Given our strong endorsement of him earlier this summer, we are obviously pleased that Mayor Bloomberg won a third term on Tuesday and will be running this city for another four years.
But that doesn’t mean we are blind to the discord within Brooklyn’s electorate.
Exit polls showed that blacks overwhelmingly voted for Thompson, while whites strongly backed Bloomberg. Those making less than $50,000 liked the comptroller, while more-affluent voters preferred the billionaire. The college educated preferred Bloomberg by nearly 20 points, while those with no degree flocked to Thompson.
And on and on.
Just because people disagree over whether Bloomberg deserved re-election does not necessarily mean that we are a deeply divided city. But it does mean that he needs to double his efforts to reach out to all New Yorkers — especially in Brooklyn, which Thompson carried by several percentage points. As such, Bloomberg should address these vital issues on:
• Race: Certainly, every New Yorker loves a black-and-white cookie — but as a dessert, not as an election result. In Park Slope and Windsor Terrace Bloomberg outpolled Thompson 55-40 percent. And in Bensonhurst, it was a 70-26 landslide. Yet in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill’s largely black 57th Assembly District, Thompson won 73 percent to Bloomberg’s 24 percent. Whatever the reasons for Bloomberg’s weak numbers among blacks in Brooklyn, he needs to address that community’s apparent disastisfaction.
• Crime: The mayor has presided over historic reductions in crime, but he can not let up now — especially considering periodic upticks in burglaries and other major crimes. With an even deeper reduction in crime, Bloomberg can credibly make the case that he has manifestly improved the quality of life in the neighborhoods that backed his opponent.
• The Gowanus Canal: The mayor made a clean-up of the Gowanus Canal a foundation of his campign pitch to Brooklynites, arguing that his solution to this century-old environmental disaster would be quicker and better than a federal Superfund designation. But his case has not been that convincing. Cleaning the canal sooner rather than later would eliminate our doubts.
• Coney Island: Bloomberg’s other main Brooklyn re-development plan — to restore Coney Island to its original glory — has stalled.
• A true commuter-friendly city: Even more divisive than the racial divide is the chasm between cars, bikes, subway riders and pedestrians in this uniquely mobile city. For the past seven years, the mayor’s plan has been willy-nilly: paint bike lanes all over the place and see what happens. Unfortunately, in many neighborhoods, what has happened is chaos: cars and bikers at odds and pedestrians feeling left out. The mayor must re-think his policy and fix the problem pronto.