BY: AMBER CALABRO
On Feb.10, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio gave his first annual address to the city. De Blasio had a very liberal and progressive agenda which was consistent with the platform on which he ran. This contrasts greatly with past state of the city speeches given by former Republican mayors such as Manhattan College alumnus Rudy Giuliani and more recently Michael Bloomberg. De Blasio made many mentions to former Mayor LaGuardia, who is regarded as one of the greatest mayors in American history. As a Republican, he supported the New Deal reforms of Democratic President Franklin Roosevelt, as well as an emphasis on every New Yorker deserving a “fair shot at a better life,” according to the New York Daily News.
So why should you care about what de Blasio had to say? Maybe you aren’t a resident of NYC outside of the school year, or choose to pretend as though politics isn’t happening every day, but speeches like this are vital to the American system. It is especially important that it is New York City’s State of the City address. Let us not forget that NYC is not only the most populous city in the nation, but a global power city for commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education and entertainment as well as a significant center for international diplomacy. New York is said to be the cultural capital of the world. Although many of us at MC grew up in a borough or with NYC close by and take it for granted, it is crucial to realize the role this city plays.
According to Metro New York, de Blasio’s agenda consisted of seven main points:
1. Living wage expansion
- De Blasio would like to ensure that everyone who puts in a full week of work can support themselves and their families and not become a part of the city’s poor population (46% of the city).
2. Local control of minimum wage
- According to the Associated Press, Albany lawmakers must sign off on this for it to advance. However, Cuomo and lawmakers reached a deal to raise New York’s minimum wage to $9 by the end of 2015, a higher hike would most likely estrange business leaders.
3. High-quality jobs in the five boroughs
- This includes: 1) Advancing CUNYs in math, science, technology and engineering 2) more job training 3) preparing college grads for middle-skill, middle-class jobs 4) help high schools connect to colleges to insource jobs to help bridge the gap between the city’s wealthiest and poorest
4. Municipal ID cards for immigrants
- Universal ID card for New Yorkers regardless of immigration status by the end of 2014 which would any carrier to open a bank account, sign leases and to apply for social services including public housing programs
5. Community health care
- Paid sick leave to an additional 500,000 workers city wide
- No more hospital closings
- Improving public health
6. Sandy recovery acceleration
- A comprehensive review and updated plan to help those still feeling the impacts of Sandy
7. Universal pre-K
- De Blasio would like to tax the city’s wealthiest to fund universal prekindergarten as this was his signature campaign proposal. State senators such as GOP leader Dean Skelos plan on stopping this from happening.