Wednesday, October 16, 2013

"Married" to Bill DeBlasio...A Joint Memoir from Some Ex-Constituents

"Married" to Bill DeBlasio
A Joint Memoir from Some Ex-Constituents

Our affair with Bill DeBlasio began sometime in 1999 when he became our School Board Representative.

We were attracted to his drive, his enthusiam and yes, even his ambition. He flirted with us--we responded.

The marriage was consummated when we elected him our Council Member in 2001. He married each of us...all of the men, women and children of District 39.

He appeared to be quite the catch---well-spoken, attentive, an engaged conversationalist who seemed to listen with every fiber of his being. He was tall, handsome, charming---He was a Democratic representative in a Democratic demographic--he had ties with a former President and was an advisor to a potential one---The honeymoon had begun. We were willingly seduced and felt very lucky.

We were unaware then, that we did not even know his real name.

It was not long before we learned that his style of representation was very different to what we had become accustomed to. He was not readily available by phone--he was rarely in his office and there were intermediaries that we were told to deal with instead of him.

It seemed like he was never home.

This was a very different type of commitment---one this corner of the 39th had certainly never seen before.

Four years into our relationship, we renewed our vows, but it became clear that Bill had set his sights on much greener, much larger pastures. All of the signs were there and of course, conflicts arose.

Developers seemed to be targetting our community. High rise, out of context apartment buildings tearing the fabric of our historic brownstone neighborhood--changing our surroundings faster than our infrastructure or current environment could possibly accommodate.

What did our Champion DeBlasio do?

He turned his back on us and opened his arms to a developer who had grand plans for a project that presented very real environmental concerns.

Then, in April of 2009, the filthy Gowanus Canal was miraculously nominated to the National Priorities List--an event that any faithful partner would have cheered....instead Our Bill declared that the Canal "was not that dirty" and proceeded to support the New York City Plan which scoffed at the facts and scientific findings of the EPA.

Perhaps if this had been the last of our disappointments, our relationship and inevitable parting could have been more pleasant. He was now the certain Public Advocate to Be and he had more than one foot out the door.

But his final farewell, the last straw came when we learned that he very very quietly tried to push through a law which would exempt a project which was in direct contradiction to a hard earned zoning amendment he had publicly supported and widely claimed to take credit for!

Bill moved on to his Public Advocate position--where his tenure left us, to put it politely, unsatisfied. The EPA vs the City of New York battle raged over the Gowanus Canal's future, and our Bill, our neighbor, our former partner and most importantly, OUR PUBLIC ADVOCATE, had not one word to say about the environmental/public health hazard coursing through the heart of his former district.

Throwing his hat into the Mayoral race at the end of the Public Advocate gig, was not a surprise. We did find him predictable and ever self serving.
It may come as a surprise to you that Bill can deride the worst landords in New York City on one hand and accept their money with the other...but it does not surprise us.
One day Charter Schools must go--next day--they can stay if they pay rent--next day they won't be pushed out if they can't pay......all too familiar to us.

Bill tells a tale of two cities combined with the I am Robin Hood stance. It is a catchy platform--who would not fall in love with someone who professes to better the lives of the poor, champion the underserved and better educate our children while taxing the rich?

However, this same Robin Hood, this same equalizer, this former partner of ours has also publicly characterized himself both a progressive and a fiscal conservative. We suppose it depends on who is in the audience at the time.

It seems as though Bill is counting on the fact that New York is still a Democratic city--and what he says will not really be measured or remembered.

He is wrong.

After all these years, we can say that we know the man known as School Board Member Bill DeBlasio. We remember the man known as Councilman Bill DeBlasio and we experienced the man known as Public Advocate Bill DeBlasio.

We have seen the many shades of Bill and we know what a relationship with Bill DeBlasio might bring. Now, he is courting you.

Published jointly by Carroll Gardens CORD and Pardon Me for Asking

We encourage all of our District 39 neighbors to comments and share their Bill DeBlasio experiences.


