Three years ago, New York magazine’s John Heilemann interviewed Schools Chancellor Joel Klein and wrote in his notebook: “Klein wants to be Mayor.” In 2007 Klein all but denied it. But today’s New York Sun story, reporting that eight “political consultants, activists, and philanthropists” are pushing Klein to run in 2009 suggests that somebody is floating a trial balloon — especially as the eight allegedly prominent boosters are all unnamed.
Seen one way, Klein has good reason to stick with his job. He enjoys the Mayor’s full confidence, and a report just released by a commission employed by the Public Advocate’s office pretty much backs the Mayor’s control of the schools. The commission does suggest giving fixed terms to the Panel for Educational Policy, which the Mayor had previously been able to stack, but any serious trouble that might cause will probably take years to foment.
On the other hand, why wait? Klein will never ride higher as Chancellor than he does now. While the Sun points out that he “has among the highest disapproval ratings of the city’s top public officials,” that may be seen as a liability of the office, which can never really please its constituents, the parents of public school children. As a Mayoral candidate, Klein may be seen less as that guy who isn’t doing enough for the kids, and more as part of the Bloomberg royalty, a way of continuing the perceived efficiency of his reign. And, the Sun also points out, Klein is no less popular than Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who is running for Mayor.
Spokesman David Cantor’s denial on Klein’s behalf is pretty straightforward, but so was Caesar‘s; let’s see what happens when they get to the third offer.