Bloomberg for Mayor
Either one of the two leading candidates for mayor, Michael R. Bloomberg and Fernando Ferrer, would make a good leader. Mr. Ferrer led the Bronx through a tremendous economic revitalization that he may rightly take some of the credit for. He is tactically right to attack Mayor Bloomberg’s public support for President Bush, but I’m not convinced that Mayor Bloomberg is a true Republican at heart, or that his endorsements of Republican policies are anything more than perfunctory nods to curry favor with official Washington. True, as the Republican mayor of the convention’s host city, the mayor spoke at the RNC, but he received only polite applause and gave it his minimum effort and attention. Much more importantly, I’ve been impressed with four of Mayor Bloomberg’s transportation and land use decisions in his first term, and these will lead me to vote for him a second time.
His veto of the City Council’s vote to disable parking meters on Sundays. This bill, which passed despite his veto, will cost the city millions of dollars in lost revenue and will add yet another subsidy to motorists. It will encourage people to hog up spaces all day long and with fewer spaces available, people will spend more time driving around looking for parking, adding to congestion and pollution on neighorhood streets.
His hesitant attempt early in his administration to place tolls on the East River Bridges. One hopes that as a second-termer without the hope of being re-elected, Mayor Bloomberg would take this important but politically unpopular step to discourage traffic and boost city revenue. More.
His veto of the City Council’s vote against landmarking the Cathedral Church of St. John the Devine but not its grounds. Had it not been overridden by the City Council, the Mayor’s action would have helped create a more vibrant neighborhood in lower Morningside Heights and a financially and structurally healthier Cathedral.
His use of the Lexington Avenue subway to get to work. Unlike his predecessor, who traveled around town in a menacing SUV with tinted windows, Mayor Bloomberg rides the subway, with the people. It’s unclear whether he rides the train to work every day, but still, this restores the people’s confidence in the subway and tacitly reminds people that it’s the best way to get around the city (short of bicycling or walking). It also gives the mayor a more visceral understanding of how crowded the Lexington Avenue lines are and how critical it is to get to work building the Second Avenue Subway to alleviate this.
Because of these actions, the mayor has proven himself a responsible thinker with the whole city in mind on a number of land use and transportation issues where the Democratically controlled City Council has not. Hopefully a second term would see a more emboldened Mayor who might have the political capital to push for congestion pricing, which has radically altered the streets of London, and would work here too.
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