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Mayor De Blasio Promised Transparency, But Is He Practicing What He Preached?

Through First 5 Months In Office, Hizzoner Not Really Keeping Up His End With Media

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — He pledged to be the most accessible and transparent mayor ever.

But is Bill de Blasio keeping his pledge, or shutting the media out?

According to CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer, when he was campaigning to replace Michael “Bermuda” Bloomberg, a mayor who left the city nearly every weekend but refused to say where, de Blasio vowed to be the most open and transparent mayor in, well, the history of life.

Instead, he has repeatedly kept the media at bay.

“This is the beginning of a road we will travel together,” de Blasio said during his swearing-in ceremony on Dec. 31.

That road was rocky from the beginning. The mayor at first sought to bar the media from his midnight swearing in ceremony, and since then has frequently conducted a lot of public business in private, something City College political scientist Jamie Chandler says is not a good thing.

“It’s not good government. It also doesn’t help the city in terms of encouraging responsiveness and knowledge,” Chandler said. “It’s also damaging, because he does contradict his campaign message.”

An analysis of the mayor’s schedule by the Associated Press found that in five months in office:

* The media was banned from 53 events and had limited access to 30 more;

* Some days his entire schedule is off limits;

* 20 percent of his listed events were closed to the media.

When asked what examples like those do to de Blasio, in terms of his public image, Chandler said: “Well, it erodes it. It adds questions and adds suspicion, because people generally have a distrust for politicians. People on some level think he’s hiding something.”

Kramer asked the mayor about it on Thursday.

“Transparency — there’s a lot of pieces to transparency, and what is most important to me is the public getting and honest explanation of what’s going on,” de Blasio said.

The mayor argued that when he decided to stop the contract for the 911 system because it wasn’t working properly that was transparency in government. He added acknowledging mistakes, even by the previous administration, is transparency. He said disclosing when he meets with lobbyists is transparency, and that telling the press where he is — even if they can’t come or ask questions — is transparency.

“And if I give a speech we put forward the remarks for the speech. That, to me, is a lot of progress on transparency,” de Blasio said.

Kramer then asked, “But why do you keep reporters out of so many of the things that you do?”

The mayor responded by saying, “Marcia, again, that’s subjective. Respectfully, I think if you look at our batting average, we feel very good.”

Chandler argued that keeping the press out prevents voters from finding out what is really going on.

The question is do voters care?

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