POLITICS: Why Eric Adams is still the best choice for NYC Mayor
The sharks are out for Mayor Adams’ job. They smell blood in the water over his low approval rating and mishandling of the migrant crisis. They think he’ll be easy pickings in the 2025 Democratic mayoral primary.
Maybe they’re right. But any New Yorker who fears for our city’s future should hope they’re wrong — at least based on the depressing names that are touted so far in the media as potential successors to Adams.
Adams’ State of the City speech this week didn’t tell us much about his vision for New York that we didn’t already know. But at least it was a robust, spirits-lifting celebration of the Big Apple — which we’re unlikely to hear from any of his possible replacements.
The mayor kicked it off by gleefully holding up a New York Post story on Time Out magazine’s designation of New York as the greatest city in the world. Can anybody imagine his predecessor doing that? Bill de Blasio, who for eight long years seemed ashamed to be part of the place, might still be giving daily Covid-19 death-count announcements if he were in office today.
It’s right and proper to scold Adams over his poor track record of delivering on his promises. But at least they are the right promises. I’ll take a half-effectual mayor with good intentions any day over a 100%-effective one with the wrong intentions.
Politics is famously “the art of the possible,” yet we expect the impossible of our mayors. Their powers are curbed by state dominion over such vital major issues as taxes, mass transit, public education and land use. They reduce any mayor, despite a daily media presence, to a pitiful helpless eunuch.
Sure, Rudy Giuliani heroically forged the NYPD into a decisively formidable crime-fighting instrument in the 1990s. But there was no crime-coddling Woke-ocracy during Giuliani’s day, which Adams must now contend with. Those felony-forgiving state legislators, “defund the police” City Council members, prosecution-shy district attorneys and turn-’em-loose judges.
Adams’ reign has been deeply flawed. Little new housing is getting built. The city’s post-Covid recovery is weighted down by having fewer workers in offices and worse overall street conditions — such as the proliferation of illegal marijuana shops. But that’s entirely Albany’s fault for allowing cities no authority to close them down.
Adams grumbles that the Biden administration lets illegal migrants pour in, disrupt city life and bleed our budget dry. Yet he seems incapable (or is it unwilling) to interfere with the city’s supposed “right to shelter” law. His railings against “Washington” for allowing migrants into the country carry zero weight. His calls to reverse or dilute the city’s unique “right-to-shelter” rule — not an actual law, but a succession of court decisions that are so cemented together it would take a nuclear bomb even to dent — similarly ring hollow.
But again, context. Adams’ rivals wouldn’t stop with giving migrants the keys to the Roosevelt Hotel — they’re so antagonistic to the city’s economic and social stability, so bewitched by the “disenfranchised,” they’d likely turn over the Plaza and the Mandarin Oriental as well.
Consider the “progressive” credentials of the mayoral wannabes.
The savvy news site Politico this week called former comptroller Scott Stringer, a lightweight lefty who’s testing the waters and raising money for a possible run, “the first viable challenger” to Adams. If Stringer means business, Adams had better start scraping together every extra dime he can immediately.
Stringer, a teachers’ unions pet who got $4 million from them in his failed 2021 run, is also pals with innumerable, “progressive”-minded Wall Street and corporate fat cats, cultivated from his days overseeing the city’s pension funds.
Others whose names have popped up as possible challengers to Adams are even worse — such as Gov. Hochul aide Kathryn Garcia, who in seven years as Bill de Blasio’s Sanitation Commissioner spent more time fretting over global climate issues than about cleaning up the five boroughs’ filthy streets and sidewalks.
Adams scores high on the issue that most New Yorkers most care about: felony crime.
Murders in 2023 were down 11.9% from 2022, when they were already down 11.3% over 2021. Last year’s total of 386 compared unfavorably with 318 in 2019, but what of it? The numbers were already rising in 2019 from the record low 292 in 2017.
The alleged 30% increase in “felonies” last year over 2019 is due almost entirely to auto theft, which has risen astronomical 191% since then and distorts the bigger picture. The totals in the six other categories all fell or remained flat.
Adams’ overall success has remarkably occurred despite the seditious impact of bail “reform” and ongoing efforts in the council to emasculate the NYPD.
Those who’d take him on over such an impressive record should think twice.