And He’s Off!

Just back from Mike Bloomberg’s semi-official volunteer hoe-down at B.B. King’s, a perfectly-staged political event. What it lacked in passion, it more than made up in 6:00-news-ready ethnic balance, brevity, and crowd density.

And you know it’s political season when Verna Eggleston, the head of the city’s welfare agency, returns from wherever she’s spent the last three years. Never mind that her agency is widely viewed as adrift, as this Newsday article politely points out. It’s election time, and she’s introducing the mayor.

Bloomberg, looking happy and relaxed, laid out some campaign themes: “A leader not a politician…not only the tough decisions but the right decisions…optimism, integrity, and independence.” The real theme, however, seemed to be volunteers, and Mike’s newly launched website bears that out.

“I’m not asking for your money,” he said. “I’m asking for your support, your dedication, and your commitment,”

And speaking of commitment, the elusive uber-guru David Garth made a personal appearance, and we had the pleasure of taking a bit of ritual abuse from a man who returns, say, 3% of our phone calls.

Garth was soon replaced at the door by Kevin Sheekey, who beamed at the crowd, which included his wife, a serious Democrat, who was even holding a sign. He promised to keep the bar open late, as the line stretched toward 7th Avenue and the mayor’s sister thanked people for waiting and the mayor departed to what sounded to us like a new theme song: “Ain’t No Stopping Us Now.”

Nobody could give us a price tag for the event, which also included Mud Truck, the self-described “anti-establishment coffee machine of NYC’s East Village,” parked right outside. We asked the shaggy guy pouring tasty free coffee how much his services had set Mike back.

“Can you really put a price on a person’s soul?” he replied.