February 5th, 2016
The dog of a horse-carriage bill that Mayor de Blasio tried to ram through the City Council died as New York power players came to understand truths he tried to hide.
Regardless, after hunkering in his car for a flummoxed 16 minutes while carriage drivers protested outside City Hall Thursday, the mayor declared he was not done messing with the horses.
Despite overwhelming public opposition to banning the steeds and throwing drivers out of work.
Despite very limited appetite on the City Council to join in his one-mayor quest.
At this point, de Blasio’s obsession for carriage horses is nothing short of a mania. He appears to be irrational. But is he?
To find out, call a psychiatrist or call the FBI.
Clearly, de Blasio’s persistence traces to money.
In 2007, as a councilman, he spurned a carriage-horse bill. In 2008, animal-rights activist Wendy Neu gave $1,000 to his public advocate campaign.
For a time, de Blasio remained uninterested in efforts to rein in carriage horses. Even so, wealthy activist Stephen Nislick, founder of a group called NYCLASS, and likeminded others kept donating.
By January 2011, NYCLASS supporters had written $20,400 in checks to de Blasio’s treasury — and the then-public advocate came around to supporting an anti-carriage-horse drive.
Money continued to flow into his coffers: $45,350 by the mayoral election.
Then, in 2013, Neu, Nislick and NYCLASS poured $625,000 into a political action committee that was hammering mayoral rival Christine Quinn with powerfully effective negative ads.
Run the total: $670,000.
For that sum Nislick, Neu and NYCLASS surely want their money’s worth, and, hell, de Blasio is trying to give it.
Whatever a psychiatrist might ask about, an FBI agent would want to discuss the conversations surrounding payments and services rendered.
On the eve of his inauguration, de Blasio famously vowed to ban carriage horses entirely on Day One, but the Council balked.
The matter was presumed dead until the mayor suddenly concocted a so-called compromise to limit carriages to Central Park and build a taxpayer-funded stable there. Soon, the truths emerged.
The truth that de Blasio was moving to throw potentially hundreds of people out of work.
The truth that he was pressing to force some horses to work longer and harder and to send others to inevitable slaughter.
The truth that the terms of his purported “compromise” to move carriage horses into Central Park actually condemned the industry to death.
The truth that his negotiating partners in the Teamsters union verged on selling out their members under mayoral pressure.
The truth that he was bullying the Council into hurting working men, women and horses as naked payback to animal-rights activists whose lavish campaign spending was crucial to his election.
The truth that, with equal nakedness, he was trying to buy the Council by supporting their grab for excessive salary hikes.
Presented by the Daily News, the facts stopped the mayor from closing a sale that would have betrayed his renowned progressive principles. Jobs? Who cares about them?
De Blasio’s plan hinged on building the stable sometime in the next few years.
Immediately, though, carriage rides would be confined to the park under rules that would have slashed driver incomes.
And immediately, the city would have cut the number of licensed horses — and driven the four private stables that house the carriage horses at monthly fees out of business.
Then, no stables would mean no horses, and no horses would mean the death of the industry. Horse carriages would be gone, and that $25 million stable would be unnecessary.
Gloriously, labor revolted.
The Central Labor Council, representing 300 unions and 1.3 million workers, came forward to buck de Blasio.
John Samuelsen, president of Transport Workers Union Local 100, stood tall and said no way.
Both rose up against job losses in the carriage industry as well as among pedicab workers, whose access to the park would have been markedly trimmed.
In the end, Teamsters boss George Miranda pulled the plug on the “agreement in concept” that he had struck with de Blasio. And the Council refused to approve not a bill but a death warrant that would have stealthily achieved his ultimate goal.
“We will work toward a new path on the issue,” the mayor said after the 16 minute pause. Someone needs to diagnose why.