Twelve Years of Bloomberg as Mayor: A New Yorker’s Perspective (Part Three)

Those of you who’ve been on my blog during the last week or so will know that I’m doing a mini-series on what it was like to have current candidate for president Michael Bloomberg as Mayor of New York City. I explained in Part One why his record as mayor is relevant, and I explained in Part Two the multitude of problems he had with his treatment of others. Today is the third and final part of my mini-series, which will go into his record on some other issues, as well as where we should go from here with the Bloomberg candidacy.

One of the most important issues this campaign is that of trying to “save our democracy.” And rightfully so, because there is a genuine fear among many that President Trump is dangerous to American democracy. However, if Mayor Bloomberg’s record tells us anything, it’s that he would also be a danger to American democracy. New York City voted not once, but twice, to have term limits for people holding elected office in New York City government (mayor, comptroller, public advocate, council members). Yet, Bloomberg, with the help of the city council at the time, overturned the voice of the people, and changed the limit from two terms to three (it was changed back to two terms…after Bloomberg won a third term).[1] People fear that President Trump would try to overturn the election if he loses, or ruin our democracy further if he wins—those are understandable fears because he has been, for example, not always indicated a willingness to concede an election to a winning candidate, even if it is clear he loses the election.[2] However, Bloomberg, with the help of the New York City Council, managed to do something that not even President Trump has managed to do (yet): actually overturn an election (Bloomberg overturned two, after all). If he becomes President of the United States, let’s hope he leaves his ability to overturn elections in New York City, and not bring that ability to Washington, DC.

He gets praise for his stance on the environment. And, in theory, I agree with him on the fact that the environmental crisis should be treated with urgency. However, I find that praise hollow when he drastically cut funding from public transit while he was mayor,[3] even though use of public transit instead of the car does a world of good for the environment. It’s also hollow when his own environmental practices were subpar, such as having an entourage of SUVs that often idled (mostly to keep on the air conditioning unit on in the SUVs so that he could stay cool during the summer)—he apologized for the idling, but not for the use of the SUVs in the first place (or even an explanation of why those environmentally-unfriendly gas guzzlers were necessary for his team), to my knowledge.[4]

Bloomberg also tries to cultivate an image for himself as being just on health care. Yet, his record on health care in New York City was anything but. Noteworthy was the number of community hospitals that, under his tenure, were forced to close. The New York Times editorial board accused Mayor Bloomberg of having long ago “checked out” on this issue, and a then-mayoral candidate by the name of Bill de Blasio got arrested for protesting the proposed closure of one of the hospitals.[5] Bloomberg also vetoed a proposed law that would have required many city businesses to provide paid sick leave,[6] so if he got his way (he didn’t, ultimately), then tough luck to those working for businesses that didn’t provide the paid sick leave—you’d better work through your flu with a fever of over 102 degrees, even though that would, of course, endanger yourself and others.

Economically, the wealthy became even wealthier. There’s no doubt about that.[7] But if you weren’t wealthy? Not so much. While he thought that taxes on the wealthy were a dumb idea,[8] he thought it was preferable to shoulder the burden of “fiscal responsibility” on unions[9] by letting the contracts of every single one of New York City’s 153 unions expire—unions where many of the members are in the middle and working class.[10] The most painful example of economic inequality under Bloomberg’s watch, however, was that was the increase in homelessness that happened while he was mayor[11]—an increase that continues to this day. While I acknowledge that there may be certain factors with such trends that may not have been in his control (such as policies at the state or federal level), this is a fact worth reflecting on. Given that economic inequality is such a major issue of this era, it’s puzzling that the Democrats would even consider nominating someone for President of the United States who oversaw economic inequality become substantially worse when he was mayor of his own city.

The bottom line is that, when doing a thorough examination of his record as mayor, his record was overwhelmingly an ugly one on social justice issues. Even more alarming is the fact that many of these social justice issues he was poor on are issues that are relevant today, for whoever is President of the United States—issues such as racism, sexism, economic inequality, and protecting our democracy. As to whether you think Bloomberg is still better than the other candidates in spite of all the baggage I’ve presented, that’s for you to decide. Just make sure you vote whenever you have the opportunity.


