NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The late Mayor Ed Koch was well known for asking New Yorkers his signature phrase “How’m I doing?”
But Mayor Bill de Blasio suggested In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, that folks outside of New York City have a better appreciation for his accomplishments than his own constituents.
As CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported, de Blasio reflected on his first year in office in the article by Rolling Stone’s Mark Binelli.
“A lot of people outside New York City understand what happened in the first year of New York City better than the people in New York City,” de Blasio told the magazine. “But I’m convinced something very special happened here.”
Many New Yorkers were not pleased with the insinuation that they did not understand “what happened in the first year of New York City.”
“Who cares about everybody outside New York? They don’t live here,” said Betty Kilzer of Chelsea.
“No one understands New York City until you live here,” said Robert Kaydanian of the Upper West Side.
“We’re been around a long time and I don’t think he gets it,” Anthony Sabia told 1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck. “I’ll be honest with you, me personally, I think there have been better mayors.”
The mayor was reflecting on his record of creating the municipal ID program, the launch of universal pre-K, and other accomplishments.
But one political expert did not think much of his wording either.
“I don’t know if it’s elitism or arrogance, but it’s not going to rub people the right way,” added political consultant Gerry O’Brien.
O’Brien said the mayor should take heed of the latest Marist poll numbers. Only 45 percent of New York voters think the city is moving in the right direction, while 49 percent believe it is going the wrong way.
“The mayor’s got to get those numbers up, and when the average New Yorker hears that he thinks people here don’t like him, but they love him better in the rest of the country, they may just say, ‘Mayor, move!’” Sheinkopf said.
But Sheinkopf noted that the Rolling Stone comment comes as de Blasio has been looking beyond New York – recently visiting Iowa, and soon traveling to Washington, D.C. and California on a national campaign against inequality.
He has been working to position himself as a national leader of progressive causes.
“And he also wants to be the protector on the left for Hillary Clinton if she is the nominee, and he wants to be on the road doing that. So we won’t see a lot of him next year, but people around the country who are progressives will probably like him more than some New Yorkers do,” Sheinkopf said.
But O’Brien said local issues should be the focus.
“People are going to reject that,” he said. “Focus on the home fires.”
But a spokesman Wednesday night said the mayor is, in fact, doing just that.
“What New Yorkers care deeply about are issues like universal pre-K, declining crime, bringing the police and community closer together, and combating income inequality,” the spokesman said in the statement. “While big-picture successes can sometimes be overshadowed by short-term headlines, it is these important priorities for New Yorkers that should be the focus.”
In the Rolling Stone article, Binelli chronicled de Blasio’s push for change as a left-of-center Democrat, calling his background that included a trip to Nicaragua as a young man to support the Sandinistas and honeymooning in Cuba as “a CV that could have been written by Sean Hannity’s id.”
The article also quoted Van Jones, a former adviser to President Barack Obama, as saying de Blasio and his progressive agenda represent the future of the Democratic Party. Jones noted that centrist Democrat Rahm Emanuel – current mayor of Chicago and Obama’s former White House chief of staff – was forced into a runoff by progressive mayoral challenger Jesus “Chuy” Garcia earlier this year.
“That lets you know where that wing of the party is when it comes to the people who cast their ballot,” Jones was quoted in the article. “Whatever mistakes or missteps, de Blasio is a beloved figure in this party, and Rahm is on thin ice, and that gives you a little bit of the taste of the future for this party.”
But also in the article, former New York Times metro columnist Clyde Haberman called de Blasio “the furthest-left mayor that I can think of, by far. I don’t think a lot of people realized what an ideologue he was.”
And for his own part, de Blasio told Binelli that his national push is necessary because even a strong local government like that of New York City cannot address economic inequality like the federal government. He said the federal government could employ people with infrastructure improvements, help provide affordable housing, and institute progressive taxation.
“A serious national debate would start with that. It goes beyond Hillary, it goes beyond the presidential campaign,” the mayor told Rolling Stone. “We’re having to restart the discussion and bring it back to the reality of people’s lives.”