De Blasio’s horse debacle makes history

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Clinton and de BlasioFebruary 5, 2016- Politico writes, “Capping one of the more bewildering political debacles in recent New York memory, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s third State of the City speech was overshadowed — before he so much as delivered a word of it — by the implosion of his widely mocked, ill-supported deal to get horse carriages off New York City streets.

It was a proposal in which the mayor invested an extraordinary amount of political capital. The result has alienated, in no particular order, park advocates, council members, union leaders, community boards, real estate interests, pedicab drivers, political donors, and, ultimately, animal-rights activists.

The labor-friendly de Blasio administration has sought to pin the deal’s demise on the Teamsters union which, on behalf of the horse carriage drivers, agreed to the compromise with the City Council and the administration in December.

But the mayor will have a hard time making that stick. He has chosen to own the issue, and will own the blame for the lack of a resolution, unless some small share is also apportioned to his hand-picked City Council Speaker, Melissa Mark-Viverito.

Despite her confounding protestations to the contrary, she controls Council scheduling, and could have scheduled the horse carriage vote for a more propitious week than this one. (Which is to say almost any other week.)

This is one of the worst political debacles “maybe in all-time memory,” said Bill Cunningham, who was Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s communications director.”

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