Category Archives: The Mayor

Like a Cheap Guitar

photo: learnplayguitar.org

The San Men were played like cheap guitars.

Bloomberg and Goldsmith are very smart — no one denies that. They surely were smart enough to know that staff reductions and the October edict demoting 100 Sanitation supervisors would provoke a DSNY job action —formal or not — at the winter’s first big snow storm.

As predictable as worker backlash was, so was the anger that many New Yorkers are feeling today.

Is there anyone out there naïve enough to believe the Bloomberg crew didn’t expect both of these responses?

Who, then, do we hold responsible for how the blizzard was handled?

The instruments, or the musicians?

And what’s the tune?

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Making Lemonade

Stephen Goldsmith and Michael Bloomberg photo: City Limits

“Let’s remember what we really want. This is about getting rid of civil service. It’s my last term. No one can hurt me. We’ve already lined up our media friends. By next year, all anyone will remember is that the San Men pulled a slow-down and we instituted measures to prevent that from happening again.”

“But Mr. Mayor, what about our decision not to declare a snow emergency?”

“I was out of town. Goldsmith was in D.C. They’ll beat us up mercilessly about it, but we’ll just tough it out, the way we did with Cathie Black’s appointment. When we’re ready, we’ll admit some errors.”

“Everyone will blame John and Joe anyway. They won’t talk. No one knows who said what. We’ve already thrown in EMS. And the Federal investigation will muzzle the union. All they can say is, ‘We can’t comment on that now. It’s part of a criminal inquiry.’ We can use the same excuse until we’re ready to go public. By the time the press figures things out, we’ll have what we need from Albany.” Continue reading

Where Was the Salt? Not on Westminster Road.

John J. Doherty

Mike Bloomberg said that budget had nothing to do with the screw-up. He also avoided admitting any management errors — even his own, when he hamstrung veteran Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty. He placed Doherty under the control of a new deputy mayor whose nominal assignment —  operations — took a back seat to his obligation to trim the budget. Continue reading

311: A Political Tool

The News and the Post report that Mayor Michael Bloomberg suggested to parishioners at Brooklyn’s Christian Cultural Center that they should use 311 to help them lobby to raise the state’s charter school cap. “Just pick up the phone, call 311, ask for the name and the phone number of your state senator or state assemblyman, call them up and say, ‘This is an outrage!'”

Strictly speaking, anyone can call 311 to learn an elected official’s phone number. But the mayor’s suggestion that 311 should be used in support of a specific political initiative — one that he favors — skirts the edge of propriety — and, maybe, the law. Continue reading

Does Big Business Understand that NYC Has Five Boroughs?

Ester R. Fuchs

Many New Yorkers, including the folks at the Center for an Urban Future, believe that the city’s economy must diversify geographically and industrially for its middle class —and the city — to survive. Whether this happens will depend on whether local political power reflects a five-borough perspective. The current relationship between the mayor and the City Council does not suggest that this will occur soon; nor does a recent move by Professor Ester R. Fuchs to the Partnership for New York City. Continue reading

Marty’s State of the Borough: Keep the Beeps!

One of our favorite bloggers, Faye Penn, was among the Brooklynites honored tonight by Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz at his swearing-in by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and his State of the Borough address — as always, a spectacular tribute to Brooklyn’s diversity and achievement. Faye’s accomplishment? Her snappy new blog for savvy consumers, Brokelyn.com. (Full disclosure: Faye’s News Editor, Jonathan Berk, also serves as Associate Editor of CityPragmatist.com.)

Although Marty never quite said “it’s the economy, stupid,” his message was clear: Faye and the other stars on the stage at the Park Slope Armory are the reason that Brooklyn continues to grow and prosper. As to his own role, which is rumored to be threatened by an anticipated Bloomberg charter revision commission, Marty promised his audience that he will “demand charter changes to beef up the borough presidents, the Public Advocate, and the community boards.”

In Marty’s audience were the borough presidents of The Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island, which, to this observer, implies that at least four of the city’s five beeps — and the Public Advocate — may be aligned in an effort to preserve and strengthen the voices of boroughs and neighborhoods in New York City.

Dysfunctional or Disagreeable?

With New York and California vying for the title of the most dysfunctional state government in the U.S., it’s hard to find anyone in New York City these days who will publicly compliment Albany. Mike Bloomberg draws cheers when he blames Albany for taxing NYC’s revenues and returning less than the city’s fair share. City public school equitable funding advocates agree with him, not without reason. Charter school operators and supporters bristle at Albany’s failure to lift the state’s 200-school cap. Atlantic Yards opponents chafe at Albany’s strong-arm development tactics. State aid to the Big Apple is reduced and city jobs are threatened because Albany’s budget deficit is gigantic. These days, Albany is an easy target. Continue reading