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Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Springtime for Bloomberg

Spring is in the air, which in New York means that it's time to launch the bike-share program. The bike-share program, which stacks racks of bikes out in the street in the hope that eveyone will stop driving cars and rent bikes instead, failed in Paris, Melbourne and Montreal. But Mr. Bloomberg is not about to stop his wars on obesity and global warming long enough to let the failure of a senseless program everywhere else slow down his bid to implement it.

In Paris, 80 percent of the bicycles were stolen. Some ended up in Africa and Eastern Europe. But surely that won't happen in a law-abiding place like Gotham.

Citibike, better known as a plan to stock Craiglist with secondhand bikes at taxpayer expense, was supposed to launch last summer, but the software developed by the Montreal parking authority didn't work. In only two years, the Montreal taxpayer funded company and its bike share plan had managed to get into enough financial trouble to require a 108 million dollar bailout. But then the big contracts from Chicago and New York City arrived and in a fortuitous coincidence, the Chicago Department of Transportation intern who wrote up the proposal was hired and given a top position in the company.

Bicycles are one of the obsessions of Mayor Bloomberg and his transportation secretary Janette Sadik-Khan. Khan is the granddaughter of Imam Alimjan Idris, a Nazi collaborator and the principle teacher at an SS school for Imams under Hitler's Mufti, Haj Amin al-Husseini. The bio of his son, Wall Street executive Orhan Sadik-Khan, frequently mentions the bombing of the family home in Dresden and surviving trying times after World War II. It neglects to mention that the times were only trying because their side was losing.

In 1933, Idris wrote a letter asking why Allah would have chosen the Jews, whom he described as, "the most despicable, repulsive and corrupting nation on earth". It's hard to say what Imam Idris would have made of his granddaughter marrying a Jewish law professor and peddling bikes that no one wants from a nearly bankrupt Montreal government company.

But considering that Imam Idris was at times accused of being a Soviet agent and did some work for Imperial Japan, it seems likely that he would have understood.

In partial revenge, Khan has made many New York streets nearly as impassable as those of her grandfather's wartime Dresden. Bike lanes have turned two lane streets into one lane streets. Infidels sit in their cars and honk while bike lanes go unused and midtown bus lanes sit empty except for the occasional daring taxi driver braving the bus lane camera and the 150 dollar fine.

Don't even think about giving your regards to Broadway, not unless you're on foot, and if you happen to remember Herald Square, forget about it. Times Square is now a giant outdoor plaza where the homeless sleep at night and unlicensed men in greasy Disney costumes shake down tourists for a photo and a few bucks.

Nightly a roar rises from the streets as an island full of people heading home curses Bloomberg until long after the sun has gone down. And from his townhouse on East 79th Street, he sneers at them, having gotten his revenge on the off-island drivers who sabotaged his   congestion pricing scheme, borrowed from London's former mayor Ken Livingstone, who just got done blaming America for the Boston bombings on Iranian television.

Of such strange alliances is the technocratic banana republic on the Hudson woven. A Muslim Nazi collaborator's granddaughter oversees the de-car-ing of a city after a plan based around a plan from the tenure of a modern collaborator with Muslim Nazis falls through. Imam Idris might have called it the providence of Allah. But more likely he would have found a way to get his piece of the pie.

Springtime for Bloomberg also means that it's time for the ritual planting of swamp oak trees. Swamp oaks are not your ordinary city tree. Pre-Bloomberg, New Yorkers walked under the peeling bark of the ubiquitous London Plane tree, the dark gnarled branches of the Goldenrain tree and the occasional majestic Silver Linden.

All was well in Gotham’s curbside arbors, until Bloomberg discovered Global Warming was about to destroy all of mankind and began making the appropriate preparations by planting swamp oaks everywhere.

“When I have a chance... to walk down to Lower Manhattan, I’m going to sit under one of these sweet gum trees, I’m going to reflect in the glade and give thanks for the courage of so many New Yorkers,” Governor Pataki had said, while picking out the trees for the September 11 memorial.

But then Bloomberg issued his command and out went the sweet gums and in came the swamp oaks. New York City joins Chicago in the swamp oak frenzy. The white oak, Illinois' state tree, can no longer be planted in Chicago. It's swamp oaks all the way down as Mike and Rahm prepare for the intemperate apocalypse, the rising oceans and the arrival of hordes of hippos looking for watering holes on the Upper West Side and Hyde Park.

