Friday, November 2, 2012

Sandy, Global Warming and Mayor Mike

Yesterday the mayor managed to do something that even we thought to be impossible-he took an absolute natural disaster and politicized it by using it as a prop to endorse President Obama's re-election-and he dis so by prefacing his shout out by telling the world all that he has done to reduce NYC's carbon footprint:

"Our climate is changing. And while the increase in extreme weather we have experienced in 
New York City and around the world may or may not be the result of it, the risk that it might be -- given this week’s devastation -- should compel all elected leaders to take immediate action.

Here in New York, our comprehensive sustainability plan --PlaNYC -- has helped allow us to cut our carbon footprint by 16 percent in just five years, which is the equivalent of eliminating the carbon footprint of a city twice the size of Seattle. Through the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group -- a partnership among many of the world’s largest cities -- local governments are taking action where national governments are not."

What a bunch of hooey! 16%? If this was an election result we'd be demanding a recount-all Bloomberg has done all over the city is make the neighborhoods safe for big box stores and malls. And Willets Point is a case in point-as we said over one year ago:

"WPU has demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt that the EDC sponsored project at the Iron Triangle will overwhelm the local streets and highways with a massive increase of car and truck traffic-and in the process make a mockery of his bike lane, carbon footprint reducing, experiment. All of this in order to convert Willets Point into a massive car dependent mall. In this regard, and only in this regard, are the mayor's interests not very special indeed."

And we said this before an additional 1.4 million square feet of mall was added to the 62 acre development-or, even worse, before this little narcissist proposed decimating Flushing Meadows Park for major league soccer. Mike Bloomberg could do a lot more for global warming if he just stayed at home instead of world travelling in his private jets, helicopters and boats-but then again his "homes" are all over the map, so you get the picture.

Further exacerbating this hypocrisy is the humongous tax payer subsidy this administration is proposing to give to FreshDirect to locate its truck dependent facility in the Bronx-and in the process choke the surrounding neighborhood known as "asthma alley." This ludicrous proposal is being contested by South Bronx Unite.

The South Bronx Unite lawsuit also draws attention to the fact that the proposed move of Fresh Direct headquarters from Long Island City to the South Bronx would have a devastating impact on the 85,000 residents of the South Bronx neighborhood who already live with massive, polluting waste facilities and truck traffic. Fresh Direct intends to add its truck intensive grocery operations to the long list of polluting facilities already sited at the Harlem River Yard, which includes a 5,000-ton a day Waste Management, Inc. transfer station, a Federal Express distribution hub, the NY Post printing and distribution center, and two fossil fuel power plants.

Of course this silliness comes after the city turned the Bronx Terminal Market a bit up the Deegan from the FreshDirect location into a huge auto-dependent mall. Followed by developer Steve Ross's own adventure into hypocrisy when he led the cheer leading for the mayor's congestion plan.

But nothing compares to the mayor's own two faced posturing on carbon reduction-making Al Gore look like a bicycle riding monk. Five years ago this was all pointed out quite graphically by the NY Post:

"America's greenest mayor generates enough greenhouse gas to choke the Lincoln Tunnel...That's a carbon footprint larger than what's produced by 18 average Americans, 53 Europeans or 404 Guatemalans. It's equivalent to keeping 69 cars a year on the road or lighting the Empire State Building for 4 ½ days."

But that ain't all by a long shot.

""Bloomberg's carbon footprint swells to epic proportions when you include his penchant for reaching his far-flung getaways by one of the handful of private jets owned by his financial information firm, Bloomberg LP. In 2004 - before he took steps to conceal his weekend travel from the press - Bloomberg was averaging one four-hour round trip to Bermuda each month in his sleek Dassault Falcon 900. Twelve such flights in a year would spew 40 tons of carbon emissions into the atmosphere, roughly as much as two Americans would produce in a year."

The mayor has the absolute right to endorse whomever he wants-but he doesn't have the right to do so when his own lifestyle is so contrapuntal to his professed ideals-and while so many New Yorkers are still without power. The fact that the city is providing two large generators for the NYC Marathon's media tent only adds to this unseemly politicizing of an immense natural disaster. The mayor shouldn't have spoken and his intervening in the presidential election isn't about Barack Obama, it's all about Mike.