Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Mayor Culpa?

As Liz reported yesterday, Mayor Mike's looking to clean up some of the discretionary funding that emanates from his side of City Hall. Here's the exact quote that Liz provides from Hizzoner:

"I can’t tell you that I ever read the list of the smaller member items and from what I can see there was some abuses that - or, I think in all fairness, probably not abuses. They were just practices that evolved over the years and in retrospect they should have been caught and changed.
"I’ve asked Deputy Mayor Skyler to take a careful look at all of the practices that the administration has because remember we have to, in the end, cut checks and vet things and I want to make sure that we are doing exactly what is right in terms of disclosure and complying with the law."

All well and good, as far as it goes-but it definitely doesn't go that far because all of this kind of spending is really quite minimal. The real pot of gold lies elsewhere-in contracts that are let and capital projects that are sited and built-or not in some cases.

What we want to see, and what the press should be demanding to see (along with all of the faux good government groups), is the laundry list of promises that the mayor's folks made in order to cultivate support for his congestion tax. Here's the real pay-to-play-all in the service of the very best kind of special interest, the mayor's self-interest cloaked in the name of the public good.

What all of the bleating over the city council's nickel and diming of the tax payers comes to, is a myopic understanding of how government works on all levels. Every decision-and non-decision-that is made is done so in the advancement of an interest; and all of these interests, no matter how lofty the stated goals are, also advance some rather less lofty goals at the very same time. The fact that the mayor is wealthy beyond most of our understanding doesn't change the equation, except for the fact that his decisions aren't being made on behalf of some greedy relation.

But that's not the only kind of selfish policy making; and the logrolling and pork barrel politics still remains as a central feature of the decision making process. Which doesn't mean, however, that the mayor is totally above aggrandizing his friends and "class" mates-in a process that we've labeled patricianage.

It's just that his great wealth has seemingly anesthetized great swaths of the media to some of his untoward actions. Hopefully, this will all soon change as Bloomberg prepares to grace us with his departure.