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Opinion | Better Priorities for Bill de Blasio

To the Editor:

Re “Bill de Blasio Needs to Get to Work” (editorial, Oct. 7):

It is hard to disagree with the call for the mayor to refocus on local problems after his withdrawal from the presidential race. But the editorial board’s agenda for the balance of the mayor’s term is pretty one-sided.

You urge expanded investment in affordable housing, public hospitals, safer streets and other worthy causes. But what about fiscal challenges, unfunded pension and health care benefits due public employees, and mounting debt?

Ironically, the editorial suggests that Mayor John Lindsay did the right thing when he returned from the presidential trail with his tail between his legs” and during his lame-duck years committed the city to ambitious projects that he cared passionately about.

The editorial doesn’t mention that Mr. Lindsay’s profligate spending and poor management drove the city into bankruptcy, for which all New Yorkers paid dearly over the next two decades.

This is surely not the model the city’s taxpayers want Mayor de Blasio to emulate!

Kathryn Wylde
New York
The writer is president and chief executive of the Partnership for New York City.

To the Editor:

Re “Volodymyr Zelensky, Man in the Muddle” (editorial, Oct. 9):

Most of us have on occasion found ourselves trapped in conversation with a hectoring, ill-informed lout. In such awkward situations, a common strategy is to feign agreement until an opportunity for escape presents itself.

Mr. Zelensky’s predicament was complicated by the fact that his country, Ukraine, desperately needs American military aid. He was, as you say, caught between a rock and a hard place. Furthermore, he is an inexperienced negotiator.

Against a world-class intimidator like President Trump, Mr. Zelensky had little hope of coming away from the July 25 phone call with his dignity fully intact. But he appears to be a man of intelligence and honor; I am confident that he will soon be able to put this embarrassing episode behind him and get on with the job of guiding Ukraine toward prosperity and peace.

To the Editor:

Re “New Focus at Homeland Security on Domestic Terrorism” (news article, Oct. 2):

There is now little doubt that recent mass shootings by white supremacists are part of a larger continuum of domestic terrorism. These involve plots not just against the Jewish community but many other minorities, including Muslims, African-Americans, and the Latinx and L.G.B.T.Q. communities.

The fact that there is now a formal framework document from the Department of Homeland Security addressing the threat of white supremacist terrorism — while emphasizing civil liberties protections and the need to engage with affected communities — is an encouraging development.

But this needs to be followed up with a robust, comprehensive executive-branch plan of action that devotes not just words but also federal resources and an overarching federal strategy to address this threat from multiple angles.

There is also an important role for Congress, including the passage of the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act, which would require federal law enforcement agencies to regularly assess threats.

George Selim
The writer, senior vice president for programs at the Anti-Defamation League, served as director of the Office for Community Partnerships in the Department of Homeland Security.

To the Editor:

Re “F.D.A. Approves a New H.I.V.-Prevention Drug, but Not for Women” (news article, Oct. 5):

A drug company, one that has already been cited for exorbitant pricing, now puts out a new H.I.V.-prevention drug that it tested only on men. The company will get around to women later, toward the end of 2020, it says.

And the name of the company? Gilead. You can’t make this stuff up. Oh, wait, the world already did (over and over again), and Margaret Atwood captured it back in the 1980s.

Susan Behrens

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