NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio is on “a mission” of sorts. He wants to begin influencing the national agenda on a host of issues that pertain directly to New York City.
De Blasio, who will replace outgoing Michael Bloomberg on Jan. 1, said he is visiting Washington soon, along with other newly elected mayors, and is going to have a word with President Barack Obama, CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer reported Thursday.
“I want to speak to what I think we have to do to change the federal government’s relationship to New York City,” de Blasio said.
He said he wants Washington to realize it has an obligation to change its approach to aiding cities on transit and housing and other issues.
“That has been cut and cut and cut some more since Ronald Reagan was elected in 1980,” de Blasio said. “I felt the pain of Mayor Bloomberg and his team as they has to work against that backdrop with security or housing or transit. We often have to be much more self-sufficient then we should have to be.”
De Blasio said he intends “begin a mission” to slowly but surely turn congressional focus back on investments in education, transit, housing and other urban needs.
“The kinds of things that would change New York City so fundamentally — if we had that support again, if the cavalry would show up once in a while, we could do so much for our people and so much to address inequality,” he said. “And over time, that’s what we’ll seek to achieve.”
He added that he believes Obama will be a “tremendous ally” for New Yorkers.
BARRIOS-PAOLI JOINS STAFF
De Blasio appointed Lilliam Barrios-Paoli as deputy mayor for health and human services on Thursday. He said she will oversee agencies charged with housing the homeless, expanding community health clinics and cutting red tape in social services.
“Lilliam has dedicated her career to protecting the most vulnerable New Yorkers,” de Blasio said in a statement. “To lift families out of poverty and to sustain vital services, we need real leaders who can put bold ideas into practice. That’s what Lilliam is going to deliver.”
Barrios-Paoli has wide-ranging experience in both the public and nonprofit sectors. She has managed five city agencies under three mayors.
She’s credited with innovative reforms. They include the opening of senior centers serving the visually impaired and LGBT populations.
In her nonprofit work, she served as president and CEO of Safe Space NYC. The organization serves children and families facing such issues as poverty, abuse and medical problems.
She’s also been an executive at the United Way of New York and helped establish the September 11th Fund.
During her introductory news conference Thursday, Barrios-Paoli said her first priority is homelessness.
“We don’t want to open more shelters if we don’t have to,” she said. “That’s not the solution, that is just a momentary Band-Aid. I think the real challenge is to get people housed and stay housed.”
Last week, de Blasio named William Bratton as police commissioner, Anthony Shorris as his first deputy mayor, Dominic Williams as chief of staff to Shorris and Emma Wolfe as director of intergovernmental affairs.
De Blasio has yet to name a new schools chancellor to replace Dennis Walcott, who is retiring at the end of this month.
On Wednesday, de Blasio announced he and his family will be moving into Gracie Mansion, citing “logistical and security concerns” among the “variety of reasons” for making the move from their current home in Park Slope.
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