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Monday, December 30, 2013

Michael Bloomberg: The Best Mayor His Own Money Could Buy

Posted by on Mon, Dec 30, 2013 at 11:41 AM

At a Seattle mayoral forum back in July, several of the candidates mentioned New York City's Michael Bloomberg as a model of the kind of mayor they'd want to be.* Not that any of them had the financial resources to match Mayor Bloomberg's performance in office:

An analysis by The New York Times shows that Mr. Bloomberg has doled out at least $650 million on a wide variety of perks and bonuses, political campaigns and advocacy work, charitable giving and social causes, not to mention travel and lodging, connected to his time and role as mayor. (His estimated tab for a multiday trip to China, with aides and security in tow: $500,000.)

In the process, he has entirely upended the financial dynamics surrounding New York’s top job.

In the past, the city paid its mayor; Mr. Bloomberg paid to be the city’s mayor.

Bloomberg's tenure wasn't all bad, but it's hard not to characterize it as a triumph of capitalism over democracy, and a dangerous precedent for a nation headed toward ever-more-staggering wealth inequality.

* FYI, newly-elected Seattle Mayor Ed Murray named former Philadelphia Mayor Ed Rendell as a model of effectiveness, I guess because Rendell wasn't divisive or anything.


Comments (12) RSS

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delirian 1
Bloomberg is an utter piece of shit. His violations of the civil rights of minorities is almost unprecedented in modern America. You also have to love his defense of overcrowding of schools (Bloomberg said it just showed that school is popular) and the lack of affordable housing (yes, he actually fucking defended not having affordable housing by saying it was a "good sign" for the economy). Fuck Bloomberg and everything he stands for.
Posted by delirian on December 30, 2013 at 11:48 AM · Report this
Don't forget how he essentially bought off the city council to override the city's term limit law so he could get that 3rd term.
Posted by MRM on December 30, 2013 at 11:55 AM · Report this
fletc3her 3
The guy who got rich selling propaganda services to Wall Street.
Posted by fletc3her on December 30, 2013 at 11:59 AM · Report this
seatackled 4
I watched the NYC marathon on TV this year and saw the ceremony for the men. Bloomberg had the honor of awarding medals to the top three, all of whom are African born, and I remember thinking that anywhere else in NY and he'd be having them frisked.
Posted by seatackled on December 30, 2013 at 12:02 PM · Report this
delirian 5
Oh, and this is what the asshole said about overcrowding in homeless shelters:
"You can arrive in your private jet at Kennedy Airport, take a private limousine and go straight to the shelter system, walk in the door and we’ve got to give you shelter. That’s what the law is. I didn’t write the law"
Posted by delirian on December 30, 2013 at 12:06 PM · Report this
Bloomberg did more to privatize public education than any other mayor in the U.S. I'm hoping de Blasio changes course for public education and rights this wrong.
Posted by westello on December 30, 2013 at 12:49 PM · Report this
Philly 7
I would love to see Ed Murray jump into a swimming pool in board shorts holding a hoagie.
Posted by Philly on December 30, 2013 at 12:51 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 8
@7 for the Bloomberg photo op win
Posted by Will in Seattle on December 30, 2013 at 1:31 PM · Report this
Yeah, he wasn't perfect, but this is New York City. We don't do perfect.

As billionaire (even fake) Republicans go, Bloomberg is pretty damned liberal. The difference between him and Giuliani, is the difference between night on Pluto and day on Mercury. Problems between NYC's mostly-white police force and our mostly-minority neighborhoods are ongoing, but they seem noticeably better under Bloomberg than they were under his predecessor.

His fortune isn't ill-gotten. He built a clever product and sold it (actually, rents it at exhorbitant rates) to Wall St., which hasn't figured out how to do without it yet, even after all these years. At the same time he rents his professional information system, he gives away a pretty decent consumer/investor web-based product for free, runs free radio and television channels, none of which I'd bet pays for itself, and none of which stinks. And he's no slouch at philanthropy. I'm not going to begrudge him the way he spends his money on his junkets or whatever, I'm grateful he spent his own and not the City's, the way Giuliani did.

What he did for corruption in New York City is nothing less than miraculous. He cleaned a huge amount of human garbage and the old boy network out of city agencies. He cut all sorts of perks and privileges from mayoral appointees, and pretty much murdered the political patronage system in town. New York government isn't squeaky clean, but it's probably cleaner than any time since the Dutch. DeBlasio is going to have his hands full now, trying to handle the pressure as all the rats try to climb back aboard.
Posted by Brooklyn Reader on December 30, 2013 at 2:11 PM · Report this
Doctor Memory 10
@9: I don't disagree with any of the points you raised, but pretty much everything positive you can say about the Bloomberg administration was accomplished during his first term. The subsequent decade-plus was not as impressive.

All due credit to him for fixing the budget process, yes -- but in the end he couldn't get any more traction on schools than Giuliani did, and he leaves office with an NYPD that is as demonstrably out of control as it ever has been. Meanwhile, Bloomberg decided to use his bully pulpit to take on... soda vendors?
Posted by Doctor Memory on December 30, 2013 at 4:03 PM · Report this
@9: C'mon now... Are you really saying that Giuliani was within spitting distance of absolute 0?
Posted by Hanoumatoi on December 30, 2013 at 5:00 PM · Report this
@10 Bloomberg actually fucked up with the schools, pushing charter schools as a panacea, closing schools and ignoring parents. One of the chronic failings of technocrats who value education, but don't know how to achieve it. Education is both a science and an art. It'll be interesting to see if our new Schools Chancellor can turn this around. Hopes are high.

@11 Zero would have been an improvement. I'm saying he was a myopic fool and a corrupt bastard who used the City as a personal asset. Finagling to get the City's disaster response center built in his buddy's building, 7 WTC, in walking distance to City Hall, rather than across the river in a safer location like everyone in the disaster response business was telling him, was the pinnacle of his arrogant foolishness. All so he could have a love nest where he could slip away with his girlfriend. It was the 10,000 gallon tank of diesel fuel for the backup generators for the disaster response center that burned the building to the ground, after the burning airplane fuel ran through the common basement from the twin towers and lit it up, destroying a major AT&T longlines center in the process, that was also in the building, leaving NYC's communications in tatters.
Posted by Brooklyn Reader on December 31, 2013 at 9:01 AM · Report this

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