In Annual Address, Bronx Borough President Hints at Possible Run for Mayor
While Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. spoke about the borough's future in his State of the Borough address Thursday, he also seemed to be hinting about his own. NY1's Erin Clarke filed the following report.
At times, it sounded like a stump speech for mayor.
"That accountability should be available to this mayor and all future mayors, whoever they might be," said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
In his previous State of the Borough addresses, Borough President Ruben Diaz Junior touted his accomplishments of the past year. But Thursday's speech was different. It read like a highlight reel of Diaz's seven years in office.
He touted the creation of 23,000 housing units, a drop in unemployment, new commercial development and reductions in crime. Perhaps more significantly, he took on Mayor Bill de Blasio, accusing City Hall of dropping the ball during last summer's deadly eruption of Legionnaires' Disease.
"The city failed us during this outbreak. So I demanded action. This led to an increased response from Governor Cuomo," Diaz said.
He also suggested that there was a better way than the mayor's much-criticized approach to rezoning.
"We adopted no less than 14 rezonings here since 2009 using the traditional "neighborhood by neighborhood" approach. Why fix what is not broken?" Diaz said.
Diaz never outright said he'd run for mayor, but he clearly left the door open to it.
"I would have another term if the people of the Bronx would have me, but should the opportunity present itself where I can serve in another capacity and do not only for the people of the Bronx and beyond, that's something that we would seriously consider," he said.
Bronx politicians don't think the idea is farfetched.
"The borough president is looking at our borough and saying that we're doing great things in this borough and we can really be a model reflective of the entire city," said City Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson of the Bronx.
"I think the borough president would make a great mayor," said City Councilman Andrew Cohen of the Bronx.
"The sky is the limit for the borough president," said City Councilman Ritchie Torres of the Bronx.
Beyond hinting about his future, Diaz offered a preview of the next year, including major renovations at Orchard Beach and transforming the Bronx General Post Office into a food and retail market with offices and a rooftop lounge, set to open next year as Bronx Post Place.