A Siena College public opinion poll released in June indicated that only 29% of New Yorkers approve of Mayor Eric Adams job performance.
This is down from 63% in January.
Then on Aug. 9, in a front-page story, "Faith in Adams Starts to Waver in Anxious City," The New York Times reported, "Seven months into Mayor Adams term, the hope and excitement that many New Yorkers felt after his election are giving way to concern that he has not taken bold steps needed to solve the city’s most intractable problems."
These problems include high unemployment, high inflation, economic decline, trash piling on the streets, homeless encampments, a failing education system, and the crime wave.
The mayor’s efforts to address these issues have been feeble at best, and his political skills are wanting. Frankly, I don’t believe he is up to the job.
Mayor Adams got off to a bad start by appointing government and political advisers who have little knowledge of the machinations of the city or state government.
As a result, he has mishandled his dealings with Gov. Kathy Hochul, D-N.Y., state legislators, and city council members — all of whom have been walking all over him.
The mayor did not grasp that this year, and only this year, he had leverage over the governor and state legislators because they are up for election.
To obtain his endorsement, Adams should have demanded that Hochul fix the "woke" bail reform law, scuttle the flawed Penn Station real estate deal, and shelve congestion pricing.
As for handling state legislators, he should have threatened to endorse their primary opponents and to fire their cronies and relatives on the city payroll if they did not remove clauses from the bill to extend his control over city schools that impose additional costs and grant power to the teachers union to control class-size.
Next is the issue of mayoral cronyism.
The mayor blundered his first week in office when he named his brother Bernard, a retired NYPD sergeant, deputy police commissioner.
Bernard was to be paid $240,000 a year — plus his city pension.
A backlash from good government groups forced the mayor to withdraw the appointment. But, learning nothing from the uproar, Adams appointed his brother director of his security detail — a job that pays $210,000 annually.
When that didn’t fly, the mayor finally relented.
Bernard is now a "dollar a year" senior adviser for mayoral security.
Last week it was revealed the mayor hired in May another crony, Timothy Pearson, who continued collecting his $124,000 police pension, as well as a salary from Resorts World Casino in Queens County. (Over the weekend, the casino announced Pearson’s employment was terminated.)
On top of that, it leaked out this month that Adams asked to see photos of people being considered for high-level jobs in his administration.
It appears he wants to know a candidate’s complexion before hiring.
"Asking for photos," the New York Post bemoaned, "smacks of the country-club racism and anti-Semitism that afflicted elite U.S. institutions for decades (and still afflicts our top colleges when it comes to Asians.)"
Mayor Adams has also failed to come to grips with the looming economic crisis.
His bloated record-breaking $101 billion budget is a ticking time-bomb.
The budget does not reserve enough money to meet pay raises government employee unions will demand at the negotiating table to counter rampant inflation.
And the budget does not deposit enough money in rainy day funds to offset declining tax revenues.
With only 40% of workers returning to their offices, corporate managers are downsizing space as leases are expiring. Lower occupancy will drive down commercial real estate taxes — the city’s largest revenue stream.
Wall Street firms — which account for 25% of city income tax revenues — are having a bad year. Layoffs and reduced bonuses mean less income tax revenue.
Also, sales tax revenue will decline as people hurt by the recession and inflation have less money to spend.
Not preparing for the economic downturn could push the city to the edge of the fiscal abyss.
Finally, there is the mayor’s failure to tackle major crime which was up 36% at the end of June. The assumption that the mayor, a former cop, could easily handle the issue has proved to be groundless.
Pointing his finger at the governor, the state legislature, and district attorneys who, as former police commissioner Bill Bratton has written, "cuddle criminals and cast aside the victims of crime," is not enough.
Unless Adams agrees to restore "broken window" policies that brought down crime to all-time lows during the Giuliani-Bloomberg years, frightened New Yorkers will continue to leave, more fed-up police officers will retire, and violent crime will continue to plague communities.
Succeeding the smug, lazy, incompetent Bill de Blasio, should have been an easy act for Adams to follow.
Sadly, it hasn’t.
And if Mayor Adams doesn’t quickly grow in his job — he will wreck the city fiscally, economically, and socially.
George J. Marlin, a former executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, is the author of "The American Catholic Voter: Two Hundred Years of Political Impact," and "Christian Persecutions in the Middle East: A 21st Century Tragedy." Read George J. Marlin's Reports — More Here.
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