New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg characterized the mayoral campaign for Democrat Bill de Blasio as “class-warfare and racist” in an interview with New York Magazine.
Bloomberg didn’t like de Blasio’s new campaign ads featuring his multi-racial family. In it he mentioned warning his son Dante, who is both black and white, about stop-and-frisk, which de Blasio believes targets minorities.
In August, a federal judge ruled that NYPD stop-and-frisk procedures violate the constitutional rights of minorities. Bloomberg is appealing that ruling.
Bloomberg appears to support Democratic mayoral candidate Christine Quinn, the speaker of the New York City Council who supported Bloomberg’s term limit increase.
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“Then there’s Bill de Blasio, who’s become the Democratic front-runner,” said interviewer Chris Smith. “He has in some ways been running a class-warfare campaign—”
“Class-warfare and racist,” Bloomberg interjected.
“Racist?” asked Smith.
“I mean he’s making an appeal using his family to gain support,” Bloomberg said. “I think it’s pretty obvious to anyone watching what he’s been doing. I do not think he himself is racist. It’s comparable to me pointing out I’m Jewish in attracting the Jewish vote. You tailor messages to your audiences and address issues you think your audience cares about.”
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Black people, however, aren’t the only people affected by stop-and-frisk. Federal Judge Shira Scheindlin found 87 percent of those stopped since 2011 where black or Hispanic. She also discovered at least 200,000 stops were made without sufficient grounds for suspicion. She ruled that the NYPD systematically and intentionally violated the civil rights of tens of thousands of New Yorkers.
Bloomberg went on to say that de Blasio is dividing the city into the haves and the have nots.
“But his whole campaign is that there are two different cities here. And I’ve never liked that kind of division,” he said.
Bloomberg believes that rich people “pay the bills” in NYC and if we want them to keep doing that the mayor has to play nice.
“The way to help those who are less fortunate is, number one, to attract more very fortunate people,” he said. “They are the ones that pay the bills. The people that would get very badly hurt here if you drive out the very wealthy are the people he professes to try to help. Tearing people apart with this ‘two cities’ thing doesn’t make any sense to me. It’s a destructive strategy for those you want to help the most. He’s a very populist, very left-wing guy, but this city is not two groups, and if to some extent it is, it’s one group paying for services for the other.”
“It’s a shame, because I’ve always thought he was a very smart guy,” he added.
The unemployment rate in NYC was 8.3 percent in May.
A recent study from the Urban Institute found that after the recession the wealth gap widened, as non-Hispanic white families continue to recover.
The gap between black and white families “was already dismal,” said Darrick Hamilton, a professor at the New School in New York. “It got even worse.”
The de Blasio ad appears below.