The New York Times headline writer had it right. The headline read: ''Bloomberg and the Incredible Shrinking Mayor's Race.''
Our billionaire mayor is forcing his potential competitors out of the race for mayor, one poor soul at a time.
This past week Congressman Anthony Weiner, up to now a feisty critic of the Mayor, said he was going to stop campaigning and wait until summer to decide whether he would take on Mike Bloomberg. The mayor, as of now, has forced out two Democrats and two Republicans.
That leaves City Comptroller William C. Thompson Jr. as the only major candidate still in the race.
Former State Comptroller Carl McCall, who's supporting Thompson for the Democratic nomination, deplores what's happening. ''The whole thing saddens me,'' he said. ''It's such a small field. It wouldn't be so awful to have two or three people out there''
Apparently Bloomberg thinks it would be awful to have a truly competitive race for mayor. He's pouring money out of his campaign purse by the millions -- and, as McCall says, it is indeed sad.
This contest is beginning to resemble a plebiscite more than an election. Even as the mayor seems to be hiring every political consultant he can lay hands on to bolster his campaign, the latest statistics from the campaign finance board show that the Mayor is off to a fast start in spending. It's reported he intends to spend as much as $80 million to hang on to his job for another four years. And it's unlikely that his opposition will get even near that goal.The mayor shrugs off the criticism.
Twice the people of this city voted to keep term limits on the books. But the mayor's operatives persuaded the City Council to pass a law voiding the referendums for which the people voted. What promises the mayor's people made to these law makers to get them to vote against their own constituents' wishes we can only imagine. Clearly what's been happening at City Hall is not a pretty sight.
The mayor insists that doing away with term limits was intended to open up the field, to give politicians more opportunity to run. But it doesn't look that way. Actually, term limits were enacted to prevent this kind of thing from happening. The arrogance of power is on full display. Just because this guy has the big bucks should not be a decisive factor in choosing the next mayor. Less affluent people should have a chance to compete for any office. That's why we have a campaign finance law. But Bloomberg is doing an end runaround that law and that is foul play.
Many New Yorkers think the mayor has basically done a good job. Others are not so sure. Certainly, in this matter, he has the morals of a despot. And, even if he is the richest man in New York, it's hard to believe there is no man -- or woman -- who might not do a better job.
In his first term in office, Bloomberg called an attempt to overturn term limits ''disgraceful'' and ''an outrage.''
Mr. Mayor, you were right the first time.