Friday, June 06, 2008

What's a Mayor to Do?

Mayor Mike: You Wonder
How to Stay in Public Life
We Have Some Suggestions

The most important recurring event in New York City government is the election of a mayor, one year after the President is chosen and one year before the governor is elected. Since the consolidation of the five boroughs into greater New York 110 years ago, eighteen men have been elected mayor. Most, but not all, had unique talents which enabled them to perform their duties effectively. Some lacked these gifts. But for all mayors, their individual strengths and weaknesses shaped their administrations.


  1. SQ: Mayor Mike is a precious natural political resource. The idea that he'd take the hand of the former NYS Superintendent of Banks and walk off into the distance like Paul Heinried and Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca would be a terrible waste.


  2. Deborah12:46 PM

    President Obama? - Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, OK? There is a political eternity between now and November during which anything, and I mean ANYTHING can happen.


  3. Bloomberg may also become the VP candidate for Obama! Dan Mitrovich

  4. Vladimir Bloomberg?

    The majority of commentators have chosen to see Vladimir Putin's move from president to prime minister as an attempt to hold on to power. Such an analysis, however, ignores the fact that if Putin had wanted this, he would simply have changed the constitution and continued as president. He would have shown his usual disdain for western criticism and ridden a wave of public approval.

  5. Gary GCD12:47 PM

    If Mcain wins he could join the cabinet and report only to an elder statesman.

  6. Henry,

    While Green and Bloomberg supported Giuliani's three month extension, it was Freddy Ferrer who nixed it.


  7. Murphy12:48 PM

    Mr. mayor ,money bought you the mayors office twice! but not a third term!

    10 million people in nyc but only 100 millonaires- billionaires, can run for the office of mayor!
    this is nyc , this is the usa in 2008, what a shame- this is not a democracy!

  8. I can not believe what I just read:

    "Public Advocate Mark Green supported the plan, and lost considerable support in the Democratic Party for taking that relatively statesmanlike position."

    Statesmanlike!!! This country has had a sudden change of leadership during wars and through assassinations and has not missed a beat. Yet somehow you imply that one city (indeed, no less a city that ordinarily touts itself as being the greatest this or the greatest that) couldn't handle the orderly transition of administration three or so months after an attack. Instead, you suggest that the rule of law should have been thrown-out. It's reasoning like this that gave us the so-called Patriot Act.

    Within one week of September 11, 2001, the then incumbent mayor was telling people to go out and shop and spend money in restaurants because he needed the sales tax money. It was hardly a situation which calls for throwing out the rule of law. On the afternoon of September 11th I walked around my neighborhood with a camera. I have pictures of people playing baseball in Central park with the smoke of the WTC in the background. I also remind you that September 11th was an election day. Obviously, the election could not be held that day. But it was held less than two weeks later and not nary a word from anyone that it was unfair, undemocratic or impossible. Thus, the rule of law prevailed under some very trying circumstances. Yet you suggest that we could not have done so three months after the attack when we had all sorts of F-18s and F-16s (or whatever) flying over the City. The statesmanlike thing to have been done would have been for the incumbent mayor to make it clear, very early after September 11th, that he will attend the swearing in of the new mayor on January 1, 2002 and will make himself available to that new mayor to serve in any capacity. The same for Von Essen and Kerik (little did we know at the time). My recollection also is that Guillani at the time was bragging about reading about England during the Blitz. We now know, that among other things, he has poor reading comprehension skills.

    I'm not saying that extraordinary circumstances don't call for extraordinary measures and even a change in plans. But the specifics depend on the specific circumstances at the time. Had instead the terrorist attacked on December 31, 2001 or even December 11, 2001, perhaps a different argument could made. But under the circumstances that existed in the fall of 2001 there was no need to throw out the rule of law. When all of this was going on in the fall of 2001 and Guilliani attempted to make his grab, I could not help but think of the newsreels I'd seen of thousands mourners at FDR's funeral procession and the millions more throughout this country scared at what was to come next. We were at war, no less. But the rule of law prevailed and we survived. I also thought of the picture of LBJ and on the airplane with a blood soaked widow next to him. We didn't miss a beat. We went on. Guilliani put all of this to shame and Mark Green simply caved in. It was Fernando Ferrer and Shelly Silver who were the statesman at that time along with the millions of New Yorkers who finally said "no" to Guilliani.

  9. Anonymous12:51 PM

    even though i'd love to see bloomy hang in, the principle is more important than the person. alas we must return to the bad old days of democratic hacks, but all good things must come to an end. at least we'll get rid of a bunch of city clowncil members too ( the ones the us atty doesn't get rid of for us) maybe another person of stature will arise, cat?, yet to be seen. bloomy should run for gov, he'll get elected. maybe he'll achieve state term limits.

  10. Hello Henry

    Please use your influence to get him to run for GOVERNOR. We need someone wily, independent, smart there so badly!!


  11. Transplants Bloomberg (Boston) and Clinton (Chicago) display the hubris that is unfairly ascribed to native New Yorkers. Both believe that they have unique gifts of such magnitude that it would be a public disservice to allow others to perform in their stead.

    The biggest asset of a new office holder is a different way of looking at the issues. Over time this diminishes. An increase in administrative and managerial skills is not a replacement for the loss of a new perspective.

    It's time for Bloomberg to move on from governing New Yorkers. Fortunately, for him, he has the financial resources to do whatever he pleases in the private sector and to be a strong voice influencing the public's business.

  12. Anne Morris12:54 PM

    Excellent analysis of the state of the state and the city.

  13. Wayne Barret12:56 PM

    You don't even mention that he has a pretty good job right now, has had a miserable second term, and it might be nice if he actually focused for a second or two on the tasks at hand. His major second-term initiative, PlanNYC2030, was essentially the product of a real multi-tasker, Dan Doctoroff, who decided to depart mid-term and was rewarded with a handsome new job by the mayor himself. How can a man with Diana Taylor, $20 billion, and the challenges of this job feel so cheated and bored all the time?

  14. henry-- I never understood term limits. In a democracy, we have term limits-- they are called elections.

    Would it have been better to limit FDR to two terms, and have Wendell Wilkie or Henry Wallace

    or who knows who as President during World War II?

    I wouldn't mind Bloomberg as Governor-- Albany needs a little life, after so many years

    of sleepy leaders. Not sure who would be the next good mayor-- there are so many bad choices on the


    John D.

  15. Anonymous12:57 PM

    Hi henry:

    Agree - no change in term limits. think Bloomie would be a god Gov & the best to take out Paterson.
    GOOF: you write Mike goes out Dec 31 1999. - 2009!!


  16. Anonymous2:31 AM

    Excellent analysis of the state of the state and the city.He is doing a great job.
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