Thursday, January 2, 2014

Inauguration Highlights

Top 10 highlights of yesterday's mayoral inauguration (in no particular order):

1. Watching the first family emerge from the subway station--and hearing everyone on the receiving line go crazy declaring their love for the fabulous Chirlane.

2. Bloomberg's unrelenting sourpuss. Without a glimmer of lightness, he never altered his unsmiling pouty face throughout the entire event. He looked like an angry child who just had his favorite toy taken away and who was determined to pout for the duration, no matter how much everyone around him was smiling. In fact, the more they smiled, the more he pouted.

photo: Corey Sipkin, Daily News

These are not the same photo. He just never changed his utterly joyless expression.

Even when shaking Clinton's hand, it was little Pouty McPoutface all the way.

3. The fact that no one thanked Bloomberg until Bill Clinton, nearly an hour into the event. He was barely mentioned at all. Not only that, almost every speaker ripped into his destructive vision of the "luxury city."

4. Public Advocate Letitia James. This woman is future mayor material and her speech pulled no punches--she said it all and then some. It’s time for a city government, she said, “that cares more about a child going hungry than a new stadium or a new tax credit for a luxury development... We live in a gilded age of inequality where decrepit homeless shelters and housing developments stand in the neglected shadow of gleaming, multi-million-dollar condos, where long-term residents are being priced out of their own neighborhoods by rising rents and stagnant incomes... Where hospital closures serve as an existential threat to the health of our community, and library privatization moves are little more than land grabs for more luxury condos.”

5. Dasani Coates, the little girl from the Times' expose on homelessness, held up the Bible for Letitia James' swearing in. After, Letitia and Dasani did a fist bump.

6. Today's New York City is a "plantation," said the Department of Sanitation's Reverend Fred Lucas, Jr.

7. The youth poet laureate Ramya Ramana kicked ass, whipping up the crowd with her indictment of classism (to which Bloomberg responded with a tepid "applause" of fingertips tapping the back of his hand).

8. The guy with the "End of an Error" sign who stood outside City Hall. On the reverse, his sign read "Beaux Riddance!" to Bloomberg.

9. The Bible that de Blasio used for his swearing in was once sworn upon by FDR.

10. And, of course, Bill de Blasio. The anti-Bloomberg. (So far.) The desperately needed breath of fresh air. In his speech, he was unequivocal: “let me be clear. When I said I would take dead aim at the tale of two cities, I meant it. And we will do it.” We will change the city, he said, “so New Yorkers see our city not as the exclusive domain of the 1%, but a place where everyday people can afford to live, work, and raise a family.”



Anonymous said...

"New York is a plantation."
Way to trivialize the lives of the millions who toiled, and many who died, on actual plantations. The reverend needs to retake eighth grade history. Is this asshat on the city payroll?

Carmine said...

We ALL have a lot to learn . . . wishing EVERYone a healthy, happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

"The anti-Bloomberg. (So far.) The desperately needed breath of fresh air."

It's a wee bit early to start praising the guy, I think. This whole de Blasio woop-de-doo is beginning to remind me of the "hope and change" hoopla that followed after Obama's inauguration that ended up setting the bar way too high on what the guy has been able to accomplish.

Let's wait until de Blasio actually changes the gameplan in a significant way before we start patting him on the back.

Anonymous said...

That video looks totally staged nothing spontaneous about it

Jeremiah Moss said...

Of course it was staged. The entire event was planned. Why wouldn't it be? I still liked it.

Ed said...

I wish the new Mayor well, but the more I study the issue the more I think that the whole Bloomberg thing, including Bloomberg himself, are more of a symptom than a cause. The cause is the increased concentration of wealth.

Maria M said...

During the 2009 election I bought a "Bloomberg Sucks" button from a really cool lady who made the buttons for the 2005 election and had a few left. We had a conversation about him and she remarked on how bloomberg is the only human who never smiles no matter what she said "even giulliani would snarl like the dog he is" I love that lady

Laura Goggin Photography said...

Those grumpy faces are fit for a calendar.

Anonymous said...

Of course a lot of it was politicians making promises they don't mean or aren't going to be able to carry out. But the ideas described and the ideas that were not described really do matter. Really matter.

They frame the media coverage of the struggles we're still going to have to fight to resist "luxury NY". Under Potter, I mean, Bloomberg, it was deadly righteous on behalf of the richest and this allowed monstrous growth to gobble us up.

My breathing has actually changed and is easier.

Anonymous said...

Carmine--I know what you mean about feeling burned by hope and change rhetoric after Obama.

However, there's another side to this. After O was elected, all the people who had worked so hard to elect him, went home and became passive, for many years. We thought we had FDR in the WH and stopped staying organized.

It's not all about deBlasio. Stay as active on behalf of NY as you were under Bloomberg and then we'll talk.

Anonymous said...

Just one more opportunity to publicly bash Bloomberg. As Clinton so graciously said:

“I also want to thank Mayor Bloomberg, who has committed so much of his life to this city. He leaves the city stronger and healthier than he found it. More people are coming here than leaving.”

