In the run-up to the final demise of the mayor's congestion tax, he kept telling the speaker, as some form of inducement to join him, that Albany was only two hours away. That may be true, but if you're Mike Bloomberg, Albany might as well be in another country. He has never caught on to how to navigate the legislative shoals. Having been badly beaten on the stadium fiasco, he simply repeated some of the same mistakes-proving once again that the definition of crazy is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results.
So, as the City Room and Daily Politics blogs are pointing out, we are left with the spectacle of a sour grapes mayor lashing out against his political opponents. As Liz points out-citing her colleague Kristin Danis-the mayor couldn't hide his bitterness at today's post mortem press conference; "'Some people have guts and lead from the front, and some don't.'" City Room's money quote from Hizzoner: "'This is just a disgrace.'"
He's right. But the real disgrace is the heavy handedness of the mayor's effort, and his arrogance in trying to bogart a real legislature. The mayor ironically makes our point: "In contrast, he said, the City Council had done 'difficult things' in the last five years, like approve bans on trans fat in restaurants and smoking in public places...'That's what courage is all about, and that's what we need, and unfortunately, we didn't see that'..."
Or, in other words, obediently follow my courageous nanny lead without too much second guessing. Does the mayor understand the meaning of solipsistic thinking? His quote in the Crain's/AP story says it all here: "'It's sad to note that after three months of working with all parties...'" C'mon! Three months? With all of this working how come there were still so many unanswered questions when the mayor met up with legislators yesterday? And how come he refused to answer the legitimate queries of elected officials who remained confused-even after reading the mayor's proposal?
As Newsday points out in its late breaking story on the aftermath of the congestion tax's demise, the mayor didn't have the requisite political skills to advance his ideas: "'He's used to getting his own way,' said state senator Neil Breslin, an Albany County Democrat who attended a closed-door senate conference with the mayor on Monday. 'But he's dealing with separately elected officials and they won't be treated in a dismissive way...He tended to interrupt before someone completed their thought in a very abrupt way, which offended a number of my fellow senators.'"
Where we go from here is any one's guess. The mayor told the Times that the city can unilaterally implement congestion taxing; "'The only thing we can't do is we can't institute fines or fees.'" Well, well, well-a voluntary congestion tax that could perhaps be seen as a charitable contribution-or as a carbon off-set. We'll just sit back and see if there really is a Plan B as the mayor constructs his national platform with renewable crayons.
Underscoring our point about the mayor's own failings in all of this, Azi quotes Senator Ruben Diaz (in a post titled, "Diaz Attacks 'Arrogant' Blomberg"), who keynoted our Sunday press conference: "'Bloomberg has himself to blame...Number one, he didn't deal with us right. He was arrogant. Number two, we are tired of people using our pain to get what they want.'"