Thursday, July 19, 2007


Bill de Blasio, one of our local Brooklyn City Councilmen, is the sort of politician on the Democratic side to whom we owe our present condition. He is neither sinister nor highly effective. He almost won the City Council presidency. He has diligently found his way to the middle of the road by supporting education, sanitation, employment, safety and in the words of his website, “Making Our Neighborhoods the Very Best.” There’s a brave catchphrase for a man who seems to be ginning up a bid for higher office. That’s politics these days, and more power too him, though I hope he gets a new spin-doctor.

Mr. de Blasio’s site moves on predictably to asking you to volunteer and hand over some cash. His record shows that apart from the City Council, he did something vague for the Department of Housing and Urban Development about channeling money to the City. As a member of his local school board, he supports smaller classes and “was part of an effort to reinvent John Jay High School.” What the effort was and whether it accomplished anything is not mentioned. He managed Senator Clinton’s campaign in 2000 for the US Senate, so he has made his own dubious contribution to our nation’s current war policy.

Recently his name has appeared on any number of local listserv’s as undertaking such major efforts as getting people to bring in their electronic junk as opposed to heaving it in the city landfills. There is nothing wrong with that. In fact, who could possibly object? He also staunchly advocates that parks should be safe for small children. He has few opponents there.

Mr. de Blasio holds that buildings, in some cases, should not be too tall unless it would be better if they were. In that he stands shoulder to shoulder with David Yassky who has stated that the Ratner Atlantic Yards project should not be built, unless it is “done well.” In that spirit, Mr. de Blasio has gone after Scarano Architects for ‘unprofessional practices’ but he seems perfectly happy with Frank Gehry’s mega-plex dystopia. The latter apparently will create jobs whereas the former will not though he has not as yet provided the reasoning behind that assertion.

I have no brief for Scarano Architects. What bothers me is that Mr. de Blasio is a master at finding the political path of least resistance. In the one instance he is mightily worried about zoning codes. In the case of Mr. Ratner, wherever the flood of public treasure flows -- as well as the ensuing overflow to our already overtaxed sewer system -- seems fine with him.

We have had nearly seven years of such stuff from the Democratic Party in the face of Republican lawlessness, greed, and unreason at all levels of government. Can we afford to go on with it given the utter failure of the Democratic Party to take any serious action about anything even after winning the last congressional election? You may say, “What the hell does Harry Reid have to do with a local councilman?” Here’s the answer. Both gentlemen reflect the choices we have made as voters in choosing the nice harmless guy next door as opposed to someone with actual principles and ideas as well as the political grit to give them traction.

You may say, “What other choice did we have?” Here’s my answer to that. You probably had none from the usual sources. It’s time to seriously consider a third party as we have many times in the history of the United States. It is certainly time to stop throwing political support in the form of good money after bad -- or simply vacant -- leadership.

Steve Hart