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Politics

MAYOR MIKE THE CHEAPSKATE PRINCE

So, one of my predictions came true. Several years back the mayor of New York City, one Michael Bloomberg, a multi-billionaire, decided that police officers in this town were overpaid, when in fact anyone with the slightest familiarity with the situation knew the opposite to be true. Now Mayor Mike, as this patrician corporate prince likes to be called so people will think he's a regular guy (he's not), well he went ahead anyway and started the new police cadet class at a starting salary of $25,000 a year, and in five years on the job able to reach the top salary of only around $50,000 when our neighboring counties Nassau and Suffolk pay their police twice that much for a smaller workload, crimewise.

Twenty five thousand a year is a ridiculously low salary for any job in New York City, never mind that of a police officer, a dangerous and demanding career you ideally want to fill with the best possible candidates. Well, naturally the best possible candidates passed this less than generous offer by and the New York City Police Department lost a lot of potential talent to other police departments or jobs in the private sector. New York is an expensive place to live, mostly because it;'s worth it, mind you, but just the same the reality is that 25K won't get you decent housing or food for your family. Indeed, a married person with a kid or two on that salary qualifies for public assistance, food stamps, welfare, the whole nine.

So my prediction was that our newest police officers would be corrupt. Now, anybody can be corrupt, I'm not singling anybody out here, we're all merely human. A police officer, however, has a whole lot more opportunities to make his or her corruption a pretty lucrative enterprise. In no other profession do you rub elbows with so many criminals, criminals being by definition corrupt individuals. Many of these people would like a break from law enforcement types and are willing to pay handsomely for a laizze-faire atmosphere in their particular sphere of criminal enterprise, be it chopping cars, selling drugs, stealing or prostitution. Do the math and tell me what you think will happen to a fair percentage of young cops resentful of their low pay. And they carry guns and the weight of the NYPD with them wherever they go.

So now the headlines hit about the huge spike in crime by police officers. It actually happened a lot sooner that I thought it would, at least the getting caught part. That's what happens when the third or fourth best candidates for the job are in the starting line-up. Not only are they committing the predictable cop crimes of protecting drug dealers and organized crime figures and extorting sex from prostitutes, these enterprising young men and women are committing armed robbery, stealing from their fellow police officers and also identifying undercover officers to the bad guys, practically signing their death warrants. You happy now, Mayor Mike?

I know a some cops, guys and gals who have been doing it for a while and are actually making decent salaries and are dedicated to a job they love. When this whole fiasco of the new contract came out they agreed with my initial assessment that this was a disaster waiting to happen. As time went on and these new recruits joined the force, the older cops began to fear and distrust their new colleagues and with good reason. They were hesitant to call them for backup in dangerous situations, not really knowing whose side they were on. When partnered with a young cop they were very tense when on the course of their shift they were put into a situation where the temptation factor was very high, for example responding to a robbery in a jewelry store. Again, do the math here.

What is it with these billionaires who think only they are qualified to run the government? What they are eminently qualified for, obviously, is running the business that made them all that dough to begin with and the talent for one thing doesn't always translate into a talent for the other. They rarely do. These super-rich guys assume everybody in the world has the same goal, to make a billion dollars when in fact that's the stated goal of almost nobody, so his field of competition is not as broad as he thinks it is. It's actually kind of narrow.

The fact that they made the billion and almost nobody else in this world made a similar mount makes them think that they are supermen, blessed with abilities far superior to that of ordinary men in any field of endeavor you care to name(Think Donald trump here for the picture I'm trying to paint.). In reality, it's really a race between themselves and a relative handful of like-minded individuals for all the gold they can gather. They only think they have the ability to do whatever they wish to do better than the next guy who's already an expert at it.

The fact is that's not true at all. I can't think of any billionaire who could crack the starting line-up of a major league baseball team's pitching rotation or one who can write a decent book (And don't even go there about the identical and horrible "How I Made My Billion Bucks And So Can You" books they all write) or perform a delicate surgery on a sick child. And governing a city the size of new York is certainly not the same as running a corporation where the only vote that counts is yours and the loudest voice in every room belongs to you. Life isn't like that and governing a thee-ring circus like New York takes guts, savvy and a whole world of experience with people and real situations not available in corporate boardrooms, private jets or secure vacation palaces in the Caribbean.

