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Bill de Blasio: Food Stances to Expect From the Mayor-Elect

Bill de Blasio: Food Stances to Expect From the Mayor-Elect

New York City's mayor-elect just donated a truffle to a high school. What next?

What should we expect in food law with mayor-elect Bill de Blasio?

Last we heard, mayor-elect Bill de Blasio was donating an $8,000 truffle to a New York City high school. But what's going to happen to Mayor Bloomberg's crusade against giant sodas?

Turns out, de Blasio will continue fighting the good fight, promising recently to keep Bloomberg's top battles, including the appeal of a court rejection of the soda ban.

This has been his stance since the campaigning days. "I believe the mayor is right on this issue," he said in October. "We are losing the war on obesity ... It’s unacceptable. This is a case where we have to get aggressive."

De Blasio's policy, it seems, is to focus on health initiatives and decrease inequality. He received an $8,000 truffle, only to donate it to the Food and Finance High School in Manhattan. He showed up at New York Communities for Change, calling for higher living wages for fast-food workers. And in past debates, de Blasio has campaigned for increasing enrollment to the SNAP program, making school breakfasts universal, focusing on local produce in school cafeterias, and investing money in school food programs. This means you might be seeing more programs like Edible Schoolyard in New York's public school system.

All of this is, of course, a way to merge "two New Yorks" into one, taxing top earners to expand pre-kindergarten programs, increase affordable housing, and more. And while New York has to wait until January to see whether he follows through on his promises, we can always count on de Blasio ordering black olive pizzas from local Park Slope joint Smiling Pizza. Unless he moves to Gracie Mansion, that is.


De Blasio On Trump: People With Major Differences Can Still Work Together

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) President-elect Donald Trump and Mayor Bill de Blasio have said plenty of negative things about each other &ndash with Trump even going so far as to call de Blasio the worst mayor in the United States.

So how will the mayor and the president-elect move forward? CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer asked Mayor de Blasio about it.

For the second time in two days Thursday, Mayor de Blasio strode into the Blue Room at City Hall to talk about a presidential election that repudiated much of what he stands for &ndash and those five gold letters, T-R-U-M-P, that dashed his hopes of being the catalyst for moving American policies to the left.

De Blasio said he will have an open-handed policy with regard to Trump, but not without limits.

&ldquoWe’re not going to take anything lying down,&rdquo de Blasio said. &ldquoAnything we see as a threat, we’re going to fight.&rdquo

And while U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Gov. Andrew Cuomo spoke with Trump on Wednesday, somehow the mayor of the nation&rsquos largest city has been unable to get through. Has that been simply that the president-elect has been too busy, or that the two men are not exactly simpatico?

Kramer reported that she would have asked on Wednesday, de Blasio did not take questions at his Wednesday appearance. She did ask on Thursday.

Kramer: &ldquoMr. Mayor, since Donald Trump has described you as the worst mayor in the United States — and you have been highly critical of one of his top advisors, Rudy Giuliani &ndash I wonder how you plan to forge a relationship with him and his administration.&rdquo

De Blasio: &ldquoI think it’s fair to say that there are lots of people who have had differences, but can still work together. I don’t expect him to retract the things he said about me, and I’m not going to retract the things I said about him, because I believe them. But that doesn’t mean we can’t work together.

And it is important for the city to get along with the folks in Washington. Federal aid accounts for about 10 percent of the city&rsquos $82 billion budget &ndash money for public housing and the New York City Housing Authority, for public hospitals, for homeland security, and for transportation.

Kramer asked de Blasio if Trump could afford to turn his back on New York City.

&ldquoI also think it would be seen as a different kind of hypocrisy to turn against the place he came from,&rdquo de Blasio said.

The mayor said there may be an X factor in his relationship with the president elect. He said at this point, we really don’t know which Trump we’re going to be getting.


De Blasio: If Trump does not act on coronavirus outbreak, 'people will die'

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio gives update on coronavirus response.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio had a grim prognosis for his city during the coronavirus outbreak and claimed Sunday that if President Trump does not do something soon, it will cost people their lives.

Roughly a third of call cases in the U.S. are in New York City, resulting in much of the city being shut down, with all nonessential workers being told to stay home. The mayor told NBC's "Meet the Press" that he does not expect the situation to improve any time soon.

“The truth is," de Blasio said, "It’s only getting worse.”

De Blasio lamented that Trump's inaction has hampered the city's ability to treat its large numbers of patients.

“The president of the United States is from New York City and he will not lift a finger to help his hometown,” he said. “I don’t get it.”

De Blasio said he asked for the military to be sent out and for Trump to use the Defense Production Act to be used to acquire ventilators for patients suffering from the illness.

