To the Editor: Mayor-elect Eric Adams tells ordinary New Yorkers "I am you." When the conversation turns to raising money from well-heeled and powerful developers, it's "I am real estate" and "Build tall and build high." So he gets from Mayor de Blasio ("A Tale of Two Cities"), and former Mayor Bloomberg, who helped raise money for Adams, while his inner circle is providing advice to Team Adams.
Does this make the next Mayor a brilliant political strategist, or is he channeling Professor Harold Hill in "The Music Man," who sells imaginary trombones to the gullible citizens of River City, Iowa?
Adams calls himself "the original progressive." He has the backs of black and brown New Yorkers. These two groups, in a coalition with working-class whites and unions, propelled Adams to a close victory in the ranked-choice Democratic primary. There was no problem winning the general election, since Democratic voters in the city outnumber Republicans by 7 to 1.
Adams on the campaign trail frequently spoke about his biography. He was the "blue-collar" candidate whose successful coalition was "amazing." "Working-class people," he said, "saw a working-class Mayor." On a single piece of campaign literature, voters found the following: "progressive plan for our future, progressive policies." It also was mentioned that the Daily News (presumably read by many of his supporters) endorsed him. Several words could describe its editorial board, but progressive in not one of them. It was apparently a bridge too far, however, to mention his endorsement, in both the primary and general election, by Rupert Murdoch's right-wing, toxic New York Post.
At clubs, restaurants and other venues, the "business-friendly" Adams wines and dines with wealthy donors. They shower him with praise and checks. It's highly unlikely that there are any discussions about what Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said: "We are living in [an economy] where wealth built upon wealth, while working families fell farther and farther behind."
What's striking is that a politician who labels himself "working-class" is adored by the rich, political right and their lobbyists.
Adams, speaking to some of his wealthy benefactors, gave advice to those who don't believe high taxes will cause the rich to leave. He said, "No, you leave."
There are other serious concerns about Adams which raise more questions than answers. Will his focus on "law and order" (murders and shootings have declined) prevent him from addressing the systemic racism and violence in the Police Department and the need to re-imagine public safety? Will the $6 million in political contributions that Adams has received over the years from the charter-school industry interfere with improving public education and ending segregated classrooms?
Who knows what kind of Mayor Eric Adams will be. But if past is prologue, Irving Berlin gets the last word. In a lyric from "Let's Face the Music and Dance," he wrote, "There may be trouble ahead."