Thursday, May 21, 2009

Five Boro Economic Ingenuity

Hats off to the ingenious Clyde Haberman for uncovering the real essence of Mike Bloomberg's "five borough" economic development plan: "The mayor’s re-election campaign, which has more money at its disposal than some governments do, announced the other day that it had opened six new offices. That brought the total in the five boroughs to 11, “part of the ongoing effort,” the campaign said, “to reach voters in every neighborhood across the city.” Bravo! We need as many of these offices as possible."

Why? Well because of all of the vacant storefronts that are blighting the aesthetics of neighborhoods all over the city: "If your neighborhood is anything like mine, the streets are dotted with empty stores, victims in many cases of rapacious landlords who, with City Hall’s tacit blessing, jacked up rents to unsustainable levels. Only the bottom fell out of the economy. Those vacant storefronts, with their sad “space available” signs in the windows, are a dispiriting blight. Think of how much cheerier they would be if only they were filled with Mayor Mike campaign offices."

So, if Bloomberg can just promise to continue to open-and operate-these satellite offices, then we can see some real economic stimulus for the local neighborhood economies that are experiencing record store closings-thanks, in part, to the mayor's first 2005 five borough plan that didn't really pan out; but who can really hold him accountable for election year narrischkeit?

Just think, if the mayor can staff these offices on a year round basis, then all of the young and eager workers could buy their lunches, office supplies, and Starbucks lattes locally, thus pumping money into the neighborhood stores that are hurting. In this manner, and only through this kind of effort, Bloomberg's five borough would be given some semblance of substance. Otherwise, there's little there to stimulate much of anything.

And things are only going to get worse-as the NY Post reports today: "A fiscal hurricane is headed toward the city next year and the tough decisions needed to deal with it "are unlikely to be addressed" until after the mayoral election in November, a budget monitor warned yesterday." Sure they will, but whatever is done-and in all likelihood, Bloomberg will be in charge of the actions-will it make up for eight years of lethargy and unimaginative governing? Will the fact that Bloomberg made the city's business climate worse, causing revenues to head south, be remembered as the draconian cuts needed send advocates screaming?

Mike Bloomberg has bought two electorates, and will be another one this fall. If these upcoming events cause New Yorkers distress, they have only themselves to blame. In politics, you do get what you've been paid for.