“If the president doesn’t act, people will die who could have lived otherwise," de Blasio said.

President Trump tweeted Sunday morning, stating that he and his administration have been working with state leaders to address the crisis.


Ex-teacher, principal picked to lead NYC schools

NEW YORK&mdashA former teacher, principal and longtime advocate of early childhood education will be the next leader of the nation’s largest public school system, New York City’s incoming mayor announced Monday.

Carmen Farina, also a former deputy chancellor of city schools, will bring a wealth of insider’s experience and fresh ideas to the job, Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio said.

“She knows it because she’s lived it,” he said.

“This is literally one of the most important decisions I’ll ever make as mayor and one of the most personal,” said de Blasio, whose two children have attended public schools. “Taking on the lives of 1.2 million kids might be one of the most sacred missions in government anywhere in this country.”

Farina has been a longtime adviser to de Blasio and helped inform his education platform, including his signature proposal to offer universal pre-kindergarten and expanded after-school programs for middle school students.

At a Brooklyn news conference announcing her appointment, she also talked about her early years as a public school student. She said she was initially treated as if she were invisible, because she was the child of Spanish immigrants and had a last name that was difficult for the teacher to pronounce. (It’s fah-REE’-nyah.)

“It’s such a privilege to be able to come back to a system that has so much work yet to be done, but to be doing it from a stance of a progressive agenda,” Farina said Monday. “We’re going to have a system here where parents are real partners.”

De Blasio will take office Jan. 1, becoming the first mayor in recent memory to preside over the five boroughs while having a child in public schools.

Farina, 70, will take over the school system at a crucial juncture.

Outgoing Republican-turned-independent Mayor Michael Bloomberg was elected on a campaign promise of being “an education mayor” and dramatically increased government spending on education. But de Blasio, a Democrat, campaigned against many of the policies that Bloomberg championed during his 12 years in office, such as closing schools that are deemed to be failing and boosting the growth of charter schools by giving them free space in public school buildings. De Blasio also has criticized the outgoing administration for being over-reliant on standardized testing.

The transition to a new administration is the first since Bloomberg won mayoral control of the schools in 2002, and de Blasio and Farina would not say what changes they may implement in the middle of a school year.

Farina, the daughter of immigrants from Spain who fled the Franco regime, has held several posts within the city school system. She was once a teacher at Public School 29 in the Cobble Hill section of Brooklyn and later a principal at P.S. 6, a high-achieving school on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

It was there that she first met de Blasio. They began working together in 2001 after Farina moved to Brooklyn’s District 15 school board, of which de Blasio was a member. De Blasio, who lives in the Park Slope neighborhood, sent both of his children to a school within Farina’s district.

She de-emphasized using standardized testing as a major factor in measuring performance, a stance that clashed with the Department of Education’s central office. De Blasio has long railed against “teaching to the test.”

Farina also created several new, small middle schools within District 15, a tactic de Blasio has praised. The district soon became regarded as one of the most innovative and in the city and one of its schools hosted Monday’s press conference.

Farina became deputy chancellor under Joel Klein, Bloomberg’s first chancellor. She retired in 2006 but supplied informal guidance to de Blasio’s mayoral campaign.

Rumors have swirled that she may only serve a year or two in the post while she did not specifically pledge Monday to serve four years, she said her commitment to the job was “total” and that she was not doing it part-time.

Many parent groups and education advocates praised the pick, which also received high marks from the teachers union, which often had a contentious relationship with Bloomberg.

“Carmen is a real educator,” said Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers. “She has a deep knowledge of schools and our system, and is on record criticizing Mayor Bloomberg’s focus on high stakes testing.”

Teachers&mdashas well every other city worker&mdashare currently working under expired contracts. Though brokering those agreements will be among de Blasio’s first tasks in office, neither he nor Farina would discuss negotiations Monday.

Several charter school advocates offered more measured approval for the selection.

“I know Carmen well and she is an educator who cares,” Eva Moskowitz, chief executive of the Success Academy Charter Schools system, said in a statement. “The question is will she protect and expand public charter school options for families who need and are demanding them?”

De Blasio wants to fund his universal pre-kindergarten program by raising taxes on wealthy New Yorkers, a plan that would need approval by the state Legislature and Gov. Andrew Cuomo. They have been noncommittal.


Tag Archives: Bill de Blasio

StudentsFirst Vice President Eric Lerum and I recently began a debate about approaches to teacher evaluation. During Part 2 of that debate, the conversation touched on the relationship between anti-poverty work and education reform. We resume that conversation below.

