Thursday, October 30, 2008

Slippery Slope?

Another item in the Crain's Insider caught our eye-it had to do with the beginning erosion of the mayor's popularity: "Amid the fight to extend term limits, Mayor Bloomberg’s unfavorable rating soared to 27%, according to a Siena Research Institute poll. It was 16% in September. Minorities account for much of the jump. A third of African-Americans and Latinos now disapprove of Bloomberg."

And the poll in question was conducted before the council vote on the 23rd-and before the likely swirling of the legal ramifications of the challenge to the vote that will begin after the mayor signs the bill this Monday. As Newsday reports: "Adversaries of the bill extending term limits vowed yesterday that the fight will continue, calling on Mayor Michael Bloomberg to not sign what they described as a self-benefiting piece of legislation."You have a chance to redeem yourself and respect the people's process," Councilman Charles Barron said. "Don't sign it. Don't sign your bill."

And since it appears that this issue has had a disproportionately negative impact in the minority community, the self-imposed-and likely purchased-silence of Al Sharpton is becoming deafening-particularly when elected officials like Bill Thompson are making this a voting rights issue: "We've seen in history when voters' rights have been ignored, we've gone and turned to the courts," Thompson said. "We are standing again together to say we are going back to the courts for justice."

When the Bush Justice Department turns down the challenge ("After Bloomberg signs his bill, it has to be approved by the U.S. Justice Department, which will determine whether it violates the federal Voting Rights Act"), can Sharpton stay on the sidelines. We'll see; but we might want to bet that when the time comes, Bloomberg's going to find himself in the position of the frog who reluctantly gives the scorpion a ride across the river only to wind up fatally stung. Before his demise, the frog asks the scorpion why he would do such a thing, since it dooms the both of them. The reply: "Because that's what scorpions do."