Detroit Free Press: “The virus’ spread through the department and through the region as a whole has officers patrolling on edge. Multiple exposures — including the pancake breakfast, those that are travel-related, contact with infected coworkers and during the course of policing — had sent 556 Detroit Police Department employees, including 468 sworn members, into quarantine as of Friday. That same day, officials said 39 officers had tested positive for COVID-19 and the department previously announced the deaths of two members.”
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) told CNN he doesn’t want to focus on the past after being asked about comments he made two weeks ago urging New Yorkers to go about their daily lives despite the coronavirus outbreak.
Said De Blasio: “We should not be focusing, in my view, on anything looking back on any level of government right now.”
New York Times: “While it ravages New York and metastasizes throughout much of the Northeast, the coronavirus is also quickly bearing down on new hot spots, sending doctors and first responders scrambling to prepare for the onslaught.”
“Still unable to conduct widespread testing, and fearful as the federal government fails to marshal critical supplies, officials in Boston, Detroit, Chicago, Atlanta, Milwaukee and Los Angeles are watching caseloads climb and taking extraordinary measures to maximize their resources and protect medical staff, all the while hoping that aggressive social-distancing measures might ward off the most dismal projections.”
“Federal Reserve officials are reviewing new ways to support financing for state and local governments, many of which are on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic and will face huge borrowing needs as revenues plunge,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
“The economic-rescue legislation Congress approved this week asks the Fed to charge headlong into areas it has long considered taboo—supporting lending to businesses, cities and states. The Fed traditionally avoided intervening directly in credit and fiscal policy, preferring to leave such matters to Congress and the White House.”
“There were people doing lap dances. I can’t think of anything more irresponsible at a time like this.”
— Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza, quoted by WPRI, on closing down a strip club for violating “social distancing” orders.
Washington Post: “Nearly 90 percent of U.S. mayors who responded to a national survey on coronavirus preparedness said they lack sufficient tests kits, face masks and other protective equipment for their emergency responders and medical workers, while 85 percent said they do not have enough ventilators for their hospitals — critical shortages that could lead cities and towns to be quickly overwhelmed should the virus spread through their communities.”
David Freedlander: “Three days later, facing (to use a favorite de Blasio-ism) ‘a very different reality,’ including a growing outcry from parents and from his own public-health officials, some of whom threatened to quit if he didn’t shutter schools and start taking the outbreak more seriously, New York City public schools were officially closed, probably for the rest of the school year.”
“Shortly thereafter, he declined to cancel St. Patrick’s Day parade and then did. He resisted calls to cancel regular street sweeping and then did. He had a photo op at a 311 call center, where he told a caller who had just returned from Italy that she did not need to self-quarantine, advice that forced 311 to actually call the woman back and tell her to stay inside for 14 days. The mayor touted the city’s new, wide-scale testing capacity, only to have his Health Department announce that only hospitalized patients should be tested. He tweeted at Elon Musk to supply the city with ventilators. When a New York Times reporter wrote of his own gut-wrenching story about contracting COVID-19 and being unable to get help, a top mayoral aide chastised him online for seeking help at all rather than just getting better at home. And the mayor himself told a radio host that people who don’t display symptoms can’t transmit the disease, an assertion that contradicts information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”
“The city of Miami will enact a 10 p.m. curfew starting Friday night, creating the most severe restrictions yet for the city’s more than 460,000 residents as government leaders push to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus that causes the disease COVID-19,” the Miami Herald reports.
New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson talks to Chris Riback about the challenges of running one of the first cities hit by the coronavirus.
Nearly every national media organization suddenly paid a visit. And the face of New Rochelle through all of this – the one racing from town meetings to food distribution centers to senior living homes to religious groups to 60 Minutes interviews – is the city’s hometown mayor Noam Bramson.
Full disclosure: I’ve know Noam and Chris for nearly 30 years and found this conversation as interesting as those we had in graduate school. But I think you will too.
“For most of last week, as Mayor Bill de Blasio continued to urge New Yorkers to mostly go about their daily lives — sending their children to school, frequenting the city’s businesses — some of his top aides were furiously trying to change the mayor’s approach to the coronavirus outbreak,” the New York Times reports.
“There had been arguments and shouting matches between the mayor and some of his advisers; some top health officials had even threatened to resign if he refused to accept the need to close schools and businesses.”
Eater: “Starting Friday at 5 p.m., all venues in the state seating 500 people or less will need to reduce capacity by 50 percent — including restaurants and bars, Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Thursday afternoon”
“Miami Mayor Francis Suarez has tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, four days after the mayor attended a Miami event with a Brazilian government official who later tested positive for the virus,” the Miami Herald reports.
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) talked to GQ about Michael Bloomberg’s “stop and frisk” policy when he was New York City mayor.
Said Jeffries: “We fought Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly to dismantle the unconstitutional and out-of-control stop-and-frisk program as implemented in New York City. It was outrageous, it was harmful, and it was destructive in the manner in which communities of color were treated.”
He added: “That said, I do believe that Mayor Bloomberg’s apology was heartfelt and authentic, in part because Mike Bloomberg prides himself on evaluating the data. In fact, when he was mayor of New York, he would often say, ‘Trust in God. All others bring data.’ That’s what he’s all about. Any evaluation of the data after stop-and-frisk was dismantled suggests that crime didn’t go up; it went down significantly. The data makes clear that stop-and-frisk, as aggressively practiced during the Bloomberg years, had nothing to do with the decline in crime because crime went down dramatically once stop-and-frisk was declared unconstitutional. As a result, I believe that Michael Bloomberg, looking at the data, could authentically conclude that he was wrong and therefore should apologize.”
New York Times: “As Mr. Bloomberg traverses the country as a presidential candidate, he is drawing on a vast network of city leaders whom he has funded as a philanthropist or advised as an elder statesman of municipal politics. Bloomberg Philanthropies, which has assets totaling $9 billion, has supported 196 different cities with grants, technical assistance and education programs worth a combined $350 million. Now, leaders in some of those cities are forming the spine of Mr. Bloomberg’s campaign: He has been endorsed so far by eight mayors — from larger cities like San Jose, Calif., and Louisville, Ky., and smaller ones like Gary, Ind., representing a total of more than 2.6 million Americans.”
“For all of those endorsers, Mr. Bloomberg has been an important benefactor. All have attended his prestigious boot camp at Harvard that gives the mayors access to ongoing strategic advice from Bloomberg-funded experts. More than half have received funding in the form of grants and other support packages from Mr. Bloomberg worth a total of nearly $10 million.”
Ocala, Florida dramatically blocked a newly-elected councilman from taking office Tuesday night over a 33-year-old felony cocaine conviction, WUFT reports.
The case is believed to be the first time a Florida politician has been disqualified after an election because of serious crimes.
The Intercept: “One of the main tenets of Pete Buttigieg’s plan to address racial inequality if he becomes president is a proposal to increase the number of federal contracting dollars going to women- and minority-owned businesses to 25 percent. But in South Bend, Indiana, where he has been mayor since 2012, less than 3 percent of city business has gone to minority- and women-owned businesses in recent years, according to annual audits conducted by the city.”
“In the history of American politics, one fact distills the nation’s enduring suspicion of cities: Voters have never elected a sitting mayor to the presidency,” the New York Times reports.
“Americans have seldom embraced anyone who’s even touched the job. Calvin Coolidge was the last president, one of just three in 230 years, to have been a mayor at any point. He led Northampton, Mass. — a modest town, really — for two years.”
“But as the Democratic Party becomes ever more aligned with urban areas, its presidential field is now studded with politicians whose boasts include running a city.”