By Paola Amaya
People in Jamaica, Queens are concerned about Mayor de Blasio’s declining approval ratings.
A recent Marist poll shows that the mayor’s citywide approval rating declined by six percent since May. Voters’ major concerns are whether the mayor is spending too much time discussing policy on the national level and not focusing enough on what he can be doing for New York City.
“I know about De Blasio’s approval rate dropping,” said 23-year-old swimming instructor Yochancey Kingston a Jamaica, Queens resident. “I think it’s because of the ongoing tension between civilians and police, and services such as homeless shelters being cut.”
“We need to give him more time,” said South Jamaica Community Library Manager Jasmine Amely. “It’s not an easy task aligning the city to the needs of the many. He is one of us and understands the hardships that we face.”
Fifty-one percent of people disapprove of his handling of crime. The mayor also received low marks on police and community relations with 53 percent reporting they do not approve of how he is handling the issue, according to the Marist poll.
“He isn’t doing a good job,” said 50-year-old Ana Pena, also from Jamaica, Queens. “He needs to make the police more conscious of their actions. People need to feel safe and they don’t. Not enough is being done by his part.”
The poll shows that only two years into De Blasio’s term, more than four in ten residents believe the overall quality of life has gotten worse in New York City in just the past year. Only 38 percent think De Blasio is moving the city in the right direction.
“I think he is doing a great job,” said Lester Neil, 65, a retired father of two from the Jamaica neighborhood. “His approval rate might be going down because of the police situation, the justice that was not served for Eric Garner, but overall he is doing a good job as a mayor.”
Some people find that De Blasio’s failure to address violations made by police to be the reason behind his approval rate dropping. However, personal injury claims against the New York City Police Department have declined nearly 13 percent during the past year, according to Marist.
“I believe his approval rating dropped due to the actions of cops in general,” said Sierra Meadows, 20, a teacher’s assistant in Jamaica, Queens, who added that police misconduct has had a high profile in the media in recent years. “I’ve worked with kids for three years now and it hurts me to see how the image of a cop has turned from someone you go to for help- to someone who you run away from and hide.”
While de Blasio still scored higher among African American and Latino voters during his election, his approval rating has fallen among both groups according to the poll. De Blasio’s approval rating is higher in the Bronx and Brooklyn, while it is lower in Manhattan, Staten Island and Queens.
“I don’t think New Yorkers are wrong. I think it’s time for a new Mayor,” said 18-year-old Kevin Persaud, an Accounting Major at Queensborough Community College.