Here were the relevant parts of our original exchange, in case you missed it:

Lerum: The larger point that is made repeatedly is that because outside factors play a larger overall role in impacting student achievement, we should not focus on teacher effectiveness and instead solve for these other factors. This is a key disconnect in the education reform debate. Reformers believe that focusing on things like teacher quality and focusing on improving circumstances for children outside of school need not be mutually exclusive. Teacher quality is still very important, as Shankerblog notes. Improving teacher quality and then doing everything we can to ensure students have access to great teachers does not conflict at all with efforts to eliminate poverty. In fact, I would view them as complementary. But critics of these reforms use this argument to say that one should come before the other – that because these other things play larger roles, we should focus our efforts there. That is misguided, I think – we can do both simultaneously. And as importantly in terms of the debate, no reformer that I know suggests that we should only focus on teacher quality or choice or whatever at the expense or exclusion of something else, like poverty reduction or improving health care.

Spielberg: I believe you discuss [a] very important question…Given that student outcomes are primarily determined by factors unrelated to teaching quality, can and should people still work on improving teacher effectiveness?

Yes! While teaching quality accounts for, at most, a small percentage of the opportunity gap, teacher effectiveness is still very important. Your characterization of reform critics is a common misconception everyone I’ve ever spoken with believes we can work on addressing poverty and improving schools simultaneously. Especially since we decided to have this conversation to talk about how to measure teacher performance, I’m not sure why you think I’d argue that “we should not focus on teacher effectiveness.” I am critiquing the quality of some of StudentsFirst’s recommendations – they are unlikely to improve teacher effectiveness and have serious negative consequences – not the topic of reform itself. I recommend we pursue policy solutions more likely to improve our schools.

Critics of reform do have a legitimate issue with the way education reformers discuss poverty, however. Education research’s clearest conclusion is that poverty explains inequality significantly better than school-related factors. Reformers often pay lip-service to the importance of poverty and then erroneously imply an equivalence between the impact of anti-poverty initiatives and education reforms. They suggest that there’s far more class mobility in the United States than actually exists. This suggestion harms low-income students.

As an example, consider the controversy that surrounded New York mayor Bill de Blasio several months ago. De Blasio was a huge proponent of measures to reduce income inequality, helped reform stop-and-frisk laws that unfairly targeted minorities, had fought to institute universal pre-K, and had shown himself in nearly every other arena to fight for underprivileged populations. While it would have been perfectly reasonable for StudentsFirst to disagree with him about the three charter co-locations (out of seventeen) that he rejected, StudentsFirst’s insinuation that de Blasio’s position was “down with good schools” was dishonest, especially since a comprehensive assessment of de Blasio’s policies would have indisputably given him high marks on helping low-income students. At the same time, StudentsFirst aligns itself with corporate philanthropists and politicians, like the Waltons and Chris Christie, who actively exploit the poor and undermine anti-poverty efforts. This alignment allows wealthy interests to masquerade as advocates for low-income students while they work behind the scenes to deprive poor students of basic services. Critics argue that organizations like StudentsFirst have chosen the wrong allies and enemies.

I wholeheartedly agree that anti-poverty initiatives and smart education reforms are complementary. I’d just like to see StudentsFirst speak honestly about the relative impact of both. I’d also love to see you hold donors and politicians accountable for their overall impact on students in low-income communities. Then reformers and critics of reform alike could stop accusing each other of pursuing “adult interests” and focus instead on the important work of improving our schools.

Lerum: So I’m beginning to understand where some of the miscommunication is coming from. You speak a lot about how you view StudentsFirst’s (and other reformers’) discussion of poverty from the perspective of what you expect us to talk about, rather than from the perspective of our stated objectives. That is, what you deem as “lip service” is merely an acknowledgement of something that is not our primary focus. There are many folks in education reform – I have a few on my team – who could spend hours talking about poverty reduction and could very easily work in another field that more traditionally aligns with what you think of as efforts geared toward reducing poverty. But the route we’re taking is one where reducing poverty, achieving social justice, lifting the long-term opportunities for our country – they all intersect. And therefore what we focus on at StudentsFirst are the policy levers – what we think of as levers for reform or change. For example, creating the conditions for other reforms to flourish or for educators and school leaders to use their resources more wisely (fiscal transparency, structuring smarter compensation systems, creating more school-level autonomy) are levers, whereas something like instituting a STEM program or increasing funding for social and mental health services would be specific programs or initiatives. Both are great for kids. Both are needed in order to ultimately reduce poverty. But we’re squarely focused on the former, while critics seem to be expecting we would focus on the latter. This disconnect is made worse though because critics seem to believe that an approach that involves initiatives is the only way to combat poverty. There’s a lack of appreciation and understanding of what’s intended by reform efforts that target levers.

