Citizen Bloomberg

How our mayor has given us the business

Despite the mayor's recruiting efforts, people with bachelor's degrees continue to leave the city in greater numbers than they arrive here, with Brooklyn alone declining by 12,933 such citizens in 2006, according to the Center for an Urban Future, with many of those leaving discouraged by New York's high costs, and the low quality of the public education available to their children.

Mike Bloomberg thinks everyone's dream is to come to the city with an MBA and find an inefficiency to exploit and become a billionaire, or at least get a good job with one, argued three unrelated sources who have worked with the mayor, all of whom asked not to be quoted directly on the mayor's view of himself. His idea that everyone's dream is to be on Park Avenue, say those sources, has alienated and insulted outer-borough "Koch Democrats." Their dream is a house, and Mike Bloomberg diminishes that dream because he thinks everyone wants to be him.

As Bloomberg memorably put it while floating his candidacy in early 2001: "What's a billionaire got to do with it? I mean, would you rather elect a poor person who didn't succeed? Look, I'm a great American dream."

Jesse Lenz
Bloomberg LP's headquarters, the Bloomberg Tower. Nicknamed "the Death Star" by fans and foes alike, the huge screens displaying data, the glass walls, and the open floor space in place of private offices or even cubicles are all meant to symbolize "transparency"—one of the many buzzwords from his business that Citizen Bloomberg brought with him to City Hall.
Celeste Sloman
Bloomberg LP's headquarters, the Bloomberg Tower. Nicknamed "the Death Star" by fans and foes alike, the huge screens displaying data, the glass walls, and the open floor space in place of private offices or even cubicles are all meant to symbolize "transparency"—one of the many buzzwords from his business that Citizen Bloomberg brought with him to City Hall.

Without an impressive public-school system, Bloomberg's vision for New York falls apart. But the public-school "miracle" the mayor touted for years has proven all pitch and no payoff.

Despite a massive 40 percent hike in per-pupil spending during Bloomberg's first two terms, along with a 43 percent boost in teacher pay, the "historic" gains the mayor trumpets failed to register at all on the gold-standard national tests taken by the same students. When new state leaders put an end to the state's easily gamed tests, what was left of the city's years of paper gains disappeared.

The ever-rising test scores Bloomberg had relentlessly promoted fell almost all the way back to the mundane levels that had prevailed when the mayor took control of the system in 2002. The incredible success he's claimed in closing the achievement gap between black and Hispanic students and their white and Asian peers that's vexed generations of educators disappeared entirely by some measures.

Without high-quality schools to produce a cadre of well-educated citizens attractive to employers, Bloomberg's implicit social contract with New Yorkers—that courting big businesses will help the little guy—breaks down, and the city's appeal to those businesses is seriously tarnished, along with its long-term appeal to employees with children.

"Bloomberg yoked his education agenda to his ambitions for higher office," said Stern, who had initially backed both mayoral control of the schools and Bloomberg's education agenda. "He recognized that the way he was going to prove [to voters nationwide] that he'd given more bang for the buck was through test scores, while at the same time he was also introducing cash incentives to principals and teachers for getting the scores up." (That program was quietly shuttered this month after a city-commissioned study found the payments had no impact on student performance.)

"So he invited the corruption," Stern said, adding that he expects a numbers-juicing scandal to hit before Bloomberg leaves office. New Chancellor Dennis Walcott, responding to reports of grade-tampering in the city and a nationwide wave of such scandals, announced his own investigation this month, but it remains to be seen if the school system can fairly probe itself, and with the mayor's reputation hanging in the balance.

Asked in 2007 how New Yorkers could register their discontent with the schools now that he was presumably term-limited out of office, Bloomberg cracked, "Boo me at parades."

Some New Yorkers have taken him up on that, but more significantly they've also stopped caring enough to vote.

The mayor has indeed governed as the city CEO he promised to be in 2001, redefining public life so that businesses are "clients," citizens "customers," and Bloomberg the boss entrusted with the city's well-being, with no need to consult with the board before acting.

After 1.9 million New Yorkers took to the polls in the 1989 and 1993 contests between Dinkins and Giuliani, less than 1.5 million voted in 2001's nail-biter, and just 1.3 million turned out in 2005, when the outcome was never in doubt. Bloomberg nonetheless spent $84.6 million running up the score in a 19-point win intended to make him look "presidential." In 2009, the mayor, responding to internal polls showing most New Yorkers wanted him out, broke the $100 million mark to project inevitability and discourage voters from showing up at all. Despite perfect weather on election day, three out of every four voters didn't bother to participate. Just 1.2 million New Yorkers voted in an election that Bloomberg won by only 50,000 votes—collecting the fewest winning votes of any mayor since 1919, when there were 3 million fewer New Yorkers and women didn't have the franchise. For the first time, Bloomberg's spending failed to translate into popular support.

As the city's electorate shrank around him—even as its population grew by more than a million people between 1990 and 2010, Bloomberg's political stature swelled. The voters who just stayed home allowed the mayor to hold on to power despite an outnumbered base of the city's social and financial elites and the technocratic planners they often bankroll, a political and governing coalition last seen 40 years ago under fellow party-switcher John Lindsay.

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20 comments
Max Coyne-Green
Max Coyne-Green

A true shame that insatiable leftists can't appreciate arguably the finest public servant of the 21st century--especially one that has fulfilled the most ardent desires of liberals far more successfully than any of his blue-aligned counterparts. His fundamental understanding of wealth-creation, the nature of social contracting between citizens and their public servants, and the true principles of liberalism is unparalleled amongst politicians across America and perhaps the world.

