New York mayor Bill de Blasio has finally announced his choice to head the city’s massive welfare agency: Steve Banks, attorney in chief of the Legal Aid Society. It was hard not to be awed by the sheer brazenness of the appointment. Banks and Legal Aid have spent the last threedecades fighting to expand public assistance and housing entitlements in the city and to slow down the pioneering welfare reforms initiated by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani in 1995. With his choice of Banks, de Blasio has signaled that he’s not interested in even the illusion that he seeks nonpartisan technocratic managers for his administration. Instead, he is committed to bringing into the heart of City Hall the aggressive left-wing advocacy that constituted his own brief private-sector experience.
Apparently Norman Thomas, being dead, was unavailable.