News & Politics

Bloomberg promises national crusade, press asks local questions


The bulk of yesterday’s inaugural address was a guided tour of what Mayor Bloomberg sees as the accomplishments of his first few terms, along with a long list of things his administration definitely plans to find innovative ways to deal with, but he did mention two specific “new ideas.” One was an administrative team building exercise. The other would take him, and his time and attention, to the national stage, right next to President Obama.

In the short term, His Honor plans to shuffle his deputy commissioners to departments not their own for a few weeks to see if they can winkle out inter-agency inefficiencies and bureaucratic barriers, a revolutionary innovation Staten Island BP James Molinaro praised, saying he already does it “all the time.”

In the long term, Bloomberg plans to use his hundred-and-some-odd million dollar bully pulpit to raise his national profile “assemble a bi-partisan coalition to support President Obama’s call for comprehensive immigration reform that honors our history, upholds our values, and promotes our economy” (graciously overlooking the President’s fervent support of the Democratic candidate in last year’s mayoral elections).

Unfortunately for the mayor, the local press appears to be more interested in his local performance just now. The Times thinks that now that he doesn’t have to face the voters any more, Bloomberg should voluntarily be a bit less unaccountable.

Mr. Bloomberg’s biggest personal challenge will be to tame his imperious nature. The city has serious problems, starting with the economy, and he will have to deliver bad news to New Yorkers in coming months.

That means that the mayor will have to work harder than he has in the past to rally support from the City Council (many members already see him as a lame duck). And he will have to concentrate more on rallying public support. He will need to reach out, to hold more town hall meetings, to be accessible and allow New Yorkers to give their unvarnished opinions. And when they do, he needs to listen. This is not Mr. Bloomberg’s strong suit, but he will have to get better at it.

They also note his backpedaling on carbon emissions and the maybe-not-so-diplomatic practice of handing over lands and money to sports teams and developers without demanding that the city get something out of it, other than what the Times undiplomatically calls “monuments” to himself.

The News is far less ambivalent, to the point where it isn’t completely clear exactly what it is they’re unambivalent about

What’s coming – particularly the impact of Albany’s irresponsibility – ruled this out as a time for trumpets.

Nor was this a moment for a triumphal break from a failed past that cried out for radically new solutions. No, this was the ceremonial stamp of approval on a welcome continuity: Another day at the office in a city where crime is at a historic low and educational achievement is rising, where the streets are clean and, of enormous importance, inter-racial, inter-ethnic and inter-religious relations are harmoniously at ease.

But, as Bloomberg must, and does, recognize, to look forward to more of the same is not to accept the status quo…

Go for it. Go for it. Go for it.

Go for it all. Best of luck to him, and to the great people of this greatest city.

They do pretty clearly want him to spend less money on city workers.

The Post does too, although they appear to think he needs to be spanked into it

Still, as a matter of simple equity, Bloomberg needs to force upon the public-employee unions economic sacrifices that at least approximate the pain being absorbed by the private sector.

Certainly, special-interest sacred cows (schools, health care, assorted entitlements) can’t be spared. They account for such a large chunk of city spending that a balanced budget simply cannot be achieved without cutting their funds, too.

There wasn’t a hint of any of that in yesterday’s speech. Again, there wasn’t much more than a hint of anything substantive in it.

The Advance, so far, has contented itself with pointing out that a number of Staten Island Republican politicians were on the dais.


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