A new era: Bill de Blasio being sworn in as New York Mayor by former President Bill Clinton, as his family watches; daughter Chiara de Blasio, son Dante de Blasio and wife Chirlane McCray. *AFP photo
A new era: Bill de Blasio being sworn in as New York Mayor by former President Bill Clinton, as his family watches; daughter Chiara de Blasio, son Dante de Blasio and wife Chirlane McCray. *AFP photo

Michael Bloomberg is no longer the Mayor of New York. Mr Bloomberg, who owns property here in Bermuda, was succeeded by Bill de Blasio, who is making headlines with his progressive policies and his insistence on eating pizza with a knife and fork.. Danny McDonald finds out more about him. 



So who exactly is this guy?
De Blasio is an NYU and Columbia-educated Democrat. A 52-year-old married father of two, he formerly worked as a New York City public advocate — a sort of ombudsman between the electorate and the city government. He has also represented parts of Brooklyn on the New York City Council.

How did he get the top post in New York?
He emerged from the Democratic primary field of nine, and defeated Republican Joe Lhota in a landslide to become the city’s first Democratic mayor in two decades. 

De Blasio, who is white, won 96 per cent of the city’s African American vote. Many point to his family as one of the chief reasons behind the overwhelming support. His wife, Chirlane McCray, is a black poet and activist who identified herself as a lesbian in the 1970s. Both his children and wife were a visible part of his campaign.
How is he different from Bloomberg?
In countless ways. Mr Bloomberg, a self-made billionaire executive who was not registered with either party, was known for being cozy with Wall Street. He once remarked that it would be a “godsend” if more billionaires moved to New York, since they shoulder the bulk of the taxes.

As a mayoral candidate, de Blasio, it’s fair to say, ran as an unabashed liberal, at least by American standards. He campaigned as anti-Bloomberg. He talked openly about a “sharing of wealth.” He was pro-tenant, anti-landlord. 

Both he and Bloomberg have been elected to run the largest city in the US. Both were raised in the Boston area. The similarities might stop there.

So what has de Blasio done thus far?
He was only sworn in on New Year’s Day and thus far he’s pushed for more sick days for employees.

He’s also done something that has ruffled a portion of his liberal base: Appointed Bill Bratton to be police commissioner. Bratton served in that same role under former Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Bratton instituted the city’s much-maligned stop-and-frisk policing measure during Giuliani’s mayorship. Since de Blasio’s rhetoric during his campaign had indicated he was against stop-and-frisk, this has proven to be a controversial appointment in some quarters.

What about the pizza and cutlery controversy?

Yeah, he made the faux-pas of eating a slice of pizza — something New York is renowned for — with the aid of knife and fork. Some see this as elitist or just plain weird. The expectation is to eat it with your hands, like an everyman. 

Sources: New York Times, The Week, Politicker, Reuters