Sunday, August 1, 2010
The Education and Deconstruction of Mr. Bloomberg
This is an exposé detailing New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg´s education and construction policies between 2002 and 2009 inclusive. It covers all major education issues: schools chancellor, school budget, grading of the schools, reducing class sizes, small-, charter and culturally themed schools, standardized testing, school safety, overcrowding and mayoral control; and all major real-estate-development issues: rezoning, ULURP, self-certification, various fatal construction accidents and disasters, affordable housing, lack of construction-law enforcement and the large projects that characterized the administration. This book features a list of abbreviations and a comprehensive index in the back.
A page of the Introduction, p. 11, is crucial for understanding references made throughout the book. Therefore, it is reproduced below:
I have observed that there were three recurring themes in Mr. Bloomberg´s modus operandi in both Education and Real Estate Development:
Theme 1: He was overly optimistic. As his various education initiatives and construction projects progressed, he routinely threw around and changed numbers on standardized test scores, graduation rates, school openings, school crime rates, construction costs, creation of jobs and affordable housing units, among others, and sometimes even distorted facts outright.
Theme 2: Time after time, Mr. Bloomberg asked for input from the community, or purported to, on new school openings and on construction of schools and other projects, but usually ended up hiring his cronies and ignored the community´s wishes.
Theme 3: He took advantage of legal loopholes or skirted around the law to forge ahead with his agendum.
His agendum was to acquire power. Why else did he take control of the schools and overturn term limits? It was not for the money. In November 2009, Mr. Bloomberg won his third-term election bid by a narrow margin, mostly because he was still viewed as a stronger candidate than the opposing one. His power and popularity were waning, however, rocked by various investigations in recent years, including a slush-fund scandal, and corruption and sloppiness in construction that led to fatal accidents, that resulted in the termination of decades-long unethical practices. Further, he was accused of being involved in various conflicts of interest and of being hypocritical on environmental and health issues.
Two farmyard clichés and one generic cliché also aptly describe many occurrences during the Bloomberg administration between 2002 and 2009:
Cliché 1: "Just another case of the fox guarding the henhouse"
Cliché 2: "Closing the barn door after the horses have already fled"
Cliché 3: "Do as I say, not as I do"
The above themes and clichés are so common in my text, that I refer to their generic names; i.e., I will use the blog style, for example, "File under Theme 1" or "File under Cliché 2" when providing evidence of same. Enjoy.
Please visit my book blog and visit here to read additional excerpts.
In September, the book will appear on Amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com. In the event you wish not to wait, you can buy "Education and Deconstruction" here.
- Sally Friedman