Wednesday, July 23, 2014

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

NY1 ItCH: An Early Arrivederci for Hizzoner

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Ciao, New York!

While the mayor still hasn't found the time to pack his bags and move from Park Slope to Gracie Mansion, he's planning on taking a break from City Hall for a week-and-a-half.

Later this week, Mayor de Blasio and the rest of the First Family are jetting off to Italy for a nine-day vacation in which the mayor is going to embrace his inner Italian while recharging his batteries.

"It will be a moment to enjoy some much-needed time with Chiara and Dante,” First Lady Chirlane McCray said in a statement.

Capital's Gloria Pazmino and Sally Goldenberg point out that the vacation "is one of the earliest overseas trips for a new city mayor and among the longest personal trips by a mayor in recent memory."

While everyone is entitled to a vacation, this one just seems a little premature.

With shootings on the rise, a looming LIRR strike, and new pre-k seats still to be found for this fall, it may not be wise to be leaving the five boroughs and lighting out for the Italian territories. Although the city and its workforce of 300,000 can largely run itself for weeks at a time, putting things on autopilot ( or in the capable hands of First Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris) seems like an unnecessary risk for a new mayor.

Last week, I noted how de Blasio appeared to have learned some valuable lessons from the city's last Democratic mayor, David Dinkins, when it comes to looking tough on crime. But the vacation memo may not have made its way into the time capsule.
Dinkins was out of town – on a trade mission in Tokyo – when terrorists attacked the World Trade Center with a bomb on Feb. 26, 1993. While it was just one of several pieces of bad luck and lousy timing for the mayor, it contributed to the perception that he wasn't a hands-on leader at a time when the city felt like it was out of control.

New York is in a far different –and safer -- place than it was 20 years ago but spending so much time away from the city is an unnecessary risk for a mayor who is still trying to learn the ropes.

Why not follow in the footsteps of former mayors William O'Dwyer or Abe Beame and take a City Hall stay-cation in Queens? I hear the Rockaways are lovely this time of year.


Bob Hardt

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