowded field of candidates vying for the Democratic nomination, which included former Public Advocate Mark J. Green. The New York Times endorsed de Blasio in an editorial published during the primary, praising his efforts to improve public schools and "[help] many less-fortunate New Yorkers with food stamps, housing, and children's health" as a councilmember. The editorial went on to declare de Blasio the best candidate for the job "because he has shown that he can work well with Mayor Bloomberg when it makes sense to do so while vehemently and eloquently opposing him when justified."[41] His candidacy was endorsed by then Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum, former Mayor Ed Koch, former Governor Mario Cuomo, and Reverend Al Sharpton.[42]

De Blasio speaking at his January 2010 inauguration as New York City Public Advocate


New York City Public Advocate (2010–2013)

  • Education[36]
  • Environmental Protection[37]
  • Finance[38]
  • General Welfare (Chairman)[39]
  • Technology in Government[40]

Committee assignments

On the city council, de Blasio passed legislation to prevent landlord discrimination against tenants who hold federal housing subsidy vouchers, and helped pass the HIV/AIDS Housing Services Law, improving housing services for low-income New Yorkers living with HIV/AIDS.[32][33] As head of the city council's General Welfare Committee, de Blasio helped pass the Gender-Based Discrimination Protection Law to protect transgender New Yorkers and passed the Domestic Partnership Recognition Law to ensure that same-sex couples in a legal partnership could enjoy the same legal benefits as heterosexual couples in New York City.[34] During his tenure, the General Welfare Committee also passed the Benefits Translation for Immigrants Law, which helped non-English speakers receive free language-assistance services when accessing government programs.[35]


In 2001, de Blasio decided to run for the New York City Council's 39th district, which includes the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Borough Park, Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Gowanus, Kensington, Park Slope, and Windsor Terrace. He won the crowded primary election with 32 percent of the vote.[28] In the general election, he defeated Republican Robert A. Bell, 71 percent–17 percent.[29] In 2003, he won re-election with 72 percent of the vote[30] and in 2005 was re-elected for a third term with 83 percent of the vote.[31]


New York City Council (2001–2009)

U.S. Representative Charlie Rangel tapped de Blasio to be his campaign manager for his successful 1994 re-election bid.[24] In 1997, he was appointed to serve as the regional director for the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for New York and New Jersey under the administration of President Bill Clinton. As the tri-state region's highest-ranking HUD official, de Blasio led a small executive staff and took part in outreach to residents of substandard housing.[25][26] In 1999, he was elected a member of Community School Board 15.[27] The following year, he served as campaign manager for Hillary Rodham Clinton's successful United States Senate bid.[27]

[23].City Hall Following the campaign, de Blasio served as an aide in [22].mayoral campaign De Blasio's introduction to city politics came in 1989, when he worked as a volunteer coordinator for David Dinkins' [21] He continued to support the Sandinistas in his spare time, joining a group called the Nicaragua Solidarity Network of Greater New York, which held meetings and fundraisers for the Sandinista political party.[21]

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