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To the Barricades!

Bill de Blasio’s bid to lead the City Hall opposition.


Even before losing the big vote and failing to prevent Mighty Mike Bloomberg from running for a third term, City Councilman Bill de Blasio was declaring victory. “Even just being in striking range is historic,” he said, a few hours before coming four votes short in the City Council. The lanky Park Sloper was picking at a croissant at a café near City Hall and talking about the ragtag coalition he put together to resist Bloomberg’s hegemony. “I think what you’re going to see now is a new militancy,” he said. “This is structural, and it’s going to frame who the two camps are going forward: The status quo camp and the progressive activist camp.” Self-appointed opposition leader is a comeback of sorts for de Blasio, who in 2005 lost the Council speakership to Christine Quinn (who had the support of the party bosses). Several megaprojects, from Moynihan Station to Willets Point, along with mayoral control of schools, will come before the Council in the next term, and now de Blasio is a power broker. His ncoalition—labor groups, the Working Families Party, more than twenty councilmen, Tom Golisano, one of Rudy Giuliani’s lawyers, and assorted good-government groups—also stands to disrupt Quinn’s speakership. But he has to keep these strange bedfellows together while deciding if he’ll take advantage of the new rules and run for Council again. (He’s raised over $600,000 to run for Brooklyn borough president.) In the meantime, he’s content to have thrown some obstructions in Bloomberg’s way. “Nobody has ever seen anything like this,” he said. “The mayor came out of the vote, and a group of people heckled him and chased after him in his car. A nerve has been struck.”

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