Mayor de Blasio — terrified of possibly angering his crucial Brooklyn power base in any way — reversed course and vowed Tuesday to continue the J’Ouvert festival despite two deaths and a slew of other violence this year.
“I think to wheel away a celebration involving a quarter of a million people doesn’t make sense,” Hizzoner told reporters a day after giving the wishy-washy “all options are on the table’’ response to questions about whether the festival would continue.
Officials and community members will be looking at “every way to make it safer” while continuing it, the mayor said Tuesday.
“We are going to look at a whole host of options, but it is too early to rule in or rule our any specific strategies,” he added when pressed for details.
Democratic consultant Hank Sheinkopf said de Blasio is protecting his political flank by continuing J’Ouvert, which will fall about a week before next year’s party primary.
“It’s a serious political calculation a year before his re-election,” Sheinkopf said of the Democratic mayor. “He is worried about losing voters. He wants to make sure he’s protecting his political base.”
Meanwhile, one of the city’s most prominent black leaders of Caribbean heritage joined the call for J’Ouvert to be canceled if it can’t be made safer.
“If it can’t be safe for everyone, you can’t continue it,” said former city Comptroller Bill Thompson, a Brooklyn native whose grandparents were from St. Kitts.
“You can’t have an event where people get shot every year,” Thompson added.
The comptroller fondly recalled attending pre-west indian day parade events as a young man in the 1970s, including concerts behind the Brooklyn Museum.
Thompson said he would leave it to police to make a last-ditch attempt at salvaging the event.
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