Mayor Bill de Blasio left us all a holiday gift this week, in the form of an admission -- his first, by our count -- that he has stumbled in his first two years in office. “I want to do better,” the mayor said.
If acknowledging your mistakes is the first step towards not repeating them, de Blasio is moving in the right direction. Much of the first half of his first term has been marked by a haughtiness that has turned off even people who voted for him. That, and his initial failure to acknowledge a rise in homelessness aand a fraying of relations between the community and the police, left the impression that he was out of touch, or worse, uninterested in the nitty gritty business of governing.
Speaking to reporters this week around a tablle in the Governor’s Room of City Hall, de Blasio was surprisingly candid about that failing. “When you actually have to start with the substance, the world gets a little more interesting,” he said, later adding: “I’m not going to change my level of belief that a lot of things have to change in this city. But I also understand the status quo doesn’t always yield so easily.”
Indeed, it does not. That kind of change takes diligence and persistence and a willingness to seek out competing voices and to adapt.
Those are not characteristics that we would associate with the Bill de Blasio of the last two years. As we enter 2016 and beyond, here’s hoping he’s learned his lesson. The city has no shortage of pressing problems, and is ready to get down to the business of solving them. We’d love to have the mayor join us.