Two years earlier, Bloomberg had warned, "We cannot wait until after our infrastructure has been compromised to begin to plan for the effects of climate change now."

While Bloomberg's preparations included urging businesses to paint their roofs white, planting swamp white oaks and making it impossible to drive a car in Manhattan, they did not include a plan for a major snowstorm or a hurricane.

The snowstorm hit leaving one elderly woman and one newborn baby dead and many stranded. The path to Mayor Bloomberg's East 79th Street townhouse was cleared, but very little else was.

Instead of stocking up on road salt, Bloomberg had spent the spring lecturing New Yorkers on their salt content. But during the storm, the people being treated for heart attacks weren't suffering from an excess of salt in their French fries, but a shortage of road salt and common sense in City Hall.

Two years later, optimists might have assumed that Bloomberg had learned a lesson. Instead he was struggling with the bugs of a useless bikeshare program designed to stop Global Warming coastal flooding in 2080. Every other bus stop was decked out in alarmist government ads urging the people to prepare for a disaster, but that message never reached the billionaire mayor who had authorized the ads, who had bought three elections, but couldn't be bothered to buy a brain.

While Bloomberg was wasting time proposing to put windmills on top of bridges and skyscrapers to stop Global Warming, one of the biggest power plants on the island remained separated from the East River by only the lanes of the FDR Drive and a lot of wishful thinking. When Hurricane Sandy hit, it flooded, the transformer blew trapping workers inside, and the power went out in much of Manhattan.

On the third day of the blackout, with disaster relief nowhere in sight and people getting by on whatever leftovers blacked out stores still had in stock, Bloomberg held another of his press conferences, complete with sweater, broken Spanish and an overly energetic sign language translator, to tell the remaining stores to shut down and stop selling food. New Yorkers briefly debated whether he had gone insane or was just opening another front in his war on obesity.

It's hard to remember that twelve years ago, Bloomberg ran for office promising to be the education mayor. All that was buried under a shower of eccentric schemes and nanny state obsessions. The man who campaigned as a savvy technocrat who could cut through the red tape became the reason red tape was invented.

Mayor Bloomberg never understood good government. He ran the city like a liberal activist, jumping from one crusade to another, building a wall of expensive consultants around ridiculous projects and then ramming them through regardless of the criticism. He bought off everyone using his money and  city money. The debt doubled and the problems mounted while he raced off to fight obesity, global warming, gun control and every other gimmicky liberal billionaire crusade.

It's easy to zero in on Bloomberg's fussy nanny state antics. The wars on soda and salt make good copy and so do windmills on bridges, but the real story is not what Bloomberg did, but what he didn't do.

Bloomberg lectured and hectored about apocalyptic Global Warming floods in 2080, but failed to prepare for more basic snowstorms and hurricanes today. He wasted his time on gimmicks like bike shares and swamp oaks, instead of dealing with the structural problems that made the snowstorm and Sandy so devastating.

Twelve years ago Bloomberg ran as the education mayor and took control of the schools. As a symbol of what was to come, he moved the educational bureaucracy into the old Tweed courthouse, a building whose grossly inflated construction costs, more than the Houses of Parliament, had made it a byword for corruption. Gimmicks, chancellors and failures followed in short and long order.

The failure of his education policies still haunts Mayor Bloomberg. It lingers behind all his other gimmicks and a more cynical man might even suggest that all of the stunts, the war on salt, the soda ban, the war on cars and the white roofs and bridge windmills are there as a distraction. Bloomberg would rather that people resent him and be infuriated by his petty nuisances than recognize that he is a failure.

Americans still elect nanny-state technocrats, but they don't like electing failures. And Bloomberg, with his government bikes that don't work, his swamp trees that die by the curb and his plan to defeat soft drinks, is both.

Springtime has come to New York and enthusiastic youths are making off with bike share bikes and tanning on roofs painted white. The sun is shining and even the gloomiest Gothamite has a spring in his step, except for the surly man in the townhouse on East 79th Street. For though the sun may shine and all the flowers may bloom, Bloomberg's last spring has finally sprung.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Daniel: Every time I think you have written the definitive essay! You top yourself!
DMW

Empress Trudy said...

