With an obviously peeved Michael Bloomberg in the audience, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio used his inauguration speech to distance himself from the class policies of the Bloomberg administration and reaffirm his support for promoting equality within America’s largest city.
The inauguration opened with a speech by one of de Blasio’s biggest supporters, long time activist Harry Belafonte who condemned Bloomberg’s New York as “Dickensian.” Belafonte then went on to discuss changing the Stop and Frisk law to push back against a racist justice system. De Blasio made ending Stop and Frisk one of his key campaign pledges .
A speech was also given by President Bill Clinton who noted that de Blasio had served in his administration in the Department of Housing and Urban Development and as a campaign manager for Hillary Clinton’s Senate campaign. Clinton was one of the few speakers to celebrate Bloomberg’s tenure as mayor before pivoting to say that inequality was a problem that “bedeviled the country.” He then swore de Blasio in as mayor.
Bill de Blasio then gave his inaugural speech highlighting his commitment to reducing inequality in one of the most class polarized cities in America.
We recognize a city government’s first responsibilities: to keep our neighborhoods safe; to keep our streets clean; to ensure that those who live here – and those who visit – can get where they need to go in every boroughs. But we know that our mission reaches deeper. We are called to put an end to economic and social inequalities that threaten to unravel the city we love. And so today, we commit to a new progressive direction in New York. And that same progressive impulse has written our city’s history. It’s in our DNA…
Now I know there are those who think that what I said during the campaign was just rhetoric, just “political talk” in the interest of getting elected. There are some who think now, as we turn to governing – well, things will just continue pretty much like they always have. So let me be clear. When I said we would take dead aim at the Tale of Two Cities, I meant it. And we will do it.
It remains to be seen how much success Mayor de Blasio will have in reducing wealth inequality in New York City. The resistance will be intense and the rich of that city are some of the richest in the world. Nonetheless, it is a promising start and many of the policies such as ending Stop and Frisk as well as stopping the Muslim spying program are directly within de Blasio’s power.
We’ll have to wait and see what happens.