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Where’s the Bill? Constituents wonder what DeBlasio’s doing … in Iowa

The Brooklyn Paper
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You win some votes, you lose some votes.

Constituents of Councilman Bill DeBlasio blasted the political animal for spending most of the past two weeks campaigning for Sen. Hillary Clinton in Iowa and New Hampshire.

“I’d like to think that our council members are spending their time trying to solve city issues,” said Eric McClure, a member of Park Slope Neighbors, echoing a widespread sentiment.

DeBlasio and several staffers were in Clinton County, Iowa, from Dec. 27 until Jan. 3, to help get out the vote for New York’s junior senator (who did win the county, though she lost the state’s caucus to Illinois Sen. Barack Obama). After briefly returning to his Brooklyn district, DeBlasio and his retinue hurried to Dover, N.H., for more campaign work through Tuesday’s primary.

DeBlasio is an old hand at campaigns — he was an adviser to Clinton during her first run for the senate in 2000, and he worked on former Sen. John Edwards’s losing race in Iowa in 2004.

Despite his critics, DeBlasio said there’s nothing wrong with a little unpaid moonlighting at this time of year.

“There’s a kind of lull in any legislative body around the holidays,” he told The Brooklyn Paper.

He also said New York, and by extension, Brooklyn, stand to gain if Clinton takes the White House.

“There’s no such thing as the home state not benefiting from getting its person elected” — though by that logic, DeBlasio could also be supporting Rudy Giuliani, whose roots to New York State are far deeper than Clinton’s.

Residents say DeBlasio’s extracurricular activities are distracting him from important city business.

“I’m not sure there ever is a quiet time in New York City,” said McClure.

“There have been things going on with subsidies for Madison Square Garden and subsidies for other sports arenas. There’s been a rash of muggings in Park Slope.”

In fact, DeBlasio missed the finance committee’s major hearing on Monday about the subsidies for MSG.

His absence was visibly criticized on the so-called Democracy Wall in the plaza at the corner of Smith Street and Second Place, a wall that has served as a message board since a controversial development was proposed last spring for 360 Smith St.

“Carroll Gardens is in trouble and people feel abandoned by him,” said Triada Samaras, one of the organizers of the Democracy Wall.

“Right around Christmas we tried to take stock of what we had done with him in the last six months and it was pretty frustrating.”

But DeBlasio said he’s come through on the very issues near and dear to Samaras’s heart.

“I’m frustrated by work in Carroll Gardens that doesn’t get recognized — like downzoning,” which is queued up for consideration by City Planning.

“I’ve been one of leading people in getting the project at 360 Smith St. made smaller.”

Government watchdogs defended DeBlasio’s presidential trips.

“If Bill DeBlasio was a member of the council who had an attendance problem overall, it would be a serious problem. But he has been a very active, engaged member of the council,” said Dick Dadey, executive director of Citizens Union.

DeBlasio has already announced a run for Borough President in 2009 — that is, if a President Clinton doesn’t offer her booster something better.

Updated 4:34 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Mike from Park Slope says:
Clearly, he was going to Iowa because it's the only way to get covered in the Brooklyn Paper!
Jan. 14, 2008, 3:45 pm

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