If the New Yorkers I know are any indication, Election Day can’t come quickly enough. Three-term King of the City Mike Bloomberg, has been getting under the skin of NYC residents, and a lot of us who live nearby. His continual need to dictate to the city what he deems a healthy lifestyle, no matter the cost to the small businesses who are forced to adhere to the regulations he imposes, just pisses a lot of people off. One of the latest, his on-street bike rentals, takes away valuable parking spaces and block access to many stores and restaurants all over the city. Well, not quite all over the city. Higher end neighborhoods with a little klout have actually had the rental stations removed after resident complaints.
The list of Bloomberg’s dubious achievements is long indeed. But his spoken word and his elitist opinions portray his true view of what he would like New York City to become. Not long ago in an interview with New York Magazine, Bloomberg complained how Mayoral candidate Bill DiBlasio was using reverse racism in his campaign by including his bi-racial family in his ads. Really.
And when asked about what he thought about the feeling that he was a mayor who only catered to the rich, Bloomberg replied “I’m fascinated by these comments—and it is just campaign rhetoric—suggesting that we haven’t done enough for the poor. The truth of the matter is we’ve done a lot more than anybody else has ever done. The average compensation—income—for the bottom 20 percent is higher than in almost every other city. Of course, the average compensation for the top 20 percent is 25 percent higher than the next four cities. But that’s our tax base. If we can find a bunch of billionaires around the world to move here, that would be a godsend, because that’s where the revenue comes to take care of everybody else.”
What he doesn’t seem to get, is the difference in income it takes to actually afford to live in the city, as opposed to other cities. And while I always believed that creating more jobs would be a great way to increase the tax base, Bloomberg apparently feels we would be better off if Russian billionaires take over most of the housing in New York.
Which brings me to his latest remarks. This week on a radio program, the Mayor was talking about the lack of housing in the city. He stated “Somebody said that there’s not enough housing. That’s a good sign. It doesn’t mean it isn’t a problem, but there are no vacancies. That will bring in investment, for people to build for all income levels, different kinds of housing,”
Yeah, except the type of housing which usually goes up is high income housing, with a very small percentage of the building for lower income residents, so they can qualify for the various incentives offered by the city and state government. When higher rent buildings go up, it affects the entire neighborhood… eventually causing nearby rents to skyrocket as well. There are not nearly enough apartments for lower income residents, and more and more, the middle class are also getting pushed out of the city.
Bloomberg also mentioned that with all the large construction projects, he is very popular with construction workers. “When I march by in a parade, I get a lot of waves. Construction workers should be very happy. Developers should be very happy,” he said. Yeah, construction workers who don’t live in the city, and developers who have a high enough income to afford living there. I’m curious how many middle finger waves he receives as he marches in all those parades. Perhaps he doesn’t keep as close track of those.
In the years 2007-2011, rental prices in New York City rose 8.5% while median incomes fell 6.8%. Yet high income housing is the rule not the exception. Yes, there is new housing being constructed all over the city, unfortunately unless you’re a Russian billionaire, chances are you can’ t afford to live there. But then again, that’s exactly what this out-of-touch Mayor is hoping for.