Eric Adams, former Police Captain and former Brooklyn Borough President, will take office Saturday as Mayor of New York, the economic and cultural capital of the United States, with the difficult task of recovering the economy, cultural activity and security in the city, one of the hardest hit by covid-19.
The time has come for this democrat of humble origin, vegan and African American, to begin working to fulfill his electoral promises, including that of stop the armed violence that exploded in parallel with the expansion of SARS-CoV-19 and that it served to mark differences with his opponents during the electoral campaign, especially in the primary elections of the Democratic party, where he prevailed over a dozen candidates.
But also and more in the medium and long term should address the city’s racial, economic, educational, social and housing inequalities and that the coronavirus exacerbated and left in view of all.
To do this, he has already surrounded himself with five vice mayors who have worked in municipal affairs and who, according to the political scientist of the University of New York (CUNY) John Gutiérrez, are “the cream of the bureaucrats” in New York and are “highly trained”.
THE MAYOR OF THE BULLET VEST
Since he took the first step to run for mayor, until today, Eric Adams has recalled over and over the 22 years he spent in the Police and that during this time he wore a bulletproof vest to protect his neighbors.
A mantra with which he obtained numerous votes, which he brandished as a credential in front of his electoral opponents when discussing security issues and which, even before assuming the Mayor’s Office, he has already used against his party colleagues in the Municipal Council.
On December 21, before a petition signed by 29 of the 51 members of the Municipal Council to end the solitary confinement of inmates in municipally run prisons, Adams responded angrily.
“If you want to work as partners, call me, listen to my ideas and my beliefs. The only thing that sets everyone who signed that letter from Eric Adams apart is that I wore a bulletproof vest for 22 years and protected the people of this city. When they do that, then they have the right to ask me about public safety issues. I think I know something about this”, said the new mayor who sometimes likes to talk about himself in the third person.
For Professor Gutiérrez, this attitude is a sample of the “caudillista elements” that characterize Adams’s personality, traits that he shares with other “great mayors” of the city such as Fiorello La Guardia (1934-1945), Edward Koch (1978- 1989), Rudy Giuliani (1994-2001) or Michael Bloomberg (2002-2013).
“The caudillo always thinks that he is right, that without him the city collapses, the best advisor that the caudillo has is himself and I think that these are elements of Adams, they are things that are seen in him.” Stressed the expert.
This attitude, with which he clearly opposes a large number of his party members, and specifically the more progressive left, from which he clearly dissociated himself during the electoral campaign, is the same with which he succeeded forge the sympathies of many voters at a time when violence soared in the city and across the country.
THE AMERICAN DREAM
“Adams is a person who has been able to speak to the average New Yorker, he has a bit of a gift, both because of his accent, which is well from Brooklyn, and because he grew up and studied here. He is a man who has that facility (and) in difficult moments, people who are not interested in the details of politics want a voice like that”, Gutiérrez added.
But in addition, Adams, who also served as a state senator (2007-2013), has always sought to identify with the ordinary New Yorker, insisting that he is a worker from humble origins and that his mother, Dorothy, who passed away this year during the electoral campaign, was “betrayed” by the city.
“All this is for you”, he said on election day when he was elected mayor in November, before underlining:
“I only have three words: I am like you. The city has abandoned people like my mother, so I hope that people exercise their right to express that we no longer want to be abandoned.”
He also often uses his childhood to return to the hackneyed local myth of the “American dream” and of the United States as “the land of opportunities”, where, supposedly, with effort and tenacity, anyone can achieve what they set out to do.
“Child (Eric Adams) who was lying on the floor of the 103rd District Police Station, attacked by the Police, can now become the mayor to be in charge of that same Police Department. I am the American Dream. I am a New York story”, he also assured the day he was imposed in the primary elections last June.