A Mayor in Search of a Legacy
For years it seems New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been searching desperately for a way to leave his mark on the city. If Dinkins was known for bringing back the beat cop, Giuliani for cleaning up Times Square, just what will Bloomberg be remembered for? If you ask me it's precisely that--he's just looking to be remembered. First he chased the boondoggle of the West Side Stadium which was supposed to make us a more attractive candidate to host the 2012 Olympics. Then he spent millions of dollars for an ad campaign on television, bill boards, subway cars and buses promoting the idea of hosting the Olympics to New Yorkers, as if somehow we were the ones in control of the decision. The stadium was shot down by the city council and the Olympics were nixed by the Olympic committee. So, at this point it seems Bloomberg will mostly be remembered for his nanny-state legislation banning trans fats from New York City restaurants. After all, the public can't be trusted to make its own decisions about what to eat.
The latest idea being bandied about by the Bloomberg administration is a congestion fee for all cars wishing to drive below 86th Street. It worked in London, so why shouldn't it work here? Never mind that the building boom Bloomberg presided over to attract new businesses and tourism is in large part responsible for the added congestion on the streets of Manhattan. The proposed fee is $8 which is on top of the tolls and fees it already costs to enter the city through most bridges and tunnels, not to mention hefty parking fees once you get here. The congestion fee is supposed to be incentive for commuters to use mass transit, but what it amounts to is a commuter tax on the working class. What else is new? The logistics of such a tax sound complicated and difficult to enforce and would not go into affect for at least 3 years. Also, it must first be approved by the State Senate which could take some time.
In the meantime, in his latest attempt to be business-friendly, the Mayor has sunk to a new low prostituting the city out to Sony Pictures in declaration of Spiderman Week. That's right. A whole week full of Spidey festivities to promote the release of Spiderman 3 this Friday. Martin Luther King and Columbus only get a day and we don't even celebrate Washington's or Lincoln's birthdays anymore, all the presidents must now share one day, but Spiderman gets a whole week! There will be various events at businesses participating in the festivities which supposedly will draw tourists far and wide. Of course, if this event were held three years from now all those folks flocking to Manhattan for Spiderman Week would have to pay an $8 congestion fee just for the pleasure. Brilliant.