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Will New York Be Content to Follow, Rather than Lead?

From pedestrianization initiatives to a trans fat ban, Bloomberg's New York was known for experimentation and innovation. Laura Kusisto says that after two decades of conservative mayors, the next administration will look elsewhere for inspiration.
December 2, 2013, 9am PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Though many of Bloomberg's policies would be welcome in any progressive administration, Kusisto observes that de Blasio will likely look elsewhere - to other cities that "have elected more left-leaning leaders" - for guidance on how to achieve his liberal agenda. Whereas the outgoing administration earned a reputation as "groundbreaking" and "innovative", Kusisto suggests the incoming one will be happy to follow other leaders.

"A 75-page policy book and other briefs that Mr. de Blasio released during the Democratic primary mention other cities as examples about 30 times and proposes a number of other policies that have been tried elsewhere," she notes. "In similarly detailed policy blueprints Mr. Bloomberg released during his 2001 campaign, he mentions other cities' policies about 10 times."

In contrast to Mayor Bloomberg, who empowered his department heads to experiment, "Mr. de Blasio draws more on community and nonprofit groups, many of whom are plugged into policies being experimented with in other places," Kusisto explains. "Many of his marquee proposals have been tried elsewhere, from zoning requiring affordable housing in Denver and Boston, to universal pre-kindergarten in places like Paris and Tulsa, Okla."

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Published on Thursday, December 26, 2013 in The Wall Street Journal
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