Anonymous said...

So where is your love letter to Lhota? This is nuts.

Katia said...

This is not an endorsement for his opponent. It is a frank impression of Bill De Blasio's 8 year stint as our Councilman.

Anonymous said...

De Blasio. The Great Equivocator.

Remember how de Basio ignored and avoided his constituents complaints about Court/Union and 333 Carroll? If if weren't for this blog and others such as Gowanus Lounge, I don't think de Blasio would have ever crossed the canal. He certainly wouldn't have his staff respond to an email or a phone call from his constituents.

I don't think this is nuts. The election isn't an either or choice. There are other candidates such as Adolfo Carrion and voters can also choose to skip that race or stay home on election day.

People who think de Blasio is the great progressive savior are in for a bad case of buyer's remorse.

Anonymous said...

Poor comrade de Blasio. He honeymooned in Cuba, organized aid for the Sandinistas, but liberal Brooklynites are upset at his environmental stances!

Anonymous said...

Why wasn't this published during the long Democratic primary when it might have really mattered? A little late, no?

Anonymous said...


JG said...

Oh no! A politician acting like a politician! The horror!!! What, did you want him down there digging the muck out of the Gowanus himself? Chaining himself to bulldozers to stop developments? Go do it yourself! Don't rely on ANY politician to do your dirty work.

Looking forward to getting out the vote for DeBlasio in Carroll Gardens and Gowanus. This sandbagging, non-native, Milk-bar-loving, yuppie hipster punk can't wait to finally have a liberal mayor - even when I violently disagree with him and take action myself, as a responsible citizen must.

Anonymous said...

@9:26 I'm astonished that you'd suggest people "skip that race". As if our turnout isn't already low enough..

Vote for the guy closest to your views, and then use every opportunity to let him know how to better represent you. But for the love of god don't stay home.

Anonymous said...

This opinion should have been aired during the primaries. Now it sounds like the author is joining the Tea Party with Lhota. I have known Bill for years, he is a good guy who always has always held the interests of the citizens of Brooklyn, and now all of NYC, first and foremost. He will be a good mayor, and I would hate to see Lhota in the job. Bad move.

Katia said...

I sincerely hope that people vote in November's election and I truly hope that they vote for the candidate that best represents their hopes and ideals for this city.

I was one of deBlasio's constituents for 8 years during his City Council terms. Before that, I had dealings with him when he was the liaison to PS58 on School Board 15.
And of course, he represented all of us as City Advocate for the last four years.

Shouldn't we look at his past performance to get a better understanding of how he will perform as a mayor?
It is my opinion that his constituent service so far has been underwhelming and that Bill only takes care of Bill.
More importantly, DeBlasio lobbied against the health of every citizen in Gowanus and Carroll Gardens by opposing the EPA's listing of the Gowanus Canal as a Superfund. He declared in the press that the canal wasn't really that dirty and that the City could clean the highly toxic canal quicker and cheaper.
Even after the EPA confirmed that the canal was one of the most toxic sites in the United States, he maintained that position when asked during a Democratic Mayoral forum at St. Francis College earlier this year, which I attended.

You may have a different experience. If so, please share and let's have an open discussion.

Anonymous said...

BRAVO Katia!!

No where is Lhota mentioned in this piece! Congratulations to Katia and to CORD for keeping the documents and the records straight for the rest of us. This simply enables us to make a wise choice as Brooklyn citizens.

Have people really already forgotten the fact that Bill DeBlasio was not always the best leader of our Council District? Read the facts!

No where does it say that in a democracy, frank and revealing truths about a candidate must be hidden like skeletons in closet. Or that we must never criticize a front runner. Debate is essential for democracy.

Isn't it a good idea for all of to know all we can about anyone that might lead this city of ours? Or have we just condemned ourselves to silence and tacit approval of our elected officials no matter what they do or say?

Stay strong Katia and thank you for your public service! And thanks to CORD!

