Happy New Year! This particular new year brings with it big changes to the city-wide political environment, as we welcome Bill DeBlasio as the first Democratic mayor of New York City in 20 years.
There have been varying opinions among economic thought leaders as to just what this change will mean to those doing business here. One camp has looked at the new mayor’s agenda with a jaundiced eye, sure that it will bring the city back to the bad old days of high crime and high taxes and their resultant negative impact on the economy.
Certainly there is reason to look closely at Mr. DeBlasio’s plans. He comes to office with a decidedly different point of view from his two most recent predecessors. So we are watching with great interest as Mr. DeBlasio announces appointees to his administration, looking for signs of what is to come.
As of this writing, two major positions of particular interest to business have been filled. William Bratton’s return as Police Commissioner signals that the incoming mayor is sensitive to his critics’ concerns that he will be soft on crime.
Mr. Bratton, in his first go-round as commissioner during the Giuliani administration, was widely credited with implementing the strategies that began the steady trend of reduced crime that we have enjoyed for two decades.
He also brings to the table a commendable record of strengthening relations between the community and the police force — one of Mr. DeBlasio’s chief campaign issues.
The announcement of Alicia Glen as Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development has likewise brought approval from some key business constituencies. Her credentials as a business generator are impeccable, and she also brings a solid record of public service in the housing sector, another of Mr. DeBlasio’s high-profile campaign issues.
With these two appointments as indicators, Mr. DeBlasio appears to be a highly savvy leader — which bodes well for his administration. He ran on a platform of uniting the city and, from the looks of things right now, he means it.
We wish him well as we all embark on this new era.