City Council Speaker Corey Johnson is having a good year. He showed leadership in the blackout this summer while the mayor was AWOL, and he will likely get his “master-streets” plan enacted, showing long-term strategy. But as he looks to a mayoral run, he should avoid a catastrophe: getting sucked into de Blasio-era horse-carriage nonsense.
Mayor Bill de Blasio spent his first term mired in a bizarre jihad against New York’s horse-carriage industry — an industry that is well-regulated and creates 300 good jobs. First, in 2017, he tried to ban the industry, doing the bidding of a property-backed group, NYCLASS, whose board members had donated heavily to the mayor. But then-Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito stood up to the mayor in refusing a vote.
Since then, NYCLASS hasn’t slunk away. It has changed strategy, from demanding an outright ban to killing the industry through attrition. This is smart: It’s exhausting for people trying to do their jobs to constantly have to come out in force at council hearings, votes and the like. And the public, which supports the industry, doesn’t follow every byzantine twist and turn.
This year, Hizzoner, literally under cover of night, tore up Central Park South and parts of the southern park drives to move horse carriages off the street and into Central Park — for no good reason. The horses were fine on what city crash data indicate is a safe street, and their presence actually calmed traffic.
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