This guy makes a big deal about his being a billionaire of the people and often riding the subway to work. Yeah that ought to do the trick, ride the subway surrounded by bodyguards, that'll make the strap-hangers love you, Mayor Mike. If any of them had even 1 percent of your wealth they'd never set foot on the IRT again. Why wouldn't a man of the people like yourself know that?

Mayor Mike ran for his first term as the Education Mayor, vowing not to run for re-election if he did not make a difference in New York City public schools. Well, he made quite a difference, just not in the classroom. Bloomberg abolished the Board of Education, closed their headquarters in Brooklyn and located them right under his thumb across from City Hall in the old Tweed Courthouse, fittingly in New York's monument to government corruption. Renamed the Department of Education in a mock corporate shakeup move, the new education establishment was now directly answerable to the mayor instead of being the semi-autonomous branch of government it had always been. So what did Mayor Mike do with this authority over the classrooms that he said would be the main thrust of his administration?

If you guessed low-balling new teachers in the salary department you'd be right. So once again he failed to attract the very best candidates for a critical job. The education standards have nor risen dramatically as he promised and a lot of the glaring problems that existed for students under the Board of Education are still there under the Department of Education. And these low salaries he offers only promise to continue to attract less talented teachers so the problems this Mayor Mike creates are sure to affect New York for years after he's gone unless immediate steps are taken to correct the situation.

It's not like he doesn't have good people around him. He made sure the top officials running the city with him got hefty raises and in some cases bonuses for a job well done. See, that's the real problem, that corporate mentality of rewarding the top executives while nickel-and-diming the regular workers whose labors make those corporate suites and mega-bonuses possible. City government is not a business in competition with other other governments. It's an organization to run society in the best possible way for the benefit of all the people in that society. At least that's the theory, anyway.

Not that I minded Mayor Mike giving the big officials raises. Some of those jobs were also too poorly paid to attract top talent. But what this Ivory Tower Everyman fails to realize is that a single talented and dedicated teacher or cop can have a greater positive impact on society than a dozen highway commissioners. And conversely, hundreds of poorly paid new recruits in the ranks of police and teaching posts can do infinite damage to society for long periods of time before it gets discovered and corrected and all as a direct result of your policies. So stop being a cheapskate with the troops, General. They'll turn on you and let the world see exactly how small of a leader you are.

And this is the guys who's flirting with an independent run at the White House. He was once a Democrat, turned Republican to get elected mayor and then quit the Republican party recently. He won't have to worry about raising funds since he's got plenty of his own to spend. He spent his own dough getting elected mayor and is probably one of the few people in the nation who could pay for a national campaign to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars and not let it put a crimp in his wallet or his lifestyle.

Doesn't mean he'dxbe any better of a president than he is a mayor. He seems like the kind of big ego type that ramrods his policies through over the objections of his more experienced advisors, again figuring that his great success in business qualifies him as an expert in all matters great and small. Bad enough what he did to New York City. Don't let this bozo any closer to the big seat than Rudy (Mr. Leadership) Giuliani, another failed New York City Mayor parading around the country selling himself as something he's not.

What is it about City Hall that makes fairly capable men into raging megalomaniacs completely out of touch with reality and unable to forecast the obvious and logical results of their policies? I think we ought to have the place inspected for toxic mold or a gas leak or something. Provided of course, the mayor Mike didn't cut the salaries of our building inspectors down the bone and now he's got Moe, Larry and Curly doing that job. Go back to Wall Street, Mayor Mike. You can suck all the air out of the rooms in the corporate suites and you can stick in your thumb and pull out a plum and your underlings will tell you over and over again what a smart boy you are. Just don't make any more genius policy decisions before you go and by all means don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out. Just go away.

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