For a good chunk of the last few years, I’ve been — relative the the standards of my general peer group, anyway — something of an apologist for the Bloomberg administration. It would be a stretch to call me a supporter, but I didn’t feel like the city was being particularly ill-served by him as a Mayor, and I even approved of a few of his initiatives. It basically boiled down to:
- After Giuliani, anyone could appear calm and reasonable in comparison.
- Selfishly, I like the smoking ban.
- The NYC Democratic party ran a disgracefully incompetant campaign, and apparently still needed a wake-up call after 8 years of Giuliani.
- …and Bloomberg campaigned as, and seemed largely to be, a Republican-in-name-only, to wit:
- A billionaire businessman Republican who was willing to ram through a 20% property tax increase in response to a budget deficit (thus actively pissing off his natural political constituency in the name of fiscal responsibility) was my kind of billionaire businessman Republican.
Well, the last six months have been a harsh jab in the face from reality in re all that. Mayor Mike might personally be far to the left of the national Republican Party, but he’s still chosen membership in that Party, with all that it entails.
First, we had (and continue to have) the insane plans for a sports arena on the west side. We’re closing schools, raising subway fares and closing fire stations, but apparently we have half a billion dollars to hand to the New York Jets.
And then, when the Party bigwigs came to town, they didn’t even have to pull on his leash to bring him to heel, and he was more than happy to bring us the lasting shame known as Guantanamo on the Hudson. Then, to add insult to injury, it was seriously mooted to keep it open after the convention.
This is all old news, of course: I’m mostly just posting this to let a few friends know: you were right, I was wrong. Never trust the fuckers. Ever.
The thing that happened to remind me that I needed to post this was a much, much smaller issue, but one that (to my tiny trainspotting heart anyway) perfectly encapsulates the arrogant, disconnected and incompetent nature of the Bloomberg adminstration even when they are doing something nominally good:
This week, you see, was the 100th Anniversary of the New York City Subway. The MTA has been having a pretty bad year of it, what with being caught completely faking their financials and having back-to-back fare hikes. A little positive news, a little focus on the subway’s happy history would be just what the doctor ordered. And so, as part of the celebration, they briefly re-opened the famous Old City Hall Station, an architectural masterpiece that has been closed to the public for nearly sixty years…
…opened it, that is, for an un-announced-to-the-public private party of City Government figures, MTA honchos and press, who were entertained by MTA employees dressed up in 1905 period clothes. Only when the assorted dignataries had left were any mere citizens let into the station, which was held open for all of two and a half hours, closing promptly at 4:30 lest anyone with an actual job outside of the City Hall area get any silly ideas about seeing part of their city’s history and cultural heritage.
The Bloomberg ethos in a nutshell: it’s our city, you plebes just rent here.
In the 1970s, many insolvent cities faced the threat of governmental takeover by state and federal authorities if they didn’t fix their budgets. If the NYC Democratic party can’t actually get their act together enough to sweep this gang of idiots out of office in 2006, the national party should consider doing something analogous and putting the city party into receivership.