‘Former Mayor John Lindsay once branded the post “the second toughest job in America.” The challenges today are as daunting as ever. But it could be a great opportunity.’
Increasing voter engagement and making politics more vibrant is a goal of the 2019 charter revision panel. But by exploring instant-runoff voting and eschewing any re-examination of term limits, the author warns, the commission might be hampering hopes for real progress.
‘In reviewing the city charter, the Council’s leadership should focus less on expanding its institutional powers as a body, and more on strengthening the role that individual members can play.’
Let public advocates focus on being ombudspersons, not policy makers. Strengthen the borough presidents’ land-use power. Put Council members in charge of community boards. And more.
The 2019 charter revision could do more than tinker with the mechanisms of power in the city. It could reshape how neighborhood identity, borough loyalty and citywide vision shape our common future.
Whatever role he plays on the national stage, de Blasio will be part of the struggle for the soul of the Democratic party, writes the mayor’s biographer.