A New Year, A New Mayor

Bill Ritter's daily take on the news.

December 31, 2013 1:10:44 PM PST
It's been 12 years since New York has had a new Mayor. 12 years since Michael Bloomberg, worth about $4 billion at the time, walked into City Hall for the first time and turned it into a communal office. 12 years of changing skyline, changing street scenes, dropping crime rates with fewer cops, hundreds of thousands of otherwise innocent kids stopped and frisked, and the transformation of a city that had been shell-shocked and devastated by the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.

Late this afternoon, Michael Bloomberg, now worth at least $27 billion, walked out of City Hall for the last time as New York's 108th Mayor.

At one minute past midnight, Bill de Blasio takes over. Michael Bloomberg had never been elected to any public office before Mayor of New York, but he had run a huge and successful business. De Blasio has been elected to public office several times, but he's never run any organization larger than the small, $2 million-a-year office of the Public Advocate. He now inherits huge business, with an annual budget topping $70 billion.

Mr. Bloomberg had no experience in public office, and, by so many measures, he did fairly well. Mr. de Blasio has no experience managing a big enterprise, and, while the jury's of course still out, there are 8.2 million New Yorkers who, whether they admit it or not, are rooting for him to succeed. It's in their self-interests for that to happen. No person is perfect, no Mayor is perfect, no City is perfect. But as we usher out one Mayor and usher in another, we say, without hesitation, good luck to each.

Tonight at 11, we'll have how each man is spending this New Year's Eve ? one man leaving office, the other just entering. Nina Pineda will be outside de Blasio's home in Brooklyn, where he'll be officially sworn in as Mayor.

Also at 11, we're in Times Square, along with a million or so others, standing shoulder to shoulder for hours, unable to move (doesn't that sound like a blast) in the frigid air, waiting for a big crystal ball to drop from a 130-foot tower to signal the beginning of a new year.

Maybe they don't know they can watch the whole thing on Channel 7, and stay warm, or that they can look at the digital clock on the cable box to let them know that, indeed, 12 o'clock has been struck. But, lest I sound like a Debby Downer, I'll stop, and say our Jim Dolan will be in Times Square for us tonight at 11.

And one more note before we end this last column of 2013? The Huffington Post has named the prison garden story I reported for WABC and ABC News as one of its "amazing" prison stories of the year. A nice way to say adios to the year.

Here's the link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/31/prisons-2013_n_4505165.html?utm_hp_ref=tw

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Meteorologist Amy Freeze (in for Lee Goldberg) tracking the cold and the snow later this week, and Laura Behnke (in for Rob Powers) with the night's sports. I hope you can join Sade Baderinwa and me, tonight at 11, and then the big ball drop from Times Square, right here on ABC.

Happy New Year.


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