Citizen Bloomberg

Reports The New York Times:

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has been frank about why he took pains to keep his search for a new schools chancellor secret, saying he wanted to avoid a public spectacle.

But a spectacle is exactly what Mr. Bloomberg has unleashed, and one week after announcing his choice of Cathleen P. Black, a publishing executive, to succeed Joel I. Klein at the helm of the country’s largest school system, the mayor’s aides are trying to fend off mounting skepticism about her selection.

If you know enough about the political career and procedures of Michael Bloomberg, you know it was not a public spectacle he sought to avoid, but public scrutiny. Now, the CEO-King encourages his nominee to behave like another nabob who is equally elevated above the mob.

Ms. Black has repeatedly declined interviews, allowing other voices to fill the void.

None of this should surprise from a ruler mayor who believes himself unbeholden to those he deigns to govern for free out of corporatist-technocratic noblesse oblige. He can defy the people’s will in overturning the term limits they imposed on his job, he will travel in secret without any acceptance of an obligation to transparency, and still – he is so wealthy – he can purchase the endorsement of the electoral will and the acquiescence of those over whom he lords.

The opposition has coalesced slowly, partly because of the mayor’s tight grip on the city’s political sphere, which is strengthened by his popularity and his vast financial resources.

We learn the lesson without end, and some never do, that those who descend to govern or raise themselves up in their governance, however well-intentioned they begin or believe themselves to be, lose the democratic spirit just as they find entitlement. We have three more years to fully learn the lessons of just how wrong was Michael Bloomberg’s third term as mayor of New York City.
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