Reviews | The Times endorses Eric Adams for mayor of New York. Here is a list of things to do.
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Barring a political cataclysm, Eric Leroy Adams, a former police captain turned Democratic politician, will become New York’s next mayor.
For Mr. Adams, the charismatic Brooklyn Borough President and Democratic mayoral candidate, winning Tuesday’s general election will likely be the easy part. Democrats outnumber Republicans in New York by nearly seven to one. The real challenge will come in January, when the new mayor begins to put the pandemic-stricken city back on its feet.
If elected, Adams will enter Town Hall with very few of the benefits Bill de Blasio enjoyed eight years ago. He may need to guide the city’s recovery without the same generous surpluses and a stable economy, for example. Unlike Mr. de Blasio, Mr. Adams only narrowly won the Democratic primary. To govern effectively, he will also need to find a way to reassure those who did not vote for him – which includes a large chunk of voters in his own party – that he will be the mayor of all New Yorkers.
Since the Democratic primary, much of the mayoral race has focused on crime. Mr. Adams has focused his campaign largely on law and order, while supporting police reform. This may sound strange to a Democratic politician in liberal New York City. Coming from Mr. Adams – who served in the police department for 22 years, rising through the ranks to become captain, even as he publicly fought to reform the department – it’s more complicated.
In many ways, Mr. Adams, who is black and raised in South Jamaica, Queens, represents the unresolved thirst of black communities for safer streets and better policing. If Mr. Adams can better protect the communities that bear the brunt of gun violence while also bringing accountability and reform to the city’s police service, as he has promised to do, it will be a triumph.
The city also faces other challenges, arguably even greater.
Top priorities for the next administration should include ensuring that the city’s one million public school students recover from a year of learning lost during the pandemic, especially the 600,000 students who learned remotely. Last year. Even as the pandemic recedes, the city’s public school system needs significant help: more help for some 100,000 homeless students in the city, sweeping reforms to improve schools in poor communities. income and progress in integrating some of the country’s most segregated schools.
In order to fund better schools and all the good the administration is capable of doing, it is vital that New York City regains a solid financial footing. It means working with businesses large and small to restart the economic engine that can fuel progress.
These advancements are expected to include building much more affordable housing, especially in wealthy areas with good transit where less city grants are needed to create units for poor and middle-income New Yorkers.
The city should accelerate its laborious march towards reclaiming its streets on cars for pedestrians, restaurants and cyclists. Of course, the ultimate success there depends on getting the besieged metro system back on its feet. This means maintaining a good relationship with the governor, who has real power over the city’s transit system. The endless cycle of fruitless feuds between the former governor and the current mayor has helped no one.
The next administration will also need to work alongside the state government to shut down the Rikers Island prison complex, stick to reforms that prioritize mental health services and modernize detention centers, while keeping the community safe. city.
All of this work needs to be done while continuing to shore up this waterfront city against the rising tides of climate change.
There are also several policy areas in which we hope Mr. Adams will change his mind over the next four years from the promises made during the election campaign. We hope he will take more interest in the racial integration of the city’s public schools. We also hope that he takes a stricter approach to ensure that ultra-Orthodox yeshivas who have been the subject of serious complaints from parents and alumni effectively meet basic public education standards. .
If the polls and history are any indication, Mr Adams had little competition in the polls on Tuesday from Curtis Sliwa, a Republican and founder of the Guardian Angels who put forward some detailed proposals on what he would do in office. Voters keen to differentiate the two need look no further than the fact that Mr. Adams supports city mandates requiring thousands of city workers to be vaccinated. Mr. Sliwa not only does not support the mandate, but he recently marched alongside workers to protest the policy.
Mr. Adams has our approval.
We are heartened by Mr. Adams’ passion for advocating for the needs of working class New Yorkers, who have for too long been excluded from the city’s success. Some of Mr. Adams’ most thoughtful ideas include simple policies and changes that flow from his own personal experiences. His promise to create universal screening for dyslexia – a learning disability Mr. Adams faced as a child – is an encouraging example of how he viscerally understands the role city government can play in life of a child.
Several years ago, Mr. Adams overhauled his diet and is now a vegan. For many politicians, that would be a biographical detail. Mr. Adams turned the story into a call to arms (as well as a cookbook) and a poignant example of the connection between racism and health for black Americans. He said he was determined to improve the quality of food in schools, prisons and shelters.
“When we feed people, we should only feed them healthy foods,” he told Times Opinion’s Ezra Klein. “They come to the government because they have no other choice. So it’s almost a betrayal when you know someone has no choice but to eat what you give them and feed them food that fuels their chronic illnesses.
For some voters, this may be a distant priority. But there are millions of New Yorkers who need a mayor who so clearly understands the impact of city government on their daily lives.
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