Rally. City Hall Steps. This Sunday 10/5. Noon. And… 2 p.m.

This just in… NY City Council Member David Weprin is holding a Rally to Protest overturning of Term Limits (you know that bill that Mayor Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn are about to put into play) this Sunday, October 5th at 12 noon. City Hall Steps.

Update October 4: Lawyer Norman Siegel (who ran for Public Advocate) and “The People Have Spoken” Coalition are also holding a rally/protest at 2 p.m. about this issue with a slightly different theme. Sunday, October 5th. Same location: City Hall Steps. 2 p.m.

Attend one or both.

The Blanding of New York City: Why It’s Time for Mayor Mike to Go

Mayor Bloomberg "Dead End"

Mayor Bloomberg at a "Dead End"

As we watch Mayor Michael Bloomberg unfold his intricately orchestrated master plan to maintain his reign of power, there are more than a few reasons why New York will be quite finethank you very muchwithout our billionaire Mayor. You know, the one who seems to think we can’t manage without him, utilizing fear to push his agenda.

Our CEO Mayor has the media locked up and the existing City Council leadership (under Speaker Christine Quinn) willing to bow to his wish to overturn voted-in two term limits — with the, um, added benefit that they get to retain their positions also. (Who can take their actions seriously unless they take a principled stand?)

Mayor Mike got rid of the one guy who could match him in ad spending (see Ronald Lauder, former ambassador to Austria – who knew? – and Estee Lauder cosmetic empire heir) instructing him not to cause a fuss or he’d be ousted from their exclusive social and business circles — despite term limits being this billionaire’s issue for at least 15 years.

The City’s other billionaires, CEOs and corporate executives are advocating right and left for their friend Bloomie to linger at City Hall, no matter what it takes. Who cares if it’s a power grab, illegal and anti-democratic? Bloomberg figures he can listen to the people whine for a little while, ride that wave, and then buy them off with another $100 million worth of advertising.

Memo to Mayor Mike: I think you may at last have overreached.

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Why I think our city will more than thrive without Mayor Bloomberg…

The International Herald Tribune reported in June that NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg “has rezoned vast swaths of the city to accommodate bigger, more densely populated buildings, encouraging the construction of millions of square feet of office space, hotel rooms and housing. Over all, the number of construction permits for new buildings or major renovations issued by the Department of Buildings has soared 23.3 percent over the past five years.”

The result of all this is a construction boom. The developers also get tax breaks making it oh so easy for them to put up large signs on virtually every block on their glossy glass buildings with the same two words: “luxury housing.” Existing tenants in smaller, quaint buildings get displaced, the buildings are torn down, diversity and any resemblance to the ‘past’ is bulldozed over. Neighborhood after neighborhood starts to look the same. (One other repercussion? Oh right. Monstrous cranes have toppled over. People die and are injured. With all this building, you want oversight?)

As these changes go on around them, long-time landlords with long-time small business tenants start to raise rents, doubling, tripling the figures and those tenants are soon gone and replaced.

As if they’re expendable. As if they never existed. The fabric of one too many neighborhoods is frayed, coming apart at the seams.

Yet, this is the climate Mayor Bloomberg’s New York promotes and encourages.

Juan Gonzalez wrote “Lower East Side rezone plan another Mike Bloomberg boondoggle” in the July 17th New York Daily News:

“Theirs [Chinatown/Lower East Side residents] is a story that has become all-too familiar during the Bloomberg era: another stable neighborhood turned upside down by a massive rezoning. The sheer number of these rezonings – from Columbia University to Hudson Yards to Greenpoint-Williamsburg (Brooklyn) to Willets Point – boggles the mind. City officials routinely claim it’s for the good of the neighborhoods, but in the end a handful of well-connected developers and Big Box stores end up the big winners.”

The fact is – it’s no coincidence that the city is vanishing at such a quick pace. While there’s no real funding for schools or libraries or park maintenance in our neighborhoods, there is always money for Wall Street and developers and corporate executives. Since the media rarely reports on this and, if they do, avoids linking this to Mayor Bloomberg and his policies, the public remains largely unaware.

The blanding of our city continues on, in neighborhood after neighborhood, public space after public space, to create the bland yet affluent City that Mayor Bloomberg, a billionaire, envisions. It’s a less interesting one but the billionaires and their friends are happy. That’s what matters, right?

No. It’s time for the city to catch its breath. To attempt to make up for this blatant, expanded, accelerated loss of its character over seven years.

As we’ve seen, what works for Wall Street and Corporate America doesn’t really work for the rest of us. They want to maintain a certain lifestyle and will do whatever it takes to do so. Michael Bloomberg’s decision to stay on as Mayor of New York City in defiance of democracy has nothing to do with New York City and everything to do with Michael Bloomberg and his ego.

It is time for Mayor Mike to go.

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Photo: RS Eanes

(Part of this post appeared on July 17th, 2008. This is a different and expanded version.)

Contact Your NY City Council Person and Speaker Christine Quinn

Two important routes to go – Contact Christine Quinn who is the Speaker (head) of the NY City Council and also your local City Council person who, presumably, will have to vote on this matter of extending term limits without voter ratification.

(1) Speaker Christine Quinn – The Mayor knows (beyond a doubt) that he can count on her support. However, she needs to hear from you to know that overturning voted-in term limits is not okay.

With Washington Square Park, Christine Quinn did not come through for the majority of her constituents who wanted the park renovated while retaining the Park’s character. Instead, once again, she caved in to Mayor Bloomberg’s wish to radically overhaul and pacify this renowned public space.

However, the term limits issue is a MAJOR issue that she can not take a major hit from, whether Mayor Bloomberg, her billionaire friend, wants it or not. She is putting herself on the line here for him by working to overturn the voter’s wishes. Christine Quinn must recognize that there ARE limits and it’s time for her to show some principle.

Contact Christine Quinn here.

(2) Contact Your Local City Council Person on the term limit issue here. There are 51 community districts in New York City and each has a City Council person who is elected. Your City Council person needs to hear from you.

If you are not up to speed on the issue, scroll down and read some of the posts below.

Thought for the Day…

Thought for the Day: If Mayor Bloomberg is such a financial wizard, wouldn’t he have seen the financial crisis – which is so integral to his belief he must remain in office – coming? Wouldn’t he have monitored …. discussed placing safeguards on … his friends on Wall Street – to protect dear New York City?

Instead of spending time providing tax breaks and giveaways to developers perhaps he could have focused on Wall Street’s shortcomings?

Does he only get credited with the so-called good things associated with diverting NYC’s economy to be overwhelmingly driven by Wall Street and real-estate interests and … not the ‘bad?’