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Protesters Rush Hotel Where De Blasio Holds First Re-Election Fundraiser

By Jeff Mays | October 30, 2015 9:20am
 A group of protesters stormed inside the hotel hosting Mayor Bill de Blasio's first fundraiser at the Sheraton New York Thursday night.
De Blasio Fundraiser Protest
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MIDTOWN — A group of protesters stormed inside the hotel hosting Mayor Bill de Blasio's first fundraiser at the Sheraton New York Thursday night.

Police and hotel security rushed inside and rounded up the group of 30 protesters and led them back outside the hotel where they continued their protest, chanting "one-term mayor."

No one was arrested.

"We want to make sure the mayor knows we're out here and upset with his policies," said Jose LaSalle of Copwatch Patrol Unit.

The protesters were made up of groups supporting various issues such as anti-police brutality, homelessness and support for Palestinians. To the side, more than a dozen protesters calling for de Blasio to ban horse carriages on city streets marched back and forth.

They all agreed that they were upset with de Blasio's policies as he reaches the halfway point in his term.

De Blasio ran on a platform of improving police-community relations but has since angered supporters by backing "Broken Windows" policing where small crimes are targeted in an effort to prevent larger ones.

The mayor also lost support from backers when he said last week after the shooting death of an NYPD officer that some criminals were simply "irredeemable" and deserved prison.

"Bill de Blasio spouts progressive rhetoric but his actions are indistinguishable from mayors of the past 20 years," said Josmar Trujilo of the Coalition to End Broken Windows.

De Blasio, speaking at an unrelated event on Staten Island Thursday afternoon, defended his track record and said protesters were not paying attention during the 2013 campaign.

"I’ve believed in Broken Windows all along, and I believe in quality-of-life policing, and I actually think it is a progressive position to believe in it," said de Blasio. "So, they can protest all they want, but I’ve had this view for years, and it’s not changing."

Other protesters said they were upset about the mayor's affordable housing efforts, which involve rezoning several poor neighborhoods throughout the city and the New York City Housing Authority proposal to develop market rate units on its properties.

"Nothing has changed since Bloomberg," said Agnes Johnson, a retired educator from The Bronx who attended the protest.

De Blasio promised to ban horse carriages from operating in the city on his first day in office but has been unable to garner enough City Council support to do so.

De Blasio acknowledged the fundraiser as the "informal beginning" of his campaign for a second term in 2017.

The fundraiser event was expected to raise $1 million.

De Blasio donor Sid Davidoff, a former administrative aide to Mayor John Lindsay, said he was surprised to see the protesters outside as he headed into the fundraiser.

"He's doing exactly what he set out to do," Davidoff said citing the continued reduction in stop and frisk and the implementation of universal pre-K.

"This is New York. Everybody has a voice," he said of the protest.

In spite of the protesters outside questioning de Blasio's progressive bona fides, the mayor touted them inside, promoting the city's low crime rate, affordable housing and education initiatives.

"Some skeptics said these goals—addressing inequality and effectively managing city government— were mutually exclusive. But we knew that in a city of 8.4 million people, the opposite was true— these goals are prerequisites for one another," the mayor said according to prepared remarks.