From the Village Voice:
Mike Bloomberg's worst scandal cost two firefighters their lives. If we lived in a media world in which facts and memories mattered, the nonchalance at the highest levels of the Bloomberg administration about the hazards and warnings at the Deutsche Bank building, where Robert Beddia and Joseph Graffagnino died on August 18, 2007, might cost him his re-election.
Our billionaire mayor will never be tarnished by the traditional pay-to-play and influence-peddling schemes that compromise politicians with ordinary bank accounts. Instead, his defining debacle is a failure of leadership, accountability, and transparency, revealed in one law enforcement report or news story after another, ever since Beddia and Graffagnino succumbed to smoke on the 14th floor of the city's most toxic building, just 118 feet from where 343 of their brothers perished six years earlier. Even Bloomberg's Department of Investigations (DOI) found last month, in a report barely noticed by the press, that it was a case of death by official dereliction.
Deadly mismanagement cost one mayor his job. Yankel Rosenbaum's murder in a Crown Heights race riot mishandled by the NYPD finished David Dinkins in 1993, when the media refused to give a culpable administration a pass simply because its breakdowns were two-year-old news. But we are now in an era when media moguls get together to reverse two public referendums in an undisguised effort to keep one of their own in office, a time when the mayor may be the biggest new ad buyer in town. The question now is whether the press will hold accountable a mayor who has refused to hold any of his own appointees accountable for an avoidable disaster.