On a panel last night discussing the city’s new political landscape, Times columnist Clyde Haberman suggested to the crowd at the Baruch College School of Public Affairs that the signs so far from Mike Bloomberg are a little ominous.
“Beginning with a feud with a legendary lawman like Robert Morgenthau would seem like a strange way to start,” said Haberman.
And lo, this morning comes further evidence of this Nixonian trend, this time from Haberman’s colleague Jim Dwyer who reports that Bloomberg’s City Hall minions pulled the tough guy act not just with Morgenthau, but the state’s top law enforcement official, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.
Bloomberg’s people, reports Dwyer, told Cuomo that his efforts to subpoena records from the city’s Economic Development Corporation “would be seen as a hostile act, and would be remembered next year” when the AG is likely to run for governor.
It’s hard to imagine Nixon’s legendary hit men, Ehrlichman and Haldeman, forging a better response. And Nixon didn’t have $17 billion in the bank. He had to beg the Teamsters for his slush fund dough.
What’s interesting about this show down was that it was the city’s own top law man, Corporation Counsel Michael Cardozo, handling the negotiations.
The issue at hand concerns the EDC’s funding of a non-profit group it had helped form to lobby the City Council on its Willett’s Point plan. Such lobbying would be illegal for a nonprofit, not to mention being a bizarre and secretive way for a mayor to try and influence the council. It’s the kind of stunt- yes! – Richard Nixon might have pulled.