Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Abuse of Power

If you listen to the media in this town, things have never been better in New York City government. Even in these tough times, the powers that be in this city are considered tops. The bad old days are gone and New York today is a new governmental nirvana. Sure, New York State government is corrupt and dysfunctional but not, so the pundits say, is city government. It's great! And all of this is thanks to our two "great" mayors, past and present, Rudy Giuliani and Mike Bloomberg.

Not so fast.

The story of how Rudy appointed corrupt people like Bernie Kerik to top positions in city government is well known (Kerik is the first NYC police commissioner to go to jail, something that didn't even happen during the good old bad days of Jimmy Walker). But Rudy's biggest sin is how woefully underprepared this city was when 9/11 hit -- the police and firefighters didn't have enough resources and Rudy arrogantly put the Office of Emergency Management in the World Trade Centers after he had been told to put it underground in Brooklyn after the 1993 attack on the WTC. And yet the myth persists that Rudy did a "great job" handling 9/11 -- he beacme "America's mayor" and his leadership a model to be replicated. Something tells me that if Rudy had been a Democrat, the story of his "leadership" would have been considered a much different thing by the media.

But that was then. Today, under Mayor Mike, we're told that city government has never been this clean and honest. BS! Last year I wrote about the bombshell story that the mob had essentially taken over the Department of Buildings. This story hit in the midst of the mayoral election -- when Bloomberg was running for this dubious third term. But how did the media pundits treat it? With a big yawn. And as I said then and I say again now, something tells me that if Mike had been a Democrat this would have been a much different story.

Mike's hypocrisy continues. Yesterday he came out in favor of the new ballot initiative that would restore the two-term limit for city office holders. Even the media is having a tough time swallowing this one. You gotta love these headlines (the toughest he's ever faced):

Bloomberg's Latest on Terms: 3 for Him, but Only 2 for Everyone Else
Bloomberg Zig Zagging on Term Limits

Ouch. But he's not the one getting the toughest headlines. Today it was revealed by a great website called nypdconfidential that Ray Kelly, our sainted Police Commissioner, has been having his drinks and meals and membership dues at the Harvard Club comped for years! Some "non-profit" called the New York Police Foundation has been picking up his tabs since 2002 in blatant violation of the rule that city employees can't accept any gift over $50. Something tells me that tabs at the Harvard Club over the years have come to something more than $50.

Even more outrageous: Kelly has accepted numerous free flights from Bloomberg on his private jet to his vacation home in Florida. Not billionaire Mike's place in Florida's -- Kelly's house in Florida! Isn't it interesting that a lifelong lawman like Kelly is able to afford a second home? And apparently Mike jetted Ray down to Florida six times in 2008 and five times in 2009. Wow! I wish I had been able to go on vacation five or six times in one year! Isn't our "amazing" police commissioner such a common man? And Commissioner Kelly has failed to report these gifts since 2002. Again, if a Democratic mayor was doing this stuff and his police commissioner was accepting free gifts and going on vacation multiple times per year, the media would be going crazy with what a big scandal this is. But no, in this situation, it's just a minor story.

And the police under Kelly have become needlessly aggressive in going after our citizens, violating the Constitution, and engaging in racial profiling. If readers to my blog stay tuned, in days to come, I will have an exclusive, first-hand story of police abuse that will make your skin crawl.

So even today, there's still plenty of corruption in NYC government. It's just that it's more insidious. If Jimmy Walker came back to life and saw what was going on, he'd probably feel that nothing had changed.

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