We the People

The Bay Ridge Christmas Tree was lit on Wednesday to begin the holiday season officially. The event on Shore Road was well attended by parents and youngsters who wanted to share the magic of the season.

A gaudier version at Rockefeller Center was lit by Mayor Bloomberg. Mayor de Blasio will have his hand on that switch next year and he will control many other things as well. People who voiced fears that the progressive politician will end up changing good and bad things in the city should be relieved by the work of his transition team.

Mr. de Blasio announced that Anthony Shorris is his selection as executive deputy mayor. Mr. Shorris brings great experience to the powerful position. He served in the Bloomberg and Koch administrations. He is as balanced and practical a city administrator as anyone could hope to have working for New York.

The mayor-elect also announced his selection of Bill Bratton as police commissioner. This choice would be a big change but not a choice of someone unknown or untested. Mr. Bratton was an innovative police commissioner under Rudy Giuliani.

These decisions indicate that Mr. de Blasio can be passionate about issues like individual rights but realizes that a city must be run well in order for its citizens to live well. The subways must work (some R train help, please), bus service must be improved, people need to be safe and feel safe, and we need sensible traffic improvement. Mr. de Blasio can uphold the right of public employees to have fair compensation but must still protect the city in a fiscally responsible fashion. Workers may consider modest pay raises tied to productivity increases or overtime reform as a fair resolution to difficult contact negotiations.

It is time to deliver the ideal while working on the real. We deserve gun reform, education innovation and protection of individual civil liberties but we want a safe city and adequate massed transportation as well.

Councilmember Vincent Gentile hosted a party to thank volunteers and organizations who helped reelect him as the senior member of the council. Justin Brannan, president of the Bay Ridge Democrats political club, introduced Comptroller-elect Scott Stringer to the festive crowd and Mr. Stringer promised that he and Mr. de Blasio will show New York that progressive politicians can win elections and properly run the city, too.

Senator Schumer, a champion of sensible gun law reform in Washington, hopes to introduce a Senate bill to renew the Undetectable Firearms Act before expiration. The law is a broad prohibition on firearms designed to evade metal detectors like those produced by 3D plastic printers.

Incredibly, the NRA opposes renewal of the law. Gun rights advocates claim the law is a burden on individual liberty and useless since criminals will “print” weapons despite the ban. This nonsensical argument could be used to support a repeal of all laws and regulations since some people always choose to break or evade them.

The youngsters gazing in wonder at the lighted tree may be blissfully unaware that the decisions made by Congress, the mayor and the Council speaker will impact their future profoundly. We need leaders who are up to the task.

Mr. Gentile, now the senior member of the City Council, would be an ideal choice for Council speaker. As an attorney, former prosecutor, former state senator and senior councilmember, he is the most knowledgeable and experienced person for the job. It would be a great thing for our Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst and Dyker Heights communities to have our own leader leading the council. Let’s see what Santa leaves us under the tree this year.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.