Wednesday, April 23, 2014

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NY1 Political Director Bob Hardt's daily look Inside City Hall.

NY1 ItCH: A Wednesday Doubleheader that the Mayor Hopes to Sweep

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"May you find what you're looking for." – A Chinese curse

It would be a complicated TV show to follow unless it was directed by David Simon or Aaron Sorkin: a brand new, nerdily-hip mayor heads up to the State Capitol where he may have his lunch eaten by a politically-savvy governor. Meanwhile, back in the city, the mayor's sometimes-prickly ally hopes to gain control of the City Council in a battle that's split the Democratic establishment.

At least part of the TV show may have a happy ending for Hizzoner. While Mayor de Blasio breaks bread with some Albany lawmakers this morning before the governor's State of the State address, it appears that Melissa Mark-Viverito has all but wrapped up her fight to be City Council speaker, a major political victory for the mayor. It's much tougher sledding in Albany, where the governor appears dead-set against approving de Blasio's proposed tax on the city's wealthiest residents – the linchpin to his universal pre-K program.

In the end, not hitting a political exacta wouldn't be the worst thing for de Blasio. If you get everything you ask for but don't deliver what you promise, you're a failure. But if you try hard and don't entirely succeed, you're a fighter. As Public Advocate and as a mayoral candidate, de Blasio was a master rabble rouser, even getting arrested to protest the planned closure of a hospital. He's still in the process of transforming himself from an outsider to an insider. While it's not always been part of his DNA, he's learning fast – witness his push for Viverito into the speakership.

It's a lot easier playing politics on your home court and as difficult as de Blasio's day may be in Albany, it's a different story with the Council where the supporters of Dan Garodnick appear to be giving up their fight and Viverito is poised to be the mayor's ally in running the Council. The question is what will de Blasio first try to push through with the Council at his side? And as the mayor already knows, the tough decisions are often made by the lawmakers in the State Capitol, not City Hall.

Still, even getting half of what he wants would be a good start for the mayor and solving the puzzle in Albany may have to wait for another day. It's something to ponder as he heads back to New York City on a chilly afternoon. After all, plenty of other mayors have starred in this TV episode as well.


Bob Hardt

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