Spielberg: I actually wasn’t talking about the distinction between levers and initiatives I was talking about accurate messaging and political activity.

My two critiques from above (rephrased and with my questions for you added) were:

1) StudentsFirst leaders and board members frequently suggest that education can improve the lives of low-income kids as much or more than alleviating poverty. That suggestion is demonstrably false. You could say the following, but don’t: “Research is clear that school-related factors cannot fix the achievement gap, but it’s also clear that schools make a difference. They seem to account for about 20% of student achievement, and our organization believes we can maximize the impact of this 20% with an intense focus on certain policy levers. We fully support other organizations that work on the anti-poverty efforts that are most important for low-income kids.” Why won’t you speak honestly about the limitations and relative importance of the reforms you push when compared with other efforts?

2) Relatedly, StudentsFirst supports politicians (besides just Chris Christie, who I discussed above) who substantially harm some of the neediest kids: your preferred candidates have rejected the Medicaid expansion, slashed education spending, tried to prevent immigrants from enrolling in school, and actively discriminated against LGBT youth (though you finally withdrew support for your 2013 “education reformer of the year” after intense public pressure). StudentsFirst says on your website that the candidates you support “have demonstrated a commitment to policies that prioritize student interests” I find this assertion at best myopic, and at worst deliberately misleading. How can you reconcile StudentsFirst’s candidate support with the fact that, on the whole, many of these candidates cause significant harm to low-income and minority students?

I appreciate, as you mentioned in a comment on Part 2 of this conversation, that you “created a school-based mental health program and piloted a half-dozen evidence-based mental/social/emotional health programs” in DC, and I’d love to talk more about the other issues you raised in your response, but I think your thoughts on the above points and questions are most relevant to typical reformer critiques.

Lerum: On the policy discussion, I would just end with this then. Saying that education can’t solve the achievement gap is demonstrably false only works if you base it on the education system we have now. To say that today’s education system cannot and has not solved the problem of poverty or the problem of the achievement gap thus far is correct. It’s also correct that in 60 years we haven’t solved the problem of segregation. But I got into this work because, like every reformer I know, I believe completely that we can do better than this. We don’t even know what’s possible because we haven’t actually tried. We’ve never run a public school system at scale completely differently. We’re not very good at breaking the mold of a model that hasn’t worked. But there are reasons – an increasing body of research – to believe that if we do, we just might get somewhere. That’s a theory of change. You can disagree with it. But you do not have the evidence that it won’t work because everything that’s been tried or done thus far has been done within some confines or under some of the restraints of the existing system. There are many limitations, that’s true. I think we’ve done a pretty good job of talking about those limitations through our advocacy work.

I would also add that there’s little evidence that other approaches that are championed as counters to reform will have a tremendous impact on kids either. I would love to see this “comprehensive assessment of de Blasio’s policies” that you spoke of earlier – but it doesn’t exist. Rather, there is simply a different theory of change – that certain other levers, be they class size or overall funding or whatever will have a greater impact than reforms we’re advocating for. What we need is a way to model, using rigorous research, what the potential impact of various reforms would be. That doesn’t exist right now either. But what I’m trying to get you to agree to here is that by attacking one side as only having a theory that’s not proven while not acknowledging that the anti-reform side isn’t exactly operating with a track record of success seems to me to be disingenuous, but more importantly, allows opponents to occupy this space wherein they own the debate on what’s good for solving poverty, what the right approach is to combat social ills, etc. And I just believe that way of thinking hasn’t gotten us very far and doesn’t advance social change.

As to the political issues you raise – we consistently say that we will support public officials who support the policies we believe are right for kids. I understand you have issues with our agenda – but there’s nothing inconsistent about a single-issue organization supporting candidates that support and will advocate for their issues. That almost always means as an organization we will support candidates with whom I may not agree with on a personal level when it comes to any number of other issues. But that is not unique to StudentsFirst and I do not think it is reasonable to expect us to answer for their stances on other issues or to ask them to change their stance on other issues. The issues we prioritize are those on our policy agenda and we work to stick with that approach, as do countless other organizations in other fields.

Spielberg: While I would agree with you (and said in Part 1 of our conversation) that the research on many in-school reforms is mixed, the suggestion that you seem to be making – that school-based reforms alone could potentially solve the opportunity gap – is contradicted by existing research and logic. Research has never attributed more than one-third of the variation in student outcomes to school-based factors, we know that “children from rich and poor families score very differently on school readiness tests when they enter kindergarten,” and there is even “some evidence that achievement gaps between high- and low-income students actually narrow during the nine-month school year, but they widen again in the summer months.” Though I suppose it’s theoretically possible that these studies are wrong, that could be said about almost anything, and the findings you link about teacher attrition and charters in no way support that conclusion. Our knowledge about the disadvantages of growing up in poverty and the past several decades of research suggest that this theoretical possibility is negligible, which is why I called that statement demonstrably false.