You have both added to the important public dialogue we have whether or not Mr. DeBlasio becomes mayor of NYC or he does not! We as citizens still must think carefully about our voting choices and then hold our public officials accountable for their actions as OUR public servants.

Great job!

Tony G. said...

Maybe Mr. DeBlasio isn't all that much different than Mr. Lhota??
Maybe Mr. DeBlasio courts the 99% but secretly hangs with the 1 per cent?
Will her really help the middle class?

I dont trust any progressive activist that calls himself a fiscal conservative! Oxymoron anyone?

We New Yorkers better hope so and if he is elected we must demand that he does!

Check this out at Crains

Anonymous said...

You hit the nail right on the head! I have been calling him DeBlah, as I live in Kensington, and he did absolutely nothing for our neighborhood. In fact, things got worse. If he couldn't do it for our neighborhood, who thinks he could do anything for the city. Brad Lander's did more in his first 3 months than DeBlah is whole term representing us.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

@Anonymous 4:58PM- Absolutely right on Lander and it makes me sick to watch him stump for DeBlasio. He's 10-times the councilman DeBlasio was. I wish he was running for Mayor.


I am happy you did this, but join others in wondering why you didn't do it before the primaries? It seems like it is too late now.

Katia said...

Yes, perhaps CORD and I should have written and posted this right at the beginning of Bill's campaign for mayor.
I had just hoped that his poor record in our district would at some point catch up to him. I guess I was wrong.
Perhaps one day, people will not be seduced so readily by him (and by his son's hair).
Bill has big ambitions and will no doubt end up in Washington.

I would simply say to everyone that we need to demand more from our elected officials. We owe it to ourselves to really look at their past performance and to make sure they kept their promises.

BrooklynMatt said...

Speaking as a liberal Brooklynite, yes we are upset by his environmental stances. If you actually read this piece you would understand that stance-s is the issue, he had one environmental stance (cleaning the Gowanus, preventing buildings larger than the already overwhelmed and illegally exceeded sewer systems can handle) as well as societal stances (protecting landmarks, creating living and industry zones), all of which he dumped for proconstruction (coincidentally campaign supporters) stances. Ditto on the multi term issues.

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU FOR THIS POST! I thought I was th eonly one who remembered deBlasio's history. Katia says it best: Bill only serves Bill.

I refuse to vote for "the cool factor", deBlasio. Having the hip family, living in Park Slope and having Cynthia Nixon at The Bell House does not impress me.

deBlasio is targeting voters who did not experience NYC in the late 80's & early 90's. the voters he is targeting are those who live in this Disneyland of a city, take subways home at midnight, can actually hail a cab to Brooklyn! Times are a'changing folks.

chance bliss said...

that there are genuine grievances about the way that bill de blasio has conducted himself while in office over the years is a legitimate cause for concern, and i understand the frustration that constituents may feel that he's "predictable and ever self serving." it's hardly surprising that any candidate for higher office has transformed into an unappealing political creature, and i think we, as voters, need to hold them accountable for their political choices.

however, i think it's quite unfair to raise questions about his real name, especially as there is a complicated and deeply personal story to his name changes, which the mayoral candidate has been consistent about over the years.

it should also be noted that his opposing candidates over the years have never chosen to make an issue of it, so i see little merit for making it an issue now. that's taking something that is personal and trying to turn it into something political. i think it comes across as a cheap shot. it's unseemly and crude, and, quite frankly, i'm surprised to see this particular detail being included in an article in this blog.

when we start insinuating that deeply personal choices are motivated by underhanded agendas, then i think we are heading into a dangerous arena that's filled with suspicion and paranoia, which is of benefit to no one. it's totally fine to question a public figure's political integrity, but let's leave personal issues out of it.

PMFA is a valuable resource for this neighborhood, and i'm delighted that the blog can host frank discussions about political issues, but i also think that PMFA should hold itself to a higher standard than what this article demonstrates.

lindab said...

