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October 25, 2014 / 1 Heshvan, 5775
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The Mayor-Elect’s Welcome Appointments

The Jewish Press raised some eyebrows with its endorsement of Bill de Blasio in the New York City mayoral election. After all, the editorial positions we’ve taken over the years are not particularly compatible with Mr. de Blasio’s liberal track record. Indeed, we acknowledged in our endorsement that we had several concerns with his campaign platform, though we noted that he had been speaking in significantly more moderate tones since securing the Democratic nomination.

So we were happy with his choice of Anthony Shorris as first deputy mayor in charge of operations and William Bratton as police commissioner – appointments that touch on areas of primary concern to all New Yorkers: the economy and public safety.

The Shorris and Bratton picks lend real support to our observation that Mr. de Blasio, for all his vaunted progressive inclinations, appreciates the financial crunch facing our city (including billions of dollars in new union contract agreements) and that, contrary to what some were saying, he is not indifferent to New Yorkers’ fear of an increase in violent crime.

Mr. Shorris comes with impressive credentials as a top official in several city and state agencies. He served as executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, is a former deputy schools chancellor, and served as deputy budget director and city financer commissioner. He is currently a senior vice president at NYU Langone Medical Center and is highly respected for his budgetary skills and ability to get things done.

We believe the choice of Mr. Shorris points to the mayor-elect’s realization that he must temper his wish list with a responsible concern for a ballooning budget. In fact, Mr. de Blasio spoke often during the campaign of having to act in a fiscally prudent manner but this was largely obscured by the almost total focus on his “tale of two cities” narrative and “tax the rich” sloganeering.

Similarly, many found in Mr. de Blasio’s position on “stop and frisk” portents of a return to the lawless pre-Giuliani days. Yet he said countless times that “stop and frisk” was an invaluable anti-crime tool – while insisting that it be implemented in a constitutional way. His choice of Mr. Bratton, the architect of stop and frisk in New York, as police commissioner, should more than meet the concerns of skeptics in this regard.

It is noteworthy that Mr. de Blasio has always received significant support from many in the Jewish community in recognition of his sensitivity to our needs. Indeed, The Jewish Press supported him over the years in his campaigns for City Council and public advocate. His inclusion of several Jewish leaders in his circle of advisers is an indication that the relationship will continue to thrive during his tenure as mayor.

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