I certainly understand the sentiment behind what you’re saying – we are in agreement that we haven’t yet maximized education’s contribution to anti-poverty efforts, and I think it’s important to remember and highlight that fact – but all the evidence points to a relatively low upper bound on what education reforms alone can accomplish. Recognizing that anti-poverty work matters more than schools does not preclude us from arguing that what happens in schools is very important for low-income kids.

I really appreciate having had this conversation and want to thank you again for going back-and-forth with me, but I believe we’re at a bit of an impasse. My questions deal with the out-of-school factors, like having access to health care, that very clearly matter for low-income students, and I don’t think your response addresses the issues I raised. You’re absolutely right that StudentsFirst isn’t alone in narrowing its policy focus, but the fact that other organizations also do so doesn’t qualify as a defense of that approach. Talking about what’s “right for kids” means considering more than just education policy.

As I’ve pointed out to critics of typical reform efforts before, I think it would be reasonable for reform organizations to focus their professional advocacy on school-based approaches to the opportunity gap if you did two things:

1) Acknowledge that the best school-based reforms imaginable, while important, would likely only be able to solve 20% to, at most, 33% of the problem.

2) Avoid undermining the anti-poverty work that can address a larger percentage of the opportunity gap.

I don’t believe that StudentsFirst currently does those two things, but I will leave it up to our readers to decide which arguments they find more compelling.


Q&A: Mayor Bill de Blasio on After-School Programs

Mayor Bill de Blasio talked to The Wall Street Journal on Sunday about his administration's report on expanding after-school programs for middle-school students, which his office plans to release on Monday. The report outlines plans for New York City to double the number of students who are participating in these programs, beginning this fall. Here's the Q&A with the mayor.

WSJ: Why do you think this expansion of after-school programs is so necessary for New York City?

De Blasio: I think there's a number of reasons. I think, first of all, the fact is that we need to do a major reset in terms of our school system. I've said repeatedly lately one of the more telling statistics is that we are graduating a number of students each year but only 1 in 4 of them is college ready, that after all the different efforts that have been applied here we're still in such a state, even for those who graduate after four years, only 1 in 4 is college ready, meaning we are fundamentally failing. We're not at the point we need to be. We're not preparing the workforce of tomorrow. We're not preparing kids to be economically viable in the modern economy. We have a lot more we have to do, and I think that means laying a whole different foundation and that begins with pre-K. But you know the point about pre-K is – and it's a fundamentally necessary beginning – but it has to be reinforced in many other ways. You know, there's a lot of things we intend to do to change the school system in areas like teacher retention, teacher training, moving away from standardized tests. But the after-school piece is crucial because it is a substantial reinforcement of the progress that we hope to make with early-childhood education, and it allows us to extend the school day in a way that's very affordable and available. You know, there's a huge raging debate around the country on longer school days. This is a way to achieve some of the virtues of longer school days in a much more attainable fashion. Because for those kids who want it and need it, and those families who want it and need it, you get the homework help, the tutoring, the enrichment that after-school provides. You get the activities that help engage kids and get them connected to their education – the arts and culture and other activities that really engage them. And you do it in a way that also keeps kids safe. And I think that's the crucial point, also. Sixth, seventh, eight grade – this is exactly the time where kids are particularly susceptible to some of the negative temptations in our society, particularly in certain neighborhoods, gangs and other realities. And we want to provide a positive alternative and do it on a universal basis so that kids are safe after school. Parents can build their schedules around that, knowing the kids are safe, knowing they are expanding upon their education. We are convinced this will lead to much stronger educational outcomes, and we're also convinced it will lift all boats in the school system.

WSJ: Gov. Andrew Cuomo's aides have been arguing today that the governor provided enough money in the state budget for you to move forward with your after-school plan. Response?