Feng Ke
Feng Ke

People cannot live without friendship, but it's not esay to get real friendship. It is like a tree. We need to sow the seed of honety, use passion to water it, use principle to cultivate it, and use understanding to take care of it. In this way, the tree of friendship can grow well. ===http://www.finejie.com==== ===http://www.finejie.com===

770myspace
770myspace

You have to love this mayor so what if his employees make a lot of money he is charming sleazy deliberate flamboyant extravagant classy and rich just like NY no time for jealousy

Mokkaknyc
Mokkaknyc

Finally the spell that Almighty Bloomberg has had on the media and the NYCEstablishment appears to be dissipating? Bravo Mr. Siegel. I hope to see more analytical critiques of Bloomberg's three terms which will no doubt leave the city worse off than before a billionaire businessman from Boston was chosen to lead a metropolis of immigrants and working class people.

Jillsisler
Jillsisler

Wonderful article, beautifully written about an absolutely disgusting character!

Louis Profeta
Louis Profeta

I forget The Village Voice, not being near, I miss the satisfied laugh reading clever satire, good to be back finding my truth, thanks all.

Louis Profeta
Louis Profeta

Cheer Village Voice, I feel the same way of Bloomberg, he promotes Bloomberg, it makes more shekels doing that for biz, the subway rides are just a free ad, I laugh at what money goes through insecure confusion worrying about "growth" factors on a graph, subway's, sure shot. Glad you shout the news,I'm afraid, sure, right!

The disgruntled NYer
The disgruntled NYer

The fools who kept voting for this dictator have just as much blood on their hands as Bloomturd. He has remodeled this city into his own wetched image and I don't even know this city anymore. Even New Yorkers' attitudes haven't improved as he as also molded half of them as well. I wish some of the hypocritical celebrities who have backed him like Whoopie Goldberg, Matt Damon and Iman realized the dread this guy has brought to the city if they weren't so busy admiring their rich status and how Mike caters to them. The next time you see any of them walking around in a NY street, be sure to throw a rock at them and let them know the fury of the disgruntled working class.

Suzannah Troy
Suzannah Troy

Vote for Christine Quinn if you want Mike Bloomberg for a 4 term from the golf course! I was at the fore front of the YouTube resistance against Bloomberg's 3rd term starting with"Mayor Bloomberg King of NY" noting he was not going to break laws, just change them and I predicted 10 months before the election Bloomberg might not win due to Voter Anger! A month and half before the election my YouTube Channel was removed.nNorman Seigel represented me along with many people contacting Google and I got my work back. Did Wayne Barrett get fired because he reported Mike broke campaign laws which is a misdemeanor A and carries jail time. Sure hope Christine Quinn and Tony Simone are not campaigning on company time, oops, NYC gov. time!

Donny Moss
Donny Moss

As the article points out, Quinn and Bloomberg cut a deal: If Quinn strong-armed the Council to vote in favor of extending term limits (against the voters' wishes), then he would back her for Mayor and call off the Dept of Investigation's probe into her multi-million dollar slush fund scandal -- a dirty deal between two dirty politicians. If you want to help Bloomberg make more money and if you support corruption, then vote for Christine Quinn.

Gay Movie Fan
Gay Movie Fan

I was born in NYC and spent the first 52 years of my life in Queens. But four years ago I had the opportunity to move to a mid-sized "city" upstate and I took it, especially when I found out that my $70k salary would allow me to live like a king instead of the pauper I was inceasingly becoming while remaining in my beloved city. Now I can afford to own a car, own a house, don't have to look at tourists or answer their dumb questions and I find that, culturally, there are interesting museums, theatre and even art happening far away from the Lights of Broadway. I go back to visit less and less and when I do, I wonder why I ever put up with the crowds, the smells, the rudeness, the crime, the high prices and the filfth. The NY of my youth is but a memory anyway; Mayor Guili-Nazi saw to that. Get out while you can; if you get a chance RUN. New York will never be the New York of the 1940's - 1970's again.

Sammy
Sammy

This is a trenchant piece but it has some real oversights. C'mon guy, don't just tell me about the failure of the creative/service class vision I want to know what they city missed out on by chasing that dream.

It's good to see a journo willing to take on the billionaire king, but Siegel you're gonna pay for this in his fourth term when he passes full mayoral control of the press.

VJ Machiavelli
VJ Machiavelli

"The Prisoner of City Hall" is going to love to read this article.

Before there was the "Oracle at Delphi" there was Count Vampire J. Machiavelli

VJ Machiavelliwww.VJMachiavelli.blogspot.comThe Legislative Budget is Too Damn High

Anna1199
Anna1199

I paid $32.67 for a XBOX 360 and my mom got a 17 inch Toshiba laptop for $94.83 being delivered to our house tomorrow by FedEX. I will never again pay expensive retail prices at stores. I even sold a 46 inch HDTV to my boss for $650 and it only cost me $52.78 to get. Here is the website we using to get all this stuff, GrabPenny.com

Feng Ke
Feng Ke

People cannot live without friendship, but it's not esay to get real friendship. It is like a tree. We need to sow the seed of honety, use passion to water it, use principle to cultivate it, and use understanding to take care of it. In this way, the tree of friendship can grow well. ===http://www.finejie.com==== ===http://www.finejie.com===

 
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