Over the weekend the NY Times did a report on just how much Mike Bloomberg admires himself as mayor-the rest of us New Yorker, not so much. What got us is just how much Mayor Mike believes that his strength lies with, "doing what's right," rather than doing what is driven by polling data. What Bloomberg doesn't quite get is that his decisions lack any basis in good public policy rationale, let alone true empathy for the folks that he has purchased to govern:
"I’m going to do the best job I can,” the mayor told Chris Wallace on the Fox show. “Hopefully, the public will like it, but even if they don’t, I’ve got to look in the mirror. What I see in the mirror is somebody, I hope, that has the courage to do what’s right, not what is politic. And afterwards, people will look back and say whether or not he was a good mayor or a bad mayor.”
The mayor confuses courage with an obstinacy that has been nurtured by his isolated, class-biased, background-leavened with the almost complete lack of public policy understanding that he brought with him from his business experience. What the Times characterizes as, "short term stumbles," has allowed the public to see right through the Bloomberg PR driven mirage:
"But at home, Mr. Bloomberg faces an abundance of negative sentiment, much of it a result of New York City’s botched response to a snowstorm in December, his ill-fated decision to appoint Cathleen P. Black to lead the public school system and lingering unhappiness over his bulldozing of term limits in 2008."
We did, of course, get a kick out of the following mischaracterization: "The data-driven mayor, who has spent many millions of dollars on polls for his campaigns, has tried to bolster his public standing with a rare nonelection-year advertising campaign."
Data driven? What a crock! This is a mayor whose has exploited corrupted data-under the cover of a false image of fact base policy making-more than any chief executive in the city's history. Dummied up school test scores, phony "scientific" analyses of calorie counting, and self serving bike lane and pedestrian mall studies that bear little resemblance to anyone's understanding of scientific rigor demonstrates the extent to which Bloomberg's data driven image is a creature of his-and sometimes the media's-imagination.
Nothing, however, compares to the mayor's solipsistic amour propre:
“I’m going to do the best job I can,” the mayor told Chris Wallace on the Fox show. “Hopefully, the public will like it, but even if they don’t, I’ve got to look in the mirror. What I see in the mirror is somebody, I hope, that has the courage to do what’s right, not what is politic. And afterwards, people will look back and say whether or not he was a good mayor or a bad mayor.”
Two days later, speaking with Mr. Smiley, Mr. Bloomberg offered a similar refrain. “The public may be upset,” he said, “but in the end, you’ve got to like what you see in the mirror.”
This friends is a clear example of arrogance that has been nurtured by a vast fortune that has insulated Bloomberg from any constructive criticism from the toadies that surround him. Speaking of toadies:
"But Ester R. Fuchs, a Columbia political scientist who advised Mr. Bloomberg from 2002 to 2006, said the mayor looked at opinion polls as only one data point, never as an overriding factor.
“People call him arrogant, but it’s not a question of not listening,” Ms. Fuchs said. “The real truth is that he’s not making any policy decision based on poll numbers. He’s willing to sacrifice short-term standing in the polls for what he believes to be in the best interest of the city.”
His beliefs and the reality of the public interest-in spite of the fawning of Professor Fuchs-run on parallel tracks.He simply does what he pleases-as the Black appointment fully exposed.
This takes us to our own struggle at the Iron Triangle where the data driven mayor is once again, in Master of the House fashion, "rookin' the guests and cookin' the books." Here,as much as with the city's school test scores, is an outright fraud being perpetrated on the citizens of the city.
Unable to present honest traffic data, the mayor and his EDC thugs has resorted to a three card monte game of phony traffic reports and political hardball designed to push an ill conceived development through on a foundation of deceit. We dare this data driven charlatan to put the EDC numbers up for independent review. They won't last a New York minute.
So the Mike Bloomberg myth is eroding in the harsh light of the little man's limitations. In looking at the mayor's achievements we have to conclude, much as Gertrude Stein quipped about Oakland, "There's not much there there."