De Blasio: Well, I haven't seen their particular arguments (today). But what I'd say is we have two core realities here. One is that we proposed a way to have full-day, pre-K for every child in the city and after-school for every middle-school kid who wants it. And we've proposed a discreet funding mechanism with the tax plan so that everything else happening in education could continue to happen and that we could build these new pieces out with discreet funding. Again, something I talk about a lot – I don't like proposals that don't come with funding attached. So, we want to be very specific about where the money would come from and how we would achieve it. Any money that the state is willing to add to general school funding, I'm thrilled. But I would also note that that is part of the larger commitment that the state has to make New York City whole….We've been owed a lot of money for a long time. The state Court of Appeals made a judgment – New York City was supposed to consistently get additional funding for our schools that we have been denied in previous years. It literally at this point would be in the billions per year, so any down payment towards that is very welcome. But that is meant to address a whole host of other challenges in our school system, like increased class size and other problems that need to be addressed. So, I think it's crucial to separate the two pieces and say on the pre-K and after-school we've proposed a wholistic funding mechanism for both. I've said in the past, we'd welcome if there's a real alternative and a reliable alternative and a sufficient alternative. We are all ears. But I don't think we can confuse that with regular state education funding that, in fact, is still shortchanging New York City.


De Blasio Victory All Over the Map

New York CIty Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio walks through a crowd of reporters as he arrives for a meeting with Mayor Michael Bloomberg at City Hall on Wednesday.

Andrew Grossman

Democrat Bill de Blasio won the race for New York mayor Tuesday by assembling an electoral coalition of white liberals and ethnic minorities that had eluded his party for 2½ decades.

The map of areas where Mr. de Blasio won looks more like the map of how the city voted in the 2012 presidential election than of past mayoral races—though even his near-record margin of victory over Republican Joe Lhota wasn't as complete as President Barack Obama's win over Mitt Romney last year.

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Mr. de Blasio, the public advocate, ran a campaign that promised a clean break from Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a Republican turned independent, but swaths of the city that overwhelmingly supported the outgoing mayor in 2009 voted for the Democrat anyway. Mr. de Blasio won strong support from blacks, Latinos and Asians while running up big margins in places where affluent white liberals live, such as brownstone Brooklyn and the West Side of Manhattan. Mr. Bloomberg carried both of those areas in 2009 when he ran against then-Comptroller Bill Thompson.

"Overall, when you compare the map of Thompson's results to [Tuesday's] map, all of the changes were key electoral pieces that signaled a break with Bloomberg's political support over the last 12 years," said Steven Romalewski, who runs the mapping service at the City University of New York's Center for Urban Research.

The shift was evident among Mr. Lhota's neighbors in Brooklyn Heights. In 2009, they overwhelmingly preferred Mr. Bloomberg. Just 29% of the voters in Mr. Lhota's election district cast ballots for Mr. Thompson in 2009. On Tuesday, though, they swung to Mr. de Blasio. Just 34% of the voters in the two blocks around Mr. Lhota's penthouse apartment voted for their neighbor.

Something similar happened in the southern section of Park Slope, Brooklyn, where Mr. de Blasio lives. Mr. Thompson won just less than half of the vote there. Mr. de Blasio won nearly 90%.

Still, Mr. de Blasio didn't succeed in sweeping the city to the same extent that Mr. Obama did last year. That suggests that at least a few voters decided to differentiate between Mr. Lhota and the national GOP, despite efforts by Democrats to tie him to a Republican Party that has become deeply unpopular in the city.

Mr. Obama won 81% of the vote in New York City in 2012—eight percentage points higher than Mr. de Blasio's percentage of the vote in this year's mayoral contest. Mr. Obama also won every borough, narrowly winning Staten Island, which was once reliably Republican. On Tuesday, Mr. Lhota won Staten Island by nine percentage points. It was the only borough he carried, but he didn't do so by nearly as much as past Republican candidates.

Mr. Bloomberg won the island by 37 points in 2009.

Some voters interviewed Tuesday said they liked Mr. Bloomberg but had grown tired of him or were Democrats who didn't see a reason to vote for Mr. Lhota.

Prakash Vhatt, a 52-year-old waiter and registered Democrat from Sunnyside, Queens, voted for Mr. Bloomberg in 2009. But he said he "wasn't convinced" by Mr. Lhota and had been turned off by the federal government shutdown, which Mr. Obama and Democrats blamed on the intransigence of the Republican majority in the House of Representatives.

"I'm a Democrat and always have been—it's worth it now," he said. "Bill is more Democrat. He's going to help. Just [take] the closing in D.C.—I'm not happy. The country is going downhill."

Paul Matsumoto, a 48-year-old legal editor and registered Democrat, voted for Mr. de Blasio in Long Island City but heaped praise on Mr. Bloomberg.

"I like Bloomberg he was getting a little crazy in the end," he said. "But to wrangle a city as large and as wild as this when you need a big personality…you'll rarely find a mayor who can achieve that."

&mdashJoe Jackson contributed to this article.

Write to Andrew Grossman at [email protected]

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De Blasio’s Wife Says He Understands the Black Community

Designer Tracy Reese, left, leans in for a selfie with Chirlane McCray, wife of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Her marriage to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has helped him gain the trust of black voters in a way other white politicians could only dream of.

