As de Blasio Dodges Debate, Uber Courts Black Churches

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio / AP
• July 21, 2015 5:13 pm


New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio recently rejected an offer to debate representatives from Uber over his enhanced taxi regulations that could crack down on the start-up.

"I don’t debate with private corporations," he said, according to a report from the Guardian. "As a corporation, as a multibillion dollar corporation, Uber thinks it can dictate to government. I remind them that the government represents the people and the people’s larger interest, and that is more important than any one company’s needs."

De Blasio’s office did not respond to Washington Free Beacon request for comment on the subject.

Uber executives and advisers, including Obama campaign honcho David Plouffe, have launched an aggressive campaign to build public opposition to de Blasio’s efforts to limit the number of Uber drivers allowed to operate. The mayor’s office has cited "congestion" concerns as the reason behind the limitation.

"If you have new concerns, we want to discuss them, face-to-face, and invite you to do so in a live-streamed conversation so all New Yorkers can watch," Josh Mohrer, the company’s New York general manager, said in a letter to the mayor’s office.

Plouffe was unavailable for an interview, according to a company spokesman.

Mohrer’s office said the letter was intended as a "transparency" measure.

"All we ask is you put aside your current proposal to cap Uber, an idea first proposed by the taxi industry months ago, which has been roundly acknowledged to not address its purported goal," Mohrer said in the letter. "You said in your op-ed: ‘We want a data-driven approach.’ We couldn’t agree more. Let’s discuss the data together and let the public tune-in to watch true government transparency in action."

The company has said the regulations could eliminate up to 10,000 jobs, a message that has won support from prominent Democratic constituencies, including black church leaders. Mobilizing Preachers and Communities, which represents the leaders of more than 350 black churches, sent a press release on Monday blasting the mayor’s campaign against Uber.

"This is a limit on economic opportunity for thousands of minorities who have the right to good jobs," MPAC said in a release.

Published under: Bill de Blasio