Malaka Of The Week: Michael Bloomberg

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:

7 thoughts on “Malaka Of The Week: Michael Bloomberg

  1. Reports tonight from New York of hotels kicking out people who have lost their homes in order to make room for conventioneers.
    Even Nagin didn’t do that.

  2. i was registered with my racing team to run this weekend. in light of the hurricane, we bowed out due to all the apparent reasons. also, every runner i know in NOLA has done the same. from the standpoint of a runner, this just seems like a major headache. i’m not willing to go race a marathon and deal with the aftermath a hurricane can bring. no thanks.
    my heart goes out to all those who were affected by the storm. .. i feel for those folks ~ we all undersand.

  3. @Termite: Thanks for chiming in. I was wondering what you thought of this since you’re a runner. But you also have a heart unlike a certain resident of Gracie Mansion.

  4. A friend in NYC told me that food and water are becoming scarce in Lower Manhattan in areas with no power. The logistics of the marathon will tie up city workers at the very time when inhabitants of the city are in desperate need of their services. I don’t understand.

  5. I first saw the idea of a Marathon in A’s post (more recent, I read from the top of the page).
    Now you’re telling me that this is an actual item on the table (although I dnd’t put together that it is the already planned NYC Marathon)???
    Local folks having trouble getting groceries or even getting to areas that have power so they can go to a restaurant and eat. Lines for Busses . Much of the subway still out (and even those parts that are running are running on structure that was under salt water).
    And as GrandMere points out, you’ve got the manpower to make sure the route is clean and safe, man the route, police the route, etc.

  6. Late reading today, but as I was finishing your column and agreeing with every word, Adrast, MSNBC said Bloomberg cancelled the marathon. So he’s still a malaka for thinking about hoding it for over 24 hours. But Im glad he wised up.

  7. @Dee – Glad to hear that.
    I don’t live anywhere near NY. I don’t think a whole lot about Blumberg.
    Perhaps its the distance. But I can give him some slack in thinking about it. After all, NY is loosing tourist dollars by the truckload while also looking at needing to pay off the increased costs of all that comes even with a Tropical Storm (or I guess that NY would be Extra-tropical).
    But it seems like all he had to do is picture himself going before all the Emergency Workers who are sleep deprived from working almost continuous shifts. Not to mention other public employees who have done likewise (like rubish clean up – who is gonna clean up all the trash associated with a Marathon).
    I can’t imagine how this got far enough for him to make an announcement to the media that the race was on.

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