The city’s registered Democrats and Republicans have made their mayoral choices. And so the general election begins in earnest.
This progression seems only natural. But it isn’t, because, historically speaking, it is absolutely out of the ordinary in New York.
A generation of New Yorkers has become accustomed to strong—and victorious—Republican mayoral candidates. But for Read More
Mayor Michael Bloomberg led the city through two devastating economic slumps—the recession that followed the dot-com bust and the attacks of 9/11, and, of course, the Great Recession that began in 2008. While the mayor has done a laudable job managing the city’s finances through hard times, he probably would be the first to admit that the city’s employment picture could be better. A lot better.
The city’s jobless rate remains too high at 8.4 percent, more than a full percentage point higher than the national average. True, unemployment is lower today than it was a year ago, when the figure stood at 9.4 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But many new jobs are in low-paying fields like hospitality and food service. While those jobs can, and do, serve as vital steppingstones for hard-working young people, they are hardly the centerpiece of dynamic economic recovery.
The Bloomberg era is another step closer to history. Primary voters made their choices on Tuesday, and, while the results weren’t clear as this is being written, there’s little doubt that the general election will become a referendum on the successes—and failures—of the incumbent’s 12 years in office.
The Democratic Party front-runner heading into Primary Day, Bill de Blasio, eagerly portrayed himself as the anti-Michael Bloomberg, a tactic that seemed to have awakened the party’s core constituencies. The Republican Party front-runner, Joe Lhota, represented continuity not only of the Bloomberg years, but of the two decades of reform, experimentation and progress under Rudy Giuliani and Mr. Bloomberg.
The success of those themes—or the lack thereof—may tell us a great deal about the coming general election campaign. But beyond a public debate over Mr. Bloomberg’s legacy loom any number of critical issues that will shape the legacy of the next administration in City Hall, regardless of party or ideology.
At a critical point during the Cold War, when it looked as though mutually assured destruction was just a crisis away, President Kennedy had his staff read Barbara Tuchman’s great book about the beginnings of World War I, The Guns of August. The book showed how the nations of Europe mobilized and went to Read More
There’s enough scandal swirling around Alex Rodriguez to qualify him as a candidate on the September primary ballot. If Anthony Weiner, John Liu and Eliot Spitzer can present themselves as serious candidates for high office, well, why not A-Rod?
There is, of course, a big difference between a disgraced politician and a disgraced third baseman. Mr. Rodriguez can afford better lawyers, PR spinners and image consultants. The others might be struggling to achieve redemption from fickle voters, but A-Rod’s team could turn him from goat to hero in a New York minute. Do you realize how many well-paying jobs A-Rod has created in the pharmaceutical industry?
Like many high-profile government employees, Huma Abedin has made some very powerful friends and connections. And, like so many of her colleagues, she has every right to take advantage of those contacts to find more lucrative work in the private sector.
But she can’t have it both ways.
Ms. Abedin rose to some level of fame as a trusted aide to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She also happens to be the long-suffering wife of virtual philanderer Anthony Weiner. While the choices she has made in her private life certainly should summon sympathy from even the hardest of hearts, her dual life as a public employee and a private consultant deserves clear-eyed skepticism.
Even after Detroit’s bankruptcy, even after Chicago’s Democratic leaders have expressed grave concerns about public employee pensions and benefits, New York’s union bosses remain stuck in the 1960s, when times were fat—and so were municipal labor contracts.
The Municipal Labor Committee, which represents several public employee unions, successfully filed suit against the Read More
After years of relatively decent news from the city’s public schools, a recent batch of standardized test scores has City Hall and the education establishment reeling. Only 26 percent of city students in the third to eighth grades passed state exams in English, and just 30 percent passed in math.
Those figures Read More
A federal judge has decided that the Police Department’s crime-busting stop-and-frisk policies are unconstitutional. It’s hard to top Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s reaction. Justifiably furious, Mr. Bloomberg noted the judge clearly knows nothing about police work.
So true, but why let ignorance stand in the way of ideology?
The city Read More
On Friday, I published a column in these pages about my trials and tribulations surrounding repeated suspensions from Facebook.
It took two months of experiencing intermittent bans from the social network–due to ostensibly “inappropriate material” on my page–before I finally took any measures to extricate myself from the situation.
Each time Read More