Dire financial news is becoming far too routine, be it from the national, state or municipal level. Last week, the City Council rubber stamped Mayor Bloomberg's bid for a chance to serve four more years, ostensibly because we'd need his steady business hand on the rudder in rough economic seas. One of his possible opponents next November, though, has come up with a populist plan that Bloomberg may not be comfortable discussing.
Rep. Anthony Weiner, a 2005 runner-up in the Democratic mayoral primary, suggested Sunday that the city sell the luxury boxes it has at Citi Field and the new Yankee Stadium. The city didn't pay for the boxes, they received them as part of the deal that floated more than a billion dollars of bonds and subsidies used to finance the construction of the new stadiums.
"It might be very nice to have luxury boxes for politicians," said Weiner. "It's much more important that we balance the budget next year."
Weiner is said to be angling for another run at City Hall which would explain his interest on what's clearly not the business of federal government. It's a sensible, pragmatic idea that wouldn't do much of anything to close budget shortfalls but does put the coziness between the city and the teams into the spotlight. The sweetheart deals they got to build the stadiums haven't come under much scrutiny, despite serious issues dealing with taxes, land values and perks for city officials. Making that a story might help Weiner undercut Bloomberg's economic know-how come campaign time and paint him as only interested in scratching the backs of those who scratch his.
There's no shortage of people upset by the way that the blunders of big business are affecting those outside of it and Weiner's appeal has play in that market. It may not do anything to solve the larger problem, but the image of politicians boozing it up in plush suites while budgets get rolled back can't be one Bloomberg's thrilled to have on his shoulders.