Every year Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposes a preliminary budget containing cuts to services, and every year City Council Members and advocacy organizations hold loud rallies and press conferences, often on the steps of City Hall, to protest specific cuts, which often make their way back into the final budget. This year’s budget emerged last night, and Mr. Bloomberg had a simple message for the protesters on John Gambling’s radio show this morning.
“You wait until the end and then come together,” he said after explaining a lot of the behind-the-scenes negotiating of the budget. “If people would just chill out — it would be a better process if people didn’t rush to the steps of City Hall and they demanding and they give these speeches and hold the signs. That doesn’t influence anybody. It’s just a sideshow.”
The mayor then explained his own budget rationale.
“The real answer is: Is it a good program? Do we need it? Are we doing it as efficiently as we can? And is it more or less important than something else?” he continued. “And you don’t learn anything, I don’t think, from some of this stuff. A rational person coming in with a well thought out reason why, yes that is useful. That’s what the public should be doing and can be very helpful.”
“But just yelling and screaming…” he trailed off.
One suspects the City Hall protests aren’t going away anytime soon, however.