Friday, June 12, 2009

Bloomberg Gets a Pass!

Wayne Barrett deserves a great deal of credit for the following observation concerning the culpability of one Michael Bloomberg in the current state government meltdown: "Does anyone remember that the Democrats came within 500 votes last year of having a 33 to 29 majority in the New York State Senate, a margin that would have averted the current chaos and maybe even led to passage of the gay marriage bill?"

And then Barrett hones in on the deus ex machina in that race-Mike Bloomberg: "It took three months for the Board of Elections to certify that State Senator Frank Padavan, a Queens Republican, had actually defeated Democrat Jim Gennaro in the closest election in the state. Gennaro, who is currently running for re-election to the city council, refused to talk to the Voice about his "previous campaign," said his spokesman, and is focused instead on "the future." But his campaign spokesman in 2008, Shams Tarek, who now works for the Democrats in the senate, had no difficulty figuring out who played the decisive role in Gennaro's loss, giving the Democrats a perilous 32-30 majority: Mike Bloomberg, Padavan's biggest booster."

But it's a lot simpler-and less threatening-to place all of the opprobrium on the two Latinos: "If Gennaro were in the senate, renegade Democrats Hiram Monserrate and Pedro Espada would be one vote shy of shifting control of the senate to Republicans, as they tried to do on Monday."

And, as Barret points out, the mayor's support of Padavan made it possible for at least one anti marriage equality senator to beat back his opposition: "Bloomberg gave $1.2 million to the New York State Independence Party's housekeeping account last year -- a donation that wasn't reported until a 2009 filing by the party. Housekeeping accounts are supposed to pay for staff salaries, voter registration and party building. But Newsday reported that "the bulk" of Bloomberg's unprecedented donation "went to radio and television ads and direct mailings" for Republican and Independence Party candidates in four key senate races, including Padavan's."

Yet he is now able to posture as the biggest booster of gay marriage-throwing his earlier opposition to the measure down into the memory hole-with the collusion of the supine press here: "The remarkable media honeymoon for Bloomberg rarely holds him accountable for the political choices he's made, allowing him to position himself in the re-election campaign as a major champion of the gay marriage bill, even appearing at a pro-marriage rally. In fact, when he last ran in 2005, he announced his support for gay marriage at the same moment that he decided to appeal a ruling by a Manhattan Supreme Court judge that would have permitted it. Bloomberg's appeal blocked any marriages from going forward. The city's brief cited "this country's history and tradition" as the basis for overturning the lower court ruling, contending there was "a rational basis for the present statutory scheme's limitation of marriage to one male and one female."

Yet Morticia and Rupee have lockjaw on the mayor's culpability in all of these shenanigans. We await the News' bestowing to the mayor of the coveted Knucklehead Award; but we can't hold our breath for that length of time. Perhaps, as Johnny Mathis used to sing, "Until the twelfth of never and that's a long, long time."