Sunday, November 30, 2008

Quid Pro Quo

One of the rationales for why Mayor Michael "Moneybags" Bloomberg is such a wonderful steward for New York City is that he has more money than God and is above all that dirty, money-grubbing kind of stuff less wealthy politicians have to engage in to run for the office.

The idea is, Bloomberg can bankroll his own campaign and ignore the needs of political donors, cronies and associated other hacks who corrupt more pedestrian politicians.

Only one problem with that rationale - it's wrong.

Bloomberg may bankroll his own campaigns and may not need to beg political donations from wealthy NYC movers and shakers, but that doesn't mean his administration isn't susceptible to a Rangelesque sense of entitlement:

The Bloomberg administration was so intent on obtaining a free luxury suite for its own use at the new Yankee Stadium, newly released e-mail messages show, that the mayor’s aides pushed for a larger suite and free food, and eventually gave the Yankees 250 additional parking spaces in exchange.

The parking spaces were given to the team for the private use of Yankees officials, players and others; the spaces were originally planned for public parking. The city also turned over the rights to three new billboards along the Major Deegan Expressway, and whatever revenue they generate, as part of the deal.

The e-mail messages between the aides to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Yankees executives were obtained and released by Assemblyman Richard L. Brodsky, Democrat of Westchester, who questions whether taxpayers were adequately protected in the city’s deal with the team.

Mr. Brodsky said what emerges from the e-mail correspondence is a sense of entitlement ingrained in Bloomberg officials. He said that the city appeared to be pushing for use of the suite for not just regular-season games, but for the playoffs and the World Series, and for special events like concerts, too.

“There’s this ‘Alice in Wonderland’ quality to the question of, what is the public interest here and who’s protecting it?” said Mr. Brodsky, who conducted a hearing on the issue of public financing of sports stadiums this summer. “We can’t find the money for the M.T.A., or schools, or hospitals, and these folks are used to the perks and good things of life, and expect them.”

Gee, that's a good point Mr. Brodsky has there.

It's kinda like when Bloomberg announced some pretty draconian job and program cuts earlier this month but refused to make the same kinds of cuts in his own office and doled out raises to some of his high-level cronies in the Transportation Department.

Or like when Bloomberg said it is very important that Wall Street executives at AIG, Citigroup, and other companies that have received hundreds of billions of dollars in taxpayer bailout money continue to receive their end-of-the-year bonuses despite driving their companies to near bankruptcy and ruin.

Silly New Yorkers, accountability for performance is for teachers in the New York City public school system, not for Bloombergian cronies on Wall Street who have lost hundreds of billions of dollars in writedowns and losses this year alone.

And taxpayer-sponsored stadiums and tax rebates are for wealthy Bloombergian cronies while higher taxes and cuts in services are for middle and working class New Yorkers.
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