By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Other entries in the files suggest de Blasio has a tougher edge than his populist campaign and feel-good television ads suggest. For example, back in 2007, several constituents accused him of ordering a purge of members of Community Board 6 who'd voted against the Atlantic Yards development project that resulted in a new home in Brooklyn for the NBA's New Jersey Nets franchise.
Nine board members were removed in May 2007 by Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, including four who'd been appointed by de Blasio and fellow Councilman David Yassky. In an interview at the time with the New York Observer, de Blasio acknowledged that he had told Markowitz not to reappoint one of the board members, on the grounds that a vote against Atlantic Yards was a vote against affordable housing.
"I was stunned and very disappointed to learn that you had retaliated against the hard working and very professional CB 6 members," wrote resident Sarah Flanagan.
Wrote Jon Yasgur, a fellow constituent: "Your actions are totally undemocratic and demonstrate a shameful coziness with developers."
A third resident, John Ife, expressed "outrage": "Your action is so redolent with the odor of arrogance . . . that it spits in the eyes of any semblance of democracy."
De Blasio spokesman Levitan did not respond to a query about the so-called purge.
De Blasio has promised to raise taxes on the wealthy and touts his support for the middle class. But that's not how landlord Jack Wallace saw him in 2004. In a letter to the councilman, Wallace urged de Blasio to reverse his support for a tax on absentee landlords. "It appears to me that I am being punished for my hard work," Wallace wrote. "A majority of absentee landlords you and the council are hurting with your taxes and surcharges are the same hard working, knuckle scraping middle class individuals you profess to represent."
De Blasio wasn't above using his office to do favors for people close to him. In 2005, for example, he ordered his staff to help solve immigration problems for a man engaged to de Blasio's Boston–based sister-in-law's assistant.
"Mr. Jules has run into immigration problems which may complicate the upcoming marriage," de Blasio wrote in a February 2005 e-mail. "Patrick and Kathleen—do you know any Haitian social service folks in the Boston area. . . . Mr. Jules needs proof he attended PS 399 . . . Thanks good people!"
He followed up with e-mails reminding his staff to help out. Staffers e-mailed the Department of Education several times to supply the necessary documentation.
Also in 2005, de Blasio used his influence to try to get a teaching fellowship on Staten Island for then-resident Dina Greenfield, whose husband, David Greenfield, would be elected to the City Council in 2010. Members of de Blasio's staff spent time over a two-month period phoning schools on Ms. Greenfield's behalf. (The couple has since moved to Brooklyn.)
"Hi Dina, I work for Councilmember de Blasio and I'll be looking for job openings for you," wrote staffer Kerci Marcello on July 19, 2005.
"FYI, I found David Greenfield's wife another job opening (PS 107, grade 1)," Marcello wrote to her boss. "I'll let you know how the interviews go."
"We got Bill's friend an interview at PS 8," reported a de Blasio staffer.
Responded Marcello: "You rule."
If de Blasio could get that kind of help on his own job hunt, he'd be a shoo-in come November 5.
"Even though he was the boss, de Blasio apparently saw himself as a constituent, too. He would often call the council office himself and ask his staff to look into things he spotted in his travels around the district." Really? He drove around his district and asked his staff to look into problems he detected? He had his staff write letters to city bureaucrats to help constituents? An archivist was concerned that letters from constituents might contain private information? What a non-story.
Sounds to me that he is a council member that goes out of his way to represent his constituents. He also has the wherewithall to take on public representatives that do not work to make public housing a priority and others that likely don't take enough interest in their tenants.
So Al D'Amato is a Democrat? ;-)
Actually, no -- DiBlasio was helping the average moke, whereas the mobbed-up D'Amato only cared about helping the rich and/or powerful.