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De Blasio’s mid-term vow: cut down on mistakes

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio holds

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio holds a roundtable with the media in the Governor's Room at City Hall in Manhattan on Monday, Dec. 21, 2015. De Blasio, who is halfway into his term, spoke about his accomplishments and was asked about his failings. Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

Mayor Bill de Blasio, in a self-assessment at the halfway point of his term, acknowledged Monday that he’d made mistakes, but said accusing Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in June of a “vendetta” against the city’s agenda wasn’t one of them.

“At this level of play and at this volume, there’s going to be mistakes,” the Democrat said at a City Hall round-table session with reporters. He declined to itemize them, but said, “My job is to make fewer and fewer mistakes. My job is to always learn from everything.”

The ongoing feud between de Blasio and Cuomo had reached a boiling point last summer when the mayor said the governor was blocking agenda items such as an overhaul of a real estate tax abatement program and mayoral control of schools out of vengefulness. The governor in turn said de Blasio didn’t know how to build coalitions.

“It was important to simply lay down the standard that this is how I will look at all things emulating from Albany,” the mayor said Monday. “I’m satisfied it was the right approach, and there’s certainly been some good work we’ve done together with the governor, with Albany in recent months.”

De Blasio pointed to the accomplishments of his first two years in City Hall, including the addition of 50,000 full-time prekindergarten seats, the Vision Zero policy to reduce traffic-related fatalities and the newly announced HomeStat system to count and respond to the surge in the numbers of homeless New Yorkers.

While he would not discuss at length examples of what he believed are his mistakes, he noted that he will seek to go out to communities more in the second half of his term. He took note of the current battle with community boards resisting major elements of his affordable housing plan.

“I’m not in the business of dwelling in the past,” de Blasio told reporters. “I’ve clearly said I need to communicate better and I need to get out to the grass roots more.”

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