But Chirlane McCray, a writer who is black and who has been married to Mr. de Blasio for 23 years, said her husband’s popularity with African-American voters is simply “because he sees them. He understands that there is this very important part of New York City that many mayors have not paid the same attention to.”

Besides, Ms. McCray, 62 years old, quipped: “Usually Dante likes to take the credit,” referring to the couple’s son, who appeared in a 2013 campaign ad sporting an Afro that even President Barack Obama said he envied. Many believed the spot helped Bill de Blasio win election.

Mr. de Blasio and Ms. McCray met at City Hall in 1991 while working for David Dinkins, the city’s only black mayor.

Mr. de Blasio wooed Ms. McCray, who in 1979 had written an article for Essence Magazine about coming out as a gay black woman titled, “I am a lesbian.”


New York City mayor tackles salt while San Francisco declares war on sugar

New York could become the first US city to label high-sodium menu items in chain restaurants after new health regulations were proposed this week.

The New York City health department proposed that restaurants with 15 or more locations use small salt shaker notations to mark any meal with more than 2,300mg of sodium – about one teaspoon of salt – are considered to be high-sodium items.

The recommended intake of dietary sodium is 2,300mg a day, yet just one in 10 Americans abide by this guideline, according to the Associated Press. Instead, average sodium consumption is about 3,400mg of sodium a day.

“This is another example of the government creating policy based on outdated, incorrect sodium guidelines that have been refuted by ten years of research,” said Lori Roman, president of the Salt Institute, a trade association for salt producers.

“Research shows Americans already eat within the safe range of sodium consumption and population-wide sodium reduction strategies are unnecessary and could be harmful.”

Just as with calorie counts, being able to identify high-sodium items would help consumers make healthier choices, New York City officials argue. They expect these type of warnings would be added to about 10% of menu items.

“This doesn’t change the food. It enables people to identify single items that have a level of salt that is extremely high so that they can modify their menu selections accordingly,” Dr Mary Travis, commissioner of the New York City department of health and mental hygiene, told the AP.

If all goes according to plan, the saltshakers could appear on menus as early as December.

To some New Yorkers, the plan is a reminder of the city’s failed attempt to ban their extra large soda drinks.

Could the salt-shaker notations go the way of Big Gulp ban? Letitia James, the New York City public advocate, thinks so.

On Tuesday, James criticized New York’s mayor, Bill de Blasio for going directly to the board of health with his proposal instead of attempting to pass the proposal through the city council. This is the same approach that the previous mayor, Michael Bloomberg, took with his plan to ban soda drinks larger than 16 ounces.

“We have seen this happen before with the failed soda ban,” James told the New York Times. “The intention to improve the health of New Yorkers is good, but the process is wrong. There is no reason not to send this through the elected city council.”

The main opponents of the new proposals are restaurant owners who say that they are already over-regulated.

Under Bloomberg, the city banned smoking in restaurants and trans fats, required that chain restaurants post calorie counts on their menus and implemented a health inspection grading system for food and drink establishments. In 2008, Bloomberg also announced the National Salt Reduction Initiative campaign, with a goal to cut the quantities of sodium in packaged and restaurant foods by a quarter over five years. By 2013, Bloomberg said that 21 companies – including Kraft Foods and Subway – had reduced the amount of sodium in their foods.

The De Blasio administration is taking it a step too far, however, according to those in the restaurant industry. High-sodium warnings might be fine for packaged food, but not for restaurants.

“Federal law already mandates that restaurants provide sodium level information to consumers upon request and this proposal would only add to the mountain of red tape these establishments have to deal with,” Melissa Fleischut, President and CEO of the NYS Restaurant Association, said in a statement.

“With separate labelling laws currently in the legislative houses and on the books at the state, federal and local levels, the composition of menus may soon have more warning labels than food products.”

Soft drinks for sale at a market in San Francisco. Photograph: Jeff Chiu/AP

Meanwhile, San Francisco is tackling soda and other sugary drinks.

The San Francisco board of supervisors voted unanimously to approve health warnings on ads for soda and sugary drinks on Tuesday.

Under the proposed ordinance, sugary drinks are defined as drinks with more than 25 calories from sweeteners per 12 ounces – which would exclude no-calorie drinks like Coca-Cola Zero. In addition to soda, other products such as sports and energy drinks, flavored waters and iced teas that exceed the 25-calorie limit would have to include the warning, which would read: “WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay. This is a message from the City and County of San Francisco.”

The warnings would have to appear on print advertising within city limits on things like billboards and vehicles, but not in papers and circulars. Soda cans and bottles would not have to carry the warning.

