Mr. Gripes: Our Disastrous Mayor
Mr. Gripes, once a card-carrying liberal, has been disenchanted with them for a long time: Conservatives, i.e., Republicans, invariably govern utilizing ill-conceived, cruel and economy-destroying policies alongside hollow promises, but Liberal ones, i.e., Democrats, go one better: they promise the world – balanced budgets, an ‘even playing field’ for all, ‘progressive’ actions without moneyed influence – but they lie, connive and cheat exactly like their Republican colleagues.
EVERY politician alive is interested in three things: raising tons of money, destroying his opponents, and getting re-elected. Nothing else, especially sound and responsible policy matters.
Let’s look at the case of the present mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio. A pleasant enough man whom I know from our local YMCA, he’s sadly turned out to be nothing more than another grubby, low-life city pol who’s looking for money virtually every waking moment. Oh, sure, he invariably talks up his ‘progressive’ stances, but it’s a bunch of baloney.
An example: early in his term, a couple of years ago, he advocated, very strongly I might add, replacing the work horses which lead tourist carriages around Central Park, with automobiles [!!]. These electric-run autos would be built along the designs of vintage antique cars, i.e., the Ford Model T. Why the hell, Mr. Gripes wondered at the time, would our mayor look to replace one of the signature city tourist attractions with a car? [Or, as a friend of mine asserted, ‘Like New York needs more cars?’]
My father, long before Watergate, taught his children that ‘if things don’t really make a lot of sense, follow the money streams….’
It turns out that the chief backer of the plan to eliminate the horses and replace with automobiles had donated $300,000 to Mr. de Blasio’s Democratic primary campaign. The donor was and is a very wealthy real estate developer in the city. That money was subsequently used to buy TV advertising spots which attacked the mayor’s chief primary rival, Christine Quinn. Later, Ms. Quinn was beaten badly in the primary.
The plot thickens: it turns out the stables in which the horses are housed are located midtown on the West Side [52nd Street], a property that has long been coveted by real estate developers. Mr. de Blasio’s contributor, whose group ultimately donated $1 million to the full campaign, it seems, wanted very badly to eliminate the Central Park horse-carriage business and empty out the stables. Then builders would bid on the now-unoccupied space, with the winner putting up a high-rise apartment building on the site, netting presumably hundreds of millions in the current red-hot New York real estate market. The way New York City bidding works, guess who’s most likely to ‘win’?
I don’t think for a moment the developer cared about the welfare of those animals, which was his justification for pushing to eliminate horses in Central Park. Real estate moguls – look at Trump’s sordid history – don’t fret over a matter of a horse’s work load for a second. These guys would run over the horses with their limousines if it meant getting their hands on that valuable piece of property.
Another facet of this plan actually made Mr. Gripes ever angrier: the Mayor proposed building a $25 million stable to house the retired horses in Central Park — public land by the way. $25 million to be paid out of the city budget [NYC taxpayers] for a building that’s to hold maybe 80 horses! This is not a Frank Lloyd Wright design we’re talking about. It’s a horse stable, for God’s sake, a simple, inexpensive construction of some wooden walls and roof; an oil by Cezanne is not required. The entire deal reeks of pure larceny and corruption, and yet the legislation almost passed.
Through divine intervention, perhaps, on the eve of the vote to approve in the City Council – usually a lap-dog organization for de Blasio, akin to Khrushchev’s Politburo – the project was killed. It was even too toxic for our typically brain-dead municipal representatives. Alas, our fine Mayor promises to revisit the entire issue after he’s re-elected. In New York City, big donors ultimately get paid.