Insanity is popularly defined as doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
As an example, see slashing the number of cops at the NYPD and believing public safety won’t suffer.
History proves otherwise.
In the extremely bloody era of the early 1990s, when the city had more than 2,000 murders a year, the force had fallen to just 29,000 officers.
If Mayor Adams gets his way, it will hit that number again next year through attrition, a drop of about 13% from the current 33,500.
Can a vicious new crime wave be far behind?
As Republican Councilman Joe Borelli put it, the “defund the police crowd’s woke dream has come true.”
There is more than a little irony in the fact that it’s happening under Adams, who ordered cuts in all agencies as he canceled the next five classes of NYPD recruits.
Adams, a former cop, was elected in 2021 on an anti-crime platform, and there has been real progress in reducing murders and shootings.
But overall crime reports continue to climb and no one who lives in the city believes it’s safe.
So this is a rotten time to tempt fate by not replacing officers who retire or resign.
If anything, the city should be expanding the NYPD.
That’s what officials did during a crime wave 30 years ago, and within three years, in 1996, the headcount hit a record 38,310 officers.
The added troops, combined with the aggressive “broken windows” policing under Mayor Rudy Giuliani, saved Gotham.
Crime fell for two decades, ushering in a remarkable era of public safety and prosperity that continued through Michael Bloomberg’s three terms.
Bad Ol’ Days amnesia
But Adams and the City Council didn’t learn, so here we go again.
Worse, shrinking the force now is asking for double trouble because the city’s population in the early ‘90s was about 7.3 million.
Today, it’s at least 8.5 million, so 29,000 cops will be a proportionally smaller force than it was then.
Even more troubling is the main reason the budget is out of whack.
More than 125,000 migrant asylum seekers came to the city to take advantage of free shelter, food and medical care.
Adams, in calling for 5% cuts in each agency, estimates the total migrant cost will surpass $12 billion over three years, yet for months he was encouraging more of them to come.
Although President Biden is primarily to blame because of his open border policy, the mayor foolishly boasted of the city’s sanctuary status and rolled out the Welcome Wagon.
In a memorable example of his inconsistency, he made a deal with a Texas mayor to take numerous busloads of new arrivals even as he blasted the Texas governor as a racist for busing other migrants to New York.
Adams also had officials meet many of the buses and welcome each new arrival with a goody bag and help in getting taxpayer freebies.
The wonder is not that so many came to New York.
It’s that millions of others Biden let into America didn’t come here.
If they had, the city would be overrun and already broke.
As it is, the mayor is telling public-school parents they might have to replace security guards the city can’t pay and asking wealthy New Yorkers to increase their charity giving to fill empty coffers.
He might as well tell them to get out of Dodge while they can.
If they do, wherever they go, they will find plenty of former New Yorkers who gave up on the city and state.
The budget disaster comes at a time when Adams is already on thin ice.
A federal probe into fundraising for his ‘21 campaign includes the FBI serving search warrants on three associates.
And in an extraordinary moment, agents stopped the mayor on a street and ordered his security detail to step aside as they confiscated his three electronic devices.
Poor re-election footing
Even if no charges are brought against him, it’s hard to see how the city reverses its continuing decline and bounces back before Adams faces re-election in 2025.
Look at it this way: When he took office, New York had numerous problems and one genuine crisis — public safety.
Two years later, the city still has the same problems, including painfully high levels of crime, and additionally faces two new crises–the migrant crush and a financial calamity.
Good luck defending that record to voters.
Meanwhile, there is plenty of fat in the budget, which is now pegged at $110 billion.
A decade ago, it was $49 billion.
But Adams has proven to be much better at adding cronies to the payroll than keeping a tight rein on spending and setting priorities.
His deals with municipal unions are more expensive than necessary because he didn’t demand givebacks to reduce costs to taxpayers.
While it’s true he’s gotten little help from fellow Democrats Biden or Gov. Hochul, it’s also true Adams squandered his leverage.
His endorsement of Hochul was critical in her tight re-election, but he gave it to her without getting the criminal justice reforms he wanted.
As for Biden, Adams could have joined the chorus of mostly-GOP governors who blasted the flood of migrants through the open border.
Instead he chose to play loyal Dem while assuming Biden would pick up the city’s costs.
Again, he got nothing for his support. No matter the time, it’s always amateur hour.
What could be a turning point in his tenure came Nov. 2, when his personal interest and civic duty collided.
Waiting for his plane to take off, he touted a long-sought meeting with White House officials over migrant costs.
But by the time he landed, he learned about the FBI raid on the home of his top fund-raising aide and bailed on the meeting to catch the next plane back to New York.
His excuses were lame, but revealing.
The city is on its own.
‘Anti-Zionism’ just a hate rebranding
An excerpt from a 2015 speech by the late British Rabbi Jonathan Sacks:
“And let me therefore explain to you what makes the new antisemitism different from its predecessors.”
“Three things. Number one, in the Middle Ages, Jews were hated for their religion. In the 19th and early 20th century, they were hated for their race.”
“Today they are hated for their nation-state, and that is radically new, and that is what makes anti-Zionism.”
“Not criticism of Israel. I mean, for heaven’s sake, I don’t know any Israeli who doesn’t criticize Israel, so criticizing Israel does not make you an antisemite, but anti-Zionism.”
“The idea that Israel alone — I mean, there are 102 countries of the United Nations in which a majority of the population is Christian.”
“There are 57 members of the [Organization of Islamic Cooperation].”
“That Jews should have one country of their own is one too many — that is the new mode of antisemitism.”