Thursday, February 16, 2006

Bloomberg Not So "Above Politics"

Its becoming quite clear that Mayor Bloomberg, despite all the spinning that emerged from the recent mayoral campaign (spin that resonated with gullible toadies in the media), is not immune to playing politics. As Joyce Purnick analyzes in today's NY Time$, it appears that the mayor's feints against State Senator Serph Maltese may devolve from the senator's hardball tactics in 2002 over the closing of a local firehouse ( a battle that the senator won).

From our perspective the symbolic use of the above politics mantra is an ideological weapon. You see, when you claim an apolitical status in reality what you are doing is demonstrating that there are certain political forces that you aren't going to let sway your judgment. In NYC this image often involves appearing not to be beholden to organized labor. It also allows someone to posture in such a way so that the interests he is beholden to remain unacknowledged.

For a great many of our local pundits real estate interests make up the firm foundation of the city's political reality, kind of like the old saying; "What's good for General Motors, is good for the USA." They take it for granted that development, in all of its trickle down manifestations, is essential for the general good.

To an extent they are right, but only to an extent, and dependent on a proper evaluation of the nature of the development in question. A corollary to this perspective is to use the "anti-development" label to stigmatize opponents of a particular project, in the process side-stepping the kind of due diligence that should be done to determine whether or not a deal is the best deal for every stakeholder in the impacted area.

When it comes to large economic development projects Mike Bloomberg, precisely because he comes from great wealth and looks at those who have it as kindred spirits, sees the world through the eyes of the mega-rich developers. As we have said before, he is not beholden to these special interests he is their apotheosis.