Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Running for the Exits

Quoted entirely from The New York Times.

Another Exit From Bloomberg’s Inner Circle

(David W. Chen contributed reporting.)

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg so prizes stability and loyalty that he discouraged goodbye parties for employees of his media company, writing in his memoir that he could barely bring himself to wish departing workers good luck. “Why should I?” he asked.

Now he finds himself, however reluctantly, bidding farewell to his closest advisers at City Hall, who are leaving for lucrative jobs in the private sector.

In the process, they are forcing Mr. Bloomberg to remake an inner circle that has remained remarkably consistent, and free of drama, over the last eight years.

On Tuesday, Deputy Mayor Edward Skyler, who manages the city’s Police, Fire and Transportation Departments and the Office of Labor Relations, and who is arguably Mr. Bloomberg’s most powerful aide, said he would take a job at Citigroup in May.

Joining him in the exodus: Deputy Mayor Kevin Sheekey, the mayor’s political guru and chief of government relations, who will soon leave City Hall for a position at the mayor’s company, Bloomberg L.P., and James Anderson, Mr. Bloomberg’s communications director, who took a job with the mayor’s charitable foundation.

After Mr. Bloomberg’s improbable victory in the 2001 mayor’s race, both Mr. Skyler and Mr. Sheekey followed him from his company to City Hall. Since then, they have been a part of an enormously influential coterie of advisers.

They have advised him on everything, like his short-lived flirtation with a presidential run (spearheaded by Mr. Sheekey), the revamping of the city’s Buildings Department (a project run by Mr. Skyler) after several crane collapses and his decision to seek a third term as mayor (both advised him not to).

“They have been with the mayor the longest, and they are totally loyal to him,” said William T. Cunningham, who was communications director during the mayor’s first term.

But the changes inside Bloomberg Land do not end there. Since he decided to seek a third term last fall, Mr. Bloomberg has announced the departure of 15 high-level aides, most of them agency commissioners. It is a level of turnover without precedent during his time in office.

“He’s had a very stable crew,” said Andrew White, the director of the Center for New York City Affairs at the New School. “It was actually surprising to a number of people that there was so little change after the last election.”

Aides to the mayor said he was both fulfilling a campaign pledge to shake up his administration during his third term and allowing long-serving advisers to begin new careers outside of government, with his blessing.

That was the case with Mr. Skyler, who will become an executive vice president at Citigroup, overseeing the firm’s relationships with reporters, investors and government agencies.

Mr. Skyler, 36, is the city’s youngest deputy mayor, but he shoulders the greatest responsibilities, managing highly visible operations — like the efficiency of ambulance response times and trash pickups — by which most New Yorkers measure the effectiveness of their government.

A lanky former Ivy League fencer who grew up on the Upper East Side, he found himself at the center of grueling debates about how to identify human remains found at ground zero years after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and how to handle the cleanup of the steam pipe explosion near Grand Central Terminal in 2007.

Mitchell L. Moss, an informal adviser to Mr. Bloomberg and a professor at New York University, called it “an exhausting job.”During a news conference in the Bronx on Tuesday, Mr. Bloomberg described Mr. Skyler as a “a phenomenally competent guy” who “did a masterful job for the city.” He added that he wished Mr. Skyler would remain at City Hall. “He’s got his life to lead, and he’s got to make his decisions, and he’s done that.”

Mr. Skyler is unlikely to move out of Mr. Bloomberg’s orbit entirely: the mayor’s companion, Diana L. Taylor, is a member of the Citigroup board of directors, which interacts regularly with the firm’s top managers.

Citigroup appeared intent on wooing an experienced New York figure for the job. Before Mr. Skyler began his job search, the bank had discussed the position with Mr. Sheekey; Howard Wolfson, the former communications director for Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential campaign and Mr. Bloomberg’s re-election bid; and Gary Ginsberg, the former chief of investor relations and corporate communications for News Corporation, the owner of the Fox News Channel and The New York Post, according to people told of the discussions. A spokesman for Citigroup declined to comment on other candidates for the job.

Citigroup said government affairs would be part of Mr. Skyler’s portfolio. The bank’s primary lobbying efforts are aimed at the federal government, which gave the company billions of dollars in bailout money during the financial crisis. Mr. Skyler is prohibited from lobbying city government for the next year.

Mr. Bloomberg did not announce an immediate replacement for Mr. Skyler, but aides said a broad search would reach beyond City Hall. In an interview on Tuesday afternoon, Mr. Skyler said, “I think I was just ready to do something new, and I think that’s healthy.”

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Budget Cuts Crime Wave of 2010

Has anybody reminded Bloombo Dicto that he created these Budget Cuts, in the first place ?

"A disturbing spike in murders and other serious crimes is leading city officials to believe the NYPD’s famed 'blue line' is growing way too thin," The New York Post has reported.

"...[T]he NYPD's shrinking manpower level -- from 41,000 cops in 2001 down to about 35,000 today -- could be playing a factor in the increased crime rates. The city expects to shed around 1,300 officers in the upcoming fiscal year through attrition, and also is threatening to lay off a whopping 3,150 cops if the state slashes related funding."

