Thursday, January 26, 2006

Terminal Merchants

In our discussions with key council members yesterday it was made clear that the relocation viability of the "velodrome" site was "off the table" because the Bloomberg administration refuses to even consider this alternative site. This recalcitrance, willful refusal is more accurate, fits in with the obdurate posture that has characterized the administration's attitude to the vendors that it has callously moved to evict from the BTM.

In the face of the favoritism shown to its friends at Related this meanspiritedness is as unsurprising as it is outrageous. It certainly doesn't bode well for the small businesses in the Iron Triangle at Willets Point. The Bloombergers have absolutely no concern for the little guys and enact economic policy from a purely big business perspective.

What's particularly ironic here is that the mayor is expected, in his state of the city message today, to unveil policies to control the power of special interest money in city politics. As the Times reports, the mayor will be introducing measures that would "ban lobbyists from giving gifts to city officials, a campaign to reduce the potential for companies to win city business through campaign contributions."

Hurrah! Hypocrisy is now the official policy of the Bloomberg administration. As the BTM deal underscores, it is ok for the city to award a friend of Deputy Dan a $4 billion gift (the value of the non-competitively bid BTM lease over its 99 year term) but, God forbid some smaller company buys a bureaucrat a lunch.

This is exactly what we meant when we quoted the aphorism cited by Lowi in his classic The End Of Liberalism: "The law in all of its majesty punishes the thief who steals the goose from off of the common, but lets the greater felon loose who steals the common from the goose." The mayor is not above the special interests he is their apotheosis.