Thursday, March 03, 2011


Josh Robin at NY1 has a fascinating take from Mike Bloomberg on the issue of teacher seniority-and questions the mayor on the inconsistency of his position: "Teachers Peter Lamphere and Julie Cavanagh have 19 years in the classroom between them -- enough time to believe there's no substitute for experience."All of us know that we get better at our jobs as we go along. I think it's extraordinarily true with teaching," Lamphere said. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, though, isn't so sure veterans in the classroom are the best. On the one hand, he admits seniority gives teachers the ability to learn more. But while speaking to reporters Wednesday he added, "The length of time that you have worked is irrelevant to whether or not you can do what our children need."

To which teacher Cavanagh shoots back: "If you look at the schools that Cathie Black and Mayor Bloomberg sent their own children, they boast about the number of years experience that their teachers have," Cavanagh said."  Touché

But the mayor hasn't always been down on experience: "As for Bloomberg, some see a troubling irony in his knock on experience. After all, he cited just that in his successful bid to over turn term limits and win another four years at City Hall." But, to be fair, we have seen how well that argument has worked out-so maybe both sides are wrong.

But the experienced Mr. Bloomberg has shown an extraordinary ineptitude when it comes to dealing with the state legislature-something you'd expect he might have picked up in over nine years on the job. Not so says the NY Post's Fred Dicker, who accuses Bloomberg of colossal bumbling in his attempt to change seniority rules for the city's teachers.

As Dicker points out: "You'd think after nine years in office, Mayor Bloomberg would know how Albany works. But he obviously doesn't, as Gov. Cuomo made clear for all to see late Tuesday when he pulled the rug out from under a Bloomberg press conference called to crow about Senate passage of the mayor's bill ending "last in, first out" protections for underperforming city teachers. The scope of Bloomberg's miscalculation was breathtaking."
Gee, maybe he needs another term? But Mike has never done well with the old system of checks and balances-and as long as he can do things unchallenged, he does just fine. The problem in Albany for the mayor, is that their are other elected officials who are not bedazzled by his good looks and charm: "But Bloomberg's most difficult move to fathom is his ongoing attempt to get Democrat Cuomo -- battling his party's left wing on spending restraints and the "millionaires tax" -- to jam a LIFO bill into his proposed budget, a provocative assault on the Democratic-controlled, union-friendly Assembly. Cuomo has made it clear to the mayor that such an effort would be illegal, since the city-specific proposal has no direct relevance to a statewide spending plan, insiders said."

Bloomberg, however, is used to skirting the borders of legality-as we have pointed out with the Willets Point ramps and the Claire Shulman LDC. When you're living in a political echo chamber, you never get to adjust to effective cognitive dissonance: "As a source close to Cuomo put it, "Does Bloomberg really believe the governor would endanger his budget to satisfy [the mayor's] desire to lay off teachers who may not have to be fired?"

So, once again, Bloomberg falls flat on his face dealing with grown ups-and yet again we get to witness the rancid hypocrisy that has come to characterize his tenure. On the City Room blog, Fran Liebowitz expresses our view of the mayor rather eloquently: "She decried life in New York under Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, accusing him of pulling off a “coup” when he undid the term limits law in 2009, and saying she had proudly informed the mayor in person that she voted against him three times. She seemed offended that after last year’s election Mr. Bloomberg had expressed anger over voting machine foul-ups, given his lack of interest in the voters’ will during the term limits debate, and suggested that he should never discuss voting or elections again, given his history."

The countdown to his imperial exit has begun-as we labor to deal with the sad fact that, "a watched pot never boils."