So now our diminutive multibillionaire Mayor here in Skyscraper Park, Little Mikey Bloomberg, has had another brainstorm designed to make life a little more difficult for non-wealthy New Yorkers. Seem he thinks our parks are too crowded. Okay, so what’s the plan, lil’ fella?
Build some more parks, right? There’s some available land here and there in the Big Apple, and it might be a good idea to give everybody a few more quiet patches of green to relax on, the better to appreciate the contrast to the hustle and bustle that defines our daily lives in the man-made canyons in this citiest of cities. Heck, we love our parks, big and small.
Not so fast, Mr. & Mrs. UThinkUMatter, Little Mikey’s got a better idea! Get rid of a lot of the food vendors, artists and entertainers that are a unique and colorful bonus of life in New York. Mikey figures people will make their park visits less frequent and shorter if their surroundings are less interesting, more like other cities’ parks. Pleasant but dull.
Playing the mayor’s trump card in his manic war on street and public park vendors, Mayor Bloomberg began aggressively revoking park and vending licenses and denying new permits, pulling the figure out of his ass of 81 vendors allowed in Central Park, which is a huge park. Citizens rallied to the vendors’ side, and now he’s backing off that figure, but some licenses will be lost, which translates to jobs and livelihoods lost and families made desperate. Isn’t there enough of that going around these days without aggressively adding to it?
For the mayor and “his people,” whoever the hell they are, to speak blandly of “licenses” instead of the real human beings each license represents, only reminds us what a bad idea it is to elect billionaires to public office. They are not even a part of the public, but a separate class of beings, never among us, always apart in an unreal of world private clubs, limousines, multiple vast estates, private jets, servants, security and complete isolation from the masses.
In a city with very many wealthy individuals, the billionaires are the Bosses of Bosses in this tiny hidden community made up of a pampered elite who want nothing more than to cavort in high style without having to be unduly aware of the riffraff who built and run this town. Oh, you can fetch their drinks alright, hold an umbrella over them while getting soaked yourself as they scamper from the limo, and you may also qualify to scrub their marble palaces for slim wages, just don’t pretend you count for anything other than that.
Having a billion dollars means having more money than 100 very, very rich people combined. Having tens of billions of dollars puts about 100 layers of people between you and reality, every billionaire a cocoon-bound Howard Hughes minus the manic hand scrubbing, living in a bubble of luxury and seldom hearing the word “no” unless it is coming out of their own mouths.
When was the last time you ran into a billionaire on line in the supermarket or at the dry cleaners? How many of your children’s classmates in public school are the offspring of billionaires? Ever sit next to one at a ball game? Any of their kids joining the army to serve their country or simply to qualify for G.I. educational benefits, risking life, limb and sanity fighting rich men’s wars?
Now, our little Mayor Mikey, he fancies himself a “Billionaire of The People” (¡As if there could ever possibly be such a creature!) because he regularly rides the subway, just like any other New Yorker. That is, any other New Yorker who’s got a bunch of guys with guns and walkie-talkies following his every move and has the train dispatcher alerted as to which train you are on so there will be no delays.
Mayor Mikey ever show up on your block to see how you’re getting along? If he does show up on your block, it is with a huge entourage of handlers (Don’t only mental patients and dancing bears qualify to have handlers?), “advance men” (WTF?), security specialists and hordes of reporters with cameras who make sure his every moment among “the peoople” is staged and choreographed so that he has no direct contact at all with the citizens he leads.
This is your cue to hide your wallet. This is the little prick behind trying to ban smoking outdoors, who tells people what kind of fat they are permitted to fry their food in and commands us to consume less sugar, all the while jacking up the price of municipal services and parking tickets sky high, while inventing countless new “fines and fees” to be levied on those of us less than enthusiastic about his vision of New York City, a vision that has little to do with reality.
Towards this end he fills our city jails each week with poor people who have committed the most minor of infractions, mostly for having the temerity to be seen and heard in his city. Thousands of New York’s poor are subjected to regular police “sweeps” designed to keep as many poor people out of sight for as long as possible, since being poor definitely doesn’t fit in with his “vision” of New York as a swanky playground for the monied elite.
234 years after gaining our independence from monarchs, New York City is the last bastion of America to suffer under one-man-rule. This city of 8 million people does not have a representative government, with only a powerless and corrupt City Council in lieu of a legislative branch of government. That is the equivalent of the nation of Austria being administered by one man, with no local mayors, legislators, aldermen and what-have-you representing the interests of smaller constituencies. The mayor does as he pleases, needing to consult no one, and that’s the way a CEO billionaire like Bloomberg likes it.
This little man has been doing his best for 9 years and counting to make life in this country’s most expensive city even more expensive and now he wants us to sit in our own public parks without access to a damned hot dog or an ice cream cone while perusing the works of a struggling young artist or listening to a talented troubadour. Can we toss a ball around, maybe, or is there a new fine in place for having a catch with your kid? If Mikey wanted that law passed, there’s no congress or senate here to stop him.
What the fuck would a guy like that know about people, or parks, or street artists or hard-working vendors with families to support? Or the millions of New Yorkers and tourists who really dig having them around. Apparently we’re all “licenses” to Little MIkey, to be revoked or denied as is his whim, or jailed for the weekend or longer if we step out of line.
So if you are not one of the wealthy elite in New York City, do try not to be too conspicuous and breathe too much air, would you? Little Mikey is making it abundantly clear that this is their town, and he’s the Boss of All Bosses in New York. We’re just here to pay the bills and make their ride a sweeter one. Thanks, Little Mikey, but…