Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Hey Mike, "That's Very White of You"

The NY Times has a fascinating look at the absence of diversity in the Bloomberg administration: "Since winning a third term in November, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has announced a parade of major appointments: bringing aboard three new deputy mayors and six commissioners and trumpeting most of those arrivals in the Blue Room at City Hall. All nine are white. All but one is a man.Those selections are hardly anomalous. Despite a pledge he made when he took office to make diversity a hallmark of his administration, Mr. Bloomberg has consistently surrounded himself with a predominantly white and male coterie of key policy makers, according to an analysis of personnel data by The New York Times."

What a shock! But where is the outrage here? Calling Rev Al-oh, we forgot, Sharpton is too busy cashing in his Bloombucks to lead any protest-another bought off New Yorker who has been silenced by the mayor's money. But the diversity issue actually masks-even while it underscores-the larger problem endemic to the Bloombergistas: the way in which the decision making process reflects the class biases-and callous personality-of Mike Bloomberg.

So, as we have outlined earlier, Mike inveighs against a living wage as he lavishly subsidizes his rich friends. Or, how he postures for the global warming crowd while, at the same time, promoting the proliferation of auto dependent malls that choke middle class Queens neighborhoods with polluting traffic. Or, how he taxes and regulates small businesses to a farethewell-making NYC one of the most expensive places in the world to do business-while at the same time fighting vigorously against legislation that would protect neighborhood retailers against landlord exploitation.

And then there's his defense of his Wall Street cohort. The same man who whacked bodegas with the largest tax increase in NYC history-and 1800% increase in the cigarette tax in 2002-will. and the only time he will, scream bloody murder if anyone proposes a levy on some financial transaction. But his reaction to the pleas of the bodegas highlights the mayor's mindset. Reminded that the bodega tax had cost the small stores over 60% of their cigarette income, the mayor remarked, "That's a minor economic issue."

And so it goes with the high rolling and callous mayor-a man whose policies reflect his class interests, and whose personality-as his reaction to the Central Park tree limb tragedy dramatizes-reminds us of our old history professor who, when asked about the midterm, responded, "It's a question of mind over matter. I don't mind, and you don't matter."