Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Mike to Voters: “Drop Dead”

May 27, 2009 (GBN News): Mayor Michael Bloomberg today proposed a major change to the City Charter, which would drastically overhaul the way city officials are selected, and would greatly expand the power of the Mayor. At a City Hall news conference, Mr. Bloomberg expressed frustration at what he termed the “cumbersome” electoral process. He said that “voters need to back off and stop interfering with the process of governing. You don’t want voters setting city policy”. The Mayor went on to say, “That is what you have professionals for.”

Mr. Bloomberg, who only last year was able to get term limits set aside so that he could run for a third term, is now proposing that the Mayor directly select a majority of the City Council members. While the Borough Presidents will be allowed to choose some of the Council members, the Mayor’s majority would be enough to pass any significant legislation. This “Mayoral Control” of the legislative process would be loosely modeled on the way in the Mayor exercises control over the Panel for Educational Policy, the city’s school board.

However, the Charter changes will go a step further. Every four years, the appointed City Council, not the voters, would select the next Mayor. They could re-elect the current Mayor or choose a new one. But if the current Mayor does not approve of the choice, he could fire Council members at will, immediately name their replacements, and then call for a new vote. Mr. Bloomberg did take pains to reassure voters that they will not be without a say in the process. There will be a non-binding “straw vote” prior to the Council vote, in which the public could “advise” the Council as to their preferences.

Mr. Bloomberg said that by taking control of the electoral and legislative process, he can extend throughout city government the progress that has been made under Mayoral control of the schools. “Let the professionals run the city,” the Mayor said. “By ‘professionals’, of course, I mean professional business people like myself. Who, after all, is better qualified to give out all those no-bid contracts?”

The Mayor indicated that he would spend as much of his own substantial fortune as necessary to get the Charter amended in time for the next citywide elections in November. “This will be my greatest philanthropic gift to the people of New York City,” said Mr. Bloomberg. “It will insure that they get the best Mayor possible, in perpetuity.”

While a number of political observers were skeptical that the City Charter could be amended so quickly, J. Fredrick Runson, head of the Political Science department at Manhattan University, sees a precedent in the way the Mayor was able to overturn term limits. “When you’ve got billions, the difficult may take a little time,” he said. “But the impossible takes no time at all.”


Aileen Belcastro said...

Thank You for that wonderful peice which perfectly illustrates the arrogance with which Mr. Bloomberg dictates over the people of NYC. My only fear is that you may have given him a new and very DANGEROUS idea.

Gary Babad said...

Yeah, and with all his billions he probably won't even pay me for it!

NYC Educator said...

This is your very best. I love it.

Anonymous said...

Do you think that with Weiner out of the primary, Thompson and the democrats may have a shot an the upset????

Pogue said...

Thompson has been such a quiet candidate, I hope to gosh there has been no Bloomberg "deal" of any kind.