[1]https://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/10/23/bloomberg.third.term/?fbclid=IwAR0jYgjb3aq9zstmvO0PFWXcGBpZ2F6AwME3wYTcMY8OK5tYZw9VV9K0e50

[2] https://www.politico.com/story/2016/11/will-trump-accept-2016-election-results-230932

[3] https://www.gothamgazette.com/transportation/361-improving-transportation-above-ground

[4] https://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/mayor-bloomberg-room-air-conditioner-parked-suv-idle-pollution-heat-wave/1948668/

[5] https://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/12/opinion/wrestling-with-dying-hospitals.html

[6] https://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/mayor-michael-bloomberg-vetoes-paid-sick-leave-plan-passed-nyc-city-council/1997646/

[7] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/01/michael-bloomberg-new-york-mayoral-record

[8] https://www.politico.com/states/new-york/albany/story/2012/10/taxing-the-rich-is-about-as-dumb-a-policy-as-i-can-think-of-bloomberg-says-000000

[9] https://observer.com/2013/12/bloomberg-sounds-alarm-over-labor-electoral-complex-in-final-speech-as-mayor/

[10] https://www.politico.com/states/new-york/city-hall/story/2019/01/13/labor-commissioner-who-settled-expired-contracts-with-entire-city-workforce-leaving-administration-788294

[11] https://ny.curbed.com/2019/11/25/20981929/michael-bloomberg-2020-campaign-housing-homeless-nyc

17 Replies to “Twelve Years of Bloomberg as Mayor: A New Yorker’s Perspective (Part Three)”

  1. Wow, Brendan!!! The one with the SUVs left idling so he would be able to be in comfort at all time brought a bone-jarring grrrrrrrowl to my throat! I don’t see why anybody would consider Bloomberg the best chance to beat Trump. Yes, if he ends up being the nominee, I will have no choice but to vote for him, but I will do so under duress, and hope for his early demise, hoping he chose his running mate wisely. Thanks so much for your bird’s eye view of the mayor and now presidential candidate, Brendan! I shall re-blog shortly! Great series!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! Yeah, there’s a lot about Bloomberg that’s not known, so most of all, I thought it was important for people to be informed, regardless of what it meant in terms of how people would want to vote with a Bloomberg nominee. Personally, I’m in New York (not a battleground state in the least) so I feel that (if I want) I have the luxury of voting third party without helping Trump. But, if it comes down to a Bloomberg vs. Trump matchup, I really feel for you all in the battleground states because you all would not have that luxury.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Agreed! Thanks for doing this series, Brendan. It was an eye-opener, and I see he didn’t do so well in Super Tuesday, though some had predicted he would. I wish he’d fade into the background, or do what he said he would and use some of his money to support either Sanders or Biden.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You’re welcome. He won American Samoa, but that’s it. I also heard that he dropped out this morning. I am grateful for your sharing my posts, as I think education of others on Bloomberg was helpful.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. One of our biggest problems, I think, is lack of knowledge about the candidates … not only what they say they will do, but their track record. Trump had no track record, never even having held any public office, but most candidates do, and it’s that we need to look at as well as their platform. I was surprised, but not at all disappointed to hear that Bloomberg dropped out and will be supporting Biden.

        Like

  2. Reblogged this on Filosofa's Word and commented:
    This is the third part of Brendan’s series on what he saw first-hand while living in New York City while Mike Bloomberg was Mayor. There are certainly some eye-openers here! Thank you, Brendan, for this excellent birds-eye view of the Mayor, and for your generous permission to share with my readers!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great article. It’s informative and eye-opening to hear the perspective of someone who actually lived under his political jurisdiction. We’ll know tonight or tomorrow whether or not this guy will get his money’s worth on all his ads. I’d hold my nose and vote for him, over Trump, but I hope it won’t come to that.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. thanks for the informative research on Bloomberg. I agree there are things he could have done better, but I think anyone who has held political office for 12 years is likely going to have people find fault with some, if not most, of what has taken place under his or her tenure. Otherwise, you’d have to wonder if the person was trying to do anything at all. At this point it appears irrelevant. I just read that he has dropped out of the race and will support Biden. I just hope he continues to spend like crazy on ads that will help defeat Trump.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re welcome. And yes, Bloomberg has dropped out, so at this point it appears irrelevant. It seemed so relevant just days ago, when Bloomberg was in contention to do well on Super Tuesday. How quickly things can change…

      Liked by 1 person

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