NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Transit workers are taking aim at Mayor Bill de Blasio with a six-figure ad campaign that attempts to encourage him to contribute more to fix the subways.
As CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported Thursday, the ads – pointed and sarcastic – are a new headache as the mayor seeks reelection.
De Blasio has recently taken to riding the subways to convince straphangers he feels their pain. Transit workers want to make sure of it — the feeling the pain part.
They have been zinging Mayor de Blasio in a series of mocking ads to get him to pony up to make critically needed repairs.
“We are definitely trying to compel Mayor de Blasio to do the right thing, step up and pay his fair share,” said John Samuelson, president of the Transport Workers Union.
The ads pick at de Blasio’s political Achilles heels.
Thursday’s instalment showed a picture post card from Rhode Island, where an image depicting a vacationing chief executive is superimposed on a beachfront while wearing shorts and a T-shirt from his beloved Boston Red Sox.
“Since you’re not one of my wealthy campaign donors, you won’t get any favors from me (to) improve your miserable subway experience,” the mayor says in an imaginary quote in the ad.
Previous ads implored the mayor to “come back down to earth,” with an image depicting him floating in a space suit, “get off your cash,” with an image depicting him sitting on a pile of cash, and “liar, liar, tracks on fire,” with an image showing de Blasio as Pinocchio with an extended nose standing in the doors of a subway train.
The ad demands that de Blasio “stop holding up the subway repairs that will end the Summer of Hell.”
The union says the repairs could be made if the city just pays the Metropolitan Transportation Authority $530 million to reimburse the agency for student MetroCards and Access-a-Ride costs.
“It’s absolutely unfair. It’s unjust. It’s theft of services,” Samuelson said.
A mayoral spokeswoman called, again, for the state to tax the wealthy to fix the subways – a plan that has already been labeled dead on arrival.
“If the MTA is in need of immediate funding, they should look to the state who has siphoned from them the exact dollar amount they’re now seeking in additional operating costs. This ad is nothing more than an attempt to distract New Yorkers from that very fact,” said spokeswoman Freddi Goldstein.
“The ad is funny, but the issue is serious,” said Republican mayoral candidate Nicole Malliotakis. “The mayor is refusing to work with Governor Cuomo to address our transit crisis.”
“What he’s doing right now, Marcia, is he’s covering up his inadequate record with all kinds of tricks and gimmicks to get through the election,” said Democratic mayoral challenger Sal Albanese.
Since the mayor likes to get out his message through social media and high-tech means, Kramer asked to interview him while he was on vacation through Skype. No dice.