has packed it in. It seemed a simple question of just how long Emperor Bloomberg could pretend she had the remotest notion of what the job entailed, and Joel Klein kept spinning pretty much until the last instant. But finally, Cathie Black has gone back to do whatever it is she does when not ostensibly running the largest school system in the country.
Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott will be filling her shoes, or more likely bringing in his own. Those who followed Ms. Black's abbreviated speaking tours will recall that Walcott was there to answer the questions she found too tough (read--all of them.) Ms. Black had innovative approaches to overcrowding--like birth control. This was not warmly received by New Yorkers for some reason. I've no doubt such talk made her a hoot on the party circuit frequented by billionaires like Bloomberg, and I can imagine her with a lampshade over her head amusing the mayor. Alas, such abilities did not translate into popularity, and hers was in the toilet for some time before they threw in the towel.
I can't imagine Walcott making juvenile sarcastic noises when presiding over the rubber stamp PEP. Too bad. It really made this exercise in absolute power appear to be what it really was. Walcott has some very good qualities. He's a product of NYC public schools, and sent his kids to them too.
Sadly, he's a former teacher, and holds two master's degrees, so his appointment is not nearly so preposterous as that of Ms. Black, who came from nowhere and went right back. I don't expect ridiculous outbursts on a regular basis, and I doubt he will hole up so reporters can't speak to him. Alas, qualified as he is, he works for Mayor Bloomberg, and has therefore supported his ineffectual and destructive policies. Bloomberg broaches no differences of opinion, since he knows everything. So you can expect more of the same pointless nonsense as we move on.
On the bright side, this is another huge failure for Mayor Bloomberg, who's been caught in a perpetual snowstorm ever since he had his private jet return from whatever exotic locale he goes to when he wishes to avoid the weather we lowly New Yorkers endure as a matter of course.
No one will forget Cathie Black's idiotic utterance about there being many "Sophie's Choices" in education. But neither will they forget that the woman who said it was Mayor Mike's choice. His downward spiral continues unabated, and all his makeup choices and million-dollar ad campaigns are doing little to change it. If anyone remembers him as the education mayor, it will be only for the remarkable amount of time and money he spent accomplishing nothing.
Or perhaps even less than nothing.