Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Let the Voters Speak

All of the calls for extending Mike Bloomberg's term in office begin to remind us of the stench of insider trading. As we have said before, if the mayor was so prescient-and indispensible according to some-why wasn't he on top of this fiscal crisis from the get go? And isn't it instructive to point out that all of the culprits in the economic meltdown are part of Bloomberg's cohort?

Take Hank Paulsen; or, as Henny Youngman would have said, "Please!" Here's a guy, recruited from Goldman Sachs, who never had a clue and whose only interest in a solution seems to involve bailing out his banker friends. Here's Michael Daley's wonderful piece in the NY Daily News this morning: "No honest, hardworking New Yorker can rightly blame those hayseeds beyond the Hudson for balking at bailing out Wall Street. Just stroll past the new Goldman Sachs headquarters going up at the edge of Ground Zero with subsidies it squeezed from us in our desperation to recover from 9/11."

And who headed up GS at the time? "The firm was being run by none other than Henry Paulson when it shook us down for more than $115 million in tax breaks along with $1.65 billion in low-interest, tax-free Liberty Bonds." And as Daley points out: "Paulson assured us the financial system was sound right up to when it began to implode. He predicted a complete collapse unless there was what he called a bailout." And who was the mayor who approved this largess? Yup, that's right, Mayor Mike; doing what comes naturally-supporting his own.

The same good government fella who evicted small merchants from the BTM on behalf of Billionaire Ross and his Related Company-the same company who was given $5 million dollars in subsidies to supplant the Fernandez Brothers on Bradhurst Avenue. The same mayor looking to use eminent domain to evict Nick Sprayregen for Columbia University, and 250 businesses and 2,000 workers from Willets Point so that another fat cat can profit-all in the public interest; at least as it is conceived of by the NYC Partnership (partners with the people?)

If Bloomberg wants another term, let him call for a special election and put it to the voters. If that's not feasible, well, too bad. As the Villager points out, "Let the Voters Speak:" "Some would argue that, given the current financial crisis, it would be a good idea to allow Mayor Bloomberg — a self-made billionaire businessman and tested public servant — a chance to serve another term. Actually, we agree with that logic. That said, who decides on extending term limits? Should it be 52 individuals — the council members and the mayor — or millions of voters? We feel strongly it must be the latter."

Anything less amounts to little more than a putsch. As the NY post story today underscores: "Voters overwhelmingly supported term limits in two voter referendums in the 1990s, including a bid by then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani to extend the law for the City Council to three terms in 1996. The measure failed." Time to evict all of the insider traders.