Tuesday, February 23, 2010

President Mike?

New York now leads the world's great cities in the number of people around whom you shouldn't make a sudden move.
-- David Letterman (1947 - )

A funny thing happened on the way to Housing Court. A few people who have been very unhappy with Hi-rise Mike, who has been blamed for the over-development of Downtown, have made a slight turn to the right. Apparently, the Mayor has recently made a few moves that even the die-hard left of center Liberals have had to applaud. The most recent of these has been his stance on supporting affordable housing. In the wake of the Stuyvesant Town Court of Appeals ruling and drying up of investment capital for real estate projects, Bloomberg appears to have gotten some religion . Of course, you can always second-guess his motives – but, in this current economic Armageddon, which has erroneously been called The Great Recession, it pays to be thankful for the Ends, not dwelling on the Means.

Considering the fact that Downtown has about had it with delays on rebuilding at the 9/11 site, the Mayor’s assertive comments are welcomed.

As the Pragmatist philosopher William James might say, “What is the cash value of believing in” Bloomberg’s candidacy. The answer is – maybe, fairly high.
So, let’s assume that Bloomberg is obsessively micro-managing his White House aspirations with a good spin from his pr doctors. No politician alive is immune from wanting to reach higher office. That’s true of Stringer wanting to be Senator, Quinn for wanting to be Mayor, Squadron for possibly seeking national office, and Obama… well, wanting to stay where he is; Which is becoming less and less likely as we pussyfoot through the quagmire of Wars and Depression. It may be a time for a change. But, perhaps one that is weighed, deliberate, and cautious.

Even his detractors credit Bloomberg with having high-quality management skills, especially financial acumen. And, even if there is a sizeable contingent of New Yorkers who would have preferred he had moved on – obstinacy and grandiosity (if that’s what it is) are not necessarily negative traits for a President. But, the ability to do an about-face on important social issues, not defense or security, is a valuable trait that he has kept hidden. Our economic condition, however, is a disaster and needs to be changed.

The sensitivity (or practicality) to changing social winds and, perhaps, some sense of what New York and its dysfunctional State government needs from Washington – is a positive sign for New York City as well as Long Island. Bloomberg may have that.
With the assistance of Frank McKay, the still evolving “whiz kid” (not such a kid) from the Independence Party on Long Island as one of his political gurus, is also a promising sign that he’s mindful of the landscape. It goes a long way towards carrying this state and overcoming any Jewish or Billionaire provincialism.

Only money, as he found out in the recent election for Mayor, is not going to do the trick. The ever-so-subtle shift in hubris after his recent close election, however, may have done the trick. He is appearing neither week, nor grandiose.
A combination of smart political moves and sensitivity to voter issues may yet lift Bloomberg onto the national scene this time around.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Sign This!

The truth is more important than the facts.
-- Frank Lloyd Wright

Apparently, the company doing the construction on the small parcel bordering Thompson/Watts/Broome streets is not even sure who ordered the job done. But SoHo is now the proud recipient of yet another useless structure whose only reason for existence – is to sport another “wrap-around” billboard. In fact, the race to create this 40-foot high tubular steel Lego set has pitched media companies against each other. The existing VanWagner sign, which has aided the media mess that is turning SoHo into a mini-Times Square, is apparently going to be partially blocked by the new addition. At least there’s some justice in this unfortunate event.

Where once there was art, we now have Times Square in SoHo. Big media money has clearly taken over the political process.

The Community Board is nowhere to be seen or heard from in this matter, despite the fact that its entire force was rallied to arrange the removal of one in Greenwich Village. It’s just another example of the political neglect that has severed SoHo from any meaningful support.