Mayor of New York Bill De Blasio has been widely criticized for his handling of the Coronavirus pandemic. It is not likely his approval rating will improve in his latest move to pick his wife to the head of ‘Task Force On Racial Inclusion And Equity’.
De Blasio isn’t letting the controversy surrounding his wife’s embattled billion-dollar mental-health initiative stop him from appointing her to head a new coronavirus recovery task force.
Citing her work with the ThriveNYC initiative, de Blasio revealed on Sunday that First Lady Chirlane McCray, a rumored contender for Brooklyn borough president, would co-chair a Task Force on Racial Inclusion and Equity as the city plans its eventual reopening.
“The economic and racial disparities that have been made so clear by this crisis, we knew about them before,” said de Blasio, who was elected six years ago on a pledge to make the city more equitable and eliminate its “tale of two cities.” “A powerful, painful exclamation point has been put on them by this crisis.”
New York’s poorest ZIP codes have been hardest hit by pandemic, city data show, and minorities — many among the city’s essential workers — have died at disproportionately high rates.
De Blasio said he formed the task force to ensure New York’s underdogs aren’t left behind in the recovery.
But city lawmakers on both sides of the aisle were scratching their heads over the appointment of McCray in light of her signature Thrive program, criticized as a billion-dollar money pit with a dubious record of results.
“Chirlane doesn’t have an impressive track record running task forces or agencies,” said Councilman Joe Borelli (R-SI), who has jousted with City Hall over Thrive’s alleged lack of help for the NYPD amid a spate of suicides by cops.
“This is too serious an issue to use it as profile raiser,” he added, referring to her potential political aspirations.
Chirlane McCray speaks during the Women’s Unity Rally at Foley Square on January 19, 2019 in New York City. Two years after millions gathered for the inaugural Women’s March, demonstrators around the world march again in solidarity with communities of women and allies who seek to create a future of equality, justice, and compassion for all. (Photo by Karla Ann Cote/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Councilman Robert Holden said the appointment reeks of political calculation by the mayor to up McCray’s visibility ahead of a widely rumored run for Beep.
“This is political. I wish de Blasio would stop doing this,” said the Queens Democrat. “Let her win the Brooklyn borough presidency on her own merits.
“Her track record on Thrive and the statue commission hasn’t been so good,” he added, referring to another of McCray’s questionable forays into the spotlight.