By EDITORIAL BOARD
If you blinked you missed last week’s Queens edition of “City Hall in Your Borough,” an engagement gimmick the de Blasio City Hall kicked off while the mayor was running for re-election in 2017. Most outlets and the chattering class praised the initiative as a unique way to immerse senior mayoral staff in the issues and opportunities in each of the five boroughs. Presumptive incoming Queens state Senator Jessica Ramos, who was then a spokesperson for City Hall, said the following at the onset of the new initiative last March:
“We know City Hall can seem far away from many corners of our city. ‘City Hall in Your Borough’ will allow the administration to be on the ground in each borough, communicating directly with community leaders and residents in their neighborhoods.” (link)
While our editorial board did notice a flurry of releases and events from the City Hall press office last week, here is a sampling of the daily schedule from Thursday, Oct. 25:
On Thursday, Mayor de Blasio will appear live on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.
After, the Mayor will appear live on CNN’s New Day.
Later, the Mayor will hold a media availability at the ribbon cutting of a new ExpressCare clinic. This event is open press. There will be Q-and-A.
In the afternoon, the Mayor and Borough President Katz will unveil designs for the reconstruction of the Olde Towne of Flushing Burial Ground. This event is open press. There will be no Q-and-A.
Two national media hits, albeit in response to the very important pipe bomb scare; a ribbon-cutting; and an unveiling: This schedule feels like something the mayor of New York City should be doing on any given weekday throughout the course of the year, i.e., calming the public in the wake of a security issue fraught with politics and attending community events in Elmhurst and Flushing.
With the amount of resources City Hall has, and with borough directors and Queensites already on staff, the borough would be better served if City Hall dropped the gimmicks and focused on each and every borough, and New Yorker, year round. An idea that could initially be applauded for its sentiment has fallen victim to the worst practices of governing by gimmick.
Next year, we hope the mayor spares us the sentiment, and works towards spending more time in Queens and the other four boroughs.