Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Bloomberg's Destructive Force Will Live On Long After The Little Oligarch Is Gone From Office

Juan Gonzalez:

Michael Bloomberg, who once vowed to turn around our public schools, lashed out Thursday at those who say his three terms in office have left our school system in disarray.

In his final State of the City speech, Bloomberg barely mentioned the huge gains he once touted in state math and reading tests by city pupils. Those tests, we now know, were all watered down.

The mayor likewise ignored all the polls that show most public school parents believe he has failed to improve the schools.

He preferred instead to highlight the nearly 150 charter schools created under his watch — and another 26 set to launch in September.
“Charter schools are public schools, and their students deserve access to public school facilities,” Bloomberg said.

He derided thousands of public school parents who keep turning out at community meetings to protest their schools being closed and replaced with charters, or who object to forced co-location arrangements with charters.

“How dare the special interests try to lock out our children?” Bloomberg said.

Thus, the very leader whose policies created ugly turf wars in scores of neighborhood schools has the nerve to condemn parents as divisive.
And Bloomberg isn’t finished. He is determined to use his final months in office to ram through a string of long-term deals, not only for charter school operators but for real estate developers, the financial industry and information technology firms.
Those deals are bound to dramatically limit the options of any future mayor.

Take, for example, the giant Hudson Yards development project on Manhattan’s far West Side. This column revealed that Bloomberg quietly set aside a staggering $234 million from the city budget in June to make $3 billion in debt payments on Hudson Yards bonds.

The bonds had been issued in 2007 by a city-created nonprofit group. They were supposed to be paid for by taxes from new real estate construction in the area. But with revenue far below what Bloomberg aides projected, taxpayers will be on the hook for years to come.
Then there’s the recent report by my colleague Greg Smith that the Housing Authority plans to build luxury housing on top of parking lots, playgrounds and community centers inside Manhattan public housing projects.

By agreeing to build a small number of “affordable units,” developers will be handed valuable public land for virtually a song.

Then there’s the Midtown East project. It’s a vast proposal to rezone some of New York’s most valuable real estate — more than 70 blocks between Fifth Ave. and Third Ave.

The rezoning would permit building owners to erect far taller skyscrapers, and reap huge profits.
“There’s definitely a rush to get this done before the mayor leaves office,” a member of the City Planning Commission told me.

Meanwhile, several city agencies have hastily approved during the past few months major new contracts for information technology projects, many with unusually long duration.

For the favored few, the Bloomberg Era will persist long after the man has left office.

Gotta love the deals Bloomberg is pulling to keep his real estate criminal friends and charter school buddies happy long after he's gone.

How dare he say the "special interests" have no power in the Bloomberg administration?

What exactly are the charter school industry and the real estate industry but special interests?

Or does that moniker only count for union members and teachers?

And notice Gonalez didn't even mention all the consultant corruption.

Wonder how many of those deals go far into the next mayor's term?

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