Saturday, January 16, 2016
Say this much for Mayor de Blasio: He looks out for friends and donors.
The latest proof: The pending deal on Central Park carriage horses takes care of the Blas donor who’s always driven the controversy — but not anyone else.
Stephen Nislick was the force behind the anti-horse-carriage group NYCLASS, which was a huge help in winning de Blasio the Democratic nomination. (The general election was a walk.)
Now the deal will move the horses out of their West Side stables, so Nislick can finally acquire that property.
Losers include the animal-rights nuts who wanted the industry banned, and the taxpayers who may have to pay some drivers to retire and for the renovation of the stables in the park.
This comes on top of Rich Calder’s Post story Tuesday that Team de Blasio has green-lighted plans for a major, multiday music festival on Randall’s Island.
Sponsoring the event is AEG Live — which paid Hizzoner’s old pal, Harold Ickes, $150,000 to lobby for it. As part of de Blasio’s transition team, Ickes even played a role in hiring Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver — who OKs permits like the one for AEG’s July 24-26 event.
A slam-dunk for AEG. But two other concert promoters — who, like AEG Live, sought to hold multiday festivals — were shut out completely.
And while all three applied to use Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens, the site was moved to Randall’s Island, even though the AEG event may steal business from another music shindig there slated for a month earlier, Governors Ball.
What a sleazy way to do city business — and what an awful message to send to cultural and business groups looking to operate here: If you don’t hire someone with personal ties to the mayor, you’re out of luck.
“This [AEG event] seems to be part of a growing pattern,” where “only those who are part of the mayor’s inner circle” get deals, says Paul Graziano, a parks advocate.
Of course, the mayor can’t always deliver — the City Council’s rejecting his bid to crush Uber. So the taxi industry will have to collect some other favor for its generous donations to de Blasio’s campaign.
Sadly, the mayor has already rewarded his municipal-union allies, giving them hefty raises and otherwise putting their interests over those of students, families and taxpayers.
De Blasio campaigned on the theme of New York’s “tale of two cities.” By treating friends and allies better than everyone else, he’s making that image true.