Reader Jay Roberts raises the burning question of the day, one that has sparked a lively debate with one of his friends.
He writes, “You say Mayor de Blasio is a ‘putz’ but my friend says he’s a ‘schmuck.’ I suggest we send the mayor a letter asking for his opinion. A putz wouldn’t answer it, but a schmuck would.”
To which I say: Stop! You’re both right!
For those who don’t speak New York, think of a putz as a hapless fool, someone incapable of doing the right thing. A schmuck, on the other hand, is a jerk, someone who intentionally does the wrong thing.
Unfortunately for New Yorkers, de Blasio takes turns at being both. He always screws up, the only difference being whether it’s intentional or not. Either way, Gotham gets screwed.
The latest evidence comes with his agreement to cut police spending by about 17 percent, including the cancellation of a new class of rookies. With retirements soaring, that guarantees fewer cops on the street just as murder and mayhem are turning much of the city into the Wild West.
Murders are up 25 percent this year and the police counted 63 shootings last week, compared with 26 for the same week last year.
The violent tide suggests the bad guys have no fear of being arrested. Why should they? And if they are, the new bail law requires judges to release most of them immediately anyway.
Meanwhile, the domino effect will add to the city’s misery. The crime spurt, including the tragic murder of 17-year-old Brandon Hendricks, while the police force is facing reductions means the NYPD will have little or no resources for less serious but still important quality-of-life issues.
The illegal fireworks exploding all over the city with impunity are but a loud foreshadowing of the disorder to come. Consider, too, that it took the city more than a month to move a homeless man, often naked, out of the dry fountain at Washington Square Park.
For de Blasio, the police budget episode has been Exhibit A of how he is both hapless and unscrupulous.
At first, he tried to dance around the far-left pressure to defund cops but after he was booed and heckled off the stage at a June 4 memorial for George Floyd in Brooklyn, he instantly embraced the national madness.
Within days, de Blasio was throwing the mob a bone, saying that while he didn’t agree with calls for $1 billion in cuts to the NYPD’s nearly $6 billion in spending, he would propose “something substantial.”
Given the backdrop of protests, riots and looting, even that was reckless pandering. These “mostly peaceful protests,” as much of the media still insist on calling them, destroyed hundreds of businesses and scared sensible people out of their wits — and sent many of them to the exits.
A good, courageous mayor would have stood up to the anti-cop crowds and reminded them that the NYPD had saved thousands of black lives by taking illegal handguns off the street, and that a declining prison rate was another consequence. It was the police, not the protesters and rioters, who had made New York the safest big city in America.
Such a mayor also would have reminded all New Yorkers that a continuing exodus of taxpayers will leave the city with even less money to spend on anything and everything.
But expecting de Blasio to be a good, courageous mayor is a fool’s errand. He caved in to the demands and instead of nibbling at police spending, agreed to slash it.
Anti-police radicals wanted $1 billion, and that’s what he gave them, plus $500 million more from the separate capital budget, according to reports of Tuesday’s agreement with the City Council. The mayor even used his favorite word — redistribution — to describe how he would shift money from police to social services and other spending.
The council slashers were led by Corey Johnson, the speaker, who thinks he’s going to be the next mayor, just as every City Council speaker before him did. None has ever made it.
Johnson took office nearly three years ago by acting as something of a check on de Blasio, but as the national mood lurched far left, so has Johnson. Nowadays, whatever de Blasio wants to spend, Johnson says it’s not enough. So it was with cutting police — he was one of those demanding $1 billion from the cops’ hides.
For other ambitious pols, that money is peanuts. Comptroller Scott Stringer also wants to be mayor, and sensing an opportunity to get to the left of Johnson, he promptly denounced the deal as “bait and switch and a paper-thin excuse for reform.”
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez sang the same song, saying the deal was just a case of “funny math” and “is not a victory.”
This is crazy talk — and the stuff of disaster.
For one thing, the deal and the criticism reveal that the 2021 race to succeed the term-limited de Blasio will turn the brave men and women of the NYPD into a piñata. Beating up on cops will be the fastest way to grab a headline and energize the mob.
For another, the deal confirms that we are witnessing a dangerous moment in America. Just as New York led the nation in tackling crime 25 years ago, the folly of the nation’s biggest city cutting police spending during a crime wave will increase demands on any holdout cities to do at least as much.
While most will not follow the extreme Minneapolis model and try to shutter the police department and replace it, it is almost certain that the anti-blue wave sweeping much of America will simultaneously handcuff cops and thin their ranks.
That leads to the second guarantee, which is that these actions will usher in a new era of high crime and violence. And Bill de Blasio is helping to make it happen.
Heckuva job, Mayor Putz-Schmuck.
Goodbye . . . & riddance
Heart be still.
Rep. Adam Schiff, yes, that Adam Schiff, says he might want to leave the country.
“We may all be moving to Canada soon,” Schiff reportedly said during a Washington forum on disinformation and election interference.
He wouldn’t lack for help in packing.
There are lots of ideas on how President Trump can climb out of political quicksand, including this one from reader Jeff Moore. “What about making term limits for Congress the central ‘big idea’ for a second term?,” he writes. “I lament that virtually my whole adult life has been influenced — often significantly — by the likes of Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell. Careerism in politics is perhaps the single greatest contributor to the downward spiral of American society.”
Keep this in ‘mind’
In his first press conference in three months, Joe Biden gave a strange response to claims he’s lost a step or two mentally. The 77-year old said he’s “constantly testing” for cognitive decline.
Hmmm. If he’s fine, why undergo constant testing?