A look at Mayor de Blasio's successes, challenges

AP News
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Posted: Dec 29, 2014 1:38 AM
A look at Mayor de Blasio's successes, challenges

Bill de Blasio, New York City's first Democratic mayor in a generation, is in the final days of his first year in office. A look back at his successes and challenges from 2014:

SUCCESSES:

Massive pre-K expansion

De Blasio secured $300 million from the state budget to expand free prekindergarten to 53,000 students, fulfilling his No. 1 priority from last year's campaign. Next year, it will increase to 70,000 students.

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Ebola crisis

After the first Ebola case was confirmed in the nation's largest city, several government agencies took steps to prevent further infections and de Blasio drew praise for his steady, sober handling of the crisis, as opposed to the hysterics put forth by other elected officials.

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Liberal values

De Blasio made headway on his vow to reduce the city's income equality gap, working with a friendly City Council to pass legislation — including paid sick days and living wage bills — to help those at society's margins.

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CHALLENGES

Relations with police

The rank-and-file police union has all but declared war on City Hall. Union leaders have accused de Blasio of fostering an anti-NYPD sentiment and cops turned their backs to him at the funeral of one of the officers gunned down earlier this month.

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Tensions with Albany

De Blasio has had a strained relationship with fellow Democrat Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Cuomo has thwarted or co-opted pieces of the mayor's agenda, including the tax increase on the rich that was originally designed to fund the pre-K expansion.

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Rikers Island

Two seriously mentally ill inmates died in the city's Rikers Island jail system this year. De Blasio authorized an overhaul of the troubled system but is also facing a Department of Justice lawsuit to speed up the pace of reforms for all inmates.