In The VillageVoice, Wayne Barrett portrays Bloomberg’s tenure as mayor of New York City as an unstoppable glacier of conflicting interests. The only guardian of the general welfare of the public against conflicts of interest within city government is the Conflicts of Interest Board (COIB) -
Bloomberg appoints all five of its members. The agency described its own weaknesses in a March 2009 report, noting that New York "appears to be the only large municipality in the United States that has granted its ethics board the power to sanction violations, but not the power to investigate such violations." The same internal document points out that the COIB "regulates the very people who set its budget," meaning that "the Board invariably has before it matters involving high-level officials at the same time those officials are passing on the Board's budget, an unseemly situation."...
Is this how a Democracy is supposed to function? The VillageVoice examines Mayor Bloomberg’s apparent conflict of interest with respect to NYC housing -
In the fall of 2006, amid a speculative frenzy that has since consumed world markets, the biggest real estate deal in history occurred on the East Side of Manhattan.
MetLife sold the 80-acre, 100-building, middle-income oasis called Stuy Town to a developer friend of the mayor's, Jerry Speyer, for $5.4 billion, a price tag at least three times the rent roll paid by the 25,000 people who lived in the 11,200-unit complex, the borough's largest. Anyone who could count knew the numbers would only work if Speyer could rapidly empty many of the 8,000 rent-regulated apartments and greatly increase prices, a result so predictable that tenants began filing lawsuits against Speyer as soon as he took over. Four appellate judges ruled unanimously this March in the tenants' favor in one key case, Roberts v. Tishman Speyer, which will be heard by the Court of Appeals in mid-September.
The mayor, mesmerized as ever by private deals involving 10 digits, called Speyer "a great landlord" and said, less than prophetically, "I think the tenants will be well-protected." Dan Garodnick, the understated City Councilman who lives in and represents Stuy Town, said last week that Speyer has "moved against people in 1,500 apartments and been forced to drop half the cases."
At the time of the sale, Garodnick got every major Democrat in the city and state at the time—including Chuck Schumer, Hillary Clinton, Christine Quinn, and Bill Thompson—to raise alarms about the sale's inevitable detrimental impact on the city's affordable housing stock and even to join him in championing a $4.5 billion bid put together by tenant and union leaders...
Bloomberg appealed to fans of the free market. "MetLife owns it, and they have a right to sell it," he declared before the sale occurred. "When you have a lot of people wanting to live there, prices go up" was another Bloomberg pre-sale explanation. "You always feel sorry for those who can't afford it," he mused on his radio show. "But those who can afford it say, 'Well, what about me?' " The Daily News called Bloomberg's comments an "endorsement" of the sale, and the Times later noted that "the Bloomberg administration supported Tishman Speyer's record-breaking purchase."
But Bloomberg wasn't just in favor of the sale. In fact, he and Doctoroff undercut efforts by others in the administration to come up with a proposal to save Stuy Town's affordable apartments. Emily Youssouf, the president of the city's Housing Development Corporation (HDC), said in August 2006, when MetLife formally put the project out to bid, that her organization could "use its reserves to make a loan to a buyer that would enable them, in turn, to offer the apartments to current residents at prices they could afford." Youssouf told the Times that MetLife "built the properties with the help of the city" and could "get the same price" from a city-assisted deal.
When the tenants later put together their bid, HDC worked behind the scenes to try to help them shape it. While this "rogue" action, as one participant called it, went on, Housing Commissioner Shaun Donovan met with advocates of the tenants' plan and tried to figure out a way to make it work. Senator Schumer called the mayor and MetLife to push consideration of the tenant bid, according to his press spokesman. Quinn, as loyal an ally as Bloomberg has in city politics, told the Voice she believed that the tenant bid had "real potential and could be done," acknowledging that she raised it with the mayor "briefly" at the end of a private meeting. Thompson, who is now running against Bloomberg, but was then on excellent terms with him, proclaimed that he was willing to invest pension funds in support of the tenant bid, and contacted Doctoroff. The mayor's spokesman, Loeser, regurgitated the same numbers cited by Doctoroff at the time about how much more cost-effective it was to use city subsidies to build new apartments than to safeguard Stuy Town's, a hotly disputed numbers game that does not address why the city offered no help at all and cheered MetLife and Speyer on as paragons of the market.
Bill Thompson is a staunch supporter of affordable housing. Bill knows that working New Yorkers are the backbone of our City. Recognizing that the City's housing crisis is forcing hardworking New Yorkers out of the five boroughs, Bill Thompson has led the way in preserving and expanding affordable housing.
The Greenback Effect
Warren Buffet –
In Nature, every action has consequences, a phenomenon called the butterfly effect. These consequences, moreover, are not necessarily proportional. For example, doubling the carbon dioxide we belch into the atmosphere may far more than double the subsequent problems for society. Realizing this, the world properly worries about greenhouse emissions...
I want to emphasize that there is nothing evil or destructive in an increase in debt that is proportional to an increase in income or assets. As the resources of individuals, corporations and countries grow, each can handle more debt. The United States remains by far the most prosperous country on earth, and its debt-carrying capacity will grow in the future just as it has in the past.
Unchecked carbon emissions will likely cause icebergs to melt. Unchecked greenback emissions will certainly cause the purchasing power of currency to melt. The dollar’s destiny lies with Congress.
Haitian Times Backs Bloomberg, Thompson Counters With Clarke
In the endorsement editorial, the Haitian Times heaped praise on the mayor (Michael Bloomberg), although it did take exception to his "muscling a compliant City Council to extend term limit law to another term," and delivered a slight to Comptroller Bill Thompson, calling his campaign "lackluster."
