Monday, February 01, 2010

Jobbing the Public

The editorialists at the NY Daily News have reached new depths with their attack on Bronx BP Diaz and City Council member Vacca for, of all things, their inaction on the loss of manufacturing jobs at two Bronx plants: "The Bronx, borough with the city's highest unemployment, is on the verge of losing 228 jobs that pay well and have excellent benefits - and self-styled champion of the working person Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. is standing idly by. Diaz's inaction as Old London prepares to vacate a plant where the company has made Melba toast for more than three decades stands in sharp contrast to his aggressive battle against developing the Kingsbridge Armory into a shopping mall."

Talk about a classic case of misdirection! In the first place, unlike the situation at the Armory where both men have a Charter authorized role, the loss of the Melba toast plant is outside of their direct purview. As is the case of the closing of the Stella D'Oro facility that the News also lashes out at them for: "Although its plans have been reported in the Daily News and in Crain's, Diaz has never contacted Old London, nor has local Councilman James Vacca. Whatever the reason for their inattention, there is no doubt Diaz and Vacca have no clue how to create an economic climate that would hold onto a company like Old London. They were similarly clueless and missing in action when the Stella D'Oro bakery packed up last year from its Kingsbridge facility and moved to Ohio, eliminating 138 good-paying jobs."

How jaw dropping is all of this? Well, in the entire 402 word editorial, there isn't one mention of the man who does have at least some ability to intervene and make a difference-Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Yes, the same Mike Bloomberg under whose watch the city has reached the record levels of unemployment that the News would rather tar a borough president and a city council member with! The same Bloomberg who in three election cycles recycled the same five borough economic plan that has proven to be a running joke. The same Mike Bloomberg who has raised taxes, increased onerous and unnecessary regulations and bloated the city budget to make New York one of the most expensive places in the country to do business in.

In fact, as the News pointed out last year, the Stella D'Oro workers marched on City Hall trying to get some attention to their plight. And it was pointed out that Goldman Sachs had a role in the hedge fund company that was moving the plant to Ohio. At the time, the News went into high dudgeon against-not the mayor-but the Working Families Party.

And, as we noted: "Calling out the WFP on this is, well, a good call; but what about the biggest bully and his pulpit? Here's how the News calls him out: "And labor had company in abandoning them. The state and city governments, which gallop to the rescue with multimillion-dollar packages to stem shifts in Wall Street jobs, offered nothing beyond routine contract mediation. More was needed. Started in 1922, Stella D'Oro prospered as a family-owned firm. In 1992, Nabisco bought the company, with 575 unionized workers and $65 million in annual sales." But naming is shaming, and the leaving out of Mike Bloomberg's personal culpability here itself shameful on the News' part: "No one - not the WFP, City Hall or Albany - stepped up to work out an agreement that might have made the plant reasonably profitable while preserving as much as possible in pay and benefits."

All of which leads us to wonder what it would take to get Mini Me Mort to call out his best bud. But he is unlikely to ever get going after the mayor-as preoccupied as he is with covering up for him; while abusing all of the Bronx politicians who are convenient foils for his misdirected outrage.