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A Good Manager? Archive

November 3, 2009 @ 4:29 pm

New Efforts Fail to Reduce Homelessness

From Jillian Jonas, freelance journalist and former national political analyst for U.P.I.:

As Mayor Michael Bloomberg approached the end of his first term in 2004 with his eye toward re-election in 2005, the administration was able to momentarily turn away from the city’s economic turmoil. Bloomberg began re-examining some of New York’s social service policies, putting fighting poverty and homelessness at the top of his list.

In June 2004, Bloomberg announced an ambitious five-year plan called “Uniting for Solutions Beyond Shelter” with the goal of tackling the complex questions of homelessness — particularly ending chronic homelessness within 10 years — and cutting the homeless population by two-thirds. “At its heart, this new plan aims to replace the city’s over-reliance on shelter with innovative, cost-effective interventions that solve homelessness — and to make visible headway in reducing homelessness on the streets and in shelters,” said the mayor.

To be sure, there have been bumps along the way: controversial moves offering homeless individuals one-way tickets out-of-town or enforcing a never utilized Pataki-era state law charging homeless families for their shelter stay. There also was an extremely unpopular attempt to move a Manhattan intake shelter to Brooklyn. And, at a recent Working Families Party mayoral forum, media reports quoted Bloomberg as saying New York’s homeless find shelters “a lot more attractive” than “permanent living situations.”

But more significantly, Bloomberg’s lofty goals have not materialized. In fact, rather than cutting the population by two-thirds, the administration has seen homelessness increase substantially.

[See the rest of the story at Gotham Gazette]

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November 2, 2009 @ 2:36 pm

Bloomberg Report Card on Education

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October 29, 2009 @ 6:18 pm

What Bloomberg’s Green Jobs Will Really Mean

Via Max Schulz, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, for The Daily News:

Mayor Bloomberg hyped his PlaNYC save-the-planet initiatives again last week, this time announcing an intention to double the city’s green-sector workforce by creating 13,000 green jobs. How to do this? In part by establishing Wall Street as the hub of the nascent international carbon permit trading market.

At first blush this sounds like smart planning. Why shouldn’t New York profit from our nation’s shift to a green economy? The mayor envisions thousands of carbon traders buying and selling the permits that private companies will need to participate in an economy governed by ever-more-stringent global warming regulations.

Turns out the Bloomberg green jobs plan isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. A focus on creating financial-sector carbon trader positions merely underscores the core criticism of green jobs: That they aren’t real employment a free economy would value enough to create on its own. The mayor’s ambitious plan depends on Congress passing a controversial cap-and-trade scheme to combat global warming.
Read rest of story…

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October 29, 2009 @ 12:17 pm

Sam Leff: Top 10 Reasons Not to Vote for Bloomberg

Via the Huffington Post:

1. Giving the nation four more years of George W. Bush.

Michael Bloomberg rolled out the red carpet and gave the keys to the city to the Republicans to nominate Bush for a second term in the summer of 2004. Exercising a staunchly [and stealth] pro-Republican strategy, he denied a protest venue for the millions of Americans angered and disturbed by the illegitimate Bush administration and its trumped up war in Iraq, forcing angry U.S citizens to march up and down the City’s avenues rather than assembling in the traditional public space of large gatherings, Central Park’s Great Lawn. More than that, Bloomberg’s secret police followed potential demonstrators for two years prior to the convention and illegally arrested and detained 2,000 people at a greasy bus depot on the Hudson for two days during the Bush coronation. The city has already paid out $10 million in lawsuits for its assault on the rights of Americans to demonstrate their just grievances at a national political convention. In response to the denial of constitutional rights perpetrated by his NYPD, Bloomberg pats his police commissioner Raymond Kelly on the back. “Heckuvajob Kelly.” Showing his true face, Bloomberg is ending his campaign by cuddling up to Rudolph Giuliani and their orthodox Jewish constituency at a Brooklyn rally supporting Giuliani’s latest aspirations to be governor of New York.

2. Bloomberg is a liar.

Twice the citizens of New York City voted to impose term limits on elected officials. Bloomberg twisted arms on the City Council to have them pass a new law overturning term limits, promoting their own self interest, and flying in the face of the public will he broke his promise to respect term limits and not run again and is using his extraordinary fortune in an advertising blitz to twist the truth, create myths, and squeeze out votes that any sane democratic society would reject out of hand.

3. Speaking of rats, Bloomberg’s New York is overrun with rats.

They’ve been observed leaving restaurants on Manhattan’s Upper West Side and going into apartment buildings. So dense is their population they have become road kill crossing Broadway or Amsterdam Avenue. They became national television news stars playing at night in a Greenwich Village Taco Bell restaurant. Many city residents who park on the streets have found that the rats take up residence in their engines, often eating away wires and leaving their droppings and chicken bones behind. Riverside Park is a favorite hangout where they dine at the Boat Basin restaurant and scurry around the feet of tourists on park benches by the river.

