Mayor Michael Bloomberg this morning accused state senators of slavishly following the will of "party bosses" for failing to return to work and pass legislation to extend mayoral control of the city school system, which will otherwise expire Wednesday.
During a press conference following an event in Williamsburg to publicize free summer activities, I asked Bloomberg whether he was willing to personally and publicly pressure senators who he believed were responsible for the chaos, and whether he would use his political clout to try and force some sort of resolution.
"I don't know that I have any political influence," said Bloomberg. "I have an influence of representing the city of New York and what we need and I'm not going to tell them how to do it. But I will say that I think every one of them should show up, both Republicans and Democrats, and do the public's business. And I don't think they should be there and say, ‘Well, my party won't let me.' I don't remember anybody running for office and saying, ‘Well, my party won't let me do what's right for you.' They all say when they're running, me included, ‘I'll do things that I believe in to make this city or district—or state in the case of a U.S. senator or whatever—better.' And I don't remember anybody running for office saying, ‘But I can't do it if my political boss won't let me to do it.' This is ridiculous."
Earlier in the press conference, Bloomberg said he thought any result other than actually extending the version of mayoral control that the Assembly has already approved would mire the management of the school system in courts and bureaucracy. Bloomberg said there were enough senators (from both parties) that supported the bill before the stalemate to get it passed.
"I don't know what would happen, but our belief is that everything you did would go straight to court. I don't think there is any reason to find out," said Bloomberg, adding, "it's time they just stopped all this craziness and all the mishegoss and come and do the people's business."
Asked again what he could do to stop said mishegoss, Bloomberg said, "I don't want Albany coming in to tell us how to run our government so you have to be a little bit careful. Number two, the mayor of New York has no standing in Albany."
When I asked him again if he believed he had any political influence on the situation, he said, "Politically, this—the politics here—are among the two parties in the Senate. I don't see even the political process outside of the Senate having any sway. You don't see this process going on in the Assembly. And yesterday I was asked ‘Can the governor do more?' I don't know what else the governor can do. You've got to give him credit, he's at least trying. There are others who haven't maybe weighed in and they should all weigh in. But the story is not about the mayor of New York, it isn't even about the city of New York, it's about the people who live in the city of New York and the other 57 counties in the state, they all need things done."