Friday, March 7, 2014

Editorial/Opinion: Mayor de Blasio and the Rockaway St. Patrick's Day Parade

Seeing Through The Act

The Oscars were last Sunday. Funny, we were reminded of a line from a Marx brothers movie: Are you gonna believe me or your own eyes?
That’s more or less what we were left with after the mayor’s spokesman said Bill de Blasio couldn’t make it to the Rockaway St. Patrick’s Day Parade because of a scheduling conflict.
Scheduling conflict? Roll tape, please. On Sunday, the day after the Rockaway parade, the mayor was filmed marching and enjoying the St. Pat’s For All Parade in Sunnyside. Afterwards, a reporter asked him why he had skipped the Rockaway parade the day before. His reply: “My approach has been to embrace parades that are inclusive. And that’s the standard we’re going to hold.”
Whoa, whoa. He was saying Rockaway wasn’t inclusive? Wait a second. Christine Quinn, a champion of gay rights had marched last year. And guess who else marched? Bill de Blasio! When he was Public Advocate and running for the job of mayor he came to the Rockaway parade with a banner and a green tie.
After we got hold of the tape – great work by – The Wave and others went after him on Twitter and Facebook.
Soon after, the mayor’s spokesman emerged to say the mayor had misspoken. The mayor had had a scheduling conflict on Saturday and as for that comment about his approach to parades, apparently the mayor had confused the Rockaway parade with the Staten Island parade which excludes some groups.
Hmmm. So he confused Rockaway and Staten Island? Sounds convenient but, okay, anybody could get confused and misspeak. Although it really makes us wonder if de Blasio considers the west end of Rockaway “exclusionary.” Maybe it was a revealing slip of the tongue.
In anyway case, the scheduling conflict was a little tougher to buy. On Friday, the day before the Rockaway parade, the mayor’s press office had issued a release stating the mayor would be in New York City on Saturday but “no public events” were scheduled. Of course, he might have scheduled some private events, maybe family time.
But here’s the thing. The same press office now making excuses for him was non-responsive, silent, incommunicado in advance of the parade. The Wave asked numerous times if the mayor were attending. Nothing. Worse, the parade committee was never notified.
If the mayor couldn’t make it, he or his team could have easily made a call or sent an email. Even on Friday when it was announced that he had no public events schedules for Saturday, there was no courtesy shown.
So, we’re reminded of a line from another movie,
Cool Hand Luke.
What we have here, Mister Mayor, is a failure to communicate.

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