Monday, October 31, 2005

Debate Observations

We're writing this as the debate is still going on. What comes across for us is that Freddy lacks the kind of needling and aggressive debate style that would be able to better put the mayor on the defensive. We believe that Anthony Weiner on the other hand would have gotten up front and personal with Bloomberg. We're missing the provocative edge and Freddy is still too wonkish.

On substantive issues Freddy laid down on the Bronx Terminal Market. He made a great deal about Atlantic Yards, Goldman Sachs, and the West Side Stadium but never even brought up this BRONX Bloomdoggle. Too bad since the BTM deal, more than any other, exhibits the kind of callousness and cronyism that underscores the haughty nature of the economic developing patricians making policy decisions in this city.

We thought that Freddy also missed the opportunity to hit the mayor in the right way on firehouse closings. As we have pointed out, the FDNY decisions on the six firehouses were not made out of any in-depth analysis of siting (since the last study done by the Rand Corporation was completed in 1975).

The mayor's lame -"We can't have a firehouse in each neighborhood"- should have been met more forcefully with a direct attack on Deputy Mayor Shaw's comments about firefighters sitting around the firehouse all day cooking and eating. The Bloombergistas have a disregard for the firefighters and are totally under the sway of the NYPD. Ferrer should have alluded to all 41 firehouses that were on the Dinkins doomsday budget list and accused the mayor of just waiting for his reelection to start the retrenchment process.

Equally lame was the discussion of small business. Bloomberg pointed out that these firms supply over half of all the jobs in the city but Ferrer missed a golden opportunity by not pointing out that bankruptcies are at an all time high and a great deal of responsibility for this should be laid at the door of an administration whose tax and regulatory policies have hit this sector the hardest.

Here Freddy could have segued into discussing the eviction of the BTM merchants and the planned eviction of 150 small firms at Willets Point. As we look at the overall picture, from tax and regulatory policy to economic development patricianage, Mike Bloomberg has been no friend of small business and could even be fairly labeled its worst enemy.