2009-05-29 / Columnists

It's My Turn

By Joan Mettler

Mayor-for-life, Michael, call me Mike, Bloomberg, has a great deal to answer for to the voters in the four boroughs (Manhattan exempted) prior to his next election. The obvious disconnect between Mike and his constituents, appears to be widening with the downturn in the economy. Instead of trimming the fat on the higher-ups in his administration on a grand scale, he furloughs those in the most menial jobs. He raises sales taxes, resurrects tolls, raises parking meter fees, and barrages the electorate with parking and traffic tickets. Yet, to listen to him speak, he would like you to think he is one of us. Really?

If you listen to his mayoral media campaign on which he is spending more in a day than a normal person earns in a lifetime, you would find it amazing how our mayor can "feel the pain" of some while totally inured to the pain of others: We know he totally disregarded the voters' pain when he did the heavy lifting and removed the term, term limits, from the vocabulary of New Yorkers. We know he did not feel the pain when he rescinded our Cross Bay Bridge toll, the only intraborough bridge toll in the city. We know he didn't feel it when he proposed tolls on East River Bridges knowing full well that the heavy lifting here would go to New York City residents in the four outer boroughs. We know he didn't flinch when he eliminated the Star exemption on our real estate taxes. We know his .50 per cent sales tax increase will hit hardest the people who can least afford it.

We know Mayor-for-life wishes to tax water each year until it equals the price of gasoline or gold. We know he is in favor of the price of gasoline going back to $4.00 per gallon no matter that goods and services will go sky high commensurate with the price of gasoline. We know he is in favor of planting lots of trees around his city but not in favor of funding the part of the Parks Department that prunes them. We know our children seem not to be any smarter than they were before he was anointed. We know that merely by changing the types of tests and adjusting curriculum toward teaching to pass the tests, then by either changing the tests to get better results or altering the manner of scoring to assure better results, the mayor along with his promise for better education have become illusorily successful.

Where is the belt tightening, Mike? Where are job cuts in unnecessary positions, mayor-for-life? How many com- missioners do you have? How much are they making and how necessary are they in the grand scheme of belt tightening? How about each city employee earning over $150,000 giving back $10,000 of salary? Where is the conservation? Do we really need a Borough president or is the position as ceremonial as it plays out? Isn't it time you got rid of the City Council and their staffs? Now that they abetted you in getting term limits lifted, you obviously don't need them any more.

We are not blind that we cannot see, King Mike. If you don't hurt us this year East River Bridges toll-wise (during what should be the final year in your reign), you'll get us next year: You will resurrect congestion pricing. The same threat of budget balancing via tolls will hang over our heads each year until you get it passed, perhaps, in your tenth term.

Mike, each year you serve, you make living in the four boroughs less affordable. You treat Manhattan as though it was your personal fiefdom using taxes from the outer borough working stiffs to pay for pleasures only seen in your borough.

Of all the decisions you supported that came under the heading of insensitive, Mike, was your giving taxpayers' hard earned money to the multi-millionaire owners of the Yankees and Mets forcing us to chip in for their stadiums. How could you demand sacrifice from the very same taxpayers who are struggling to pay their mortgages? How did the Steinbrenners' and Wilpons' express their gratitude? The Steinbrenners upped seat prices to such a level that only you could afford a season's ticket behind homeplate in Yankee Stadium. Both owners heaped processing and handling fees onto the cost of baseball tickets and whatever else the teams brain trusts could think of to pry cash from the pockets of fans. Have you even noted this at all, Mike; or, are you hoping we will forget?

Mike, this is how taxpayers interpret your largess with our money: that you forced us, taxpayers, to subsidize the wealthy team owners who, in turn, may have used the money to pay bloated salaries to under-producing players. We find it a lot like the federal government giving our money to bail out banks who, in turn, use the money to pay retention bonus to those who screwed up in the first place. Mayor-for-life, there was a time in this town when a school kid could get a ticket to a ballgame for twentyfive cents and ten Elsie ice cream pop sticks. Today, however, in order to qualify for entry, a kid would have to break into his college fund. Where is it that you feel our pain?

Mike, your unforgivable crime (according to the voters) of depriving the electorate of their vote by blowing up term limits (which we voted for twice) was the slap in the face heard around the boroughs. Closing Broadway to midtown traffic, a nightmare, must have come to you one night in a dream. Was it in the same dream you envisioned stenciled bicycle lanes on our streets as far as the eye could see? Raping the electorate of their vote and their byways seems jake with you so long as you get what you want. Why don't you think about this maneuver: if you can take our votes away for term limits, why not take the next logical step and just declare yourself the winner of the next mayoralty election and spare your constituents the inconvenience of going to the polls.

Mayor-for-life you have clearly demonstrated your Catherine the Great attitude toward power: you bullied the City Council heroes who resisted, into overturning term limits. You bullied candidates for the next election for mayor out of the race with your bankroll. You bullied the electorate by negating their vote. You bully because you're rich. You bully because you're short. You bully because you can. If you truly loved your adopted city, you would recognize your inappropriateness, drop out of the race and serve the city as its number one volunteer. If you truly respected the voters in this city you would stand aside and watch the next mayoral election work out the way it was supposed to.

Mike, you are the Monte Wooley of New York City politics. You are the gum on the bottom of the electorate's shoes. Thanks to Mel Brooks we all know it's good to be king. Thanks to you, we know it must be orgasmic to be mayor-for-life.

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