The other day we learned from the modest Rupert Murdoch that New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg
had described President Obama as the most “arrogant man” he had ever met after playing his first and presumably last round of golf with the commander in chief.
Bloomberg is the modest Mayor who conspired, democratically, with his City Council to overturn the twice-expressed will of New York City voters that mayors and other office holders be subject to term limits. It is also the Bloomberg who believes that the City of New York should be entrusted in his care but that its citizens have no right to knowledge of his whereabouts.
Mr. Bloomberg, who owns a waterfront estate here, has walled off his life in Bermuda from voters in New York, arguing it is none of their business. He steadfastly refuses to say when he is on the island, and to blindfold prying eyes, he has blocked aviation Web sites from making public the movements of his private planes.
Now we learn more of his governing practices, after two plus terms.
Shortly after 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg circulated through his City Hall offices, introducing a tall, blond woman who looked slightly familiar to his top aides. A foreign dignitary, perhaps? Or maybe an ambitious out-of-state politician hoping to impress the mayor? Somebody’s wife whom they were supposed to recognize?
No, it was Cathleen P. Black, and in less than an hour, Mayor Bloomberg would stun New York’s political, business and education establishments by naming her as the city’s schools chancellor, replacing Joel I. Klein.
To a degree unusual even for an administration that relishes keeping its deliberations as private as possible, hardly anyone knew of Mr. Klein’s departure or Ms. Black’s arrival until minutes before the official announcement. While such posts are typically filled after highly publicized national searches that can last months or even a year, there is little evidence that anyone else was seriously vetted or considered — and few of the usual suspects, including members of the mayor’s inner circle, were even consulted.
Salon’s Alex Pereene is not impressed. May I say neither am I?
We’re two terms into mayoral control of the New York schools and not much has changed — besides the fact that fewer black students are attending the better public high schools. What looked like soaring test scores turned out to be a sham. The idea of Cathleen Black reversing those trends (through effective management!) is laughable, unless you subscribe to the religion of private sector superiority.
The appeal of Bloomberg to his Democrat-voting, comfortable, educated Manhattan base is that everyone assumes he’s quietly a Democrat who — unlike the actual Democrats — isn’t beholden to New York’s various special interests (unions and minorities), who are generally presumed to be the reason why managing the city is so damn hard. But this sort of move — along with his steadfast support for unaccountable authoritarian police commissioner Ray Kelly — demonstrates contempt for all New Yorkers who don’t summer in the Hamptons. This isn’t a cold, evidence-based approach to city management. There’s no “evidence” here beyond a rich man’s conviction that things would be better if only everyone in charge of everything were more like him.
The problem with public schools, inasmuch as there is a problem, is a problem of poverty. The idea that an injection of profit motive is all we need to become Finland is an idiotic daydream inexplicably beloved by supposed do-gooding liberals. At least this appointment is so nakedly wrong that it may shut up the “Bloomberg for president” speculation — for a week or two.
- “Joel Klein Steps Down as Schools Chancellor, Bloomberg Taps Businesswoman for the Job” and related posts (thebrooklynink.com)
- Media Decoder: New NYC Schools Commish Might Want to Start With Mayor’s Office (mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com)
- Stern on Black: She gets benefit of the doubt (timesunion.com)
- UPDATE 2-Hearst executive Black tapped to head NYC schools (reuters.com)