When Jon Winkleman attended a pro-gay-marriage rally in Manhattan last week, the gay rights activist had just one message he wanted to relay, and he’d scrawled it in bold black letters on white cardboard: “DUMP BLOOMBERG!”
His pithy slogan could become ubiquitous among progressive gay and straight constituents during this year’s mayoral campaign. After expressing personal support for same-sex marriage but deciding to appeal a judicial ruling allowing it, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has become a target.
“Bloomberg is a fair-weather liberal,” Winkleman says, explaining why he and others are launching an informal effort to oust him from City Hall. “It’s time to say, ‘Enough is enough.'”
He and several dozen fellow members of the Stonewall Democratic Club of New York had been mulling over the idea of initiating a “Dump Bloomberg” campaign for months. But the mayor’s response to the February 4 court decision took the idea off the drawing boards and into the streets.
Bloomberg’s actions, of course, didn’t square with his words—and it was not the first time that had happened. Dirk McCall, the Stonewall Club president, can tick off a litany of ways in which the mayor has failed his gay constituents: He has vetoed gay-friendly legislation; refused to hire a gay and lesbian liaison; and appointed just two openly gay commissioners. “He says he supports gay rights and full equality,” adds McCall. “Yet he only does this when it’s convenient.”
Although the campaign targeting Bloomberg is in its infancy, activists say their goal is to show how he has compromised progressive values—and not simply on gay rights. They hope to forge a coalition with folks who work on affordable housing, welfare, and other social issues—areas in which the mayor has talked more than acted.
Many progressives, as McCall points out, “have been saying, ‘Well, [the mayor] is a liberal who became Republican to run for office,'” as if Bloomberg were governing like a liberal Democrat. But much like the city’s gay constituents, he concludes, “other communities are starting to wake up to the say-one-thing-do-another game he’s playing.”