De Blasio looks to help 'everyday people' of New York

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio gives the State of the City address at La Guardia Community College on 10 February 2014 Bill de Blasio's policies are at odds with some fellow Democrats - including plans to raise some taxes

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It was LaGuardia Community College, scrubbed up for the day, but well-worn and rather ordinary, that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio chose for his first State of the City address.

The site was rather different from the glamorous venue picked by outgoing Mayor Michael Bloomberg for his last such speech.

The new mayor's choice is deliberate: if the world's most celebrated city is a heady mixture of grit and glitz, Mr de Blasio is insisting some of the stardust has to rub off on those he calls "everyday people".

Mr de Blasio's rhetoric is uncompromising - he warns that New York faces a crisis of inequality, that while Wall Street has bounced back to new highs after the recession, the ladder to the American dream has been pulled out of sight for many Americans.

In his speech, he rejected the idea that he is sowing the seeds of class war but demanded that the work of all should be valued, not just that of those at the top.

There is policy meat on these political bones - he will insist that property developers build cheaper homes alongside luxury ones.

There's a promise to raise the minimum wage and for a tax rise on the wealthy to pay for preschool education. A pledge too, to allow illegal immigrants to flourish, and not be forced to live in the shadows - something he repeated in Spanish.

He made clear that what he called the "broken policing policy" of stop-and-frisk would end.

But he also admitted that doing the central economic part of all this in a fiscally responsible way would be hard.

The BBC spoke to New Yorkers in the Bronx to find out how they think a shift in policing will impact their lives

His promise to raise taxes puts him head-to-head with Democratic New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, and presumably many of the most powerful people in the city. As President Barack Obama has found out, even fairly modest commitments can be difficult to deliver.

Although New York has been a Democratic city for the last 20 years, it has voted for pragmatic mayors friendly to finance, rather than idealists. Mr de Blasio is trying to break that mould.

There's a lot of interest in what his project might mean, both in the wider US and in the UK, and whether it heralds a political new wave of activism.

The left would argue that his election means that a radical agenda can woo the voters. But the real test is whether he can deliver that for his supporters without unduly dismaying the doubters.

Mark Mardell Article written by Mark Mardell Mark Mardell Presenter, The World This Weekend

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  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    JM: All those un-American folks!

    It wasn't long ago Democrat NYC Gov Cuomo said anyone who was not a Democrat was not welcome in NYC or something like that

    It was incredibly polarizing

    Unfortantely many politicians in NYC like Cuomo and De Blasio are becoming more and more un-American

    I am hoping when we get a new President
    our country reverts back to its old self

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    The St Patrick's Day Parade should only be about our Irish heritage-
    not about sexual orientation or politics

    Basically these gay rights activists want the St Patrick's Parade to be about gay rights instead of Irish Americans

    The problem with gay rights groups is they want to always make every event about them

    To me, they are probably the most selfish and intolerant people in the world

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    DeBlasio won with over 60% of NYC voters. All those un-American folks! MagicKirin (#1 and #2) should move to NJ or CT with all his millions. Republicans are sore losers and anti-democracy. They can never accept when the Democrats win fair and square elections.

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    De Blasio boycotting St Patrick's Day Parade because they don't allow sexual orientation signs is just plain un-American

    Does anyone really want to watch a St Patrick's Day Parade in which every person is holding a sign saying whether they are straight or gay?

    St Patrick's Day is not about politics
    Its about celebrating our Irish heritage

    De Blasio is un-American

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    Typical socialist idiota the New Yorkers deserve Him they voted for Him,eat your plate

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    You might also point out the DeBlasio philsophy last expoused by David Dinkens drove NY city into Bankrupcy and criminals had free run of the streets.

    And DeBlasio want to end the very popular Stop and Frisk

  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    Blasio is not willing to work with people he wants to punish hard working people with taxes. example he wanted pre K for everyone, Gov Cuomo had a way to do it but Blasio insits on soaking people with taxes. I can tell you from a buusiness point of view companies will move to NJ and CT

    He will sell NY out to the labor unions who Billy Boy have not paid their fair share


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