Democratic strategist explains why Eric Adams didn’t mention bail reform in Albany’s speech: ‘The system is against him’
Mayor Eric Adams prominently dropped the words “collateral reform” from his wish list for Albany legislators during his “Tin Cup Day” for public funding on Wednesday, marking a sharp departure from the main item on his anti-crime legislative agenda.
Adams also flipped the script on the team he brought with him, replacing last year’s longtime supporters, including former chief of staff Frank Caron, with City Hall lead lawyer Brendan McGuire and budget director Jacques Jiha.
But his trump card may have been newly hired senior adviser Diane Savino, a nine-term former state senator who has good relations in the Capitol and with powerful people across the state.
“The last thing he learned was: don’t give them a reason to kick him out the door and disrespect him in public, which they did,” veteran Democratic strategist Hank Scheinkopf said Thursday, referring to the treatment of Adams. from legislative leaders last year.
“Now he sensibly understands that the system is against him, and if bail reform is non-negotiable, now he must figure out how to wisely change it to fix his city.”
Another Democratic consultant, Jake Dilemany, also said it was politically prudent for Adams to “soften some of the tougher language on issues like bail reform.”
“Many Democrats agree with him on a large part of what he is pushing in the area of public safety,” Dilemany said. “They support a broad agenda: retail theft is out of control and bail is still part of the ongoing public safety discussions, but they are right to focus on other public safety issues that could potentially garner more support.”
Democratic consultant Chris Coffey noted that “talking about bail reform with the leadership of the Legislative Assembly is not a way to curry favor and get money for the city.”
“He can get more money with honey than with vinegar,” Coffey added.
Last year, Adams made bail reform his No. 1 legislative priority in combating gun violence and demanded that judges be given the power to place defendants who are considered a danger to the public, as is permitted in any other state and federal court system. .
But the mayor got nowhere with Assembly Speaker Carl Histie (D-Bronx) and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers), who dismissed his bold ideas in favor of modest changes to the state’s 2019 bail reform law.
On Wednesday, Adams backed Gov. Kathy Hochul’s proposal to remove the “least restrictive measures” standard to ensure defendants return to trial, saying it “would go a long way in solving our repeat offenders problem.”
After two-plus hours of testimony at a joint legislative budget hearing, Adams told reporters he didn’t want to “make the mistake we made last year of focusing on just one aspect” of the criminal justice system to bring security back to the Big Apple. .
Hizzoner said recent discussions with Histie and Stuart-Cousins made it clear that “they want a holistic approach that fits with what I want.”
“I heard them loud and clear,” he said. “This is about a criminal justice system that is broken and we want to fix this whole system and make sure people get justice if they are the victim of a crime and people get justice if they are charged with a crime.”
Law enforcement sources expressed outrage and accused Adams, a former NYPD cop, of evading bail reform.
“If you can’t beat them, join them – that’s what Adams did to Histie and Stuart-Cousins,” the Brooklyn cop fumed. “I am disappointed and upset, but not surprised. Adams is a politician and they talk from two sides.”
The Queens cop also said Adams’ new strategy was doomed to failure.
“How does lowering the least restrictive standard solve the problem of repeat offenders? The answer is no,” the source said. “Crime will not decrease until criminals are held accountable for their actions.”
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