Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Bloomberg Slip Slidin' Away

According to Marist (via Daily Politics), the popularity of Mayor Mike Bloomberg has taken a tumble: "Less than half of New Yorkers, 49%, think Mayor Bloomberg's doing a good or excellent job in office -- exactly the same percentage as thought so in 2005, right before he ran for his second term, according to a new Marist poll. In April, 56% of those surveyed said Hizzoner was doing an above-average job."

And so it begins-and, make no mistake about it, the slide is no accident considering the mayor's tolerance crusade. Crain's has the story: "The mayor's approval ranking sunk below 50% for the first time since 2005, according to a survey released by Marist College, thanks in part to his support of the planned Islamic community center near Ground Zero. Mayor Michael Bloomberg's 49% approval ranking declined 15.5% since last September, and is the mayor's fourth lowest ranking since he was elected in 2002. “He's on the wrong side of public opinion,” said Lee Maringoff, who directed the Marist poll, referring to the center that has become known as the Ground Zero mosque. “It's certainly not doing the mayor any good.”

Even in liberal NYC, opposition is strong-and we would guess that it is strongest in those communities that gave the mayor his biggest electoral boost: "Among New Yorkers, 53% are opposed to the mosque, the Marist poll said."

But it's not just the mosque that's bugging New Yorkers. How about the fact that there is a virtually unreported murder wave in the Bronx and Brooklyn-something that Brownsville's Jocko Jackson alerted us to yesterday. The Borrero Report has the gruesome details: "From June 1 to August 9, 2010, there have been a total of 122 homicides in New York City. Of those killed across the five boroughs, 79 were Black and 33 were Latino. That adds up to an alarming 112 victims from the two communities of color. The 112 victims make up approximately 92% of the homicides over a 70-day period this summer. As if these numbers weren’t sufficiently alarming, a whopping 60 (43 Black males, 17 Latino males) of the total victims were men under the age of 30. That's 49%, or almost half, of the homicides thus far for the summer. These are Black and Latino young men who did not live past the age of 30. And we all know what that means for these communities, where young men are leaving behind fatherless children and devastated family members."

Shocking, but even more so is the wall of silence that this news has been met with: "Given these startling figures, one would expect that at this point City elected officials would be up in arms about the tragic wave of violence. Yet Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, the five Borough Presidents (Marty Markowitz, of Brooklyn, Ruben Diaz, Jr., of The Bronx, Helen Marshal, of Queens, Scott Stringer, of Manhattan and James Molinaro, of Staten Island) have been practically silent."

The handwriting is on the wall-a little too late for our taste. After the mayor hijacks a third term we finally get the juicy conflict of interest stories, and the sleazy pay for play reports-too late to eject the usurper from his mayoral perch. So he will slowly play out the string in a lackluster fashion, pecked away at by all the folks who were too timid to do so when Mike was at the zenith of his power.

Could the old Chinese proverb of, be careful what you wiish for, be more prophetic in the case of this lame duck mayor? As Crain';s reminds us: "Other reasons that may have contributed more heavily to Mr. Bloomberg's sinking popularity are economic challenges and fatigue from his third term. All three New York mayors who have served as many terms in recent history—Fiorello La Guardia, Robert Wagner and Edward Koch—have seen their popularity decrease during their final terms. Several members of Mr. Koch's administration were involved in corruption scandals that hurt his popularity with voters in the late 1980s. “People get tired of them. Some of the positive things going on start going down, and some of the more talented people [in their administration] leave,” said political consultant Jerry Skurnik."

When we write the epitaph of the third Bloomberg term, it our belief that his emotional mosque outburst will be seen as the catalyst for the mayor's declining fortune. We could be wrong, but in our view, Bloomberg's stepping out of his droning and unemotional CPA character, will be seen as a mistake. And once the tumble begins, we will have to cue up the old Simon and Garfunkel classic, "Slip, Slidin' Away."