The Swagger Mayor Goes Into ‘Panic Mode’
And some links to ease your troubled mind.
9:51 AM EDT on May 25, 2023
Eric Adams has not been the picture of competence when it comes to finding humane shelter for the more than 60,000 people seeking asylum who have arrived since last year in America's largest city.
The mayor's response to the number of asylum seekers has been plagued with a near-constant stream of embarrassing missteps, including a tent city that flooded from some light rain and an outrage-inciting plan to house migrants in school gyms. Now, the Adams administration has opened six of what they're calling "respite centers" in the city, hastily repurposing buildings including churches, an abandoned school, and a former judo gym, some of which sound like they are not fit to house anyone, without even facilities for bathing. Combined, the CITY reports, they have space for about 1,600 people.
There has been a notable sense of disarray emanating from the mayor's office, and people have not missed it. In an interview with the CITY, City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams says that the mayor is in "panic mode," has done "no real planning," and has mostly kept the City Council in the dark—despite having months to come up with an actual plan, one that would have surely benefitted from input from other elected officials, including those upstate and in Long Island who have lately been very mad at Adams. "We’re going to have to be very proactive against what’s been a very reactive administration," she said, before getting in a little bit of a dig. "So if we have to do that as the grownups in the room, then we’ve got to do that."
Gothamist reports that the administration has also simply stopped sharing detailed information about the numbers of people arriving, despite Adams using "the growing migrant population to justify some controversial decisions," like his latest attempt to weaken the City's longstanding right to shelter law, not to mention budget cuts. Comptroller Brad Lander's office told the outlet that he "hasn’t gotten a detailed report from the Adams administration since May 3, a week before Title 42—the pandemic-era border policy—expired." Mayor Adams even skipped the Met Gala, a sign of stress for him if there ever was one.
Being the mayor seems like a tough job, you have to admit, but the level of abject scrambling Eric Adams seems to be doing only seems to be making matters worse. Yesterday, the City's housing chief, Jessica Katz, resigned. According to sources who spoke with the New York Times, the widely respected Katz left due to "confusion among city employees about who was in charge of dealing with the city’s mounting housing problems" as well as "her frustration with the mayor’s opposition to legislation that could increase the number of people who can access city-funded housing vouchers." Despite that opposition, the city is set to pass those bills this week.
Being the mayor does, it turns out, involve more than nights at Zero Bond. If Eric Adams is stressed out and looking for ways to relax and free up some cash, perhaps he could look at, as Hell Gate pointed out yesterday, the grotesquely oversized NYPD budget. Just a thought.
Or, you know, try some hot tea.
Links, if you're stressed out:
- In a lawsuit, Hudson Valley hotels with contracts to house asylum seekers are challenging the validity of executive orders issued by upstate counties trying to block the arrival of migrants.
- This should be fun: NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell wants Jeffrey Maddrey to be punished for abusing his authority by taking away a few of his vacation days (haha), but Maddrey reportedly plans on fighting those charges.
- A NY1 investigation found a whole bunch of lobbyists in NYC also fundraised for Eric Adams's campaign. As John Kaehny of Reinvent Albany put it, "Because of a giant loophole in the city’s campaign finance laws, lobbyists can raise millions of dollars for the mayor while they are representing clients that do business with the city, which is just an invitation for pay to play."
- If Eric Adams claims he used to skateboard, he needs to put up or shut up. Do a kickflip, Defector demands.
- Let's all split Billy Joel's $48 million home, which is for sale. I'll Venmo you later.
- Curbed has a feature on the suicide of art critic Charles Finch after his East Village home was bought by a private equity firm.
- Nicholas Gray, founder of Gray's Papaya, has died.
- State health officials are ending the requirement for health workers to be vaccinated against COVID.
- Fetty Wap has been sentenced to six years in prison.
- A Metrocard apparently saves you $170 a year over OMNY on average.
- And finally, rest in peace to Tina Turner.
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