4. Helicopter tourism vs. peace and quiet in our local environment.

Bloomberg is the only New York politician who supports the 17 private New York companies providing extremely noisy low-flying helicopter tours over the densely populated residential East and West side communities. Expensive helicopter tours [$120 per person for 20 minutes] constantly fly from the Hudson to Central Park and back, creating a deafening atmosphere that often approximates a military siege and destroys the tranquility of Central Park. Even after a helicopter and small plane crashed over the unregulated Wild West air space over the Hudson River, killing nine tourists, Bloomberg was the only local politician who failed to speak out against the helicopter problem. The reason behind this enigma is simple. Billionaire Bloomberg takes full advantage of helicopter transportation and, being a helicopter pilot himself, won’t do anything that might restrict his own comings and goings. All other Manhattan politicians say that helicopter tourism is insignificant to the city economy and that those few tourists who spend hundreds of dollars for a few minutes in the air over the city would all find other ways to spend their tourism money.

5. Bloomberg doesn’t make the trains run on time.

Bloomberg’s city streets are a joke. He has drawn bike lanes, but just try to ride the bike lanes on the Upper West Side. They are, like the treacherous crosswalks at the major streets and avenues, pockmarked with potholes and patchwork repairs from companies who dug up the streets to put in internet and video cables. (Bloomberg has a large investment in Verizon, and though he is supposed to have a hands-off policy concerning his investments, his billions have tripled during the time of his mayoralty). Bike lanes on the Upper West Side are (typically) useless window dressing.

6. Parking tickets as a revenue source.

Bloomberg’s traffic agents are so aggressive they give alternate side street cleaning tickets out at exactly 11 a.m. at the very second when the regulations go into effect. If your watch is two minutes slow, or if you leave your car at 12:28 two minutes before 12:30 when the regulations go off, you can get ticketed. Bloomberg has installed television cameras to take pictures of cars going through lights which change in the blink of an eyelash. He, like his predecessor Giuliani, thinks squeezing the public for money from tickets is a great source of revenue for the city. He has done nothing to provide low-cost public parking for city drivers, as is available in all major civilized European cities. Oh, you can park in New York if you’re wealthy and don’t mind paying a small fortune for the privilege.

7. Bloomberg’s Heckuvajob Kelly hires thugs for his police department.

Look at the YouTube favorite
(over 2 million views) of the New York City cop throwing a body block on a Critical Mass bike rider riding through Times Square, or the Channel 11 report.

Like the 2,000 arrested by Heckuvajob Kelly, this cyclist was charged with”attempted assault” “resisting arrest” and “disorderly conduct.” Now imagine what would have happened if that tourist with a video camera hadn’t been there to record the “attempted assault.” That young man would have found himself tied up in court trying to defend himself against, as it turns out, the son of retired New York City police detective who had been a former high school football lineman.

8. Bloomberg runs the local police like the CIA

He hired a former high-level CIA official, David Cohen, to conduct secret surveillance of “potential troublemakers” like environmentalists, church groups, street theater groups, and every other type of creative or not so creative traditional protest group that might come to the city to oppose Bloomberg’s favored political candidates and causes. We don’t know exactly how many millions of dollars were spent investigating peace groups before RNC 2004, but it may have been nearly as much as the $10 million paid out in court settlements to the victims of the NYPD assault on anti-Bush demonstrators and witnesses. What we do know is that none of that money was spent for housing for the homeless or on education of our children, or for fixing potholes.

9. Michael Bloomberg is openly buying power with his fortune.

This is particularly ironic in a world where billions of dollars of the tax money of ordinary people are being shelled out to shore up the fortunes and lifestyles of millionaires and billionaires like Bloomberg who made their obscene fortunes manipulating financial devices on Wall Street while Main Street was being bled dry by those same institutions. In these times, why in the world should the decisions of New York City government be made by a person whose finances are so far removed from the average citizen that he couldn’t possibly empathize with the hardships of normal New Yorkers? This country was born of a revolution that overthrew the rule of royalty. Why should it be ruled by pseudo royals like Bloomberg who have no respect for truth or justice?

10. As Holden Caulfield might say, Bloomberg is the biggest phony in town.

Sam Leff is an anthropologist specializing in American culture.

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October 26, 2009 @ 11:11 am

Michael Bloomberg v. the People of New York City: The Spin v. The Facts

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October 21, 2009 @ 2:51 pm

Juan Gonzalez: Bloomberg’s Poorly Managed 911 System

Via The Daily News:

Mayor Bloomberg’s $1.3 billion plan to modernize the city’s 911 system is two years late, plagued by poor management and bad equipment, and has ballooned in cost to more than $2 billion, the Daily News has learned.

Launched in the summer of 2005, the Emergency Communications Transformation Project was supposed to centralize call-and-dispatch operations for police, fire and emergency medical services into a single state-of-the-art computerized system.

Deputy Mayor Ed Skyler, who oversees the project, has called it one of the Bloomberg administration’s top initiatives.
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October 20, 2009 @ 5:52 pm

Hip Hop Recording Artist’s Rap Song Rails Against Bloomberg

Hoping to raise some awareness about the November election, hip hop artist Rief Rawyal voices his fiery opinion in his campaign song “Issues.” Please pass the song along.

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October 19, 2009 @ 12:27 pm

Does Mayor Bloomberg Pass the Grade After Eight Years?

From Josephine Lee:

What does your community report card say for Mayor Bloomberg?

While his $200 million budget in campaign ads have covered up the reality of most New Yorkers, the Chinatown community recently publicly grade doomberg on the impact of his administration on the working families and small businesses, making up the majority of our communities.

Is your community better off now than they were eight years ago before Bloomberg came into office?

We urge other communities in the five boroughs to issue their own report cards.

Score the Mayor on the issues below and how he has affected your community in the last 8 years.
Read rest of story…

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October 15, 2009 @ 1:35 pm

The Siegels: Can Bloomberg’s ‘Luxury’ City Survive?

Fred and Harry Siegel have written about how the middle class is losing a battle to survive in Bloomberg’s “Luxury City.” They now turn their attention once again to Bloomberg’s hallowed out “Luxury City” — a city that “even as it’s losing the luster of Wall Street, taxes small businesses the way California taxes millionaires.” Thanks to Eric Dixon for passing this along.

Via The Wall Street Journal:

New Yorkers take pride in their city’s ability to reinvent itself, as witnessed most recently in the bubble-aided recovery from the 9/11 attacks. “While any city may have one period of magnificence,” journalist A.J. Libeling wrote of New York in 1938, “it takes a real one to keep renewing itself until the past is perennially forgotten.”

But as next month’s mayoral election approaches, the city faces an economic downturn and a political reordering that augur badly for the future. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a two-term incumbent running against Bill Thomson, a lackluster Democratic challenger all but disavowed by his own party, has already spent at least $70 million funding 336 times as many TV ads as his rival through late last month. Yet the incumbent can barely break 50% in the polls.

The standard explanation for Mr. Bloomberg’s weakness is anger at his ham-handed repeal of the term-limits law he had once championed. But underlying that, there’s a growing civic unease, a foreboding that’s remained nameless while the candidates have sidestepped the city’s economic problems. While the city’s unemployment and commercial vacancy rates have both passed 10%, so far the city has lost only 100,000 jobs (compared to the 330,000 lost from 1989 to 1993 under Mayor David Dinkins). But more losses are coming.
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October 8, 2009 @ 3:59 pm

Using City Resources to Create Bloomberg’s Bubble

A NY1 investigation revealed that it’s common practice for city employees to arrive hours before a mayoral event to clean up graffiti, sweep the street and empty garbage — giving a quick shine to a neighborhood to give the mayor the impression that the city is much cleaner than it normally is. NY1 describes this as the Bloomberg “bubble” and the city employees as the mayor’s “personal clean-up crew”:

If you want to make sure your street is free from litter, your best bet may be to invite Mayor Michael Bloomberg to your neighborhood. A NY1 investigation conducted over the last four months found that hours before Bloomberg and the reporters who cover him arrive at one of his regular events, clean-up crews are working on the scene.

Garbage trucks descend on the neighborhood, litter is swept up from the sidewalks and gutters and trash bins are emptied. On one occasion, NY1 found two anti-graffiti trucks parked across the street from one of the mayor’s events, removing unsightly scrawls in advance of his arrival.

“Generally it’s pretty clean, but we just want to double-check. We’d hate for the mayor to come over here and it’s not as nice as it could be,” says William Wade of the Department of Sanitation.

Employees on the city payroll seem to be acting as the mayor’s personal clean-up crew, putting a shine on neighborhoods that goes far beyond what’s normally done. Sometimes the streets are cleaned by sanitation workers and other times, New Yorkers performing court-ordered community service sweep up.

“There have been like 18, 20 trucks today. You never see this. And the people with the pails, you never see them around,” says an Inwood, Manhattan resident called “Raul.” “It’s not a dirty neighborhood, but don’t send 20 trucks in one day just because you’re coming.”

The practice is coming under fire from Common Cause, a government watchdog group, which says it raises questions about the way the city is allocating its resources. They also say it raises questions about the extent to which Bloomberg operates in a bubble, insulated from the way the city really looks.

“It reminds me of what I read about the Beijing Olympics, that the Chinese wanted to look good to the world. They just built blank walls where there were slums, so that people didn’t see the slums,” says Susan Lerner of Common Cause.

The mayor’s press secretary says that with some small exceptions, there’s no directive from the mayor’s office to clean up the streets before his events. The spokesman notes that Bloomberg is obsessed with keeping the city clean, and describes the mayor as a “one-man garbage and graffiti-reporting machine.”

A spokesman from the Department of Sanitation says it’s been a longtime practice to make sure an area is clean before a special event.

There were times when NY1 arrived early to the mayor’s announcement and did not find a clean-up crew at work. But more often than not, the crews were there, ensuring that before the mayor arrives on the scene, the streets are sparkling clean.

[See the video at NY1]

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