As a New York City Hall candidate, he vowed to ban horse carriages on “day one” — but Mayor de Blasio is finally admitting he bit off more than he can chew.
Furious supporters of the ban aren’t ready to be muzzled, though.
De Blasio said Wednesday he still wants to get rid of the “inhumane” industry — but for the first time he acknowledged he doesn’t have the votes in the City Council.
And the mayor said that the carriages are popular.
“The fact is, the industry has a lot of support in the City Council, and among the populace,” de Blasio said on the Brian Lehrer show on WNYC.
His message to the anti-carriage activists who helped elect him: his hands are tied.
“What I’d say to every advocate is, ‘You already have my vote, go get the votes in the City Council and solidify the support in the City Council so we can make this change,’” he says.
That was not what they wanted to hear.
Animal rights activist Donny Moss, who helped start the Anybody But Quinn group that toppled de Blasio’s Democratic primary rival Christine Quinn, ripped the mayor.
"The mayor stated unequivocally that he would end horse-drawn carriage rides in Manhattan. He also said that he would lobby Council members in support of his bill. He has done neither,” says Moss. “Is he really looking to alienate his base — the very people who worked tirelessly to get him elected?”
NYCLASS which donated heavily to de Blasio — challenged the mayor’s math on the Council tally.
“We are prepared for the bill to be voted on immediately as we believe we would be successful,” says a spokesman.
That might be wishful thinking. Council sources said the bill has little support, with one member saying only a handful of members would probably vote for a ban now.
Councilman Rory Lancman (D-Queens) says the mayor is wisely shifting his focus.
“I wouldn’t say the mayor’s given up on banning horse carriages, but like all of us he has to continue focusing on what’s important: jobs, housing, education, public safety,” he says. “Prioritizing banning horse carriages doesn’t make the cut."