Tag Archives: Michael Bloomberg

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?

A 311 Bone for Community Boards, or a Snow Job?

Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith

Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith said today that “we’re 30 days away” from giving community boards “real-time 311 data,” but that he would have to confirm this.

He made his comment in response to a question by Councilmember Gale Brewer at today’s City Council hearings on the Blizzard of 2010.

But a Brooklyn community board district manager who has seen a prototype of the system cautions that the 311 data will not be what the boards had requested.

Despite some incisive questioning, especially by Councilmember Jumaane Williams (45CD), the mayor’s representatives toughed it out and protected Bloomberg by saying that they, not he, had made the crucial decisions.

Sanitation Commissioner John J. Doherty

But when it came time to specify which managers had made which decisions, no one took responsibility. Goldsmith called himself a “coordinator” who had left it to commissioners John Doherty (DSNY) and Joe Bruno (OEM) to make the critical operational calls. They said the decision-making scenario was a group process.

No one admitted City Hall had erred in delaying declaration of a snow emergency.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg’s political operatives are working in Albany on their real agenda: gutting the civil service merit system.

(Class) Size Matters, but Power Matters More

Leonie Haimson

Leonie Haimson needs help. New York’s most passionate education blogger has not appreciably changed the way the city’s public schools are run. A persistent critic of Mike Bloomberg’s educational policies, and president of a group called Class Size Matters, Haimson gets noticed but continues to be shrugged off by City Hall.

It doesn’t matter how many “ordinary” New Yorkers agree with Haimson. City voters have almost no power to shape municipal policy. They lost most of their clout two decades ago when they approved a new government structure that gave the mayor almost sole control over the city’s budget, land use, contracts, and, de facto, over the City Council itself. (Most Council members would deny this.)

Even a local referendum to change the city charter can be preempted by the mayor. Today, New Yorkers usually must resort to litigation or to state intervention to derail an initiative the mayor truly wants. Continue reading

Because He Can

Because He Can

Michael Bloomberg’s appointment of Cathie Black as NYC schools chancellor shouldn’t surprise anyone. Bloomberg simply used the mayoral control powers the state legislature granted him in 2002 and 2009.

Why did he appoint Black? For the same reason that a male canine tends to indulge in his favorite relaxation exercise: because he can. Continue reading

Vote Your Conscience, But Vote!

Imagine if the Board of Elections put seven separate elected officials — Congressman, Senator, Governor, Comptroller, Attorney General, Assembly member, and State Senator — on the same ballot line, and made you mark just one oval to choose all of them.

Sounds like the old Soviet Union.

The decision by the 2010 New York City Charter Revision Commission to group seven unrelated proposals under ballot Question 2 — based on an opinion that the ballot was too small to show them separately — is just as cynical: It’s a way of telling voters, “If we let you vote seven or eight times, you could get confused and forget to vote ‘Yes’ on everything we want.” Continue reading

Close ’em Down!

Sometimes it’s easy to tell a story. Here are the first two items in the October 29th “Rise & Shine” story listing on the education blog GothamSchools.org.

* SUNY wants to try fixing failing charter schools instead of shutting them down. (Post)

* The city says it is considering closing up to 47 schools this year. (GS, Times, PostWSJ, NY1)

And they say that Albany is dysfunctional?

Vote “No” on Question 2

City Limits has paid CityPragmatist a great compliment by prominently featuring our views about ballot Question 2, a collection of unrelated charter revision “reforms” to be placed before voters on Election Day.

Question 2, along with Question 1, which is about term limits, will appear on the “back” of Tuesday’s two-sided paper ballot. Continue reading