On Election Day, voters cautiously support Bill de Blasio
After casting a vote for Bill de Blasio Tuesday afternoon, Brett Stoudt was somewhat resigned.
“I can’t count the ways progressive candidates have disappointed me in the past. I don’t want him to disappoint me,” the 38-year-old CUNY professor said.
Many New Yorkers voted for de Blasio in the general election over Republican Joe Lhota. But some voters’ support came with reservations, many wondering if a de Blasio administration could meet their expectations.
James Smith, a house painter who lives in Alphabet City, said he wanted a change from the Bloomberg years. The current mayor came into office the year after Smith moved to the city.
“This city has become more divided under him,” said Smith, a 62-year-old de Blasio voter.
Though Smith said he supported de Blasio’s “liberal policies,” he isn’t counting on change.
“I’m worried,” Smith said. “Once you get in you got to deal with everyone else’s interests.”
Some of these interests could sway his policies, Stoudt explained.
“There are strong forces progressives can crumble to — business, housing developers, the gentrifiers — I hope he stands strong,” he said.
Many de Blasio voters cited his stance on the controversial police practice of stop-and-frisk as explanation of their support. Others said the public advocate would best address income inequality.
“But I’m not saying he’s a panacea for all the city’s problems,” said 38-year-old Harlem resident and de Blasio voter Andrea Ciannavei. “Who knows if he’s going to make them all go away.”
Despite these doubts, voters were enthusiastic about the public advocate, saying they “don’t trust” Lhota.
“Lhota’s ornery, a downer guy. He doesn’t seem likable,” said Genata Carol, a clinical psychiatrist.
Still, the former MTA chairman and deputy mayor had backers — particularly those who feared de Blasio would change police policies too much.
“I think the police department has done a great job and I don’t think we should go back on that,” said Andrew Ketler, a 33-year-old Lhota voter who owns a packaging company.
But Stoudt and other de Blasio supporters hoped that, if elected, he would change the department — as well as the city.
“If he doesn’t make it better, it’s not going to be viable for a lot of people to live here,” he said.
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