Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Bill de Blasio and New York City's Clintongate Scandal: A Tale of Three Phonies--Part 3

(A shorter version of this article originally appeared in the Winter 2013 issue of the Lower East Side underground/alternative newspaper, “The Shadow”)

Bill de Blasio’s Dinkins Administration Connection

Bill Clinton was not the first Democratic politician who primarily represented the special corporate interests of Wall Street banks and New York City real estate developers-- rather than the economic and political class interests of Lower East Side tenants and activists—that de Blasio served.

Under the name “Bill Wilhelm”, he had been an NYU undergraduate student politico in the early 1980s. But by 1984 “he was calling himself Bill de Blasio;” and he then “joined the 1984 presidential campaign” of the Democratic presidential candidate who opposed Jesse Jackson’s attempt to be the 1984 Democratic Party presidential nominee—former Trilateral Commission member Walter Mondale—serving “as a field organizer in Connecticut,” according to an Oct. 6, 2013 New York Daily News article.

Then--after attending Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and graduating in May 1987—he spent a year at the religious left-oriented Quixote Center (which provided humanitarian aid to people in Nicaragua who were then being victimized by the CIA-organized Contra War to overthrow the anti-imperialist Sandinista government in that country), before agreeing to serve as a campaign coordinator for former Inner City Broadcasting board member and 1989 New York City mayoral candidate David Dinkins.

Following Dinkins’ election, de Blasio served former New York City Democratic Mayor David Dinkins as a mayoral aide/staffperson between 1990 and 1994..

During the period when de Blasio was a member of the Dinkins administration, Mayor Dinkins ordered his police force to violently shove homeless people and their supporters out of Tompkins Square Park, destroy its bandshell and flood the Lower East Side with police. And after the Dinkins administration obtained a court injunction that denied the Irish Lesbian and Gay Organization [ILGO] its democratic right to march up Fifth Avenue on St. Patrick’s Day to protest against homophobia in March 1993, Dinkins ordered his police force to block the ILGO marchers and arrest 170 of the 1,500 ILGO protesters.

According to Trump by Wayne Barrett, during the 1989 New York City mayoral campaign, Donald Trump “had Tony Gliedman, an old tennis buddy of David Dinkins, heading a real estate fund-raising committee for the Dinkins campaign;” and, according to Donald Axelrod’s Shadow Government, in July 1990 the Dinkins administration “selected 5 underwriters from a field of 53 companies to sell $6 billion in bonds: Bear, Stearns; Goldman Sachs; First Boston’ Shearing Lehman Hutton; and Merrill Lynch. To no one’s surprise, the New York Times revealed that all five had contributed $233,000 to the campaign of Mayor David N. Dinkins and Comptroller Elizabeth Holtzman.”

So, not surprisingly, the pro-corporate and pro-real estate developer policies of the Democratic Dinkins administration--that de Blasio was a part of between 1990 and 1994—failed to provide apartments for the homeless in New York City, failed to rollback rents for tenants in New York City to pre-1971 levels and failed to create more jobs at union wages for New York City’s unemployed workers. In 1992, for example, “the number of homeless families pouring into city shelters and welfare hotels…reached an all-time high of 5,238,” according to Newsday (7/15/92); and by January 1993 the official unemployment rate in New York City under the Dinkins administration—that de Blasio was a part of—had jumped to 13.4 percent. The record of the Democratic “Dinkins-de Blasio” administration between 1990 and 1994 was also summarized in the following way by the publication of the Metropolitan Council on Housing, Tenant, in May 1993:

“Dinkins’ record on the homeless is `long on rhetoric and short on achievement,’ says Steve Banks, coordinator of the Legal Aid Society’s Homeless Family Rights Project. There are more and more homeless instead of fewer, with the administration equally unable to stem the tide of recession-rooted evictions or help those who find themselves without a home. The number of homeless families in the city’s shelter system has nearly doubled from 3,200 in July 1990 to a record 5,600 in January of this year.”
(end of part 3)