The Bloomberg Era Finally Coming to A Close

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Updated — During the carefully orchestrated effort by Mike Bloomberg to overturn voted-in term limits, I followed every aspect of that issue. I went to City Hall to testify, I was there for the vote. Bill de Blasio stood up for what was right, stating that the outcome of that vote by the actions of 29 City Council Members (the vote was 29 to 22) amounted to “overturning the will of the people.” At one point, he was my City Council person. Not perfect of course but open, engaged. And there is something about coming from Brooklyn. Especially what Park Slope was – it’s different now. But it had an activist spirit, an artistic sensibility, a feeling of living outside the box, if you were open to it. I hope Manhattan can get its core essence back but I don’t know. We’ll see. It’s been gentrified and commodified and homogenized and treated as a “luxury product” for some, not all, for oh too long, the twelve “Bloomberg years” purposefully, and even before that.

Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York has an excellent piece today on what the atmosphere was pre 9/11 in our city — how the chances of Mike Bloomberg winning the race for Mayor in 2001 were considered, uh, none. And then post 9/11, with Giuliani overnight transforming into the world’s “hero” and gracing Bloomberg with a last minute endorsement, the tide changed. It seems so long ago now.

The media under Bloomberg has been so compliant, so willing to accept whatever he says as truth that … of course we’d forget. That’s what they want. Bloomberg who famously lunches – at his townhouse mansion – with all three publishers of the major dailies. (In old days, they had a healthy rivalry.) I’d also forgotten that the vote in 2001 was only 49% for Bloomberg, 47% for Mark Green. It was thatclose.) Anyone other than Michael Bloomberg, I would say, they would have gotten the message the last six months that people are disliking a whole lot of what they were about and have done but Bloomberg … I don’t believe he self-reflects much. That’s why we now have the city we have to contend with.

From Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York, Make it a Landslide:

Before the terrorist attacks on 9/11, no one gave much serious consideration to Michael Bloomberg and his mayoral run. When he entered the race, running as a Republican, he was a novelty item, a largely unknown billionaire looking to buy his way into politics. Journalists at major magazines agreed he was just running for the publicity, and that he’d never win. Michael Wolff wrote in New York, “there is no turn of events at all, no leap of logic whatsoever, that could make Michael Bloomberg New York’s next mayor… We don’t have to worry.”

He was seen as prickly and uncharismatic, as an egomaniacal mogul with a bunch of sexual harassment lawsuits against him and his company, and as a mumbler who could not put his political platform into words. Explaining how he’d decided to run for office, Bloomberg told one group, “My great conundrum was, Could I be the best mayor the city has ever had?” New Yorkers simply weren’t impressed with the guy. They could see he was in it for himself. Said one constituent to The New Yorker after a Bloomberg speech, “He seems not quite able to articulate why he’d want to be mayor…other than the fact that he wants to win and he doesn’t like losing.”  …

The terrorist attacks of 9/11 changed the way New Yorkers viewed the controversial Mayor Rudy Giuliani. In an instant, he went from being reviled to beloved. For his handling of the tragedy, Oprah Winfrey baptized him “America’s mayor,” Queen Elizabeth knighted him, and TIME magazine named him Person of the Year. In the final campaign week of the mayoral election that fall, a race already grievously disrupted by the events of 9/11, Giuliani endorsed Bloomberg as his replacement. The New York Times called it “the crown jewel of endorsements,” due entirely to Giuliani’s post-9/11 popularity, and it immediately propelled the novice Republican ahead of front-running favorite, the Democrat Mark Green.

JVNY outlines some of Bloomberg’s outrageous comments, sexual harassment allegations, and why voting for Bill de Blasio in a “landslide” will send a message against Bloomberg’s “destructive policies.” Read the whole piece here. (Election Day is tomorrow, Tuesday, November 5th!)

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Previously here, everything from WSP Blog on Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the term limits saga.