Mike’s Times

The Times editorial board has spent most of Mike Bloomberg‘s term as his most formidable political ally, and occasionally something like his only one. He and they have had their disagreements here and there — notably over non-partisan elections and the West Side Stadium — but their basic sense of his good motives and good judgement, and their admiration of his willingness to make what he describes as tough choices, make just the point Bill Cunningham is always trying to get across. We once suggested that Miller, Ferrer, or Weiner could angle for the Times endorsement, and we were roundly mocked by the four people then reading this blog.

That’s why the political event of the weekend was the edit board’s calculated slap at the Mayor, in their use of the carefully chosen word “pander” — something the mayor, you may recall, never does — to describe his change of position on that rail freight tunnel thing:

“Mr. Bloomberg is wrong. Instead of pandering, he should use his considerable skills as a salesman to win support for the project.”

Perhaps it was with those words in his mind that Mike went up to the Bronx yesterday and put his energy into defending another locally unpopular piece of infrastructure, the Bronx Water Filtration Plant.

Our intrepid stringer, Azi, turned up at the Riverdale Jewish Community Council’s legislative breakfast Sunday morning — despite the parking problems, mind you — where he saw Mike stand up to some booing over the filtration plant.

“You can boo, but let me tell you, it’s going to give quarter of billion dollars or thereabouts for parks in the Bronx that would not otherwise be there. So when its all done, I think you’re going to look back and say, ‘It was a lot better than if we had built it up in Westchester and didn’t have the money for our parks.’ You can’t have it both ways, and this was the best compromise I can offer.”

So there.