It is now abundantly clear that the myth of Bloomberg’s accomplishments was the result of two forces: his own immense wealth and the city tax dollars generated by the stock-market surge of the 2000s. Both sources of revenue, private and public, were used to co-opt and silence his opposition and thereby allow the glamorized portrait of an indispensable manager and the guardian of the public purse to be drawn without countervailing criticism.
An objective accounting of Bloomberg’s tenure reveals the many ways that Bloomberg’s standing as New York’s richest citizen actually undermined New York’s democracy, even as the city’s fiscal health and essential infrastructure deteriorated…
The connecting tissue of Bloomberg’s policies is Bloomberg’s own whims and ambitions. After the snow-removal failure, Bloomberg insisted that John Doherty was “the best sanitation commissioner the city has ever had.” Post columnist Michael Goodwin wrote: “In his bubble, that’s self-evident. If the sanitation man wasn’t the best, the self-declared best mayor would not have appointed him.”
When Michael Bloomberg leaves office in 2014 — assuming he leaves office in 2014 — the city will be saddled long into the future with the massive borrowing and school spending he required to maintain his political reputation. Citizen Bloomberg will have a significant role in how Mayor Bloomberg is judged. Already the master of an expanding media empire, he is now setting up his personal charitable foundation, which may rival the Gates Foundation in financial assets. That foundation will no doubt have the resources to place the Bloomberg legacy of debt, boondoggles and bicycle lanes in the best possible light.