Sunday, November 4, 2012

Bloomberg's Barrier to Entry

Mayor Mike has never been known as being quite the talker-in fact we felt that his sign language interpreter was more eloquent during the storm briefings. When it comes to climate change, however, Bloomberg is a veritable motor mouth-and has even used Sandy as a vehicle to promote his weather vane opinions via an endorsement of Barack Obama. But when it comes to actually walking the walk the mayor, as they say in Texas, is all hat and no cattle.

In the NY Times Joe Nocera underscores this disconnect when he discusses why Bloomberg has been reticent to promote a storm surge barrier for NYC-something that Nocera points out has been extremely successful at protecting Providence from any further dvastation after a couple of hurricanes had wrecked that city:

"What New York is not so good at is preventing big storms from exacting an enormous toll on infrastructure, buildings and businesses. In the case of Sandy, the damage to New York City is estimated to be as much as $17 billion. Cities like London, Amsterdam — and, yes, Providence — have built systems to minimize the damage even Category 3 storms can cause. But not New York.

Part of the reason is that the cost of any such system would run into the billions of dollars. But another reason is that many environmentalists are firmly opposed to a big public-works project, fearing that it would give people a false sense of security about the problems posed by climate change. They prefer taking smaller steps, like raising the height of subway grates to keep water out of the subway tunnels. Bloomberg has embraced this approach."

Let's get this straight. Environmentalists oppose protecting the folks because of their ideology-and the mayor actually buys into this? Tell that to the folks over in the Rockaways who cursed Bloomberg out during a surprise visit yesterday:

"Storm-ravaged and weary Rockaways residents cornered Mayor Bloomberg yesterday to angrily demand more aid for their devastated neighborhood. “When are we gonna get some help?” blasted one desperate woman, who had to be held back by the mayor’s security detail as Bloomberg stood by with a deer-in-the-headlights look.

“When are we gonna get some f--king help?” she demanded. “There’s old ladies in my building that don’t got nothing,” lashed out a man on video caught by a NY1 reporting crew."

What Mike should have been doing for the past ten years-if he really was such a climate change zealot-is putting his money where his mouth was. Instead of funding the League of Conservation Voters and the Sierra Club (to fight the coal industry) he might have started a NYC infrastructure fund to begin the process of protecting actual New Yorkers in the here and now-instead of future generations unborn.

Mayor Mike might have also diverted the millions of tax dollars used to subsidize Willets Point, the Gateway Malls and FreshDirect into such a fund-and in 2009 when the stimulus was being debated Silent Mike might have done a world of good by speaking out about the infrastructure needs of New York, and also the wisdom of using some of those billions of dollars to put the electric grid underground. You know, shovel ready jobs.

Instead in 2009 the mayor was flying off to Copenhagen to attend a UN climate change conference- something he continued to do all over the world using his private jet to get around. Mr. Carbon Big Foot has also spoken out in favor of a carbon tax:

"New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s endorsement yesterday of President Obama’s re-election may have caught the political class off-by surprise, but not the Carbon Tax Center.

It was five years ago today, in Seattle, at a climate summit organized by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, that Bloomberg made a full-throated appeal to Congress to enact a carbon tax. His speech then, on Nov. 2, 2007, remains the most passionate and compelling call for truly effective climate action by any major American political figure."

Yak, yak, yak-but when it came to actually doing something all we got from this guy was talk. When the dust settles on this mayoralty the gap between the posturing sycophancy and reality will be as wide as the Grand Canyon. Will there be an independent reporter left to actually point this out? We're not very optimistic.