One of Michael Bloomberg’s top advisers during his administration came to his defense Thursday after several speakers took shots at the former mayor during Mayor Bill de Blasio’s inauguration.
“Everyone will have an opinion about the Bloomberg mayoralty and everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I think it’s important at least to be talking from a common set of facts,” former Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson said on WNYC’s “The Brian Lehrer Show.:
Singer Harry Belafonte and Public Advocate Leticia James both accused Bloomberg of ignoring the needs of the poor; supporting stop and frisk; and looking out for upper class New Yorkers first.
The Rev. Fred Lucas Jr., one of the clergy members who gave an invocation, went as far as to compare the five boroughs as a “plantation” and made several references to slavery during his speech.
“Oh God, oh God, oh God, break every chain, break every chain, break every chain,” he said.
Wolfson pointed out that the city decreased its incarceration rate and actually did make efforts to create more affordable housing and help the poor.
“We have the most private sector jobs in the city’s history today. At a time that poverty grew in every other big city in America, poverty was flat in New York City,” Wolfson said.
He did add that a lot of Bloomberg’s goals would take time but said he was confident de Blasio will build on the former administration’s successes.
De blasio, however, didn’t appear upset or troubled by the inauguration speakers’ attacks when asked about them during a news conference Thursday.
“Everyone who spoke at the inauguration spoke from the heart, talked about their own understanding of our city and what we need to do to move our city forward. I’m very comfortable with all that was done,” de Blasio said.