Saturday, July 11, 2009

Ease Up, Dude

It seems like almost every day I'm getting yet another flyer in my mailbox from Mayor Mike Bloomberg, asking for my vote for his reelection.

I'll back up just a little bit for any non-New York readers. New York City has term limits. The people of New York voted twice in favor of limiting time in office to two terms. I've got mixed feelings about term limits, and honestly I don't remember which way I ended up voting on the issue. But the people of New York have spoken. Twice.

Earlier this year (maybe it was even last fall), Bloomberg wheeled and dealed and convinced the City Council to extend term limits. Everyone who would've had to leave office can now serve another term. Including Mayor Mike.

So Mayor Mike is running like hell for mayor. The #17 on the Forbes' richest people list is putting some of his personal fortune into his campaign, just like he always has. It is formidable wealth.

His ads are everywhere - on TV, online, in print. The direct mail pieces arrive regularly.

Bloomberg has been a pretty popular mayor, although there's the whiff of discontent among the masses for the first time. Now, months after the fact, people seem to be like, "He can just buy a third term like that?"

And here's where the problem lies: Most New Yorkers probably can't name his opponent. I can (it's Bill Thompson), but I can't tell you much about poor Bill, except that every time I've seen him on the news, he's attacking Mayor Mike. He has no personal fortune, and I suspect he's hoping that his attacks will get him free publicity at least.

I've never been the biggest Mayor Mike fan. I've written here in the past about how there are things I admire about him (his long-term vision for a green New York) and things I don't (his massive donations to Bush's reelection and "business first" attitude). But I've never voted for him (although I considered it last time, being severely underwhelmed by Jose Ferrer).

I won't vote for him this time either. And no amount of advertising will convince me otherwise. A friend told me that he wishes Bloomberg would save his money because he's voting for him anyway. So no amount of advertising will convince him either.

And, in fact, that same friend said that the more mail he gets from Mayor Mike the less likely he is to vote for him.

The Mayor is also quite the philanthropist. Few people give more money to charity than Mayor Mike. That's a much better way to spend your fortune, Mr. Mayor. And for someone so pursuant of a "green" city, all this paper and printing is really off-message.

This argument that Mayor Mike's not paid for by special interests or beholden to a party. OK, that's true, sort of. But the guy is a freakin' billionaire. He is his own special interest.

I just can't vote for a one-man special interest. But I suspect we're stuck with him for another three years. We find out in less than five months.

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