It’s a rare day when we get to feature New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio twice in twelve hours, but one has to make hay while the sun shines. This story actually dates back to a local news item from last Friday. It was a busy day for Hizzoner, since it involved a big presentation where he signed an executive order saying that his city would be bound by the Paris climate agreement no matter what President Trump thought about it. Later on he had to do a local radio hit to discuss the order and how everyone would need to pitch in to save the world from the evils of mankind. But before any of that got into motion, he kicked off his morning with his daily trip to the gym to get in his workout. It’s located twelve miles from the Mayoral residence so it’s clearly too far to walk. And taking the subway is such a hassle. So he had himself driven there in his taxpayer funded SUV.
Back to the radio show for a moment, check out how he explained that the responsibility falls on each individual for protecting the climate. (CBS Local)
During the mayor’s weekly radio appearance Friday on WNYC, de Blasio said cities have to take the lead on following the goals of the Paris climate accord after President Donald Trump announced the United States is exiting the deal.
Later, while discussing a possible ban on plastic bags, de Blasio said it also comes down to the individual.
“Everyone in their own life has to change their own habits to start protecting the Earth,” de Blasio said.
Needless to say, some people calling into the radio show later noticed and were less than impressed.
A caller later criticized the mayor for his motorcade rides from the Upper East Side to a YMCA in Park Slope for his daily workouts, saying he needs to “step up his game” and “lead by example.”
The caller said, “You’re not going to be able to lead when you’re sitting in your SUV being chauffeured every day, 12 miles from Gracie Mansion to Park Slope just so that you can ride an exercise bike.”
“I’m just not going to take the bait, my friend,” the mayor responded. “I have instructed folks in my government to turn our fleet into electric cars. We are moving to renewables we are retrofitting our building. We’re doing all the things, that’s the real leadership, it’s not whether or not I go to the gym.”
It’s a fairly easy task to translate “I’m not going to take the bait” in the standard fashion. It means, oh crap. He got me. But I’m not going to discuss this because I’d look incredibly foolish.
Allow me to help the Mayor out once again. This has nothing to do with whether or not you go to the gym, but you already know that. The caller wanted to know why you didn’t take the subway like everyone else rather than dragging out your motorcade. Saying you take the subway “when it makes sense” (which he did later in his response) isn’t going to sit well with your constituents who are on a budget. Most of them don’t even have cars and the subway is the only thing that ever makes sense unless they can splurge on a cab.
Also, talking about all of the initiatives you plan on doing involving electric cars and renewables doesn’t address what you’re doing today. And those are government agencies anyway. They have to be open and running. The question at hand has to do with your daily trip to the gym, which is a good practice in terms of health but is completely optional on your part when it comes to the city budget and the amount of carbon you emit. Your SUV may be a hybrid, but it’s still an SUV. Aside from rolling to the gym in a Hummer you’re taking about the least climate friendly and most expensive option possible. You’re really going to dismiss a caller who asks about it only moments after you lecture the city on taking personal responsibility for climate change?
This guy is one heck of a politician. He can speak out of both sides of his face simultaneously and not even break a sweat. If he were a few rungs further up the political ladder he’d probably have a hugely wasteful mansion and a private jet like Al Gore and still be preaching to us about carbon.