With several months left in office, Mayor Michael Bloomberg hasn’t been acting like a leader who wants to exit on good terms from his 12-year post.
Bloomberg was unsuccessful in persuading the City Council to reject two bills known as the Community Safety Act. So he has more than suggested that he is willing to help back campaigns against Council members who voted for the Act.
The Community Safety Act expands the ability of New Yorkers to sue the NYPD over racial profiling. It also establishes an independent inspector general to review police policies that could unfairly target certain groups, like stop and frisk.
Whatever the position on this issue, what can’t be disputed is that the City Council passed the Act through a democratic process and with, so far, a veto-proof margin of 34-17. This legislation emerged out of community mobilization, not donors piling on money.
Despite this, the mayor wants to use his deep pockets to silence his opponents. This is similar to what happened in 2008, when Bloomberg used his influence to undo the city’s term limits law so that he could seek re-election.
Just as outrageous are Bloomberg’s controversial and factually distorted comments. On a Friday radio show, he said that stop-and-frisk measures were being used “disproportionately [to] stop whites too much and minorities too little” and that “nobody racially profiles.”
Which planet is the mayor living on? Yet again, what is obvious is how out of touch the mayor is. Bloomberg and company should be reminded that voters can decide to get rid of elected representatives if they are dissatisfied with their work. And elected officials shouldn’t be subjected to threats that jeopardize the quality representation of marginalized communities.
The current mayoral candidates should take notes. They city’s next mayor should proactively change public policies as needed, instead of waiting for public pressure to build up and then trying to crack down on opposition. The next mayor must assemble a diverse team of senior advisors that he or she will listen to. And more importantly, our next mayor must respond to the concerns of all New Yorkers, not shove them aside.