Christmas greetings from Grinch City


It would have been hard to imagine 23 months ago, when he took office riding a bicycle in a pink helmet, talking about swagger and nightlife and ending an eight-year streak of gravitas and earth tones at City Hall, that it would be Eric Adams the chosen for the role of Scrooge, while Bill de Blasio, recently separated, dating a married woman and dressed in cobalt blue, provided the warmth. On one level, Eric Adams' promise was that he would restore energy and charisma to a city emerging from a pandemic, that New York would become more fun. But in many ways it has only seemed more Dickensian.

Consider the candlelight vigil held last week, eight days before Christmas, in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, to mourn the last day of Sunday service at the local branch library. Budget cuts ordered by the mayor, which he says are inevitable in light of the burdens imposed by the migrant crisis, have meant that almost all of the city's libraries will be closed on Sundays. They have also been forced to reduce spending on books, programs and building repairs. Emily Gallagher, a member of the State Assembly who attended the funeral gathering, called the reductions “cruel and unnecessary.”

This week, a report from the Columbia University Center for Justice highlighted the dangers of solitary confinement, which has been widespread in the city's prison system. Despite promises to end it, the report said, the Department of Corrections simply renamed the practice “structurally restrictive housing.” He still isolated inmates for 23 hours a day, just in slightly larger cells. In one case, the study noted, prison guards forced a detainee to make sexually explicit comments while he squatted naked, and then placed him in solitary confinement for several months in an effort to cover up the abuse of him. .

The report urged the City Council to pass a law that would ban solitary confinement and allow people in custody at least 14 hours a day to leave their cells, with limited exceptions after outbreaks of violence. The law was approved on Wednesday. But Adams opposed the bill all along and threatened to veto it, arguing in a radio interview after the vote that the value of a disciplinary tactic that the United Nations has designated as torture has been essentially misunderstood by a “far left.” ” indifferent to public safety.

There is no doubt that the constant flow of migrants from the border into a city mandated to provide shelter to all has exponentially complicated the issue of governing it. Adams has repeatedly said the crisis is unmanageable without more funding and strategic aid from the federal government. This week he called on New Yorkers angry about billions of dollars in proposed budget cuts to direct their outrage toward Washington, march there and demand more money, a gesture that political observers immediately registered as too aggressive in the sense that it would likely alienate even more. more to Biden. administration.

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