At Wit's End By Stephen Witt: Go along to get along in city politics
Go along to get along in city politics
Our mayor, Daddy Bloombucks, is really big on the “go along to get along” catchphrase.
If you go along with him you’ll get along with him. Agree with his policies, toss him a few softball questions and laugh at his lame sense of humor, and hey – you might find yourself with a cushy job or a sizable donation from his philanthropic arm.
But go against or question Daddy Bloombucks and he’ll take out the strap.
The latest pol to get blasted for not going along with the mayor is Comptroller John Liu, whom Bloombucks belittled as someone who “doesn’t know what he’s talking about” because he dared to disagree with him on rising pension costs.
For my money, Liu is doing a great job as comptroller, which is not a go along to get along type of city job.
A comptroller is charged with oversight on all spending matters, and particularly in city contracts.
In his short tenure, Liu has found several scandalous contracts that the city has given out, costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.
Liu has every right to question Bloomberg’s math because that’s his job. He’s also showing that he’s his own man – a formidable trait for someone said to be running for mayor.
Another city job that is not “go along to get along” (by its nature) is public advocate. Here, Bill de Blasio is a nice enough fellow, but to this reporter he needs to get a whole lot tougher.
While de Blasio is to be applauded for sticking up for the striking Verizon workers as he has done recently, his office could be doing more.
For one, I’d like to see a comprehensive study done on the Department of Social Services. If more people are out of work, then the numbers should be reflected with people receiving social services. I’d also like to see a new study on the Work Experience Program (WEP) to see how it’s currently working.
And if de Blasio gives up the seat to run for mayor, I think City Council member Letitia James would be a very able successor.
While I question James’ aversion to big business and her opposition to Atlantic Yards, she knew how to play the legislative game enough to help the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Art (MoCADA) get $2.5 million from the City Council’s capital funds.
She also rightfully noted how Bloomberg has not funded any African-American-run arts programs from his side of the capital budget.
It will be interesting to see if Bloomberg will fund any African-American nonprofits through his $127 million initiative to help young men of color. There are several such organizations that have been doing just that for a while.
There’s nothing wrong with a little “go along to get along” on some matters, but questioning and demanding good government is crucial as the dog days of Bloomberg wind down.