BY MOSHE HILL OPINION COLUMNS SEPTEMBER 13 2023
For those who watch politics and culture long enough, a certain trend emerges over time. Politics is like a pendulum swinging back and forth, left to right. Every time it seems like one side of the spectrum is dominating, the pendulum begins to swing back until the other side is on top. For the past decade, New York City has been firmly and squarely on the left side of the pendulum, but the signs are beginning to indicate a shift rightward.
The first sign was the victory of Eric Adams in the Democratic Primary in 2021. By no means a conservative, and not nearly as far to the right as his general election rival Curtis Sliwa, Adams was seen as a moderate that would begin to correct the disastrous policies overseen and implemented by the Bill de Blasio regime. In that election, there were some victories by Republicans, with Queens GOP taking two seats in the New York City Council with Vickie Paldino and Joann Ariola. These victories were small in relation to the larger picture, but it seemed like the beginning of a trend.
Adams did not want to rock the boat too much in his first few years as Mayor of New York, and he parroted the common leftwing talking points on many issues. He had to, because he made so many promises to them to get their votes. The comment that he made in October 2021 is making the rounds, given the current situation in the city. “We should protect our immigrants. Period,” he tweeted. “Yes, New York City will remain a sanctuary city under an Adams administration.”
Flash forward to less than two years later, and Adams is singing a different tune. That’s two years of Biden open-border policies and over a year of border states paying for illegals’ transportation to their chosen destinations. Now, with over 110,000 illegal immigrants clogging up the system in New York, Eric Adams is sounding the alarm like never before.
“We’re getting no support on this national crisis,” said Adams at a town hall. “Never in my life have I had a problem that I did not see an ending to. I don’t see an ending to this. This issue will destroy New York City. Destroy New York City.” Adams is calling for across-the-board budget cuts from every department in the city to help pay for the massive, overwhelming crisis.
New Yorkers, as well as other leaders nationally, began to hope that Adams and other common-sense individuals in the New York City Council would begin to really address this issue, and not pay it the lip-service that they have been doing for years. New York City is still a sanctuary city, after all, and everyone knows that the first step to solving a problem is recognizing you have one. Adams admitted they have one.
This is not the only issue where New York is starting to realize how badly they screwed up.
A group of City Council members, including Councilmen Joe Borelli (R-Staten Island) and Kalman Yeger (D-Brooklyn), are proposing new legislation aimed at exploring the possibility of subsidizing parents who send their children to private schools in an effort to retain families skeptical of the public education system in New York City. The bill, sponsored by the eight-member “Common Sense Caucus,” seeks to study the feasibility of establishing a “school choice” program that would provide annual reimbursements of up to $10,000 for tuition payments to families sending their children to Catholic, parochial, and private schools, including yeshivos.
Councilman Borelli highlighted the motivation behind the legislation, stating, “We have seen parents flee the [public] school system and seek alternatives that they might not be able to afford.” The study would be jointly conducted by the Department of Finance and the Department of Education, with the goal of determining the best approach to administer such a program, if deemed necessary.
Councilman Yeger emphasized the importance of providing parents with more educational options, particularly in light of declining public school enrollment over the past decade. The sponsors of the legislation attributed this exodus to previous policies that limited educational choices, commending DOE Chancellor David Banks for his efforts to address these issues.
While the proposed local law is set to be introduced at the Council’s meeting in September, no official response has been received from the Department of Education or Mayor Eric Adams’ office regarding the legislation.
No one on the Right should be celebrating yet; these are just drops in the bucket. Immigration and school-choice policies will not commit an about-face overnight. It will be years of constant pushing by strong-willed advocates of these positions to even make a dent in New York City. This is just the first step.
The Mayor’s office and the Council have one thing right, though: People are leaving. There is a flight out of the City and the State because of the direction that New York has been taken. The same is true for California, Illinois, and other Democrat strongholds. If they want to change that, they need to not just admit there’s a problem. They need to work to solve it.