I agree that it may have been better timing to publish this viewpoint before the mayoral primary. Although I am now a Carroll Gardens resident, I do not have the shared history as CORD does; but I was skeptical from the start. I felt that Mr. DeBlasio was too much of an ideologue with a sound bite. I heard a divisive message a la John Edwards' "Two Americas", rather than a let's all put up our sleeves and work together to address issues. Having grown up in New York City, I am very proud of the strides we have made in the past twenty years. Yes, we need to do more; but, no, we shouldn't throw out the baby with the bathwater. I feel an obligation to my children who are in their 20s and have come to NYC after college to begin their adult lives. If Mr. De Blasio's election is a fait accompli, we should let him hear our voices.

Anonymous said...

as a liberal, i had an "i knew it" reaction after reading your piece. i wasn't familiar with de blasio, but i've always felt that he isn't what he says he is. at the rate things are going, this post is too late. he'll be the next mayor and i really hope that my instincts will be proven wrong.

a strong involving community can only do so much. in order for the city to sustain progress, it entails strong leadership and i don't think de blasio has it, although i don't have evidence to back this claim.

i would just probably abstain from voting if i were eligible to vote, which i'm not.

Maul Cop said...

The passive-aggressiveness of this blog continues. Post this when it would mean something. Does it feel good to get that off your chest? Is this so you can say "told ya so" when Billy trips up? Unless you think Joe Lhota would do any better, this commentary is useless.

George Fiala said...

Curious how the same commentators feel about Brad Lander.

CG CORD said...

Dear Katia,

For the record, CORD has been asking questions to the NYC Mayoral candidates since early September. Readers can visit our posts:

9/29/2013 Gowanus Canal to Mayoral Hopefuls DeBlasio and Lhota: "STAND BY ME!!"

9/7/2013 Questions for Christine Quinn AND all the NYC Mayoral Candidates

Questions for Bill DeBlasio AND all the NYC Mayoral Candidates

Thank you. CG CORD

Anonymous said...

@1:44. This commentary is far from useless. Your comment appears to come from a position that there is no point to discussion.

C.G. Family since before St. Agnes said...

This post is very true & should be spread around NYC - fast & soon.

C.G. Family since 1880's said...


I'm sorry to say that sometimes you spend a little too much time talking about your vacations than being "the voice" of C.G.

You and/or CORD could have gotten
this out sooner - However, we DO thank you for getting it out at all.
Those of us (without public voices) remember Bill D. and who he was BEFORE he got married.
If he can't even be honest with himself, how can we expect him to be honest with us.
Lhota may not have been the best choice during the primary season, but he may be now - - - and at least he got the trains to run on time.

Katia said...

Again, I want to remind everyone that the post is not meant as an endorsement for the opposition.
Cord and I just wanted to share our experience and remind everyone that Bill was not always the most responsive public servant.

I am flattered that anyone would consider me the "voice of Carroll Gardens." I prefer to think of PMFA ad a place where the collective voice of the neighborhood can be heard.

C.B. since before St. Agnes said...

Katia - Like it or not (and most of us DO like it) you are at least "A" voice of C.G. if not "The" voice. We count on you and apprecaite your service to our community.
NO, we don't want you to endorse anyone and we know you are NOT doing that here. We also don't want you (or your husband) to run for local office - but we do expect* your honesty & timeliness.
Thank you for allowing us to have a voice.
* I write "expect" because we've gotten used to you & your style. Forgive us if we feel 'let down' once in a blue moon & voice the disapointment. You supply us with info that many of us do NOT see/hear elsewhere. So if we remark, "You should have told us sooner!" or "Why didn't you post this sooner?" it's because we treat the netural info you give us as a very important resource. As noted - like or not - many of us count on you to inform us before it's too late.

Katia said...

C.G., I am very humbled by your comment.
Thank you. And thank you for keeping me on my toes.
I truly appreciate the dialogue with my readers and my neighbors. That's what makes a community.