NY Times Endorses Bloomberg


bloombergBy The New York Times

The real test of any mayor is how well the city works. In his eight years in office, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has managed to make the unpredictable city of New York work astonishingly well.

Mr. Bloomberg has been a first-rate steady hand during unsteady times. He guided the city out of the post-9/11 recession, then tucked away money during the boom years that followed. That foresight has helped New Yorkers weather one of the worst economic downturns in 80 years. Mayor Bloomberg has easily earned another four years.

The Democratic nominee, Comptroller William Thompson, is a worthy opponent. Mr. Thompson has been a competent comptroller in a turbulent period and is a quiet, conciliatory man. But he has spent too much of his campaign attacking Mayor Bloomberg rather than explaining how he would manage the city, and Mr. Bloomberg is simply the stronger candidate.

What makes the mayor stand out is not his political skill, although he has come a long way since his first clumsy days in office. He has run the $60 billion government with a keen attention to accountability and efficiency. He has chosen some of the best people in the country to work for him, and he has mostly let them do their jobs. As a result, many city services operate better than they have for years. The garbage mostly disappears on time. The police and fire departments respond quickly. Mr. Bloomberg’s 311 phone line allows New Yorkers to complain to a live human being. Often, they even see tangible results.

Public education is better over all – although parents still need more access to their children’s teachers and schools. The mayor’s new complaint line for parents should help, as will other changes imposed by the Legislature. But in a third term, the mayor and his team should still work harder to listen to those who hand over their children each morning to his educators.

Crime is down under Raymond Kelly, the police commissioner, although there is concern again about stop-and-frisk actions, which seem to focus too heavily on Hispanics and African-Americans. Mr. Bloomberg also has been a national leader in gun control.

The mayor’s environmental efforts – stalled in Albany – show admirable concern about the city’s future. And he has worked hard to improve the city’s health – most effectively with the smoking ban.

His plans suit the times. With little city money to spend, Mr. Bloomberg wants to focus more on helping working-class and middle-class residents with cheap banking or aid in fighting foreclosures or finding jobs and housing. He wants to give a lift to small businesses.

Like Mr. Thompson, who has made the mayor’s wealth a major issue, most New Yorkers are concerned about Mr. Bloomberg’s spending $85 million – so far – to win re-election. In his first campaign in 2001, he argued that he was spending so much to introduce himself. Now a nationally recognized figure, he argues that as a candidate running on Republican and Independent Party lines, he needs to fight for votes in a city that is so predominantly Democratic.

We think Mr. Bloomberg exaggerates his vulnerability. New York City’s campaign finance system is one of the best in the country. He does everyone a disservice by not complying with the system’s limits on spending.

Mr. Thompson also argues that the mayor unfairly worked to get rid of term limits so that he could run this third time. We supported his efforts to do so because term limits unfairly limit voters’ choices. But the mayor has sent signals that once he is elected, he will set up a charter commission to try to restore the limits. That is a bad call.

Finally, like others who have not always agreed with the mayor, we worry about his difficulty brooking dissent. He should not allow that trait to spoil a third term.

But those are small blemishes. We enthusiastically endorse Mayor Michael Bloomberg for re-election.

{The New York Times}

{Matzav.com Newscenter}