Friday, October 16, 2009

El Diario: Bloomberg-No Mas!

The NY Times focuses on the front page editorial in yesterday's El Diario that echoes the refrain of the Thompson campaign-eight is enough: "Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has spent years trying to perfect his Spanish. He bucked Republican allies to endorse immigration reform. And he has created a package of small-business services called the Latino Business Initiative. He has been rewarded with dozens of endorsements from ethnic news organizations. But on Thursday, the city’s biggest and most influential Spanish-language newspaper sent a different message: “adiós.”

This is significant for a number of reasons, but for us, it's importance devolves from the fact that it bucks the bucks trend-as the city's largest Hispanic outlet refuses to go along with the same money trail that has induced so many of it's smaller ethnic colleagues to see the light on the mayor's sterling qualities: "Still, he lags far behind the mayor in overall newspaper endorsements, which the Bloomberg campaign has pursued assiduously. So far, 48 have endorsed the mayor. Just two have backed Mr. Thompson since the Democratic primary."

This stampede, reminiscent of what happens when a Brinks truck accidentally spews money onto a crowded street corner is, as they say in New York, "Not for nothing." Still, the self evident apparently is not something that the Bloombergistas are good at noticing. As Bloomberg's campaign manager says with a straight face: "Every newspaper is different, but when 48 different newspapers across the city endorse one candidate, compared to just 2 for our opponent, that clearly says something,” Mr. Tusk said."

It does, but obviously not what Tusk wants us to believe. And that gets us to the Times lede about how the mayor has been wooing Hispanic concerns-particularly something we hadn't heard of called, "the Latino Business Initiative." This must be some really bad joke. Bloomberg policies have devastated the city's bodegas-with his "bodega tax" on tobacco sending over $250 million a year in cigarette sales into the black market. His retail malling of the city has contributed to the loss of around 300 independent supermarkets, the majority of whom are Latino owned.

And remember the mostly Hispanic food wholesalers who used to call the Bronx Terminal market home? Gone! Expelled to make room for a mall built by the mayor's friends at Related Companies. And now the same fate is being prepared for the 2500 or so immigrant Hispanic workers at Willets Point.

So, with unemployment in Hispanic communities soaring, and store vacancies at record levels, it is to El Diario's credit that it resists the lure of the mayor's lucre. And Tusk should, along with his fatuous comments, detail how much the Bloomberg campaign has spent advertising in each of the papers that have endorsed the mayor.

But in the end, at least for El Diario, it came down to term limits; and the paper sees the power grab as worthy of Latin America's favorite caudillo-but even Chavez, according to El Diario, wasn't as blatant as Bloomberg: "The editorial, in El Diario La Prensa, compared Mr. Bloomberg to Hugo Chávez, the Venezuelan president, for his all-out campaign to upend the term limits law so he could seek a third term. At least Mr. Chávez, it said, held a referendum to extend his time in power. “New Yorkers were not even given that chance,” the editorial said. It called Mr. Bloomberg’s term limits maneuver “not simply slick scheming” but “a gross abuse of power.”

So good for El Diario for stating the obvious-NYC is in dire straights and the mayor bears a great deal of responsibility for the conditions we find ourselves in. These conditions, along with his engineered electoral coup, appropriately deserve opprobrium; and certainly not an endorsement for an unethical third term.