De Blasio’s Recovery Task Force Follies

Chooses his wife and social justice activists as members.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio decided to appoint his wife Chirlane McCray to co-chair a new coronavirus recovery task force entitled the Task Force on Racial Inclusion and Equity. De Blasio is shamelessly giving his wife a patronage job to raise her profile for a possible run for Brooklyn borough president. “This is political. I wish de Blasio would stop doing this,” said Democrat Councilman Robert Holden. “Let her win the Brooklyn borough presidency on her own merits.” McCray’s Task Force on Racial Inclusion and Equity is separate and apart from de Blasio’s Fair Recovery Task Force, which will supposedly plan New York City’s broader recovery. De Blasio has also established eight Sector Advisory Councils focused on such facets of city life as business, arts and culture, tourism, labor, faith and educational training. The budgets for all these new bodies have not yet been announced.

De Blasio cited his wife’s experience running ThriveNYC, which she started in order to combat mental-health issues. “ThriveNYC was my idea,” McCray said. “I’m the founder, I provide the strategic support, I hold meetings on behavioral health and I amplify things to the public.” It turned out that McCray’s ThriveNYC was little more than a billion-dollar money pit, draining resources that could have been put to better use in serving the mentally ill population of New York City. Complaints to the NYPD about emotionally disturbed individuals soared approximately 23 percent between the launch of McCray’s boondoggle in 2015 and 2018. The number of people living on the streets of New York City with serious mental health issues also rose by about 23 percent during the same period. Mayor de Blasio’s own analysts who reviewed ThriveNYC’s mental health program concluded that it fell far short.

ThriveNYC director Susan Herman, who drew a salary of  $233,000 for her botched efforts under McCray’s leadership, announced last month the closure of 23 of its 54 programs. McCray herself did not receive a salary, much to her husband’s dismay. Mayor de Blasio complained that nepotism laws stood in the way of his wife’s getting paid. “I don’t understand it because if someone is working full time and is a professional with a whole lot of background and applying themselves, I don’t understand why they can’t get paid," the mayor complained a couple of years ago. McCray deserved to earn no more than her boondoggle accomplished – zero. Don’t expect anything more of substance from her latest pet project, the Task Force on Racial Inclusion and Equity.

The title alone of de Blasio’s other task force – the Fair Recovery Task Force - should give away its political agenda. “Fair” recovery in the mayor’s mind means wealth redistribution. He showed his true radical progressive colors in an interview with New York Magazine back in 2017. It is worth quoting from this interview because it foreshadows what may in store for the nation’s financial capital as de Blasio plans for the city’s recovery from the coronavirus crisis:

“What’s been hardest is the way our legal system is structured to favor private property. I think people all over this city, of every background, would like to have the city government be able to determine which building goes where, how high it will be, who gets to live in it, what the rent will be. I think there’s a socialistic impulse, which I hear every day, in every kind of community, that they would like things to be planned in accordance to their needs. And I would, too.”

De Blasio chose as one of the members of his Fair Recovery Task Force the president of the George Soros-backed Open Society Foundation, Patrick Gaspard. Gaspard, who served in the Obama administration as director of the White House Office of Political Affairs, helped his close friend de Blasio in the latter’s 2013 mayoralty campaign. Gaspard also reportedly had close ties with the leadership of the discredited ACORN and the Democratic Socialists of America-backed Working Families Party in New York. Gaspard will be well-placed to help de Blasio plan New York City’s economic "recovery." After all, de Blasio, who honeymooned in Fidel Castro’s Cuba and supported the communist Sandinistas, once described his vision of the perfect society as “democratic socialism.”

Another member of his Fair Recovery Task Force is de Blasio’s former commissioner of the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, Maria Torres Springer. She is now with the Ford Foundation, serving as its Vice President for U.S. Programs. De Blasio described Springer as one of his “progressive thinkers” who he expected would “aggressively implement progressive, community-based reforms” while serving in his administration. Upon her appointment to the task force, Springer tweeted that she was “ready to serve on @NYCMayor’s Fair Recovery Task Force with fellow NYC leaders committed to making sure we bend the arc of our city’s recovery towards justice.”

Once New Yorkers are permitted to go back to work as the coronavirus epidemic recedes, they will face de Blasio’s social justice plague.

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Photo from Bill de Blasio