Friday, November 8, 2013

How to reverse Bloomberg-era inequality in NYC

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's wealth grew to $31 billion during his three terms, while poor people's lives grew more miserable. Al Jazeera reports:
After 12 years of Michael Bloomberg, family homelessness has increased dramatically, rents skyrocketed and the minimum wage froze for the past six years – all while the city's controverisal"stop-and-frisk" policy has been criticized for being disproportionatly applied on minorities and the poor.
New York Teamsters often disagreed with Bloomberg's efforts to increase inequality. They fought his job-killing contract provisions with school bus monitors, his ban on 16-oz. sodas, his tolerance for unequal pay for school safety agents, and his veto of mandatory paid sick leave. Teamster snowplow drivers bore the brunt of a smear campaign (until members of the Screen Actors Guild stood up for them) after Bloomberg botched the city's emergency response to a blizzard. And Teamster art handlers at Sotheby's were incensed by his girlfriend's high-handed treatment of them during a months-long lockout.

The new mayor, Bill de Blasio, has a chance to change the worship of Wall Street at the expense of ordinary New Yorkers. The Wall Street on Parade blog has some suggestions where he can start. We'll share a few with you here: 
  • Remove Wall Street personnel from the Lower Manhattan Security Coordination Center. This high tech spy center, monitoring the comings and goings of law abiding citizens in the streets of Manhattan via over 4,000 street cameras is questionable in itself. Allowing staff from Wall Street firms under Federal criminal investigation to sit side by side with law enforcement is an outrage to a democratic society.
  • The jailing of peaceful protestors must end and a new era of protecting and enshrining the right to peaceful assembly and protest must begin. This will require a careful and thoughtful vetting of the next Police Commissioner.
  • Wall Street’s back-door money coming into the NYPD through its Foundation must end. No more lavish expense accounts for the Police Commissioner; no more $5 million grants from JPMorgan; no more gilded age balls with the social jet set. The NYPD serves the people of New York and its funding must come from all taxpayers with cronyism removed from the equation. The Foundation needs to die a quick death.
All good ideas. Read the whole thing here.