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De Blasio appoints city health chief, addresses 'forkgate'

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de blasio Credit: Anthony Lanzilote

Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday he would press forward with many of Michael Bloomberg’s health initiatives, including a proposed ban on large sugary drinks, but pledged to solicit public views to defuse the “nanny state” rap leveled at his predecessor.

“I’ve for a long time felt the core impulse of the previous administration when it came to public health is correct ... but often times, community residents will tell you there’s a better way to do it,” he said at City Hall, where he named Dr. Mary Bassett to be commissioner of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Bassett, 61, had served as a Bloomberg deputy health commissioner. De Blasio also named Rose Pierre-Louis, 49, former Manhattan deputy borough president, as commissioner of the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence.

In other news, when asked about the controversy over his pizza-eating habits after eating a slice with a fork last week on Staten Island, drawing rage from Jon Stewart, the mayor was unapologetic.

“I think this has all been in good fun," he said. "And I will continue to express my own culture my own way and when I ate a pizza like that, I'm going to use a knife and fork.”

The utensils he used at Goodfella’s Pizza last Friday will be auctioned off for charity, which de Blasio said was a good idea.

"I'm glad that they are using this opportunity to help a good cause,” he said.

(with Ivan Pereira)

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