Monday, February 23, 2009

Mike's No Homey

Mike Bloomberg's reputation for being tone deaf and out of touch with the concerns of average New Yorkers was reinforced the other day when he met with a group of strapped homeowners. According to the NY Daily News: "Mayor Bloomberg is running for reelection as the only man who can save the city, but a roomful of worried New Yorkers at a recent Brooklyn forum weren't convinced. They were homeowners worried about losing their homes, taxpayers who can't pay their taxes and hardworking people who can't find work. But, when they asked the mayor for help, he cracked jokes, talked golf and offered vague platitudes."

This is the ultimate "mind over matter mayor;" he doesn't mind, and the you don't matter: "In response to complaints about the Housing Authority not providing a plumber, Sylvia Whiteside, president of the residents association at the Bay View Houses, was told: "Two things: One, we will try to fix that," Bloomberg replied. "And then I'm going to tell you my plumber joke. I have a great plumber joke."

To us, there hasn't been much to laugh about in the rein of Bloomberg-and his toppling of the term limits barrier for his own self perpetuation was only funny if you consider that the joke's on us. And certainly the idea of Mike Bloomberg's indispensability is hilarious when you think about how the mayor has padded the city payroll while raising taxes and fees on the very homeowners who he's now trying his stand up act on.

And the crowd felt the same way: "The joke drew polite laughter from the 200 people crammed into Temple Shaare Emeth for the Friends United Block Association meeting, but Bloomberg's aides admitted afterward his carefree attitude seemed out of touch. At another point, he asked how many in the audience were golfers, drawing quizzical stares. "Less jokes, more compassion would be much better," one of his advisers said the next day. The overwhelmingly minority crowd repeatedly asked how they could pay their rising taxes and water bills, save their homes from foreclosure or find a job."

What the meeting really underscored was the fact that the mayor is ill-equipped to lead us in this time of trouble-combining cluelessness with a tone deaf callousness to the peoples' suffering: "A man whose father had had two heart attacks and couldn't pay his mortgage was referred to a commissioner who suggested job retraining. A woman whose husband had lost his job and couldn't pay the mortgage was referred to the city's foreclosure-prevention clinic. Less than nine months before the election, some New Yorkers thought Bloomberg had crossed the line from tough talking to tone-deaf. "I don't think he was really serious," said senior citizen Dorothy Meade, who said she voted for Bloomberg four years ago. "I did. And I won't do it again."

Mike Bloomberg is really wealthy; and will spend tens of millions to suggest that he is indispensable. But when seen in a clear light-and up front and personal-his
vaunted indispensability is revealed for what it is: simply a power grab by another politician who doesn't want to leave the limelight when his time is up.