New Mayor de Blasio: New York Can't Be "Exclusive Domain of the One Percent"
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The following is a transcript of a Democracy Now! segment.
Bill de Blasio began his term as New York City mayor on Wednesday with a bold pledge to tackle income inequality in the nation’s largest city. De Blasio was sworn in following last year’s historic victories in the Democratic primary and general election on a progressive platform. In his inaugural address, de Blasio focused on his campaign pledge to tackle what he called "a tale of two cities," a growing gap between rich and poor. "New Yorkers [will] see our city not as the exclusive domain of the One Percent, but a place where everyday people can afford to live, work, and raise a family," de Blasio said. "We won’t wait. We’ll do it now."
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Here in New York, Bill de Blasio has been sworn in as the city’s new mayor, replacing billionaire Mike Bloomberg. Former U.S. President Bill Clinton administered the oath of office on a Bible once used by Franklin Delano Roosevelt. De Blasio is the first Democrat to lead New York in two decades. In his inaugural address, he vowed to fight income inequality.
MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO: I know that there are those who think that what I said during the campaign was just rhetoric, just political talk in the interest of getting elected. And there are some who think that now, as we turn to governing, well, that things will just continue pretty much the way they always have. So let me be clear: When I said I would take dead aim at the tale of two cities, I meant it. And we will do it. I will honor the faith and the trust you have placed in me, and we will give life to the hope of so many in our city. We will succeed as one city.
And we know this won’t be easy. It will require all that we can muster. And it won’t be accomplished only by me. It will be accomplished by all of us, those of us here today and millions of everyday New Yorkers in every corner of our city. You must continue to make your voices heard. You must be at the center of this debate. And our work begins now.
We will expand the paid sick leave law, because no one should be forced to lose a day’s pay or even a week’s pay simply because illness strikes. And by this time next year, fully 300,000 additional New Yorkers will be protected by that law. We won’t wait; we’ll do it now.
We will require big developers to build more affordable housing. We will fight to stem the tide of hospital closures. And we’ll expand community health centers into neighborhoods in need, so that New Yorkers see our city not as the exclusive domain of the 1 percent, but a place where everyday people can afford to live, work and raise a family. We won’t wait; we’ll do it now.
We will reform a broken stop-and-frisk policy, both to protect the dignity and rights of young men of color and to give our brave police officers the partnership they need to continue their success in driving down crime. We won’t wait; we’ll do it now.
And we will ask the very wealthy to pay a little more in taxes, so that we can offer full-day universal pre-K for every child in this city and after-school programs for every middle-school child. When we say "a little more," we can rightly emphasize the "little." Those earning between $500,000 and a million dollars a year, for instance, would see their taxes increase by an average of $973 a year. That’s less than three bucks a day—about the cost of a small soy latte at your local Starbucks. Think about it. A five-year tax on the wealthiest among us with every dollar dedicated to pre-K and after-school. Asking those at the top to help our kids get on the right path and stay there, that’s our mission. And on that, we will not wait; we’ll do it now.