‘It gives us the opportunity to determine what a hotel will mean for a community…’
(Dan E. Way, Liberty Headlines) Critics are denouncing Democratic New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio for an apparent pay-to-play scheme benefiting a powerful union in exchange for support of his preposterous presidential bid.
The New York Post reported that de Blasio was pursuing the Hotel Trades Council’s long-held dream of forcing unregulated, non-unionized hospitality operations—most notably, Airbnb—to jump through bureaucratic hoops to get special permits to operate.
Coincidence or not, that is the only labor group backing his run for the White House.
The Post reported that 70 percent of the mayor’s donors are members of that union.
It endorsed de Blasio for president after he cracked down on Airbnb, a user-to-user online marketplace that connects travelers with homeowners willing to rent out their houses.
By designating Airbnb-type rentals as hotels and requiring them to obtain special permits through the city’s land-use review process, the establishments fall under the thumb of the City Council. Many council members have links to the union.
That puts the labor group in a prime position to strong-arm maverick lodgings into accepting union terms.
“I think special permits are a very good idea,” The New York Daily News quoted de Blasio as saying during a campaign rally at which the union endorsed him.
“I think we should extend it as far as we can with the City Council because what it does is it gives us the opportunity to determine what a hotel will mean for a community.”
The New York Post editorial board slammed de Blasio in May for another pay-to-play scheme. Campaign for One New York, a nonprofit fund he controlled, raised millions of dollars for pet projects advancing his political agenda.
Donors included entities with business or labor contracts with the city, or projects pending approval.
Although state and federal prosecutors rebuked him, de Blasio got off scot-free because the City Charter and previous U.S. Supreme Court rulings are nearly insurmountable obstacles to gaining a conviction.
While de Blasio is making hay with the hotel union off his presidential race, there are reports even his own City Hall staff has scoffed at his quixotic campaign, which they perceive to be driven more by oversize ego than any prospect of winning.
A campaign event earlier this month in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, buttressed the skepticism. De Blasio drew only 15 supporters.
But there is a bright spot: A Quinnipiac poll released Wednesday showed the mayor’s support finally rose above zero percent. He is now at 1 percent.