New York City’s co-mayors, doubling down on derangement, say their Christmas gift to Gotham will be 150 new social workers.
Oh goody, because a city teetering on COVID-driven bankruptcy can never have too many social workers. Even when most Gothamites would doubtless rather their dough went to, say, clearing litter off their increasingly filthy streets. Or maybe — perish the thought — to hiring a few dozen more cops.
But this is de Blasio Land, where Mayor Bill and his doughty spouse/co-chief executive, Chirlane McCray, forever bubble over with new ways to try the patience of citizens who take capable and competent government seriously.
Monday, they announced that what New York’s disintegrating public-school system needs even more than sound leadership is those social workers, to be dedicated to kids stressed out by the pandemic.
Of these, no doubt there are many — because let’s face it, everybody is stressed out by COVID and lockdowns. But while kids surely would be worth the investment if New York had the money, it doesn’t.
Never mind that, declared the mayor: “What we are saying here is we will make it a budget priority to provide this support. Whatever it takes, we’re going to make it a budget priority.”
Typically, Their Honors’ were light on detail — noting basically that this newest scheme is to be spun out of their Boondoggle Hall of Fame ThriveNYC project, meant to alleviate mental illness in the Big Apple.
This is the vehicle they used to incinerate $1.2 billion, an undertaking so successful that subway platform-pushers have become almost as worrisome as the city’s legion of demented street dwellers. Plus, one crazy fellow just committed suicide-by-cop on the steps of the Anglican cathedral.
This is to say, ThriveNYC has not succeeded at all.
So why inflict it on the city’s beyond-chaotic public-education system, where kids don’t know from day to day whether their schools will even be open — and if they are not, whether there will be anybody they recognize at the other end of the iPad when “remote learning” begins?
Stress? No kidding.
But ThriveNYC? What did the kids ever do to deserve that? Not that much is likely to come of the co-mayors’ latest act of whimsy, for follow-through ain’t the thing that they do best.
Wasn’t it six weeks ago that they sat together to announce that pretty soon social workers, instead of cops, would be responding to public outbursts of dangerous mental illness?
This followed an earlier announcement of a plan for social workers to tag along with cops who answer such calls.
Maybe the de Blasios are running a social-worker hiring hall on the side, which in a weird way might explain some of this — because the proposals themselves are so daft, they generated only shoulder-shrugging and few belly laughs before sinking without a ripple.
Of course, short-attention-span governance has been a de Blasio hallmark. He is the fellow who said he would dedicate his mayoralty to keeping a Brooklyn Heights hospital open (it promptly closed); to building towers of low-income housing over the Sunnyside train yards in Queens (not even a single studio so far); to building a street-car link between Brooklyn and Queens (nada) and to reforming the city’s Byzantine property-tax system (not even close).
Of course, there were many promises made and forgotten — and now, with a year left in office, he is reduced to proposing a gaggle of social workers for a fractured school system and pretending it’s progress.
Hizzoner has run a let’s-pretend mayoralty from the outset, never at a loss for inflated rhetoric but standing silent as America’s safest big city slid slowly toward the abyss, sometimes helping it on its way.
So what did de Blasio do in the war on municipal entropy? Why, he went to the gym; he ran (ludicrously) for president; he rented out City Hall to the teachers union and other well-heeled interests; and he served — tirelessly, ingloriously and without complaint — as Gov. Cuomo’s personal punching bag.
It has always been clear that de Blasio isn’t a man with large ideas; who knew he couldn’t even handle small ones?
But New York is stuck with him for another year. And now the question is whether there are any big thinkers among those running to replace him. For things can always get worse. Bill de Blasio, all by himself, is ample proof of that.