From the Wall Street Journal:
New York City's mayor should be prohibited in the future from inserting multimillion dollar expenditures into the budget at the 11th hour without public scrutiny, as Michael Bloomberg did with his initiative to help minority youth, several City Council members said Thursday.
Council Member Peter Vallone Jr., a Queens Democrat, said he is exploring the possibility of introducing legislation that would bar the mayor from earmarking taxpayer funds for yet-to-be announced policy initiatives after the time for public review has ended.
In late June, unbeknown to many council members, the mayor quietly secured $22.5 million in public money for his new program to aid young black and Latino men.
The funding was included in budget documents that council members received on the day they adopted the city's $66 billion budget, but some city lawmakers said they were outraged that there was no public hearing or council briefing on the plan.
"For someone who complains about the lack of democracy and the secrecy in Albany, the mayor just made a very Albany-like move by sneaking in an initiative costing millions in taxpayer [money] at the last minute to ensure that there would be no hearings on it or public input," wrote Mr. Vallone on his Facebook page after reading about the issue in The Wall Street Journal.
"I thought three men in a room spending taxpayer money was bad," Mr. Vallone later said, referring to the governor and leaders of the Assembly and Senate in Albany.
"But this was two men in a room, and one wasn't even elected," he said, referring to Mr. Bloomberg and fellow billionaire George Soros, both of whom donated private money to the youth initiative.
Wasn't Bloomie the guy that you just HAD to extend term limits for? The one that was such a financial genius that the city couldn't weather the economic downturn without him? The one the stupid voters of this city voted for although they were pissed about how the whole term limits vote went down?
He hid $22.5M from everyone, so what? He and his accomplice, Christine Quinn, hid their slush funds for years and to this day have not been brought to justice for it. In fact, people's memories are so short that Quinn is considered to be the frontrunner for mayor in 2013 (unless Bloomberg decides to run again, of course).
We get the government we deserve.