Wednesday

August 5th, 2020

Insight

I survived the Mayor Mike years

Alicia Colon

By Alicia Colon

Published Feb. 26, 2020

Michael Bloomberg was a horrible mayor.

I will never forgive Bloomberg for destroying my home town. After the dreadful terror attack on 9/11, most of us wanted to give Mayor Rudy Giuliani a third term, even though term limits was the rule. Alas, Giuliani didn't have Bloomberg's billions because after Bloomberg's two nanny –filled terms, he managed to bribe the Democrat City Council to waive that rule. Phony baloney Bloomberg ran as a Republican in 2001 even though we knew he was a Massachusetts liberal Democrat but it was such a terrible time that we were shell-shocked by the horror in our city.

I did vote for him because I had no choice and in 2002, when I covered his speech for the New York Sun, he made all the strong talking points about being tough on the unions and crime that we thought he'd govern wisely. Fuggedaboutit!

In 2001, Forbes magazine listed his worth at 4 billion. How did his billions grow so much as Mayor of NYC when he was supposedly taking $1 for his salary?

Could it be that he had invested in the properties of his developer buddies who received the rights to develop "blighted" areas in all the boroughs after Bloomberg rezoned over 25%? Since that decision, over 100 deluxe high rises have been built in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens with many poor New Yorkers losing affordable housing. While writing for the New York Sun I received countless emails from New Yorkers fighting a losing battle trying to preserve their neighborhoods.

There was the Bronx Terminal Market located just south of Yankee Stadium, which was the largest seller of ethnic and tropical produce on the East Coast. The vendors were mostly African-American or Hispanic but Reverends Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton never protested or came to their aid as they fought the Gateway Center that would be a "green" retail market eliminating many of their businesses.

I fought in vain for those longtime lessees of space at the Brooklyn Navy Yard who were being aced out by the Steiner Studio. The city's Economic Development Corporation favored this studio deal, which cost the city more than $40 million, yet it rejected the Stapleton Studios project, which would have cost the city nothing.

Mayor Giuliani had given Actor Danny Aiello and his partner Robert DeMilia, a Hollywood producer, a low-rent lease on the site of the former Naval Base in Stapleton to build a movie studio, a marina, a theater and an art school with a connection to Thomas Kinkaid that would offer scholarships to neighborhood students. The Stapleton Studios project would have been an enormous boost to Staten Island's depressed area. As soon as Bloomberg took office, he rescinded the negotiated rent after the partners had already built a multi million dollar state of the art film facility. Why would he do this? Perhaps he didn't have his fingers in that pie and his interests were better suited to the Steiner Studio in Brooklyn.

The Mayor was known as Taliban Bloomberg for his dictatorial edicts against what he considered our bad habits. New Yorkers are furious about his plan to bar restaurants, theaters and delis from selling sweetened beverages bigger than 16 ounces. In the meantime the City celebrated Donut Day while issuing the ban on sugared drinks.

Bloomberg defended his ridiculous edicts by calling his critics "ridiculous."

In interviews, the pontificator who ran our lives said, "We're not taking away anybody's right to do things, we're simply forcing you to understand that you have to make the conscious decision to go from one cup to another cup." He also said "We have an obligation to warn you when things are not good for your health."

It became obvious to us that Bloomberg hated cars in Manhattan. He ended up closing streets near Times Square so that tourists could sit on lawn chairs on Broadway. Buses and trucks had to be rerouted while causing havoc to FedEx and UPS drivers trying to do their jobs. He ordered bike lanes to be painted on narrow streets in all the boroughs confusing how New Yorkers like to travel. We are not Europeans. What a disaster.

As bad as this nannification of New York City was, what Michael Bloomberg did to undo what Rudy Giuliani did while he served as mayor was far, far worse. His self-serving machinations were largely under the radar and ignored by a compliant media.

Rudy Giuliani followed the destructive David Dinkins administration which allowed criminal mobs to roam the streets chanting "Death to the Jews" while governed by a mayor who spent as much time watching tennis matches as Obama spent golfing. The three-day riots in crown heights were described by Jewish leaders as the worst "pogrom" in US history.

Soon after Rudy Giuliani took office, the city changed very much for the better. He beefed up the NYPD and adopted an aggressive enforcement and deterrence strategy based on the Broken Windows concept. This involved crackdowns on relatively minor offenses such as graffiti, turnstile jumping, and aggressive "squeegeemen" that plagued the city drivers. This principle successfully sent the message that order would be maintained and that the city would be "cleaned up." The crime rates went down, the city became the safest large metropolis in the world and tourists flocked here. Critics of his administration tried to claim that crime had started going down two years before he took office but anyone who has lived here knows that statistics can be manipulated to show any desired result.

New Yorkers felt safer, businesses came back or were newly established. Broadway and Times Square was completely transformed from a haven for derelicts and perverts to a family friendly tourist attraction. David Letterman once said that the definition of a "New York Minute" was the time it took for a tourist to check into a Times Square Hotel and to be shot dead on the sidewalk. That had a ring of truth before Giuliani but not after.

Before Michael Bloomberg, one could smoke in a bar, restaurants could cook their meals with any kind of fat, and neighborhoods were fairly safe from eminent domain and speculators. With Democrat Mayor DeBlasio, the squeegeemen are back and thanks to Gov, Cuomo and his no bail, catch and release program, thugs are roaming the city freely. New Yorkers have been called "slaves of the state."

I call us ignoramuses for not voting wisely and not realizing that our parents' Democrat party is dead and its evil twin is in power. I blame the impotent NY GOP for not serving up and supporting worthwhile candidates. The time for change comes in November. Let's pull the plug and flush this corrupt Dem City Council out. Next year, we'll hunt for another Rudy. Is there a Trump available?

Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

(COMMENT, PLEASE, BELOW

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles