View From Here: We Won’t Wait!
View From Here By David Mark Greaves
We Won’t Wait
When de Blasio said “We won’t wait”, there was an assumption by the populace that he was speaking to them. They were wrong. Those that didn’t wait were the supporters of “stop-and-frisk” and the security state. They got their guy in Commissioner Bill Bratton. The real estate and financial community did not wait either and were comforted with the appointment of Goldman Sachs executive and former member of the Giuliani Administration, Alicia Glen, as Deputy Director of Housing and Economic Development.
De Blasio’s first item on his agenda was expanding the Paid Sick Leave law. That’s good, but it presupposes a job. With unemployment in the African-American community running at 16-45% depending on who you’re counting, it’s not the top item on a community builder’s “To-Do” list. As for his call for Universal pre-K? Something that would help the African-American community? Well, we get pictures of his wife, Chirlane McCray, at the microphone with the mayor looking on admiringly, announcing that the campaign has been launched to get the New York State legislature to okay the necessary tax because this is something de Blasio can talk about but can’t do. It does give him a “Progressive” pedestal to stand on as one who “takes stands”. The African-American community gives him 96% of their vote and they get paid back in propaganda.
Now here is something the mayor, with his executive authority, can actually do.
He can tell the city agencies, the majority of which, according to the Comptroller’s M/WBE Report Card, spend between 0.0% and 3.7% of their budgets with African-American firms, that that spending level is unacceptable and that they all should be striving for double digits. That is something he can do to produce jobs, businesses and neighborhood stability.
And if he does not issue the edict himself, then it is something that members of the City Council can demand, push for and use some sharp elbows to fight for and take wearing the term “militant” on behalf of African-Americans as a badge of honor.
Speaking of a badge of honor, kudos to the Reverend Dr. Fred Lucas, senior pastor of the Brooklyn Community Church in Bedford-Stuyvesant, for his apt metaphor of New York City as a plantation. Not a plantation of slavery days, where people were forced by the lash to work for no pay, but a city in which the income disparity is beginning to rival those days of old. A city that spends less than 1% of its vendor budget with African-American firms and pretends to be shocked that African-American unemployment is so high. A city that can stop-and-frisk but cannot prepare its youth for a future that is already here. And now we have a whole new team and they call themselves “Progressives”, I think that means they are not Fascists and we should trust them and we do. Now we don’t often get a chance to say good things about President Ronald Reagan, however his signature phrase “Trust but verify”, was so perfect when dealing with the Soviet Union that I think it’s a good one to use now, because that certainly is the intent.
Note to Borough President Eric Adams: The Report Card also shows that in Jan-Dec 2013 the Brooklyn Borough President’s Office had an agency total of $4.9 million with 0.0% share going to M/WBE firms. If that figure is correct (I mean damn, I was sure Marty would have bought something from some certified person), then this is an opportunity to demonstrate in a measurable way how new leadership in public office can be an asset to an African-American community looking to grow their businesses.