Is the reason Haitians support the Republican candidate is because Bill Thompson’s campaign is lackluster?
New York City Haitians and the Republicans
New York City has been ruled mainly by Democrats for generations. From 1901 to 2009 there have been 14 Democratic mayors, 7 Republican Mayors, and a mix of Fusion, Independent and Liberal mayors.
Edward Koch, a Democrat, was mayor from 1978 to 1989. David Dinkins, also a Democrat, was mayor from 1990 to 1993. Rudolph Giuliani, a Republican, was mayor from 1994 to 2001. Michael Bloomberg, a Republican, then Independent, now Republican again, has been mayor from 2002 to present.
According to the 1980 census there were approximately 52,600 Haitians in NY, with an average annual influx of 15,000 to the city of NY. The Haitian impact on the wider city will be increasingly felt as Haitians become more involved in community and city politics, as more Haitians become residents and American citizens, and as the Haitian immigrant population grows in number.
New York City's immigrant communities have for centuries been the cornerstone of our economic growth and vibrant culture. Bill Thompson understands the challenges facing our City's immigrant communities, and has worked to ensure that all New Yorkers have access to our services and opportunities.
Why are Haitians here?
What do Haitians know about living in a democracy?
Why do they prefer Bloomberg?
Haiti is officially a presidential republic, although it is often claimed to be authoritarian in practice. Suffrage is universal, for adults over 18. The constitution was modeled after those of the United States and of France. It was approved in March 1987, but it was completely suspended from June 1988 to March 1989 and was only fully reinstated in October 1994. On February 29, 2004, a rebellion culminated in a coup against the popularly elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, allegedly with the assistance of the French and United States governments ...
Political corruption is a common problem in Haiti. The country has consistently ranked as one of the most corrupt nations according to the Corruption Perceptions Index, a measure of perceived political corruption. In 2006, Haiti was ranked as the most corrupt nation out of the 163 that were surveyed for the Index. The International Red Cross reported that Haiti was 155th out of 159 countries in a similar survey of corrupt countries.
What happened in Haiti?
Haitian Prime Minister Michèle Pierre-Louis took office in September, succeeding a former prime minister who was ousted amid riots over the country’s food problem, which is chronicled in the signature video Dirt poor Haitians eat cookies made of mud.
Haiti's government fell on Saturday, April 12, 2008 when senators fired the prime minister after more than a week of riots over food prices, ignoring a plan presented by the president to slash the cost of rice.
By contrast, democracy, as practiced in Japan, is very interesting. There is more than 1 Democratic party in Japan. There is the Liberal Democratic Party who lost the election. And the Democratic Party who won.
Japan’s voters cast out the Liberal Democratic Party for only the second time in postwar history on Sunday, handing a landslide victory to a party that campaigned on a promise to reverse a generation-long economic decline and to redefine Tokyo’s relationship with Washington.
Controlling the bureaucracy was the signature campaign pledge of the Democrats, and one that found overwhelming support among voters fed up with the nation’s insider-driven politics. But many former bureaucrats and political analysts are doubtful that the Democrats, as the inexperienced former opposition party, can make much headway against a force that has run this country for decades.
A closer look at the Greenback Effect
Warren Buffet –
An increase in federal debt can be financed in three ways: borrowing from foreigners, borrowing from our own citizens or, through a roundabout process, printing money. Let’s look at the prospects for each individually — and in combination.
The current account deficit — dollars that we force-feed to the rest of the world and that must then be invested — will be $400 billion or so this year. Assume, in a relatively benign scenario, that all of this is directed by the recipients — China leads the list — to purchases of United States debt. Never mind that this all-Treasuries allocation is no sure thing: some countries may decide that purchasing American stocks, real estate or entire companies makes more sense than soaking up dollar-denominated bonds. Rumblings to that effect have recently increased.
Then take the second element of the scenario — borrowing from our own citizens. Assume that Americans save $500 billion, far above what they’ve saved recently but perhaps consistent with the changing national mood.
Finally, assume that these citizens opt to put all their savings into United States Treasuries (partly through intermediaries like banks).
Even with these heroic assumptions, the Treasury will be obliged to find another $900 billion to finance the remainder of the $1.8 trillion of debt it is issuing. Washington’s printing presses will need to work overtime.
What savings? To have savings there must be disposable income. Disposable income has melted away, largely due to a weakening economy, lost jobs, lower wages and inflation. This is an effect of the Republican agenda.
In economics, personal saving has been defined as personal disposable income minus personal consumption expenditure. In other words, income that is not consumed by immediately buying goods and services is saved. Other kinds of saving can occur, as with corporate retained earnings (profits minus dividend and tax payments) and a government budget surplus.
The employment rate hit 9.7%. Neil Irwin, Washington Post staff Writer, describes a continuous free fall in employment since December 2007.
The rise in the unemployment rate rose to 9.7 percent in August, from 9.4 percent in July, resumed a steep upward path that has been only rarely interrupted since the recession began in December 2007. Employers shed 216,000 net jobs, significantly better than the revised 276,000 jobs lost in July and less than the 230,000 decline that forecasters expected...
The tally now stands at 6.9 million jobs lost since the beginning of the recession in December 2007. A broader measure of joblessness rose even more sharply than the headline unemployment rate. An expanded unemployment rate that includes people who have given up looking for a job out of frustration and who are working part time but want a full-time job rose to 16.8 percent, from 16.3 percent.
Huffington Post’s Dan Cantor writes -
As our city and nation tackle the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, standing on the sidelines is unacceptable. Just like last November's election, New York City needs a change. That's why the Working Families Party is supporting Bill Thompson for Mayor.
Bill Thompson offers change, and new leadership for all New Yorkers.