Whether you liked him or not, he was a fairly effective mayor. It remains to be seen how many promises DeBlasio will keep and what his legacy will be.

Little Earthquake said...

These are just a bunch of silly politicians who have no power over you - unless you give it to them. Have a Happy 2014!

laura r. said...

this man has the same past as obama. the wife also does a fist bump. whats next, doing the dawg, then lying? then having a cult following? i dont trust this guy. he talks the talk, but when has a communist really walked the walk? remember you read it here.

Brendan said...

Same past as Obama? What? Obama was a cynical career politician since he was in college. De Blasio was helping the Sandinistas. Who knows what his political limitations will turn out to be, but his convictions are real.

I have a bunch of leftier-than-thou friends who have already written off de Blasio and it's starting to get on my nerves. Let's give him a chance.

Ed said...

I agree with giving Warren Wilhelm a chance, and I think he will be a big improvement over at least his immediate predecessor.

The name change and the connections to the Clinton machine don't inspire confidence.

More substantively, I think what is slowly strangling New York is a situation where capital flows from outside the US enter the US and accrue to a small handful of people. In some places, where these people live or at least shop, they spend their money and you get money entering the economy, but in a way which makes it impossible for local businesses to compete or more marginal types to live. This slowly kills the local economy and culture. In other places the rents are sucked from the economy and the collapse is more direct.

As a recipient of the rents, the New York City government and economy has gotten dependent on skimming off the rents, via taxes (more the property taxes than the city income), which gets spent on a variety of things including welfare for the poor. That creates your two cities as a city for the rich and a city for the poor.

Reversing this would be hard and would involve pissing off the 1% that the city government has gotten dependent for its tax revenues, which in turn would mean fewer genuinely valuable services. You are essentially talking about rewinding back to the 1980s and then pursuing an alternative development model with a smaller, poorer, and more self sufficient city. Its probably too late to do that. I suspect a Mayor who tried even to go half way down that path would be forced out either by a scandal or a capital strike (plus actual union strikes), followed by bankruptcy and the state government and/ or banks taking the city into a sort of receivorship.

What seems on tap with the new administration is a continuation of the paradigm, but more emphasis but this time on the distribution of the rents. I'm hoping at least the nanny-state stuff gets relaxed.

Grand St. said...

Right, Earthquake, and an apathetic dude like you holds the controls.

Anonymous said...

Public Advocate Letitia James. This woman is future mayor material

You can't be serious. You may even want to retract that statement. Who would want to have her as their mayor? Anyway it doesn't matter. The amount of stupidity that will come out of her mouth will all but guaranty that she will never be mayor.

As for de Blasio, he may share an ideology with Obama, but he is in for a rude awakening. Obama has an unlimited checkbook. de Blasio will see that he has very little discretion over where most of the money goes. He also can't borrow or tax his way to fulfilling his whole grandiose scheme. It will be interesting to see how much of his agenda he can actually accomplish.

Anonymous said...

Actually, it looks to me like Mike Bloomberg and Bill Clinton have the same facial expression in that handshake photo.

Anonymous said...

Also -- Patina Miller was amazing. And how cool to see the elegant Harry Belafonte.

Little Earthquake said...

Dear Grand St.,

You think too much of me...the only thing I can control is my own life, and you yours. It's not in the hands of the bozos in Gracie, Congress, or the White House. Nobody is coming to save you...but they'll be happy if you keep voting and worrying. My unsolicited advice is to free yourself of the ruling class - if you haven't already. You don't need 'em!


Grand St. said...

Dear LE -

I'm certainly not expecting to be saved by politicians, I don't really 'worry' about them, nor do I think I can control them. I just prefer participation to abstention (particularly in local races) and I question the wisdom of my neighbors who completely remove themselves from the political and civic process.

Best of luck with your freedom from the ruling class.

laura r. said...

im a bit concerned that he will focus on the poor illegals. hope he doesnt forget american born seniors, war vets, lower middle & middle class NYers. i hope he throws away critical race theory, its that wife i dont like. fist bump once......well i worry about al shapton & those politics. if he walks the walk lets hope it is for YOU TOO!

Mooser said...

The fist bump always tells! DeBlasio is probably in communication with the Comintern as we speak!

Roberta Schine said...

"Everyone is part gold and part garbage."
--Pablo Neruda

Ed said...

I've dropped other comments here saying that I don't expect much from Wilhelm/ de Blasio, though I'm willing to be pleasantly surprise (actually the name change -both the first and last name! is a big part of it). This essay is a good explanation of why:

I think the overall point is valid, that New York City is just too important for Big Finance and the machine pols to let it get out of their control, as almost happend in the 70s.

If for some bizarre reason I wound up as Mayor, I wouldn't be sticking closely to Bill Clinton. I would be sticking closely to Andrew Cuomo and to a lesser extent the legislative leaders (its hard to tell who is running the upper chamber). The reason is that state sovereignty still exists in the matter of local government, and that the city government legally has exactly whatever power the state government lets it has. Bloomberg was actually defeated on quite a few issues, and every time it was because the state government stopped him. They don't usually go against the bankers and real estate interestes, but if they do they can trump them.