New terms start with challenges to Bloomberg
The two new citywide elected officials are wasting no time raising the profiles of their offices, kicking off terms this week that many expect will be defined by political ambition and public challenges to Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio Monday plans to announce several changes to the structure and purview of his office, which the mayor has said he would like to see eliminated.
“Every week, you’re going to see us out there” said Matthew Wing, a spokesman for de Blasio, who declined to reveal exactly what changes are being proposed. “Right now, New Yorkers are looking for a check and balance in city government.”
Though he supports mayoral control of the schools, de Blasio has said he will push for more parent involvement, which could set him up for a clash with City Hall.
Comptroller John Liu spent Sunday with members of the teachers union pushing for curbs on charter schools. Bloomberg has been a strong advocate for charter schools and has sought to expand them.
In his inauguration speech Friday, Liu, the first Asian-American elected to a citywide office, also vowed to review development projects both past and future and to cut back on no-bid contracts, which he said cost the city millions.
Bloomberg, who was sworn in Friday for his third term, used his radio address Sunday to tout the city’s drop in crime and promised to begin a vast expansion of surveillance technology into midtown this year.
Liu, 42, and de Blasio, 48, are both potential front-runners for the mayor’s race in 2013.
“These are two people who won’t be reluctant to go toe to toe with the administration when they feel it is necessary or when it is politically advantageous for them,” said Patrick Egan, a professor of politics at NYU.
In addition to the inaugurations, several new laws took effect Friday:
The city’s ban on solid metal roll down gates
-The creation of a new pension tier for incoming city teachers
-The addition of Russian as a language option for voters in addition to English, Spanish and Chinese.