The King of Joralemon Street/former NYC TLC commissioner/former NYC councilmember David Yassky has been named dean of Pace Law School.
While Mayor deBlasio used Yassky as a punching bag in the 2012 election, anyone who has used borough taxis, Uber and other taxi apps or taken a ride in a “Taxi of Tomorrow” or admired his fight against a fleet owner who overcharged its drivers might beg to differ.
As for his new job, Yassky posted this statement on Facebook last week:
As you probably know, in December I completed a four-year term serving under Mayor Bloomberg as Chair of the City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission. It was an exhilarating and very productive experience. Together with an extraordinarily talented and dedicated team, we put the agency at the forefront of transportation policymaking. We brought taxi service to the boroughs and to northern Manhattan, accomplishing a goal that Mayors since John Lindsay had sought. We welcomed and supported the smartphone-app-based services that are transforming the car service industry (astonishingly, regulators virtually everywhere else in the country have fought this technology at the behest of the locally established taxi industries). We raised earnings for drivers and protected them, for the first time, against abusive fleet owners.
Most important, all of these specific achievements exemplified a distinctive approach to government – one that prizes innovation over the status quo, puts the public interest ahead of special interests, and values substantive results over press hits. Many of you have supported me for years in advocating for this brand of governance. My fondest hope is that the example of our success at the TLC will lead others to adopt this approach as well.
Now it is time for a different challenge. Starting on April 1, I will be returning to my roots in legal academia as the next Dean of Pace Law School. I am absolutely thrilled.
Pace is a jewel among law schools in the New York City area (it is in White Plains – not too far from Brooklyn!). I first encountered Pace when its environmental law clinic represented me (as City Council Member) in a suit against ExxonMobil. They won a terrific victory, forcing Exxon to dramatically speed its clean-up of a mammoth oil spill under the soil in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. My admiration for the school has only grown.
This is a turbulent moment in legal education. Law school applications are way down, due in part to the recession and in part to changes in the profession. But I am more convinced than ever that training superbly competent and impeccably ethical lawyers remains a core function for both our democracy and our economy (after all, the rule of law remains one of our signal competitive advantages). I am thrilled to have the opportunity to contribute to this important project as the leader of a wonderful institution like Pace Law School.
So next time you are in White Plains, please stop by and say hello!