NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Former police Commissioner Ray Kelly is accusing Mayor Bill de Blasio of putting lives in danger, just as the mayor tries to defend his record.
De Blasio wrote an opinion piece published on Sunday in the New York Daily News proclaiming his progressive policies are working.
“New York City is as strong as it has ever been,” the mayor wrote.
He insisted the growing concerns about quality-of-life issues such as homelessness and Times Square panhandling and nudity “have been overblown by hyperbolic pundits and right-wing politicians with an ideological axe to grind.”
New Yorkers, however, said the trouble is far from overblown.
“I don’t want to bring my son or daughter over there anymore because it’s no longer a kid function to bring. It’s an adult party,” Eddie Valle, of the Bronx, said of the painted, topless women in Times Square. “I think they should come out past a certain amount of time when there’s less kids, not during the daytime.”
Many people across the five boroughs told CBS2’s Jessica Schneider they’ve become more concerned for their safety in the past year, especially with homelessness and certain crimes on the rise.
In the article, de Blasio admitted there have been more homeless on the streets this summer.
He, however, touted his progressive achievements, including:
• $1 billion over the next four years for homeless services
• Universal prekindergarten
• Unemployment rates dropping to 5.7 percent — the lowest level in seven years
• Expanded paid sick leave for 500,000 workers in the city
• Overall crime rates down 4 percent from last year, even though murders, rape and robberies are all up from a year ago.
De Blasio’s optimistic op-ed stands in stark contrast to the fiery words inside Ray Kelly’s new book profiled by the New York Post.
The former police commissioner slammed de Blasio abandonment of the stop-and-frisk crime-fighting tactic, saying the mayor “shrugged and walked away from a routine and useful policing tool, snatching law enforcement defeat from the jaws of legal victory.”
Some New Yorkers, however, are standing by de Blasio and agreeing that he’s done good things for the city.
“He’s on the right track to help a lot of people, a lot of poor people,” said Les Schwartz, of Brooklyn. “I think his heart’s in the right place.”
De Blasio vowed that “Under my watch, New York City is never going back to those days.”