For his part, Mayor Bloomberg reacted with surprise, as if he had nothing to do with the Budget Cuts Crime Wave of 2010. "We have fewer police officers than we did before," the mayor told The New York Post. "More cops always helps."

He sees no connection between his draconian budget cuts or indifferent policies in the most critical services needed by society -- for example, adequate numbers of cops and firefighters, emergency rooms and hospitals, and affordable and timely public transit -- and the quality of our lives.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Small screen diva

' The tapes also aired on one of the city's TV stations, where they ran in endless loops, similar to the way leaders are promoted in places like North Korea. '

From The Village Voice via Queens Crap on FaceBook, but quoted entirely from Queens Crap, comes this shocking report about Bloombo Dicto's costly obsession with his self-image :

Shortly after his re-election in November 2005, Mike Bloomberg decided to raise his national profile several notches. He began traveling widely, making speeches and accepting awards. We later learned this was mostly about setting the stage for a potential run for president. He ultimately passed on that race, without giving up hope that he might get lucky next time. But one of the interesting features of this publicity push was that—despite his own fabulous wealth—the mayor wasn't shy about using city resources to promote his image.

Starting in February 2006, the Bloomberg administration began assigning a team of video camera operators from the city's television station — NYC-TV — to follow the mayor on his far-flung voyages. The mayor flew on his private jet; the city crews followed behind on commercial airlines.

At taxpayer expense, city workers traveled to Shanghai, Beijing, Bali, Paris, London, Mexico City, Belfast, Berlin, and Jerusalem. They also covered his cross-country jaunts to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Austin, Chicago, Atlanta, Boca Raton, and Fort Lauderdale. The crews shot the mayor as well as he made his less glamorous, workaday trips to Washington and Albany.

This fascinating footage was then routed back home for use by local commercial television stations seeking to show viewers their mayor in action. The tapes also aired on one of the city's TV stations, where they ran in endless loops, similar to the way leaders are promoted in places like North Korea. Much of it was also posted for posterity on the mayor's website...

The Voice was hoping to bring this information to readers much earlier. The subject of the mayoral video teams was raised last spring by NYC-TV employees complaining how their agency was being used as a playpen for the mayor and his pals. Their complaints were sparked by a wide-ranging scandal, broken by the Voice, in which top executives at the station—all Bloomberg appointees—were forced out after they were caught abusing their posts; the financial director was arrested when it turned out he had taken advantage of his boss's frequent absences to steal some $60,000.

A Freedom of Information request for travel and expense records was filed last May. As requests go, this one was standard, plain vanilla. But DOITT officials instantly said it would take six months to compile. Why six months? Heavy traffic in the FOI department, they said. This also conveniently ensured that the information wouldn't be available until after voters had decided on the mayor's third term bid in November. Even then, six months stretched into nine. The documents finally emerged a couple weeks ago, after a lawyer was retained to get the agency's attention.

About 10 years ago, we would have expected to read this story in the NY Times.

Today, instead of corruption inside City Hall, they spend their time writing about a cracked driveway outside of it.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Ducking his duty

This post is quoted entirely from the NYPost editorial :

It's your fault too, Mike

Mayor Bloomberg has a lot of nerve criticizing Lt. Gov. Richard Ravitch's plan to pile up more debt to deal with the state's fiscal crisis.

"I think that doesn't pass the laugh test," he said Wednesday, referring to Ravitch's plan to let Albany, in part, borrow its way out of its $9.2 billion fiscal hole -- in exchange, supposedly, for "tough" new measures to impose fiscal discipline in the future.

And indeed it doesn't.

But whipping out the credit card to dodge short-term pain is hardly a new concept for Albany.

Or Mike, for that matter.

Back in 2003, Hizzoner got Albany to borrow $2.5 billion and use the cash to pay off city debts that were coming due over the next five years. The state would then repay those funds in payments stretching over the next three decades.

The bitterest irony is that the $2.5 billion was supposed to be the city's last payments on bonds issued by the Municipal Assistance Corp. to rescue the city from the '70s fiscal crises.

In other words, Bloomberg ensured that taxpayers in 2034 would be paying off expenses incurred by Mayor John Lindsay in the 1960s.

Any wonder that pols see no problem in ducking their duty again?

Sure, Mike has found religion now that the principal problem is somebody else's.

A little humility is in order, though.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Queens Plaza - this is crap !

"... there was a dead homeless man laying on the debris for a day and a half before anyone 'noticed' or did anything....even after we called 911 several times."

Queens Crap has dedicated an entire blog post to the Bloomblight at Queens Plaza, which, frankly, is getting out of hand. There are several photos on the Queens Crap blog post, just so that you know that we aren't exaggerating.

Monday, March 8, 2010

BloombergForLife, CIoeBuckingham, et al.

A notorious, yet anonymous, YouTube cyber stalker is believed to continue to harass the activist, political blogger, and artist Suzannah B. Troy.

Since Google refuses to take any action, Troy has turned to the empowerment tools of the internet : by launching a new Google blog in an effort to out the YouTube stalker who goes by many different aliases, among them : BloombergForLife, CIoeBuckingham, LordCarruthers, hoochee002, etc.

I invite you to read Troy's first posting on her courageous new blog.

Troy has the courage to speak out for the many of us, who were systematically stalked, harassed, and intimidated by the cyber stalker.