The board also passed proposals to ban soda ads on city-owned property and would prohibit city funds from being used to buy soda.

“These are not harmless products that taste good,” said supervisor Scott Wiener, who authored the soda warning proposal. “These are products that are making people sick, and we need to take action.”

If the proposal passes a second vote next week and is approved by the mayor, San Francisco could become the first place in the US to require such warnings.


Coronavirus Impact: Mayor De Blasio Says At This Point There Is No Plan To Allow Indoor Dining Any Time Soon

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Reopening phases have come and gone, but as for dining at New York City restaurants, it remains outdoor only.

So what is the plan when the seasons change and the temperatures drop? It turns out there is no real plan and that prompted CBS2’s Marcia Kramer to demand answers on Tuesday.

Mayor Bill de Blasio‘s refusal to allow indoor dining is getting a loud Bronx cheer on Arthur Avenue from just about everyone.

“If you ask me my opinion about the mayor of New York City … he’s killing the city and he’s an idiot,” Danny Covello said.

From diners to the owner of Mario’s, a 101-year-old restaurant, to the head of the Arthur Avenue Improvement District, there’s anger and disbelief that with cold weather right around the corner and restaurants struggling, de Blasio has no plans to allow indoor dining in New York City.

“They need to throw a lifeline to the restaurants so they survive, absolutely. Something has to give,” Mario’s owner Regina Migliucci-Delfino said.

“This is wonderful while the weather is good and we hope it stays for a long time, but during the winter this is not a sustainable model. There has to be indoor dining,” the Arthur Avenue Improvement District’s Peter Madonia added.

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

The city’s 25,000-plus eateries are having a tough time, even with thousands participating in the city’s outdoor dining program.

Kramer asked the mayor if he had a plan for indoor dining. She pointed out the economic hardships.

“Are you afraid that come the cold months we’re going to have more business failures, which will adversely effect the city’s economy?” Kramer asked.

“I’m very cautious on this point,” the mayor responded.

That was a “no.” The mayor said he’s afraid of a resurgence, adding the restaurants will have to make do with outdoor dining, take out and delivery.

“To get to the point where we have a vaccine and then we can really come back,” de Blasio said.

“We just saw just in the last 24 hours that Hong Kong, for example, is experiencing its third wave and what was their first step that they took? To limit indoor dining and restaurants,” said Dr. Jay Varma, the mayor’s senior advisor for public health.

Some think that the mayor’s attitude is a let-them-eat-cake plan, only there’s no cake, no pasta, no money coming in to sustain restaurants, and no tax receipts for the city.

Kramer asked Madonia what will happen to the city’s economy if some of these restaurants go out of business.

“Look, the sales tax revenues drop. It’s an important component of the city budget. The payroll tax revenues drop. This is a core industry in New York City,” Madonia said. “Losing 25%, 50%, 70% … who knows what the number is without indoor dining. The city is in enough trouble without having that happen,” Madonia said.

While indoor dining is allowed in nearby Yonkers, a spokesperson for Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the governor doesn’t favor indoor dining in New York City, either, adding he is afraid of a virus outbreak. His reason? The spokesperson said Cuomo doesn’t think the city has done a very good job of enforcing outdoor dining.

Watch Jessica Layton’s report —

Restaurant owners over in New Jersey are also wondering when Gov. Phil Murphy will see the light on indoor dining.

Ron Marino owns Christine’s restaurant in Atlantic Highlands, NEw Jersey.

“It’s hard to listen to one person who’s not in the trenches with you,” he said.

He says after five months, it’s about time the governor give people the choice.

“If you wanna come to dinner, you come to dinner. If you don’t, stay home,” Marino said.

“Nobody wants to get sick, but we just want to keep our businesses alive,” restaurant owner Amy Russo said.

Especially considering industry officials estimate 32% of restaurants across New Jersey will close by year’s end.

“Open us up at least immediately at 25%,” said Marilou Halvorsen, with the New Jersey Hospitality and Restaurant Association. “Give us the opportunity to show you what we can do.”

“What are you doing to help these restaurateurs?” CBS2’s Jessica Layton asked the governor.

“The virus indoors is a lot more lethal than it is out of doors. So if you’re inside, you’re sedentary, you’re in close proximity, by definition you’re taking your mask off to eat or drink,” Murphy said.

“We’re a safe industry, and I think sometimes we’re held out there like we’re the problem,” restaurant owner Tim McLoone said.

There was a big outdoor dining turnout Tuesday night, which offers an idea of how much communities want to see their local restaurants succeed.

But not every business has a large outdoor dining set-up, and the weather won’t be this nice for much longer.

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