Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Absurd, Ham-Handed Bloomberg Third Term PR Wave Hits Times

From Leonie Haimson

There's a remarkable piece of lobbying in the New York Times this morning—a bit of sophisticated propaganda from the forces (led by Deputy Mayor Kevin Sheekey) fighting the extremely negative public opinion about the possibility of a third term for New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg. The headline is actually bizarre: While it reads "Titans Seek New York Mayor in Bloomberg's Mold," what it is actually about is convincing New Yorkers to repeal term limits on behalf of our current mayor. (And this is just the opening salvo! The games begin in earnest now. You'll see.) This article somehow brings together an entirely expected coalition of the "New York City Investment Fund"—that's what we call the former New York City Chamber of Commerce, which is responsible for funneling private money into the running of the City—as well as a select group of other clients of the publicist Howard Rubenstein, and a few random others, all banded together to pointedly express the (admittedly, true!) fact that there is no decent mayoral candidate for next year's election. This is the biggest, most sophisticated public-private partnership ever yet conceived! Congratulations to Mr. Sheekey.

Among the coalition you will find even the New York City Central Labor Council, which was just made very happy by Bloomberg's commitment to keep mega-stores and union-busters out of the Willets Point development project (even while that project shuts down more than 250 small businesses).

One of the problems with this coalition is that it reeks of white men with money. Sure, giant real estate developers like Tishman Speyer want a Bloomberg in office! But what about, you know, the voters? Well, the way Sheekey & Co. can get blocks of voters is going through, say, the New York City Police Foundation to get the cops and their families, and the UJA-Federation to get to the Jews, and 100 Black Men, Inc. to get to the African-Americans. Fortunately, those are all clients of Rubenstein! Also he can put Bloomberg on David Letterman.

Last month's Times op-ed on term limits was measured and not terribly suspicious. But soon this campaign will turn populist; term limits are heavily supported by "the common man" who at heart believes all politicians are crooks. So believe it: We're just a few weeks away from the New York Post editorial page weighing in similarly. Also expect a "Mayor Bloomberg Appreciation Day" at Yankee Stadium shortly.

Leonie Haimson
Executive Director
Class Size Matters
124 Waverly Pl.
New York, NY 10011

Please make a tax-deductible contribution to Class Size Matters now!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This third term business should have been settled when the people voted against it. While the job of mayor is important, I do not feel Bloomberg cares for my interests and he always takes the side of "progress" which is a sneaky way of saying "big business" with a nice spin on it. Let him go work in Washington over the stock market crisis. He will work for nothing!