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‘Mayor de Blasio camps out in Staten Island for the ‘Listening Tour’

Posted at 11:26 PM, Apr 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-10 23:26:02-04

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. - Mayor Bill de Blasio is setting up shop in Staten Island this week.

Along with members of his staff, the mayor will be in Borough Hall on Richmond Terrace.

The de Blasio administration is billing it as a "listening tour."

They've named it "City Hall in Your Borough" and Staten Island is just the first of the five boroughs he plans to visit for a week.

"It allows us to go out and hear from people all over Staten Island about needs and concerns and connect with people on grass roots," said de Blasio.

Staten Island is arguably the borough Hizzoner is least popular with. Some view the visit as a thinly veiled attempt to court voters in an election year.

PIX11 found mixed reaction to the visit.

"I can't stand him, don't even wanna talk about it" and "I wouldn't vote for that guy, I think he should go back home that's what I think" were two responses we received when asked about de Blasio working out of Staten Island for the week.

Cynthia Torchio, a 20 year resident of Staten Island, said she's going to give de Blasio a chance.

"I'm not a big fan, I'll be honest but I'm glad he's coming out here. I'm glad he's trying and making the effort," said the Eltingville resident.

De Blasio spoke before the media outside the 123rd precinct in Tottenville this afternoon. He announced the precinct will become the latest Neighborhood Policing Command, citing a 6.2 percent drop in crime in the first quarter, compared to the same time period a year ago.

"We believe in community policing for many reasons, we believe it will bring the community and police closer together and make our officers safer, it will increase the flow of information to our officers from the community and overall we believe this is the right path for public safety," said de Blasio.

Staten Islanders often feel they're the "forgotten borough." The Mayor pointed out this is his 60th visit to Staten Island since he started his administration. But it's been a rocky relationship.

Few can forget the "Pizzagate" scandal from Jan. 2014. The mayor raised eyebrows when he used a fork and knife to eat a slice at Goodfellas, a well-known pizzeria in Staten Island.

He followed that up with "Groundhoggate."

Staten Island Charlotte died after the mayor dropped her on Groundhog Day 2014, although zoo officials insist the mayor didn’t cause Charlotte's death.

On Monday, he tried to endear himself to Staten Islanders.

"Maybe it's because I'm a Brooklynite, it's a special relationship like England and the U.S. there's a special relationship between Brooklyn and Staten Island.

The borough is a Republican stronghold. De Blasio lost to Republican Joseph Lhota in the 2013 election. Businessman Paul Massey is running for mayor as an an independent. He had this to say about Hizzoner decamping decamping for the week here.

"We got a mayor coming here effectively a campaign publicity stunt," said Massey.

The mayor has a full schedule of events for the week, including office hours with constituents Tuesday morning.