Monday, October 20, 2008

Against Our Will

The NY 1/Baruch College poll released last week tells us pretty clearly that New Yorkers don't approve of the mayor's city council sleight-of-hand when it comes to term limits. As the college press release tells us: "New York City voters overwhelmingly want the people in a referendum – not the City Council -- to decide whether term limits should be changed. Fully three-quarters (75%) of New York registered voters in a poll conducted for NY1 News by Baruch Survey Research from October 11-15 say the voters should be the deciders."

So much for the mayor's stale spin that it's only a few loudmouths who are opposed to his imperial rein. As the NY Times pointed out: "Still, the opposition Mr. Bloomberg has encountered over the bill has been more intense than anticipated. Despite the intense efforts of his staff to turn out a favorable crowd, a solid majority of the nearly 250 who testified during the two days said they opposed it, according to a tally by The New York Times."

This was captured by the intensity of some of the elected officials who came out and excoriated the mayor and the council. As the NY Daily News reported on Saturday: "Referring to Bloomberg as the infamous "Wizard of Oz," state Sen. Eric Adams (D-Brooklyn) warned the lawmakers, "You've got to pay attention to the man behind the curtain. Don't be the puppet, please."

Not to be outdone, potential mayoral contenders also weighed in: "The two men who hope to succeed Bloomberg next year - Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Queens/Brooklyn) and City Controller William Thompson - weren't any kinder. Thompson said the Bloomberg-crafted bill "shatters the bonds of trust that are the essence of good government." Weiner similarly chimed in, "If you take away the citizens' right to make these decisions, you're undermining the very foundation on which all of you sit."

What is clear is that the monied class is all on the same page-supporting one of their own as indispensable; it makes you wonder. As the NY Post reported: "While the elected officials fought, Richard Parsons, chairman of Time Warner, issued a stark warning that now isn't the time to let term limits force out Mayor Bloomberg. "It would be hard to overstate the potential of the economic crisis on New York City," Parsons said. "It will make the 1970s fiscal crisis look like a day at the beach...[Bloomberg] led the city back from 9/11 and revitalized our communities while delivering more services to the New Yorkers who need it most. In times like these, there's no substitute for leadership that's been tested."

This country has upheld its presidential term limited mandates in times of the most severe crisis; and NYC survived its most vicious attack, and made a smooth transition to new leadership without any calamity befalling us. The fact that his own classmates see him as a savior is instructive, underscoring the incestuous, interest based nature, of the mayor's support.

But the Bloomberg mayoralty has been seriously flawed; even though the awareness of these flaws has been cleverly coated by some heavy media make up. The uppercrust amen choir tells us at once very little; and, at the same time, says it all.