I’ve never cared for Michael Bloomberg. Arrogant plutocratic billionaires aren’t my cup of tea. But I’ve never spent much time thinking about him. That has changed. Not because of his endorsement of the Prez, but because of his preposterously arrogant and hubristic (izzat a word?) plan to hold the New York Marathon as scheduled this weekend.That’s why Mayor Billionaire Media Mogul is malaka of the week.
Lemme see: half of Manhattan doesn’t have power, they’re still finding dead bodies in Staten Island and Mayor Malaka is determined to tie up police resources with a marathon? Methinks his priorities are a trifle skewed. I recall all the brickbats when we in NOLA went on with Mardi Gras in 2006, which was months after Katrina and the Federal Flood (see, Harry, we do call it that here at First Draft.) The Marathon isn’t even a full week after the Frankenstorm obliged Bloomberg to trot out his horrendous Spanishfor public consumption. I almost called it high school Spanish but it isn’t that good. I do, however, dig his ASL translator, she can bust some moves, y’all.
My friend Gambit editor, Kevin Allman, has been on the Bloomberg beat this week as well as beating Bloomberg down. I don’t usually post quotes this long but I cannot top this:
Remember 48 hours after Katrina struck and the levees collapsed, when
people were still trapped in buildings and the number of dead was still
unknown? When the electricity was still out, hospitals were closed and
essential services were stretched beyond the breaking point?
Now imagine if New Orleans had a marathon planned for the
following weekend after Hurricane Katrina — and Ray Nagin insisted that,
despite the state of emergency, tens of thousands of runners hit the
Because that’s what’s happening in New York right now:
“I think some people said you shouldn’t run the
marathon,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at a news briefing Wednesday.
“There’s an awful lot of small businesses that depend on these people.
We have to have an economy. There’s lots of people that have come here.
It’s a great event for New York, and I think for those who were
lost, you’ve got to believe they would want us to have an economy and
have a city go on for those that they left behind.”
OK.Now just imagine the cable-news and talk-radio reaction — even a fraction
of the reaction — had Nagin suggested New Orleans hold a marathon six
days after Katrina, and that running it was somehow a tribute to those
who had perished.
This is the same Bloomberg who, on Saturday, turned down President Barack Obama and FEMA’s offer of help:
“President Obama asked Craig Fugate from FEMA to call me earlier in the day and offer any help.I
assured him that we had, we think, everything under control but we
appreciate the effort. What FEMA really can do is to help those parts of
the country that don’t have all of the extensive facilities and
agencies and practice that New York City does. But I did want to thank them for their offer.”
(He later reversed himself, saying FEMA had been “spectacularly helpful” so far.)
Yesterday Bloomberg turned down a visit from Obama, saying, “”What I pointed out to them is we would love to have him, but we have lots of things to do.”
Perhaps understandable — a presidential visit to a disaster area can create a lot of distraction and chaos.
But a marathon is OK.
Christine Brennan of USA Todaysays it better than I can:
“New York’s leaders are shockingly, unbelievably,
moving ahead with one of the most logistically challenging sporting
events in the world.
This is just what a city reeling from a once-in-a-lifetime storm
doesn’t need: a massive road race crossing through five boroughs that
usually attracts 47,000 runners and 2 million spectators and requires
8,000 volunteers, 1,000 staff members and hundreds of police and other
city workers and services. It’s an unnecessary distraction coming at the
worst time for the city and the region.”
I’m not going to defend Ray Nagin’s decisions after the storm.But
I don’t think there is language scathing enough to express what would
have been said had Nagin spurned FEMA’s help right before Katrina struck
— and then forged ahead with a plan to hold a marathon within the week.
So what’s the difference?
The only problem with Kevin’s post is that he didn’t use the M word to describe Bloomberg and we all know how that’s spelled: m-a-l-a-k-a. Uh oh, I seem to be having a Mickey Mouse Club flashback.
This whole episode is yet another illustration of how stratified our allegedly classless society really is. Working class folks in Staten Islandare on their knees but Mayor Money Bags insists on going through with an event that makes absolutely no sense at this particular time and place. Let them eat Nikes.
Bloomberg is actually making Chris Fucking Christie look good. And if that ain’t malakatude, I don’t know what is.
I’m not sure what Todd Rundgren thinks of all this but I’ll give him the last word. The only thing Mayor Malaka can’t stop running is his mouth: