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Reading List Archive

November 4, 2009 @ 9:03 am

Another Four Years of Michael Bloomberg

I fell asleep before the election results were in and woke up to the nightmare of another four years of Michael Bloomberg. The only thing that gives me a little comfort is knowing….. No, I can’t think of anything that gives me comfort.

I’m one of those people who sometimes doesn’t know what he thinks until he starts writing. It was different with Bloomberg. From the moment he said if the city council overturned term limits, that he would run again, I knew he’d be on the ballot and I knew what I thought about it. I really did.

All the stuff about the fight to get them to overturn term limits was silly. You don’t have to be an insider to understand Christine Quinn and the gang. As for the Republican and Independence Party bosses who gave him their ballot line, the only issue was how much.

I don’t blame any of them. You’ve got to pay the rent and feed the kids. These days, except for the mega rich who are feeding egos and libidos (Not all of them; I like Corzine, for example.), that’s what politics is about.

Is there anyone in that crowd who is employable outside of politics? Well, there are some, but not many.

What I didn’t know was whether Weiner would drop out or how badly Thompson’s campaign would be run. Weiner made a mistake but it was understandable. He didn’t want to repeat Andrew Cuomo’s 2002 resignation in his first run for governor. Recall how Cuomo dropped out, leaving the field to H. Carl McCall, the first Democratic gubernatorial nominee. Cuomo was still on the Liberal Party line, but he didn’t campaign.

It was the coup de grace for the party, which didn’t get the requisite 50,000 votes to qualify for the ballot in the next statewide election. As that piece of political real estate had already been sliced, diced and sold to Rudy Giuliani, nobody but a few old timers missed it. I’m sure Weiner understood that a Democratic primary, not only against Thompson but against the New York Times, would have damaged his career. Too bad. He might have won.

Maybe the take away from all this — if you didn’t know it already — is never believe a word you read in the New York Times, not about the Middle East (remember Judith Miller), and certainly not about New York politics, at least not in the news section. Krugman and most of the other columnists are excellent. Their opinions are worth reading. And you can trust the sports section, at least the scores. For the rest of it, you’d better find a blogger or two.

Unless it’s signed by someone else, anything you read in this space from here on in, will be written by Mike Dang. My wife and I are going to San Miguel for a couple of weeks and then I’m hoping to restart www.hacksandflacks.org. Mike and I are talking about it, but we’ve got to figure out the money.

Thanks for any attention you might have paid to what we’ve been reporting and for the kind words some of you have written. They meant a lot to us.

– Neil Fabricant

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November 3, 2009 @ 5:59 pm

Memo to Joyce Purnick

New York Times society reporter, Joyce Purnick, author of a recent semi-authorized Bloomberg biography, wrote Bloomberg a “memo” in the form of an op-ed piece in Tuesday’s paper. She said that he had made a “bad investment” spending all that money to win an election. As the incumbent, she wrote, “you are in and destined to stay in.”

Purnick went on to deliver a history lesson on the last fifty years of mayoral elections in which only two incumbents, Beame and Dinkins, three if you count Koch’s try for a fourth term, won reelection. New Yorkers, she opined, are “pragmatic, even complacent, when their city is not in anguish.” She wondered why anyone would even bother to run against the man who is managing our “stable” city so well.
Read rest of story…

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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 3, 2009 @ 2:24 pm

Vote Like Your Life Is at Stake — It Is

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November 2, 2009 @ 8:49 pm

Gawker Endorsement: Don’t Vote For Bloomberg

Via Pareene and Gawker:

Tomorrow is Election Day! You will probably not vote, because there are no contested races for anything important in 90% of the nation. But if you are a New Yorker, we have one message: don’t vote for Michael Bloomberg.

You know those idiots who don’t know anything about politics but think it sounds smart to say “I am a social liberal and an economic conservative?” Bloomberg is the candidate for them, if they love a liberal nanny state and a conservative religious fervor for the eternal goodness of private enterprise.

For all the talk of Bloomberg the power-player who at least gets things done without worrying about the unions and special interests, he’s been unable to win any political battle with anyone he couldn’t literally buy off. Like Sheldon Silver, who (thankfully) killed the West Side Stadium and (annoyingly) ended all that “Congestion Pricing” talk. And those unions and special interests were just bought off, which worked fine back when the boom whose end Bloomberg never saw coming was in full swing.
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Filed under In the Trenches, Reading List · 8 Comments »

November 2, 2009 @ 7:37 pm

The Very Silly Mayor

Tom Tomorrow is one of the country’s greatest social critics. I read this book to my soon-to-be four-year old grandson. He enjoyed it and he got it! If only adult New Yorkers understood as much — our readers excluded of course. Then again, he hasn’t been exposed to the relentless spin factory. We recommend it. Can’t start strengthening our kids’ immune systems soon enough.

[Please visit Tom Tomorrow’s Web site for more information]

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November 2, 2009 @ 6:59 pm

The Daily Show’s Best Mayor Bloomberg Moments

Via Comedy Central:

November 7, 2001: Indifference 2001 – New York Mayoral Races

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Indifference 2001 – New York Mayoral Races
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Health Care Crisis

[For the rest of the videos, visit Comedy Central]

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November 2, 2009 @ 2:36 pm

Bloomberg Report Card on Education

Filed under A Good Manager?, Education, Reading List · 1 Comment »

November 2, 2009 @ 2:25 pm

Michael Bloomberg and The New York Times—Partners in Deception

Some folks have suggested that we stay in business to monitor Bloomberg’s third term. We don’t have any plans to continue Bloomberg Watch after today. New Yorkers won’t have to surf the web to understand the consequences of Bloomberg’s reelection—they’ll be plain to see. We suspect, too, that the mayor won’t bother quite as much with the bogus explanations and deceptive politics that have characterized his first eight years. (Those of you who have read Joyce Purnick’s semi-authorized biography will recall Bloomberg’s modus operandi – “Make the customer think he’s getting laid when he’s getting fucked,” New Yorkers, especially tenants, should know the deal by now.

Bill Thompson is the only alternative to four more years of Marvin “Markup” Marcus rent hikes. We think it’s likely that Bloomberg will back a move in Albany to end rent regulation. Whatever draconian policies are awaiting their post-election announcements, rent-stabilized tenants who don’t go out to vote for Bill Thompson tomorrow will deserve what they get—and get it they will. Those who do vote will get it right along with them.

We thought we’d end with a story of why we began. Readers already know that I was the president of a Mitchell-Lama tenant association at Independence Plaza, a 3,000-3,500-person rental complex in Tribeca.
Read rest of story…

Filed under Housing, Independence Plaza: A Tenant's Tale, Reading List · 5 Comments »

November 2, 2009 @ 12:26 pm

Reading List: Thompson Trailing by 12 Points, One Final Push


Illustration by Roberto Parada

* A Quinnipiac Poll released this morning has Thompson trailing Bloomberg 38 to 50 — 12 percentage points. Last week, Thompson was trailing by 18 percentage points.

* The City Room has Thompson and Bloomberg gearing up for election day. The Daily News says they’re both pulling out all stops.

* New York magazine, which thinks that Bloomberg’s third term is all-but-official, says that Bloomberg will have a hard time working with the UFT.

* Michael Barbaro writes about the usual truth-stretching that seeps into campaign ads every election.

* City Hall News reports that the Bloomberg campaign believes it has neutralized the Working Families Party as a factor in the mayor’s race.

* The Daily News reports that there are still a significant amount of New Yorkers who don’t know who Bill Thompson is.

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