Benevolent Dictator

 

By New York State Senator Reverend Ruben Diaz

Michael Bloomberg’s efforts to remain in office for a third term seems like nothing but a cynical attempt to capitalize on the Wall Street crisis and tap into the same sentiment of fear that motivated suggestions to keep Mayor Giuliani’s benevolent guiding hand in place beyond his mayoral term.

Mayor Giuliani was asked to extend his term for three months to help keep our City on course after we were attacked on 9/11 by Al Qaeda. He contemplated changing the city's term-limits law, but respected and trusted our democratic process and declined the possible three month extension.

The passage of a new law to allow for a third term for New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will most certainly guarantee that he will employ the same tactics he used to run for election in the past two terms, namely: his overwhelming personal financial resources. He would also bring to the 2009 Mayoral race the claim that the New York City Council’s permission to run for a third term is their endorsement of him as New York’s next Mayor.

New Yorkers need to recall that when Michael Bloomberg came into office without prior elected experience and right after the 9/11 attacks on New York City, we had confidence that a new Mayor could rise to the occasion with the support of the electorate to govern this City.

Why should we, like frightened children, abandon faith in our democratic system now? Was it not our democratic system that expressed the will of the people when we voted, by referendum in 1993 and in 1996 for term limits? That faith in the democratic ideals should require the term limits to stand as it exists.

Why should we run – every time there is a crisis – to the sanctuary or comfort of an already elected leader who will stay longer than the democratic process permits – now from an economic crisis?

Why should we view Mayor Michael Bloomberg as the financial "Savior" of New York City’s economic crisis when these problems have all occurred during the past 7 years – on his watch?

During his term, Mayor Bloomberg has traveled throughout our nation advocating against smoking and supporting gun control, which is commendable. But, if he is so wise to the ways of the business world and the economy, why have the roots of our nation’s financial turmoil been growing on Wall Street?

How could this "Savior" of our economy be unable to foresee the economic uncertainty of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the impact it would have on our economy? Surely a man with a plan would have foreseen these problems growing in his own backyard.

We the people of New York should not have such a timid faith in our own democracy. We should not be drawn into fear tactics that will turn our democracy on its head.

We need to reaffirm the will of the people – as expressed twice by referendum – and draw from our citizens and our resources to find, select and elect a new Mayor for the year 2009. Mayor Bloomberg, the New York City Council, and New Yorkers should decline a full term extension of power offer for the Mayor now.

When his term ends, he should leave his post graciously.