A Public Apology to Mayor Adams on Behalf of NYC Media
A heartfelt mea culpa, and more links to read and reflect upon.
9:49 AM EST on December 15, 2022
Every day, we do our best to hold powerful public officials to account. Mayor Eric Adams is one of them—just yesterday we reported on the yearslong failure of the Department of Buildings to inspect one of the mayor's own apartments for a complaint of an illegal apartment conversion.
But sometimes, you must inspect your own building for faults, as it were, and call 311—on your preconceptions.
On Wednesday morning, Mayor Adams was speaking at the Cipriani on Wall Street, to a group of people who had been shut out of government by the previous administration for eight long years: business leaders.
In front of this audience—vulnerable, humbled, newly grateful, Mayor Adams was able to show his own vulnerability, and speak directly to the press.
"We have to tell our news publications: Enough. Enough. Enough," Adams said. "When I go to other countries, and other cities to recruit like they're recruiting from us and they pull out a front page story and point out the worst thing that happens in the city—you know as the person who sat down for a portrait told them, 'I know I have a scar but remember I have a face.' Don't point at every scar we have."
This was enough humble pie to feed an army of reporters and editors, but the mayor summoned the strength and continued to serve it. "We have a face, New York," he said. "And that face is not always perfect. But we don't need to look at the worst part of our day and highlight that over and over again to get this signal that this city is not a city of productivity."
The face of the person typing this was streaked with tears. It's time to begin the process of addressing our mistakes over the past year.
Mister Mayor, we're sorry.
We're sorry that we pointed out your brother technically could not work for you as your personal security advisor for a salary that was triple the median household income. Your actions arose out of love. We did not respect that love.
We're sorry for asking so many questions about your deputy mayor, who is the brother of your schools chancellor, being an unindicted co-conspirator in a corruption case. This is not productive, it's REductive, as you might say.
We're sorry for pointing out that you said that you've never seen the city so violent before in your life, and then pointing out that you said that it was mostly perception and that people were safe, after you said that we were waving the "white flag of surrender," before you said that you were going to "foster the optimism we need." We should have just waited until you said everything you needed to say, as to avoid confusing our readers.
We're sorry for writing all those stories on staff shortages, hiring freezes, and work-from-home denials, and for not writing more stories about the new rat czar you want to hire. The rat czar job description is really good, and we should have recognized that more.
We're sorry if we even mildly suggested that your former roommate and 911 call dispatcher who currently makes $241,000/year working as an NYPD executive came to her new job in a less-than-above-board manner. Why would you compromise yourself like that? It's a question we should have asked ourselves writing these stories.
We could go on, but actions speak louder than words. We know that we are not alone among the NYC news media in owing the mayor an apology, and we invite other publications to join us. We're collecting money for a Zero Bond gift certificate that we feel is a gesture of good faith to a public servant that we've wronged.
It's the least we can do.
Before we get to the links: Hell Gate is hiring! We're looking for Writer/Editors and a Business Manager. Is that you? Is it someone you know? Check out the job descriptions and share them far and wide.
OK now some links:
- Nothing to see here, "here" being Mayor Eric Adams's penchant to allow his cronies that he appoints to or hires for top positions maintain lucrative side gigs that represent conflicts of interest.
- Would it surprise you to learn that Adams's much-vaunted subway sweeps of homeless people didn't do much except harass and target homeless people?
- And Adams is continuing his gutting of the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice.
- NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell believes that cops, who are rarely disciplined for their bad behavior, are in fact disciplined too much. Via the Post: "Sewell says she plans to make changes to the NYPD's disciplinary guidelines—reducing penalties after finding dozens of cases were 'manifestly unfair' to cops, The Post has learned. The city’s top cop, in an internal memo distributed Wednesday, said she reduced or dismissed penalties recommended by internal police judges and the Civilian Complaint Review Board in at least 72 cases."
- Wonder what the commissioner thinks about the two cops who drove into a crowd of BLM protesters in 2020, whose administrative trial started yesterday.
- Why are NYPD cops continuing to ticket street vendors? Via City Limits's David Brand: "Police issued more tickets to vendors in 2022 so far than the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP), a City Limits data analysis found, despite the fact that DCWP was put in charge of vendor enforcement last year after passage of the City Council's street vendor reform law. That change was codified in a guideline operations order issued to police officers at the start of 2021, which advised NYPD to avoid taking action around vendor enforcement 'absent exigent circumstances.'"
- A judge agreed with Uber that Uber should not have to pay its drivers more quite yet.
- No better time to support journalist-owned media outlets!
- And finally, the question that has been on all of our minds but few are brave enough to ask:
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