Bad enough that Mayor Bill de Blasio & Co. often cover their ears when the public talks; even worse when they pretend they’re listening. And first lady Chirlane McCray’s She Built NYC project is only the latest example of that.
The project — launched last summer and controlled by McCray — aims to have more statues of women built around the city to offset those of men. It asked the public to suggest seven women to honor, and folks sent in more than 1,800 suggestions, The Post reported Sunday.
They shouldn’t have bothered: Though the suggestions included 320 women, McCray and ex-Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen, who together made the final decision, threw out the public’s top two choices, Francine Xavier Cabrini (Mother Cabrini), America’s first saint and an advocate for the poor (who got 219 votes), and journalist and activist Jane Jacobs (93 votes).
Indeed, they didn’t even listen to members of a panel that weighed the responses and made recommendations.
“The whole process was a charade,” charged one of the panelists, Harriet Senie. McCray had her own ideas about who’d have statues built of them.
“Growing up as an African American woman, I didn’t see anyone who represented me in media or popular culture, even though women make incredible contributions,” the first lady told NBC.
In the end, McCray and Glen chose seven women (to be honored in six statues), including jazz great Billie Holiday, desegregation activist Elizabeth Jennings Graham, Latina doctor Helen Rodriguez Trias and LGBTQ advocate Sylvia Rivera and three others.
Even if you agree with McCray’s picks, the public’s input should’ve counted for something, to say nothing of the panel’s recommendations. If not, why ask for suggestions in the first place — unless the point is simply to check the box so you can claim you’ve gotten input?
Alas, McCray is just following standard Team de Blasio practices. The mayor, recall, became infamous for his “invitation-only” town halls and his repeated refusal to meet with critics.
Just last week, a group of mostly Asian American parents blasted his schools chancellor, Richard Carranza, as he headed to a “community chat” — which was open only to a select audience.
Bottom line: Blas & Co. don’t want input, especially if it’s critical. No one should fall for their claims to the contrary.
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