From the NY Times:
When aides to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg recently sought backing from City Council members for a key development project, they heard something they were not accustomed to: No.
In the past few weeks, Mr. Bloomberg has suffered several setbacks, been forced to modify signature demands and backed down from high-profile fights.
So after years of largely unchallenged authority, Bloomberg 3.0 is beginning to look like this: a mayor suddenly grappling with emboldened opposition, limits to his influence, a city teeming with economic frustration and residents who are distrustful, in some ways, of a Manhattan billionaire.
...aides privately conceded that the city’s political atmosphere has changed.
Two citywide elected offices, the comptroller’s and the public advocate’s, will soon be occupied by Bloomberg skeptics. And a union-backed party that angrily opposed the mayor’s undoing of term limits won a large number of seats on the Council and is eager to flex its muscle on issues of economic populism and projects like the Bronx shopping center.
Senior aides to Mr. Bloomberg seemed stunned by the defeat. They privately bemoaned the loss of thousands of new jobs in the middle of a deep recession, over what they viewed as a misguided policy debate.
And they fretted over its political meaning. Even the mayor’s close allies in the Council, including the speaker, Christine C. Quinn, voted to kill the project.
Councilman Peter F. Vallone Jr., who endorsed Mr. Bloomberg for re-election, voted against the shopping center on Monday, saying he felt compelled to support his colleagues from the Bronx. With a hint of regret, he called the fight “a harbinger of things to come.”