If the dynamic duo of Governor Andrew Cuomo and NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio could possibly figure out a worse way to respond to the riots than they’ve managed thus far, I can’t imagine what it would be. After essentially letting the city burn for three straight nights, they made an announcement on Tuesday afternoon that there would be a curfew all across the five boroughs starting at 11 pm last night. While an enforceable curfew might have been a good idea (assuming you could figure out a way to actually enforce it), announcing it on such short notice caught everyone off guard. This included members of the City Council who quickly took to social media to express their feelings about being left entirely out of the loop while the decision was being made. (NY Post)
City and state lawmakers were stunned by Monday’s shock announcement from Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio that the Big Apple would be placed under an 11pm curfew following days of protests and unrest across the city.
“The fact that city food delivery workers who work overnight to restock shelves are messaging me frantically right now not sure if they can work tonight with the abruptly announced city curfew tells you a lot about the state of government right now,” tweeted Councilman Mark Treyger (D-Brooklyn).
“It’s amazing when as an elected you find out that your neighborhood is going on lockdown because of Twitter,” wrote Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz (D-Queens). “Not because the Mayor or the Gov’s teams give you a heads up… and it’s even better when you ask and they blame each other for the decision.”
Other Council members weighed in with their own disappointment in having to find out about such a major decision on the news or through social media. The number of disruptions the curfew would cause to what remains of the normal flow of business and commerce in the city quickly became the focus of debate online.
Of course, the curfew didn’t wind up changing much of anything. The streets were still packed last night, though with a somewhat reduced amount of burning and looting. But that was true across most of the major cities. It is perhaps a sign of growing fatigue among both the protesters and the rioters or looters more so than any orders given by the state and municipal governments.
And do you know why the curfew orders didn’t work? Because the people most likely to obey rules handed down from the government were already at home and sheltering in place or only leaving their homes on essential business. Now take a guess who the people are who go out to form large gatherings and set fires, smash windows and steal everything from the stores. It’s the people who don’t tend to follow the rules and will break the law when they know they have the cops massively outnumbered and can probably get away with it. If this paragraph were a tweet I would have included a “No Duh” graphic.
What’s perhaps more interesting in all of this is the way we’re seeing the various executive offices currently wielding authoritarian power starting to go after each other. As Ed Morrissey noted yesterday, Cuomo and de Blasio have already been at each other’s throats for a few days now. The city has been imploding and all of the executive orders in the world weren’t doing much of anything to restore order. Rather than taking responsibility or coming up with a workable plan, the Governor and the Mayor turned to traditional finger-pointing, laying the blame at each other’s feet.
At the same time, we’re finally seeing some pushback from the elected legislators who have been shut out of the process as all of these executive orders are handed down during a declared state of emergency. It’s bad enough that so many rules are being put in place without a vote ever being taken to approve new laws. But now the rules are being handed down without any of them being consulted on the matter. This is an undemocratic process and it’s obviously not sustainable in the long run.
I still believe New York City is going to pull out of this nosedive, though I couldn’t tell you how at the moment. Perhaps I’m just too much of an optimist at heart. New Yorkers are a tough lot and they’ve taken it on the chin many times in the past but always somehow found a way to pull through. But when they do, I’m pretty sure it won’t be because of the leadership of Bill de Blasio.