Learning from Mistakes: New York City

By | January 2, 2022

[January 2, 2022]  I’ve always been fond of saying that working under a bad leader is an excellent way of learning what not to do.  Conversely, we can learn from the best leaders as well.  Successful leaders share similar policies and leadership traits, while failed leaders follow their own path.

“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” –Anna Karenina (1878) by Leo Tolstoy

Like many cities, New York City has had both successful and failed mayors.  The city’s fortunes and risen and fallen with them.  Among the best mayors recently were Ed Koch, Rudy Giuliani, and Michael Bloomberg; each “took office in times of crises and turned New York’s fortunes around.”1  None of them were perfect, but each left the Big Apple better off.

And then there were New York City’s failed mayors, Abraham Beame, David Dinkins, and Bill De Blasio.  They all lacked the “right stuff” to master the significant challenges of a large city.  As a result, the city was worse off when they left.

Those who have lived in the city for the past 50 years understand this idea in spades.  Several newspapers called Mayor de Blasio “Mayor Putz,” also known as the Worst Mayor Ever.  De Blasio was the most failed mayor in his own way.  He took a thriving city and created a spectacular downturn.

De Blasio was corrupt, granted favors for donors and unions, was seriously incompetent, and glaringly lazy (working half-days) as the police chauffeured him to his favorite gym in Brooklyn.  Tellingly, he could not make tough decisions when crucial moments passed.  Insiders say he considered the nitty-gritty details of leadership to be beneath him.

His primary motivation was to find his roots in a far-leftist ideology used to bludgeon his political opponents while he honeymooned in Cuba.  Of course, de Blasio loved the Castro brothers and spent much of his mayorship redistributing other people’s money.

“Whether it was a tragic event like a police shooting or major accident where a mayor should appear to show a steady hands-on leadership, he mostly wasn’t there.  He was a no-show at Yankee Stadium and Citi Field, Madison Square Garden and Barclays Center.  He didn’t stroll neighborhood streets and talk to the people nor hold town hall-style meetings. … when he did appear, he was often late, evidence of a lack of respect for the job and the public itself.”1

A failed de Blasio mayorship resulted in surging crime, hatred and disrespect for the police, homeless encampments and roving maniacs, filthy streets, failing schools, and large sums of money wasted on crazy ideas.

Failure is not just an option for some leaders; it’s a feature.


  1. https://nypost.com/2021/12/30/good-riddance-to-nycs-worst-mayor-ever-de-blasio-goodwin/


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Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article every day on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

22 thoughts on “Learning from Mistakes: New York City

  1. Laughing Monkey

    Crazy man is gone. Thank God! But the New Yorkers loved him … what a bunch of know nothings.

  2. Edward G.

    Stupid is, as stupid does. Oh, did I steal that line from somebody? Yeah, but great observation, nonetheless.

  3. Army Captain

    Let us hope that New York City and all those run by “progressives” recover quickly and fewer are murdered, less carjackings, reduction in violence, all which have surged in the last couple of years. The progressive govt policies have created a coming storm that reversing course is the only way out.

  4. Tom Bushmaster

    While we are enjoying our time off from work during this holiday season, let us not forget the folks in Colorado that lost their homes in a freak fire that destroyed 1,000 homes.

  5. Georgie B.

    This is what we’ve come to, “Backlash after school banned ‘Jingle Bells’ over Christmas.” Christmas is now a target of those same Marxist that de Blasio hangs out with daily.

    1. Willie Strumburger

      Don’t be surprised, the Marxists are a disease that keeps on giving us a pain. 😢

    2. Max Foster

      That is just part of the problem. Most folks just want to be left alone and enjoy their holiday traditions. But crazy whackos think we are a bunch of knuckle dragging troglodytes. They hate us, period. Hate is the basis of this ideology, and envy. Just talk to a leftist and you will see for yourself that hate and envy ooze from their pores. It’s easy to see. That is why you are inferior to them and they will treat you as such based on your race or place in society and nothing to do with you as an individual.

      1. Lady Hawk

        I see it in several of my family members. They avoid the rest of us and call us names, awful names that should not be said. This name calling and treating others badly will come back to haunt them for the rest of their lives.

      2. Kenny Foster

        Max, once again, good comment. And, I am in agreement with you on it. That is why we must show the world that we are not just good folks (moral and upstanding in our community) but we must make it obvious and blunt to those who would think us inferior and deserving of the gas chambers.

        1. Plato

          The “superior” leftists are also way into book burning too. Let us not forget. You shouldn’t be reading Western influenced novels or see plays based on Western notions of individual achievement. /sarc

  6. Valkerie

    The people of New York were beneath him. He saw himself and his nutty wife as morally superior to the underlings of the Big Apple. And, he proved it daily.

  7. Nick Lighthouse

    “His primary motivation was to find his roots in a far-leftist ideology used to bludgeon his political opponents while he honeymooned in Cuba. Of course, de Blasio loved the Castro brothers and spent much of his mayorship redistributing other people’s money.” de Blasio is a full-blown Marxist. That is trouble enough.

    1. Frankie Boy

      ….. and now New Yorkers are getting what they deserve by electing an openly crazy Marxist. I don’t care how much it hurts them.

      1. Armywife

        I was a New Yorker for many years so I do feel bad for New Yorkers. Not all of them voted for him. I am a prime example of that.

  8. Rev. Michael Cain

    The Big Apple rises and falls with their political leadership. That is why having the right leader, the most moral leader is so important to us. And, it ain’t easy! I pray that people of America wake up to the evil being perpetuated by politicians like de Blasio, Biden-Harris, and the many highly appointed officials in the US govt.

    1. Greg Heyman

      Rev. Cain, it takes a lot more than prayer, it takes fortitude to stand up and say something publically and be willing to take the heat for it. ✔

      1. Otto Z. Zuckermann

        Yes, not easy but a must. Don’t take the snark comments from co-workers or family members about how ‘wonderful’ these folks are. Like Dr. Fauci who has harmed America, politely disagree and explain why you disagree.

      2. Dead Pool Guy

        If you want inspiration, then come to this forum. Gen. Satterfield gives us the space and freedom to discuss these ideas, so be specific and logical. What, then, are the right methods to attack the stupidity of mayors like Bill de Blasio?

    2. McStompie

      Don’t forget Dr. “I am the science” Fauci. He has become evil or maybe he was evil and I just never saw it.


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