Bono in Romanek’s Invisible

Written by Our Town on . Posted in News Our Town.

The new mayor is mistaken about the Upper East Side

Many of my fellow residents knew that a de Blasio administration would not bode well for our neighborhood. Mr. de Blasio’s primary campaign slogan was “a Tale of Two Cities.” This was more than a populist pitch and clever marketing: this represented a deeply held belief of our new mayor, shaped by decades spent supporting causes from Nicaraguan communism to the election of David Dinkins. And even though we on the Upper East Side are predominantly in the middle class, leftist mythology portrays us as one-percenters who live in penthouses on Park and Fifth Avenues and take pleasure in exploiting the 99%. In other words, the Upper East Side is where the “other city” lives.

Not surprisingly, our community did not respond well to Mr. de Blasio’s message. While he swept most other parts of the city, he lost both Assembly districts on the Upper East Side. Now that Bill de Blasio has been elected, we may be in for a very long 4 years.

Of course, the biggest threat to the quality of life in our neighborhood is the Marine Transfer Station on East 91st Street, or “The Dump”, a massive structure that would sit next to Asphalt Green and a children’s playground, and become the collection point for huge quantities of toxic refuse. The Upper East Side’s one party contingent of elected officials chose to campaign alongside Mr. de Blasio instead of persuading him to stop this unethical and costly project. The most common defense used to rationalize this indefensible project: borough equity. In other words, they exist elsewhere, so the Upper East Side should suffer too.

Now, in just one month, we’re starting to see a stark decline in city services on the Upper East Side. Two weeks ago, when a few snow-clearing trucks were mysteriously cursed with malfunctioning GPS equipment, the new mayor assigned those trucks to the Upper East Side. Traffic was snarled for hours and there was considerable hardship as residents of our neighborhood tried to get home in blizzard conditions.

Indeed, it’s not much of a stretch for one to wonder if this plan is also part of Mayor de Blasio’s agenda to make the “other city” pay its fair share.

But we Upper East Siders know that our neighborhood is not a monolithic enclave of the one percent, and any attempt to get back at our community does nothing to help those struggling to make ends meet, whether on the Upper East Side or elsewhere. The poor are not poor because the rich made them poor; the poor are struggling because bad government policy and a weak economy have deprived them of the opportunities they need to succeed. This is where the mayor’s focus should be, not on trying to lower the quality of life on Upper East Side under the pretense of equality.

Now that Mayor de Blasio has moved into Gracie Mansion, we hope that he will finally recognize that New York is not two cities and that we all live in the same city after all.

David Garland is a Republican candidate for State Assembly.

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