Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio won in a landslide over his Republican opponent, so when can we start expecting the Back Massage Kiosks and Kick-A-Billionaire Wednesdays? "None of us are going to promise people perfection any day soon," de Blasio told reporters at his first press conference as the mayor-elect of New York City. "We're going to be successful at a number of our early initiatives, and I think that we'll show the people of the city that we mean business and that we're going to get a lot done."
In responding to a reporter's question about whether the public's expectations were too unrealistic (of course they are), de Blasio continued:
I do think it's fair to say that throughout this process, we're also going to be clear about the realistic challenges we face…Of course the things I'm talking about, a lot of them are bold, a lot of them are big chances, some of them have been decades in the making…We are going to be very aggressive, very focused on making these changes, and I am convinced we're going to have a good batting average. At the same time, we're going to say, this will take time, for sure.
De Blasio was also asked if he'd begin reaching out to state legislators to gin up support for his proposal on raising taxes for wealthy New Yorkers that many are convinced will "die on the rocks" in Albany. "Absolutely," he responded, without elaborating further.
The mayor-elect had gathered reporters at the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies off East 22nd Street to announce his new transition website (he's hiring!) and the co-chairs of his transition committee: Jennifer Jones Austin and Carl Weisbrod. Austin was the Deputy Commissioner for the Administration for Children's Services during Bloomberg's first term, and is the current CEO and executive director of the FPWA.
Weisbrod is the founder of the BID Alliance for Downtown New York, and the current director of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, as well as a partner at the real estate and consulting firm HR&A Advisors.
Hmmmm, Pinko Community Organizer and Pinstriped Capitalist, whirred the brains of the assembled reporters. Is de Blasio trying to tell us something?
"I think there's going to be an emphasis on progressive values," de Blasio said, stressing the need for a more diverse city government, as well as a "keen understanding of the practicalities of government."
De Blasio batted away questions about appointing a new police commissioner and DOE chancellor, saying only that they were serious decisions that wouldn't be taken lightly. What did he speak about with Mayor Bloomberg about this morning?
“It was a very cordial conversation, a very helpful conversation, very collegial…We talked about the way that he has put together his transition process. It was very helpful. We agreed to stay in regular touch."
De Blasio added, “We did not get into a detailed conversation, there’s nothing that we talked about that was new."
As for living in Gracie Mansion, de Blasio said he was still "reticent" to discuss it because his family hasn't weighed in on the subject.
"As you may have noticed, there are four strong personalities in the family. One whom—Mr. Dante de Blasio—has strong feelings about proximity to his high school. Obviously we wanted to get through last night not being presumptuous, but now there’s a very serious family discussion that has to be had about what makes sense and what works."
The mayor-elect said he'd be traveling to Puerto Rico tomorrow for the Somos conference, but also to get the hell out of New York for a "shocking development Chirlane and I call down-time.
"For a couple of days after a long, long battle, Chirlane and I are going to get a few days to spend some quiet time. A few days to think and regroup. But no such glorious opportunity is afforded to my partners, they will be hard at work.”
Additional reporting by Jade A. Williams