As reported, NYC became a city of the poor, the working poor and the fabulously wealthy years ago. All of these efforts are done solely by and for the wealthy philanthropy and cocktail circuit scene, like a hobby or wearing the latest colored ribbon. Not even the people doing this believe in it, it's simply what Muffy and Buffy and Noel etc do. None actually thinks that bikes are viable in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx. The distances are too great to be practical. And parts of it are too hilly. Can you imagine the next round of laws once someone falls off their bike? Mao Tse Bloomberg will decree everyone wear a suit of armor. And then of course the TLC will lobby successfully against all of this forcing people off their bikes so they can ride cabs instead. The MTA will scream that not enough people are using it and we all go back to what we were doing before.

Beth said...

Daniel,

While reading your post today I couldn't help but to chuckle at the truth that is deep within every Leftist policy, they are ALL failures.

I teach Krav Maga (Israeli self defense) my kids and teens classes have sored in recent times because Liptards have decided to tackle bullying in the public schools. Since then my enrolment has sored. It's disgusting to hear the garbage of zero tolerance, which is nothing more than we're too lazy to figure out who is at fault so they'll all be punished.
Never mind the victim, he'll just be victimized a second time by the very people who are supposed to protect them.

I have told parents if it is within their means to pull the child from the public schools because they are no longer safe for our children.

Think about it, our schools are gun free zones and somehow that makes us erudite and caring when, in fact, it does the opposite. What it actually does is put a bulls eye on our most precious loved ones and how is that caring?!

IgorR said...

The story isn't in my opinion what Bloomberg does or doesn't do, but how he can be elected three times even with all the money in the world. And will those who replace him be better? It's not looking like it today. Why doesn't obvious irrational, tragicomical behavior disqualify someone from being the Mayor of New York City?

anon anon said...

Eh. He's just planning how he's going to spend all of his new-found free time taking Americans' guns away from them.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

The alternatives to Bloomberg are worse on the Dem side and were non-existent on the Republican side to the chronic uselessness of the NY GOP

Elise Ronan said...

Whats truly scary is what may come after Bloomberg. At least he knows what money management happens to be, whether we like his eccentric nanny-statism nonsense or not. He did help NYC recover from 9/11. Those who wait in the wings will only destroy NYC and send it back to the bad old days of Lindsey and the 1970s.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

Lindsay isn't even the worst case scenario. The worst case scenarios are Bill di Blasio or John Liu.

Anonymous said...

Bloomberg is a regular traveler to Bermuda. Must be nice.

But the idiots keep re-electing him so they really have no right to complain.

Bloomberg and Obama are both dangerous ultra-leftwing ideologues and both work very hard at driving their insanity into the mainstream. But the ugly reality is that insane people are the majority in every single institution in America.

Elaine

RAM said...

The bikes could be equipped with secret high tech transmitters to tell Bloomberg Central if the rider has been sneaking large sodas or trans fats on the side.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

don't give him any ideas

Anonymous said...

It took me a while to find where to post a comment on this page.
Igor,people in NY aren't very bright.

Edward Cline said...

Daniel, you forgot to mention Herr Bloomberg's war on smoking and smokers. Bloomberg's brain must be a beehive of dictatorial obsessions, and smoking is one of the things Our Sacred and Wise Leader that buzzes around in his mind. "Now, how can I make life even more miserable for these yahoos?"

Anonymous said...

I can't help but feel that these progressive efforts aren't just money laundering schemes...they don't care that they fail, especially when they get gov't bailouts.

IgorR said...

Anonymous, I would guess it has more to do with liberalism being a mental disorder and the lack of interest most of them have in who is Mayor, as well complete dominance of the media by insane people.

Empress Trudy said...

And now it seems New Yorkers are up in arms because the Rent A Bike program won't permit rentals to fat people - ostensibly the people Mao Tse Bloomberg wants to make healthy:

http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSBRE94116N20130502?irpc=932

Workingstiff said...

Bloomberg and education is a oxymoron.

He hired Cathleen"Cathie" Black CEO of a publishing business that had zero experience about education to be the head chancellor of the largest education school systems on the planet. Ms. Black was so clueless and lost that she had to be propped up by her assistant Chancellor for several months, until she was forced to resign less than year in office due to justified controversy.

Then there was the token economy were Bloomberg paid students to do their homework, go to doctors appointments, and show up at school. Basically, if they breathed, eat and excrete.

Any first year teacher could have told him that such a excessive token method would never work. When Bloomberg stopped the program he hastily admitted it failed, but then boldly exclaimed how important it was to keep "experimenting"--Yeah, Bloomberg, just metaphorically keep on re-inventing expensive square wheels even though round ones have been proven to work since the dawn of time..

Rod Freeman said...

Dam dude. Just discovered you. You can really write.

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