Bloomberg and the Public Trust

He says the Mayor has violated "a trust" by running for a third term

Harlem Congressman Charles Rangel has zeroed in on what he regards as a major weakness of Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

He says the Mayor has violated "a trust" by running for a third term. 

Whether this becomes a major issue in the general election campaign this fall remains to be seen but, certainly, it's an issue that will be considered by the voters -- and it should be. It gets to the core of the mayor's beliefs and the question of how much expediency determines his actions. 

Bloomberg once said it would be a "disgrace "to undo a law that voters had supported in two referendums. But he changed his mind so he could run for a third term. He used that word "disgrace" again when he got into a confrontation with New York Observer reporter Azi Paybarah who wondered whether, if the economy was turning around, would that destroy the rationale for ending term limits? 

Bloomberg said that the rationale for extending term limits [that is, allowing a third term] was that the City Council passed it.  He then said: ''If you have a serious question about the economy, I will be happy to answer it. Anything else?'' 

Later, Bloomberg looked at the reporter and said: "You are a disgrace."

Still later, the mayor's press secretary said: "The Mayor asked me to pass on his apologies to Azi for the comment."

Now, Rangel, who is supporting Comptroller Bill Thompson in the November election, accuses the Mayor of not "playing by the rules." He refers to Bloomberg's several changes in party affiliation, his original pledge to run for just two terms and says:

"The voters will have to decide whether they need someone who changes the registration, changes the laws in order to have another four years. As a Democrat we're not prepared to accept that. When you join a club, you have to play by the rules. The people will have to decide whether you did not violate a trust."

A spokesman for Bloomberg declined to comment on the Rangel statement.

Did the mayor not play by the rules? When the City Council by a narrow margin passed a bill giving all city officials the right to seek a third term, he said: ''Today, the majority of the City Council decided to give the people of New York a fuller choice in the November 2009 election. I believe that was the right choice.''

According to the Post, when asked his initial reaction, Bloomberg said: "I had a smile on my face. Also a little bit of a tinge of 'Oh my goodness! I hope I know what I'm doing here. We're going to have some very tough times.'" 

Did the City Council make the right choice or did the people in two citywide referendums make the right choice when they voted to retain term limits?  

The voters will render the ultimate verdict in November.

Contact Us