Tuesday, November 2 is election day in New York City, and voters will get to choose who will be their dictator (mayor) for the next 4 years. The smart money is on incumbent Mike Bloomberg, the diminutive billionaire who has spent 85 million dollars of his own dough to win a third term. Many people will vote for his opponent Bill Thompson simply because he is not Mike Bloomberg, the man who negated two referendums by New Yorkers to uphold mayoral term limits to two 4-year terms in office. He was able to do this because New York City has no effective legislative branch, the only place in any democracy anywhere where one-man rule is in effect.
There are 8.3 million people living in New York City, the equivalent of the population of Austria, a nation with a Prime Minister, a President and two houses of the legislative branch numbering 245 lawmakers, plus all the regional and local representatives for its 9 states, its cities and towns. In New York City, you have only the 51-member City Council, a corrupt bunch of small timers that exercise no power, not even the ones given them in the City Charter, which are few enough, and are easily controlled, bribed and corrupted by the mayor. It is not Bloomberg who created this system, he is just the latest beneficiary of the rule-by-fiat of New York CIty politics. But he is the guy who defied the wishes of his own citizens who voted twice to limit mayoral terms.
Not even super-arrogant Rudy Giuliani tried that one, but he’s probably kicking himself now when he sees how easy it was for Mayor Bloomberg. All he had to do was look the other way when the City Council wriggled out of their own term limitations, wave a little budget money under their noses and Bingo, term limits evaporated! Now he is free to run New York City like it was a business for another 4 years, with no checks and balances at all to prevent him from implementing his every whim. The man who has raised the hidden taxes (exorbitant parking ticket and summons prices, water charges, higher fees on everything from dog to wedding licenses, etc, etc, etc…) on every New Yorker now wants to make the place even more expensive for working stiffs.
His claim to have improved education looks sort of silly when the New York Public School System, once the flagship and pride of American public education, is consistently ranked behind so many other states and cities. Do we celebrate because we beat a ravaged Detroit? His negligible improvement of city high school graduation rates are a sad joke in an age where a college education is the employment standard. He patted himself on the back for the appalling 55.8% rate of graduation! Does his Bloomberg Corporation that made him one of the richest men in the world need that many floor sweepers? He sure wouldn’t hire any New York City Public School students for much else.
Without a legitimate legislature to write laws and work with the executive branch of government, New York will remain a dictatorship. Like any dictatorship, only the wishes of one man become law, only his policies get implemented. Like any other New York City mayoral election, this one means very little to actual democracy and representative government where the majority rules. Without talented and passionate legislative leaders with real power, no other ideas will surface. Eight million people deserve two houses of representatives, just like anywhere else with such a large population. Unless and until the New York City government is completely overhauled and brought into line with the rest of America, we remain the only Dictatorship in America and it will matter very little who is our mayor. One dictator is as bad as the next.