‘Tale of Two Cities’ reveals hypocrisy of new mayor

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It has become clear what Mayor Bill de Blasio had in mind with his Tale of Two Cities parable. He presented it as an allegory of the haves and have-nots, but neglected to tell us who they are.

Not to worry. His behavior over the past two months has given us a clue. One set of rules for him and his minions, and another for everyone else. Every week yields another demonstration of privilege without responsibility, actions without consequences. The Tale of Two Cities has morphed into “do as I say, not as I do.”

The latest example of this egregious behavior followed the mayor’s press conference in which he talked about traffic and pedestrian safety and his Vision Zero plan to make the streets and roadways safer. To accomplish this, new rules were proposed that would be aggressively enforced to reduce pedestrian fatalities.

Even the mayor would comply — at least, that is what he told the press corps when he said he would take personal responsibility.

Just days later, after lecturing the public, de Blasio was caught on video running multiple stop signs, speeding, partially blocking a crosswalk and zigzagging from lane to lane without signaling. Infractions that would cost us our licenses was simply business as usual for the mayor and his security entourage. When asked about it, he shrugged it off.

Next came the pictures of the mayor jaywalking in Brooklyn against the Do Not Walk sign while talking on his phone. An elderly Asian man was shoved to the ground by police and arrested in Manhattan for the exact same infraction less than a month earlier.

Two weeks ago, city Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña stepped out of her chauffeur-driven car during a raging snowstorm to declare, “It’s a beautiful day” to the reporter who asked why the schools were ordered to remain open.

Sure, picked up in a warm car and driven by a personal driver will always make it seem like a beautiful day. To everyone else, do as I say, not as I do and be careful of the ice as you drive your kids to school.--

The Tale of Two Cities doesn’t end there. Last month Pastor Orlando Findlayter, an early supporter of the mayor, was stopped for a minor traffic infraction. It was discovered he had a suspended license and two outstanding warrants stemming from his arrest in a protest, enough for most people to spend the night in jail. Not so with the pastor. Whether it was the pastor’s close ties to de Blasio or the personal phone call from the mayor to the NYPD inquiring about him, it certainly reeked of special treatment that none of us would have been afforded. The next day’s front page headlines got it right, “A Bail of Two Cities.”

It should be evident by now that the Tale of Two Cities is nothing more than a tall tale in which the mayor and those close to him do as they please without consequence or accountability. Do as I say, not as I do arrogance in such a young administration is destructive and corrosive.

Unfortunately, this behavior is now de rigueur with those normally in place to oversee the mayor. De Blasio’s handpicked City Council speaker, Melissa Mark-Viverito (D-Manhattan), and city Public Advocate Leticia James, both longtime supporters and loyal sycophants of the mayor, are blind to these transgressions and sit by, refusing to question or challenge him.

When Mark-Viverito neglected to report rental income on her tax returns, she simply said sorry and received nary a slap on the wrist. But when city Sanitation worker Lenworth Dixon, 56, accepted a $20 tip for removing an extra-heavy load of trash, he was not only fined $1,500 but was also fired, according to the city Conflict of Interest Board ruling. In this Tale of Two Cities, an apology does not carry much weight unless you are among the anointed few.

De Blasio is right about the Two Cities. One is an arena of privilege and perquisites for the well-connected, and the other is inhabited by the taxpaying pawns who receive no special exemptions.

Posted 12:00 am, March 1, 2014
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Reader feedback

Queens Resident from Queens, NY says:
Did Mr. Friedrich produce the same article when Mayor Bloomberg or Mayor Guiliani were being driven around in exacltly the same way? I would think not.

I am inclined to believe that a security detail for the Mayor of this great city is highly trained in tactics to ensure the mayor is safe. I am also pretty positive that that training includes proceeding through traffic signals with caution. It is highly doubtful that the Mayor is ordering his security detail to proceed through traffic signals but instead allows them to do what they are trained to do.

Mr. Friedrich, while your opinion is respected, you know as well as everyone else reading this that your article is political mumbo jumbo or mud slinging. A Democratic Mayor is in office for the next four years. He was elected by a MAJORITY vote and therefore his views are approved by that same MAJORITY. It appears that your views are in the minority at this time. As we all know, MAJORITY RULES. Please produce articles that unite not divide our citizens. It would be much more helpful.
March 1, 2014, 7:42 am
gh from queens says:
I think in the next couple of years, you will see this mayor in a big scandal. Something is very fishy about him....not saying that Bloomberg didn't suck, but this man is fishy.....
March 1, 2014, 8:17 am
Kenneth Kowald from No Holds Barred says:
Public officials, whether right or wrong, are held to the "tone" they set. That goes for the people who work for them. The Christie Bridgegate situation is a sign of that.
Comparisons are odious, of course, but they can be helpful.
I think we all wish the de Blasio administration to be a successful one. After all, that helps all of us.
But, deeds relate to rhetoric. As Mario Cuomo said years ago, "You campaign in poetry. You govern in prose."
I'll have more to say about this in my next blog.
Kenneth Kowald
March 1, 2014, 2:22 pm
anon from queens says:
Why did no one question his campaign tactics? Didn't you think something to be "fishy" when one has their son speaking for him in one of the first ads? You all fell for the husband, wife and two kids syndrome as well as the as using the "black card". I still find it odd that a professed lesbian married him. Was it for political reasons or was a turkey baster used? All a set up for the ignorant and gullible. The whole thing was a tactic to get elected and you all fell for it...and now we're hooked, lined, and sunk!
March 1, 2014, 8:47 pm
anon says:
It's the arrogance of power!
March 2, 2014, 12:37 pm
Jean Bailo Leo from Glen Oaks says:
Leave my boyfriend Bob Friedrich alone.
March 2, 2014, 4:17 pm

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