NEW YORK (FOX 5 NY) - Mayor Bill de Blasio has branded himself a progressive whose mission is to make New York a "fairer city." Yet, the Democrat is openly frustrated with some fellow progressives who opposed the now-defunct deal with Amazon to build a massive campus in Long Island City, Queens.
Amazon announced it was dumping the plan because of opposition from local activists and officials, such as City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer and freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who called the deal's collapse a sign that "Americans still have the power to organize and fight for their communities."
In an appearance on WNYC radio, the mayor, sounding disappointed and angry, countered with polls that showed that the majority of New Yorkers—and especially lower-income, working-class folks—supported the Amazon deal.
"So I think it's quite clear that working people believe in economic development. They want guarantees, they want corporate America to give back and be a good neighbor," de Blasio told host Brian Lehrer. "But I really would say as a progressive my entire life—and I ain't changing—I'll take on any progressive anywhere that thinks it's a good idea to lose jobs and revenue because I think that's out of touch with what working people want."
De Blasio, 57, said he is upset that Amazon bailed instead of meeting officials and critics to address concerns. But he faulted his fellow progressives for not learned from the past.
"I came up watching the mistakes of progressives of the past, unfortunately, what happened in this city when it almost went into bankruptcy in the 1970s," de Blasio told WNYC. "And I saw all the times when progressives did not show people effective governance and all the times progressives made the kind of mistakes that alienated working people."
De Blasio defended the massive incentives the city and state offered Amazon because he believed that New York would ultimately see a big return on that investment. He said that improving the city's economy, schools, infrastructure, and safety takes money—and a lot of it.
"And we were about to get more money to do that," the mayor said. "And everyday New Yorkers figured that out real quick. Some of the activists did not."