Sunday, September 15, 2013

Hamill: Bill de Blasio appeals to the new New York City population

De Blasio's campaign — and his mayoral primary triumphs across voting blocs — reflects the changing face of New York City, and the hunger for change from Mayor Bloomberg's elitist policies. 

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David Handschuh/New York Daily News

Bill de Blasio's campaign appeals to the new New York City population  — those who are tired of Mayor Bloomberg's policies and NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly's tough tactics. Here, de Blasio with son Dante, daughter Chiara and wife Chirlane McCray (left to right) on Primary Day.

The Bill de Blasio mayoral campaign reflects the new New York.
For the first time in six decades, more people moved into New York City than out last year.
And when I showed up at de Blasio’s victory party at Bell House in Park Slope on Primary Night, you could see new, energetic, optimistic young faces mixed with older natives. All were working for a new direction in a reimagined city.
“I come from California,” said Kelly King, 46, a de Blasio volunteer who moved from the West Coast to the East Village. “I was a white orphan adopted by a black father and an Italian-American mother from New Dorp, Staten Island. I was raised in California, but I moved to New York a few years ago after I was diagnosed with breast cancer and was told people of my age had a 75% chance of dying.”
She said she wanted to stay optimistic as she fought for her life, so she decided to volunteer for a mayoral candidate.
“I did my research, and after years of dealing with medical insurance companies, chemo, hospitals and doctors, I thought that de Blasio had the best record of trying to save the community hospitals that have been shutting down and sold for real estate. He was in third or fourth place when I volunteered. I’ve met Bill many times, and he’s a really nice family guy who believes in diversity and equality in the city.”
She volunteered four nights a week on the de Blasio campaign, handing out flyers, making calls and pulling out the vote in her own diverse neighborhood on Primary Day.
“The Hispanics, the blacks, the whites like me and the gays in my neighborhood were all voting for de Blasio,” she says. “It was a beautiful thing.”
And here she was on Primary Night, in remission, smiling and sipping wine, as the results started coming in on the big screen in a room dominated by a poster bearing a single word — “progress.”
She cheered the winning de Blasio tallies with blacks, Latinos, white hipsters, aging yuppies, gay men and lesbians, all of them sick and tired of 12 years of Mayor Bloomberg.
Junior Martinez had also done his homework. “I researched all the candidates and contributed money to de Blasio,” said Martinez, an entrepreneur from Washington Heights dressed in a sharp suit with a red de Blasio decal on his lapel. “I think he’ll best serve the diverse city. I like that he wants to end stop-and-frisk. He’s in touch with working people and businessmen like me alike. He’ll be a great mayor.”
“I agree,” said Keith Brown, a court-appointed lawyer for Bronx Family Court who lives in Harlem. “I like his position on stop-and-frisk. I also felt that Bloomberg curtailed aid to the economically strapped people in the criminal justice system, cutting budgets in part 18B so that only people with money could be fairly represented. I believe de Blasio will give everybody a fairer shake. So I contributed to his campaign.”
Erika Mandourian of the West Village had been out greeting voters since 7 a.m. “I’m not surprised at the numbers we just saw on screen,” she said, enjoying a cocktail after the polls closed. “De Blasio’s outscoring (Christine) Quinn on the gay and lesbian and women’s vote. He outscored (Bill) Thompson on the black vote. I’m of Armenian and Italian descent and I volunteered for months for de Blasio. Most voters of every walk of New York life I met this morning told me they were going for de Blasio. He is the face of the new city.”
Yes, he is.
This is what Republican Joe Lhota will face in November’s general election. De Blasio is a candidate who appeals to the new New York population who wasn’t even here on 9/11, who doesn’t remember the violent crack epidemic of the Dinkins administration or sleazy Times Square before Rudy Giuliani.
The de Blasio workers in Bell House on Primary Night reflected the new city, voters who know only the elitist policies of Bloomberg and the tough law-and-order tactics of NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly.
Lhota, who wants to remind us that he was a major player in the Giuliani administration, is asking the new New Yorkers who believe in progress to go back in time to the 20th century.
Ain’t gonna happen.
The theme of this election is: “Out with the old and in with the new.”
That’s the new New York that will elect Bill de Blasio mayor.
dhamill@nydailynews.com
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