Residents of a tony block in Manhattan dubbed “Billionaire’s Row” upset about a proposed homeless shelter near their homes continue to hammer Mayor Bill de Blasio during his quest for the White House in Iowa.
The unofficial start to the campaign season – the Iowa State Fair – is currently underway, which means every presidential hopeful – and there’s a lot of them on the Democratic side – is flocking to the Hawkeye State to glad-hand voters and eat whatever can be put on a stick.
(In case you’re wondering, this year’s offerings of nearly 70 types of skewered food include Deep-Fried Cherry Pie, Bologna and the Slopper, which is a footlong hot dog with corn chips, chili and cheese sauce.)
But another thing you’ll see at this year’s fair are some phony dollar bills bearing the likeness of Hizzoner.
The West 58th Street Coalition, the group opposing a proposed homeless shelter in the old Park Savoy Hotel near Central Park South, said they were willing to spend up to $100,000 to hire local Iowa residents to hand out the fake dollar bills to fairgoers while de Blasio toured the grounds.
The group argues that they aren’t opposed to the homeless, but that the old hotel is a fire hazard and not suitable for use as a shelter. Group member Michael Fischer says he and fellow residents have been trying to meet with de Blasio about the issue, but the mayor’s office has ignored them.
Fischer is also organizing the efforts in Iowa. He had this to say about:
“The Mayor of New York City has been moonlighting in Iowa for far too long, with 61,000 homeless New Yorkers and 0 percent in the polls, it’s time for de Blasio to come home and meet with us. We have tried for months to get a meeting with him to discuss our very real concerns about this fire trap homeless shelter on West 58th Street that could put the lives of hundreds at risk. We want to make sure de Blasio knows while he is running, he can’t hide.”
In addition to their efforts at the fair, the group also put up billboards outside Cedar Rapids and Des Moines critical of the mayor, and says it has the money to erect up to eight more across the state if de Blasio continues his presidential campaign and ignores the pressing issues facing New York City (or at least facing them).
Look, we aren’t going to lie, we here at Pol Position love this! These are the types of crazy political stunts that get us excited, so we think this coalition should continue to blast de Blasio in flyover country any way they see fit.
(Might we suggest de Blasio’s face on the side of milk cartons in grocery stores in the state much like those old “Missing Children” advertisements? PM us West 58th Street Coalition!)
After the first billboard went up, Fischer appeared on Fox News and made sure to stress that everyone who lives on Billionaire’s Row isn’t actually a “billionaire.”
But if you are trying to convince everyday New Yorkers that your real concern is the well-being of the homeless and not your own property values, boasting about the hundreds of thousands of dollars you are spending to hound the mayor in a state that is thousands of miles away probably isn’t the best way to go. It fact, it’s exactly the type of tone-deaf behavior exhibited by the ultra-wealthy.
The message New Yorker are getting is you might not all be billionaires, but you sure ain’t broke!
Perhaps you could have used that money to make the Park Savoy Hotel safer for the homeless, if that is a real concern, or maybe you could have donated it to nonprofit groups that help New Yorkers instead of using it to put Iowans to work at the state fair.
But whatever, it’s your money, and as long as you spend it this way, at least we here at Pol Position will be entertained.