Saturday, September 13, 2014

De Blasio and Bratton at odds over cop expansion plan

Size matters, top cop Bill Bratton says. Except when he says size doesn’t matter.
The commissioner’s latest observation that New York needs to hire at least 1,000 more cops contrasts with his earlier statements that 35,000 were enough. Those who fault him for flip-flopping have a point, but only up to a point.
They forget that timing matters, too, and it’s now Bratton’s time to challenge his boss. Think of it as payback for the Al Sharpton fiasco.
When Mayor de Blasio foolishly invited Sharpton to a City Hall discussion of police tactics and seated himself between Bratton and Sharpton, the rabble-rousing rev used the promotion to humiliate his host and demonize cops. His hectoring reportedly infuriated the mayor, who believed he could count on Sharpton to be a team player. Silly man.
For his part, Bratton hid his fury, but is now getting even. The last thing de Blasio wants is to spend more money on hiring cops, which would be an admission that public safety is in jeopardy.
And the cost of those cops, more than $100 million a year, would be money he couldn’t spend on his leftist splurges, though it would probably buy him some peace with police unions.
The sense that the mayor and his police commissioner are in a tense dance is bolstered by the likelihood that Bratton didn’t give his boss a heads-up that he was going to use Monday’s City Council testimony to switch sides on the hiring issue. Nor can it be lost on City Hall that Bratton said additional cops were necessary because the entire department would be taken off the beat for re-training, a direct result of Sharpton’s agitation after the Eric Garner death on Staten Island.
Such are the strains of a marriage born of mutual convenience. Payback is expensive, but cheaper than divorce.
Bratton and de Blasio got hitched because the mayor’s anti-NYPD campaign last year raised fears he would be soft on crime and the city would revert to the mayhem of the David Dinkins era.
To counter those fears, de Blasio made a show of soliciting advice from Bratton, a cop’s cop and a successful commissioner in Boston, New York and Los Angeles.
For his part, Bratton wanted the Gotham job again badly enough to criticize Michael Bloomberg and Ray Kelly, despite record-low crime rates. His hiring, then, gave both him and de Blasio something they wanted.
But the tension keeps surfacing. During an earlier dust-up, two friends of Bratton separately told me they believed he would be gone in a year because he and de Blasio have such fundamentally different ideas about policing and because of de Blasio’s political debts to Sharpton.
They might still be proven right, but I wouldn’t underestimate Bratton’s improved skills at political in-fighting. He dared Rudy Giuliani to fire him, and Rudy took him up on the challenge.
It was a misreading of his standing that Bratton is not likely to repeat. He’ll soon turn 67 and another firing or resignation in New York would be an unfortunate way to end his career.
Indeed, in a casual conversation just before de Blasio hired him, Bratton joked to me that “I should have worked for Bloomberg” because Bloomy gave Kelly free rein at the NYPD.
No commissioner worth the job would want it any other way, so my bet is that Bratton is both more patient and more confident in his ability to bend de Blasio his way. After all, pushing for more cops against the mayor’s wish is a pretty bold move for somebody who serves at the mayor’s pleasure.
Still, crime is the one thing that binds them. If it goes up appreciably, neither will survive in his job.
If they can keep crime down, and so far, they mostly have, they could stay together for four years, even though love has nothing to do with it.

Let victis inspire response to Isis

With President Obama set to outline a plan for more attacks against the Islamic State, two dead Americans deserve to be a big part of tonight’s speech. In fact, journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff might be alive if they had been of almost any other nationality.
Remember, their executioners stressed that they were being beheaded as retaliation for limited bombing runs the United States carried out against the terror group.
Foley was subject to torture and mock executions before he was slaughtered, former hostages told intelligence officials. They said American prisoners were always treated more harshly than Europeans.
Sotloff’s murder confirms the point, and comes with an added twist. He was Jewish and had dual US-Israeli citizenship — facts not made public until his death because of fears he would be killed by his Muslim captors.
A friend of his wrote in The Times of Israel that after Sotloff’s kidnapping, “friends and associates raced to systematically remove any reference online to his Israeli and Jewish roots. The US and Israeli media agreed to cooperate in concealing this information, in order not to further jeopardize his life.”
The assumption — that being American would make him safer — proved to be more than false. He and Foley were singled out for death because of it.
As such, the gruesome murders served as a declaration of war against America. The failure of Obama to understand that — and to go golfing instead of responding — is helping to push his poll numbers to the basement.
A Washington Post-ABC poll finds that a majority of the country, 52 percent, now calls his presidency a failure. The poll finds that 59 percent view the Islamic State as a very serious threat, and 71 percent favor airstrikes.
We’ll know Wednesday night whether Obama is as wise as the people he supposedly leads.

Standing tall on this 9/11

With Thursday marking the 13th anniversary of the terror attack that changed history, the memorial service will serve as a fresh reminder of that awful day —and show how far New York has come in rebuilding the site.
The memorial and museum are finished, and the Freedom Tower is almost complete. Delays, disputes and overruns are legendary, and much of the surrounding area remains under construction.
But kower Manhattan continues to grow with housing, shops, offices, families and parks. All of that is a vital part of the comeback of a city the terrorists tried to destroy, but couldn’t because New Yorkers wouldn’t let them.

Trump record is Taj and go

You know times are tough when even the legal bookies are going bust. Trump Entertainment Resorts filed for bankruptcy Tuesday, and its Taj Mahal could be the fifth Atlantic City casino to close this year.
In court filings, the company says it has liabilities of up to $500 million and assets of no more than $50,000.
Wow. Anybody who could dig a casino into a hole that deep definitely belongs in a government job.

No comments: