Despite successive stunning defeats on banning or partial banning of the Central Park horse carriages, he is once again insisting that he will try to revive a plan to limit carriage horses even though the City Council, citing a lack of support, dropped a bill last Friday that would have slashed the number of horses and housed the remainder in a Central Park stable that doesn’t even exist yet.
It is passing strange just how dedicated de Blasio is to ending the livelihoods of the 200 or so drivers of the carriage horses, a large percentage of them Irish-born or Irish American.
The latest attempt saw the Teamsters union back away from agreeing a partial ban with the mayor after pressure from the drivers and horse owners. That should have settled the issue once and for all, but de Blasio seems certain to continue his witch hunt against a business that has, in many cases, been handed down the generations by families.
At this stage there are serious questions for the mayor to answer and an inquiry, as called for by the Transport Workers Union, should be initiated.
We are certain that very few voters thought they were supporting this kind of job losing vendetta when they voted de Blasio into office. Placing 200 jobs on the line in one of New York’s most popular tourist attractions was hardly what they envisaged as progress or priority.
The Teamsters saw the light as did the City Council which nixed the one sided compromise after the Teamsters pulled out. Many council members had serious reservations about the bill even before Friday’s dropped vote.
Now the Transport Workers Union is accusing the mayor of a “relentless quest to kill the horse carriage industry.”
TWU leader John Samuelson, in a letter obtained by the New York Daily News, stated that the mayor was on a vendetta and asked State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, along with the Campaign Finance Board, to investigate whether campaign contributions and real estate interests have influenced de Blasio’s position.
De Blasio says it is all just politics as usual, but the fact that the carriage horse opponents were also among his biggest campaign givers gives pause for thought.
Why is this mayor with so much at stake in so many areas for New York City -- schools, transportation, homeless, police oversight -- spending so much time on an issue that very few comparatively give a horse’s carrot about?
The hooves de Blasio hears in the distance may be the thunder of a major inquiry looming nearer, and not the carriage horses departing Central Park.
There seems to be no other reason than political payback to supporters of the mayor’s vicious vendetta against an industry that is the pride and joy of many New Yorkers.
A cursory look at the horses, who get five weeks vacation and several veterinary examinations every year, reveal they are hale and hearty. The abuse accusation simply does not stand up. And the mayor hasn’t even bothered to visit a stable where the horses are kept, despite many offers to do so.
This entire exercise should be known as de Blasio’s folly, so stupid is it in terms of city priorities.
He surely must know how naked and exposed he looks when his own City Council dumps his bill. His attempts at explanations are just horse manure.
De Blasio needs to catch himself on, save jobs and end the uncertainty before an inquiry does.