De Blasio’s Record
In December, Molly Ball profiled New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (“The Equalizer”).
I enjoyed Molly Ball’s de Blasio profile. However, it’s not accurate to say that his administration has “stopped arresting people caught with small amounts of marijuana.” In fact, there were more than 17,300 arrests for marijuana possession in New York in 2015.
Ted Hamm, Ph.D.
Chair, Journalism and New-Media Studies, St. Joseph’s College New York, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Molly Ball replies:
The phrase small amounts is key here. In November 2014, the NYPD adopted a policy of issuing summonses to people whose only offense was being caught with less than 25 grams of pot, rather than arresting them. Many advocates claim that such arrests are still happening, but these claims lack definitive evidence. Or they say officers add a spurious second charge, such as “burning marijuana,” in order to fit the arrest criteria.
In any case, overall marijuana-possession arrests have declined dramatically since the policy took effect—there were more than 27,000 in 2014—and summonses have risen. But Hamm’s complaint fits neatly with the theme of the article: de Blasio’s inability to please some of the very activists you might expect to applaud his policies.
The most-read magazine stories from 2015 on TheAtlantic.com
1. What ISIS Really Wants
Graeme Wood (March)
2. The Coddling of the American Mind
Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt (September)
3. The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration
Ta-Nehisi Coates (October)
4. The False Gospel of Alcoholics Anonymous
Gabrielle Glaser (April)
5. Is It Time for the Jews to Leave Europe?
Jeffrey Goldberg (April)
The Big Question: What Is the Greatest Collaboration of All Time?
(On TheAtlantic.com, readers answered January/February’s Big Question and voted on one another’s responses. Here are the top vote-getters.)
5. The Wright brothers. Orville and Wilbur showed the world how man could fly.
— Graham Walker
4. When the sperm “collaborates” with the egg in the fallopian tube. Without this interaction, there’d be no other collaboration.
— William S. Owen
3. Ink and paper, because without it there wouldn’t have been the second-greatest collaboration of all time: Calvin and Hobbes.
— Katie Cross
2. On the Western Front during World War I, the Christmas Truce of 1914 was a temporary cease-fire self-imposed by German and British troops, illustrating man’s essential humanity at its finest.
— Dan Fredricks
1. The Beatles’ Lennon-McCartney dyad irreversibly changed popular music.
— Alessandro Columbu
Molly Ball’s “The Equalizer” (December) referred to the “Democratic heritage of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Fiorello La Guardia.” Although he was an ally of FDR’s, La Guardia was a Republican.
In “The Double Life of John le Carré” (James Parker, December), James Jesus Angleton was identified as the head of the CIA. Angleton never led the agency, though he would go on to become the head of counterintelligence.
To contribute to The Conversation, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your full name, city, and state.