Saturday, November 05, 2005

An Endorsement

(OK, Carl, just bite the bullet)

2005 presents this lifelong Democrat with an unique conundrum.

The job of mayor of New York City has been equated with herding cats. So many different factions that have so many agendas, and so many interlocking places (i.e. If the NYPD gets a 4% raise then then FDNY demands the same raise and then if they get 4.5%, the sanitation department demands that...and so on) that to be mayor of NYC is, unquestionably, the second toughest job in America.

A quick scan of the recent history of mayor shows two things: 1) Traditional "machine" politcians-- politicians who come up through the local ranks-- don't do so well (the last machine mayor was Dinkins), and 2) Mayors do nothing after they are mayor.

Which is a good thing in my mind. I think it's because on the way up to mayor, a local politician has to deal with all these factions I mentioned earlier and that means that he or she is beholden to the alliances made down the food chain. In the race for the President, one can turn one's back on those who brung you to the dance, but not in mayoral politics. It's too easy for a citizen to sue City Hall.

The past four years in NYC have been, well, quite the ride. The recovery from 9-11 goes on, and may never end. The Olympic bid came and went amid much fanfare but little entusiastic support. The economy was flat, and only just started picking up again.

Over the years, Mayor Bloomberg, a Republican (in name only) has been the recipient (and in many cases, deservedly so) of some vitriolic press coverage about his administrative manners and his accomplishments.

But...Freddy Ferrer?

This is a political hack ran one of the most vile campaigns in NYC history in 2001, all but calling his opponent, Mark Green, a racist. He's smarmy, unaccomplished, and when I see him, I get the sense he feels that he's entitled to be mayor as if it was some hereditary title handed down to the biggest hack in the pond.

Obviously, I don't like the guy.

But I don't want to vote Republican. I can't recall that I ever have (except, perhaps, as a favor to a friend in a losing cause). The few times I've preferred a Republican to the Democrat running, I've usually been able to vote for him in the Liberal ballot line, but there is no Liberal ballot line in NYC.

Further, Bloomberg, for all his faults, took on a monumental task in the face of the terror attacks and I believe he has been quite the CEO at a time when a CEO was what this city needed. We'd had enough, 8 years, of the bullying misguided misanthropic antics of Rudy Giuliani, who took credit for accomplishments (like lowering the crime rate) that he had do with (Dinkins set up the programs that Giuliani got credit for).

He's had some innovative ideas, not enough in my book but he showed promise. He's cheerleaded the city but in a dignified "non-Ed-Koch" kind of way. He has comported himself with dignity and presented a face to the world that reflects the kind of NYC I have grown up in. His street accent (from Boston, but that's about as close to a NYer as you're likely to find) has been sanded and polished, but it's there, and epitomizes this great-but-tough city.

You CAN make it here, from roots that aren't in the deep rich loam of wealth, but in the hardscrabble rocky ground of subsistence living. Bloomberg wears the mantle well, and so I endorse him for mayor. Even if he is a Republican.