2014-02-21 / Columnists

Commentary On Things Present

Mayor Bill de Blasio...Conductor Or Director?
By Pete Stubben

Despite the overwhelming inferiority of Republican registrations in New York City, voters here have overwhelming supported Republican-leaning contenders in the last five mayoral elections. But not this time, and now we have a lefty-lib and self-described Progressive in City Hall and Gracie Mansion.

Will our new mayor govern as a conductor or as a director?

Symphonic conductors tend to sublimate themselves to the genius of the composer and the composition, but otherwise harass, cajole, educate and inspire their orchestral players to first understand the composition and then play their instrument superbly. Conductors coordinate... they meld and blend the beautiful sound into a sublime rendition of the composition. In the venue where conductor and musicians alike are generally dressed in basic-black, the hall is generally subdued, as all eyes and ears focus on the music, the composition and the composer. The highlights to the hall - generally unseen - are the acoustics that carry the live music undistorted and unfiltered from the instrument to the ear.

Likewise, Adam Smith and America's Constitution 'of, by, and for the people' inspire all in the commonwealth to live, work and play unfettered, using their talents to improve themselves and their own families, thereby creating a greater good for all... the unseen hand, so to speak.

Movie directors on the other hand adapt, change, revise and sometimes rewrite scripts & screenplays to their own liking, to their own vision of happier endings, more love interests, and especially the dramatic dénouement. Not the smallest detail goes unseen or undetermined by the director...they set the lighting, create the interior scenery or choose the exterior backgrounds, breakdown the actors into small scenes and multiple renditions, splice and remix the tapes, and generally view all through an artificial prism...the narrow focus of a camera. Likewise, the ideologue (and the monarch) adapt, change, revise and rewrite the script & the screenplay of life to their own liking, to their own vision of happier endings. Not the smallest detail of the interior or the exterior is left to fate or to the whim of the people... all must be micro-managed from the director's chair - I mean from the mayor's office - to assure good, balanced, fair, superior outcomes. These leaders view life and their mission through the prism of their own aspirations and intentions.

So, how will Bill de Blasio govern... as the ideologue - the director who seeks to reform, rewrite, and recreate society and life into his own aspirations...or as the coordinator and manager - the conductor with great faith in the composition who seeks to inspire society and life to reach their own highest aspirations?

One of the new mayor's very first translations of abstraction into city policy makes me very fearful. Connecticut approved five days of sick pay leave for all employees of businesses that employ 50 or more people, just as Congress mandated likewise with the Affordable Care Act their health mandates to apply for all firms with 50 or more employees. Mayor de Blasio and his new City Council on the other hand have already determined that's just not good enough and imposed the five-daysick leave mandate on all New York City businesses with five or more employees. Obviously this new de Blasio mandate will now apply to almost all the new and upstart business of our recent immigrants who open stores, bodegas and bistros in their own neighborhoods and throughout the city, and that traditionally have jump- started a better life for themselves and for their families (that is, if they don't go broke in the process first). These new burdens will double their workforce expenses without one iota of new income... quicksand for the upstart. Tone-deaf to the burdens and implications of this wellintentioned sick-day policy, the new mayor is requiring implementation immediately - this April! - And already his Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen has testified, "The city will not shy away from implementing this important legislation." NYC Dept. of Housing and NYC Dept. of Consumer Affairs told City Council members last week they have allocated an additional $5 million to hire more city workers to enforce this new April 1 legislation right away.

Very troubling, no? I fear he's gonna be a director!

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