The Daily News, for example, said Mayor Bloomberg deserved our trust that he knew best on the education issue and so we should give him his Cathie Black.
Less than five months later, after one snow storm disaster, one CityTime disaster and one Cathie Black disaster, that "trust" is in tatters.
On Friday, those same Daily News editorial writers, wise men that they are, wrote this:
Speaking of Cathie Black's failed chancellorship yesterday, Mayor Bloomberg said: "I take full responsibility for the fact that this has not worked out as either of us had hoped or expected. But now it's time to look forward, not back."
We beg to differ.
It's time for the accountability that goes with mayoral control, even if it means stating the obvious. Which is that Bloomberg's selection of Black was the single largest and most consequential error of his mayoralty.
One that set back the cause of school reform by giving all the defenders of the status quo a ready foil to ridicule.
One that wasted valuable political capital by reinforcing the image of mayoral high-handedness.
One that was particularly wasteful for proving to have been so poorly considered.
The Daily News front page of Nov. 10 expressed New York's response to Bloomberg's selection of Black, a magazine executive and cocktail-circuit friend who had no education experience beyond sending her children to boarding school in Connecticut. The headline read:
Based on Bloomberg's record in choosing top-notch aides, this page called his move "high-risk" and said Black should get a fair opportunity to prove her mettle. Unfortunately, she proved to be a poor fit.
That Black washed out after hard and dedicated effort is not her fault. She is the very same capable woman she was when, without a day's experience in the arena, she agreed to take on one of the biggest public service challenges America has to offer.
Surely hers was not a choice cavalierly made, but as the facts emerged, Bloomberg's decision-making did smack of hastiness.
He should have known better than to assume a successful business executive would necessarily have what it takes to run the schools - and win the faith of child-rearing, sandwich-making parents with, in the lingo of the corporate world, her skill set.
Didn't happen. Instead, New Yorkers took the mayor to school for a hard third-term lesson.
It's fun to see editorial writers engage in CYA.
If you're concerns were so great, you should have been more forceful in your calling for caution BEFORE she got the waiver to run the school system.