Bill de Blasio inherits a strong foundation

Bill de Blasio and Michael Bloomberg meet the day after the election.
Bill de Blasio and Michael Bloomberg meet the day after the election. Photo Credit: Handout Handout/ Joaquin Simo

He’s off to a promising start. Barely 12 hours after giving his victory address, Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio stepped into the TV lights Wednesday and introduced the leaders of his transition team.

He was all business. The campaign circus has moved on and the fun house mirrors are back in their crates.

De Blasio was now talking about the ordinary realities of meshing his aspirational agenda with the unglamorous give-and-take of daily politics. Outgoing Mayor Michael Bloomberg in later interviews was thoroughly gracious.

This is how a first-rate city moves from one era to the next. No matter how hot the campaign rhetoric, no matter how noisily the new guy has excoriated the old guard, a certain continuity between mayoralties is vital.

Wednesday we saw signs that that ethic is alive and well.

De Blasio did repeat his campaign pledge of opportunity for all yesterday. He repeated his vow to fix the inequities in city life. Yet he also showed welcome signs of respect for Bloomberg and his administration.

As his first order of business, de Blasio appointed two veterans of city government and the nonprofit sector to head his transition team.

Jennifer Jones Austin, the Bloomberg administration’s first family services coordinator, is chief executive for the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies.

Her co-chair is Carl Weisbrod, who was president in the late 1980s of the 42d Street Redevelopment Project. A veteran of city government and real estate, he also has played a role in the nonprofit sector as founding president of the Downtown Alliance, a business improvement district.

These are highly qualified choices.

For his part, the independent Bloomberg — who took lots of hits as a 6-to-1 Democratic city chose his successor — was upbeat Wednesday about the process.

Asked by CNN if the city might backslide under de Blasio into the worst days of decades past, Bloomberg said he simply wanted his successor to build on his achievements.

That’s a wise answer.