Ruling With A Bloomberg Hand

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Michael Bloomberg may run for President of the United States one day. Even non-New York residents have probably heard his name, or at least from his news channel.

Bloomberg himself may be worth up to $20 billion dollars, and since there is nothing linking him to some form of organized crime or grand heist, I can only assume that he knows how to balance a budget and make a buck. It’s unlikely that many people could ever argue with his ability to run a municipality financially. However, there is another aspect to governing any group of people.

Bloomberg succeeded Rudy Giuliani as New York’s mayor. Giuliani had the unenviable task of being mayor during the September 11 attacks. All eyes were on New York in the days and weeks following the fall of the World Trade Center, and Giuliani was at the forefront. Granted, he did what he was supposed to, as mayor, but it was still excellent to see him meeting with the Fire Department, the Police Department, and altogether serving as a master of ceremonies over a grim cleanup and possible rescue operation. (During the cleanup, when everyone would say, “Isn’t Rudy doing a great job?”, I would respond, “He’s doing what he is supposed to, anyone would do the same thing.” Sadly, I found out post-Hurricane Katrina that I was very wrong, as I watched President Bush’s response. As stated by David Remnick in the September 12, 2005 issue of The New Yorker, “Suntanned and relaxed after a vacation so long that it would have shamed a French playboy, Bush reacted with fogged delinquency, as if he had been so lulled by his summer sojourn that he was not quite ready to acknowledge reality, let alone attempt to master it.”… anyway, back to Rudy…)

The sense on the street, at least the one that I got was that Fernando Ferrer was slated to win the election. However, Ferrer made the most critical and stupidest political move of his life. The twin towers fell right in the middle of the election process. Giuliani asked to continue as mayor for three months, whoever won, just so he could finish the cleanup job he had started. Keep in mind, at this moment, the entire world has been watching Giuliani, now the archetype of a man keeping his head under a difficult position, a leader in crisis, a bulwark in the storm, a nation hero for God’s sake. He was damn near a saint! Bloomberg said, “Yes.” Fernando said, “No.” Moron. I believe that gave Bloomberg the election, because no one wants an idiot as a mayor.

Bloomberg may not be an idiot, and as previously stated, he definitely has business acumen. However, he it completely out of touch with the common man. Sure, he rides the subway every morning to City Hall, but there are plenty of policies and actions that have occurred under his administration that show his lack of care for the average man.

The first clue was his smoking ban. In protest, many bar owners I knew had the lottery machines in their establishments taken out (so the state would not get the revenue), but despite the uproar and anger, the ban still stands. It would be one the first examples of his personal opinions (as he was a former smoker) deciding his public policy. Even if you’re not a smoker, were you really surprised and upset by people smoking in bars? I can respect a smoking ban in a restaurant, but a bar… a damn bar… give me a break.

Next would come a string of tickets that would make headlines in New York, ticketing a man for feeding pigeons, ticketing a pregnant woman for sitting on the steps of a subway station, loitering tickets, unauthorized use of a milk crate. This was very bad. Bloomberg was looked at as a tyrant, a dictator. There was no way that this guy was going to get a second term in office. Right? Wrong.

I took a little trip down to City Hall for Bloomberg’s second inauguration. It was a very telling experience. The event was held at New York’s City Hall which is surrounded by a park. Of course, security was very tight, and there were plenty of police in the area. Traffic was stopped for around 10 blocks of City Hall. That would not be the only thing stopped.

No one without an invitation was allowed within a block of City Hall and the surrounding park. If you walked past, police told you to move across the street. One cop commented, “I wonder why they don’t open the park. It’s such a nice park.” The giant screens that would broadcast the speaker at the podium and the day’s performers, were not turned out to the street, where people that had been moved the minimum city block away would see the image, but into the park, where the ticketed spectators could get the digital view.

I’m not trying to be a class warrior and I’m not rallying against the elite or people of privilege. What does confuse me is the definition of “inauguration”. I thought that an inauguration was supposed to be a public ceremony. I thought an inauguration was where an elected official says, “Thank you,” to the voters as well as his campaign contributors. I thought an inauguration was a public affair where one makes a pledge to live up to campaign promises. I did not think that an inauguration was a “invitation only” affair. I was wrong.

The second term would only showcase more of Mayor Mike’s disconnect with the common man. When the snow fell especially heavy in New York the police department issued tickets to cars that were not moved for alternate side regulations. New Yorkers cried out. Mayor Mike said, “It’s a pain, but you have to do it.” Essentially, he said, “Don’t be lazy, just move it.” It was only when every news report in New York showed that the streets had not been plowed and that there was no where to move the snow that Mayor Mike made a retreat that very evening.

During the MTA strike Bloomberg took a hard stance, calling the head of the Transit Union thuggish. Granted, no one was pleased by the strike, but what choice does someone have if they have a contract they consider unfair? Grin and hope for the best? Count on someone’s good will to give you more money?

Most recent is the NY taxi strike, where Bloomberg has said that “drivers have never had it so good.”

Maybe Bloomberg had a rough time balancing the economy after September 11. Maybe the growing costs of New York and the deficit are getting to him. I’m not sure what ails or drive Mayor Mike, but one thing is for certain: He’s a dick.

His current crusade is for congestion pricing. Though it appear unlikely to happen, taking a bull in a china shop cue, he’s marching.

What would this guy be like as president? A president that is driven by private zeal? I think we’ve all seen where that could lead us.

More Links:
Wikipedia summary of Michael Bloomberg

Moments of Clarity

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Sometimes, you need to step away from event to truly understand the gravity of your actions. Sometimes, you need a little time and separation from a situation in order to examine it properly. At times, you could be “caught up in the moment”, and you judgment may be clouded, your reason muddled, and that is why looking back on events, when you are in a better frame of mind is so important. Sometimes when you look back on an event, you might ask yourself, “What the hell was I thinking?”

By now, you might be under the impression that this post is about relationships. Well… at first, when I considered the subject of self-examinations, relationships did immediately come to mind. I thought about one of my personal moments of clarity when I left a particularly poor relationship.

Did Michael Vick have a moment of clarity or did the arms of the law just encircle him? Now, I’m not going to preach on the ills of animal abuse, nor am I going to lambaste black athletes for bad public behavior. You can find plenty of sources out there for each if you want, so there no need for my own personal spin on those themes. What confuses me is why a moment of clarity did not come earlier.

One account, mentioned in the indictment is the construction of a “rape stand”. Since the pit bulls are raised to be as aggressive as possible, female pit bulls will not submit to male attention. Therefore, owners must build a contraption to hold the female in place while the male has his way.

If the words, “Hey fellas, come over here and help me build a rape stand,” ever leave my mouth, I would like to think that I would stop and review what I just said… carefully. If I ever say, “We gotta’ get this dog on the rape stand,” I would like to think that I would consider myself in need of some serious psychiatric attention. At some moments in life, it is important to step outside yourself and to examine a situation, almost like in a movie, with a camera suspended high above, a God’s view, and take stock of what you are doing or saying. You don’t need to be a PETA member to know that there is something tragically wrong with those statements. I don’t give a damn how gully, grimey, or ghetto your upbringing may be, some things are just wrong. It’s not very difficult to understand that building a rape stand, that seeing a need for a rape stand is wrong.

The funniest part of this entire sordid drama, is the fact that the animal abuse charges are not what may land Vick in prison. Consider the Virginia penalties for animal abuse and these other cases of people convicted for animal abuse:

Man sets dog on fire
Dog Shot and Killed
Puppy Beaten during robbery