Mike Bloomberg for mayor in 2005
Four years ago, we said Mike Bloomberg lacked the experience to be a good mayor and we endorsed his opponent. We were wrong and no one is happier about that than us. Mayor Bloomberg has been the best mayor this city has had in recent times, and he has earned another four years.
The World Trade Center fires were still burning near our homes and we could still smell the horror of 9/11 when Bloomberg took office at the beginning of 2002. He put together a first-rate administration that guided the city through difficult fiscal times and made improvements in many areas. You have to go back decades to find a time when racial tensions in the city were this low and Bloomberg and his police commissioner, Ray Kelly, deserve much of the credit. The mayor and Kelly have responded effectively to disputed police incidents and have not let them divide the city.
Contrast that with Bloombergs Democratic challenger, Freddy Ferrer, whose campaign took what perhaps was a legitimate gripe about the debate schedule and falsely escalated it into a racial issue. Ferrer seems to change his stripes every time he has run for mayor and hasnt come close to making the case for change.
Yes, we have had our differences with Bloomberg. He took his eyes off the W.T.C. site and foolishly spent far too much time trying to build a stadium on the Far West Side. The mayor shouldnt have allowed Governor Pataki to take the lead in W.T.C. planning. We hope Bloomberg will now continue to insert himself in the W.T.C. planning process with renewed vigor.
The mayor and Kelly should be proud of a crime rate that continues to fall and for hiring a terror-prevention team that has kept us safe. But the citys policies have appeared to go too far at times. Street closures have hurt businesses and residents in the Chinatown/Park Row area. The crackdown against protesters at last years Republican convention and the monthly arrests of Critical Mass cyclists are the most disturbing part of the mayors strong record.
Among the mayors most welcome Downtown initiatives are the advancing of two new historic districts in the Far West Village, approval of downzoning for the Far West Village and the anticipated downzoning of the East Village and Lower East Side and landmarking of the old P.S. 64/former CHARAS/El Bohio.
Where his predecessors failed, Bloomberg convinced Albany to give him control of the schools, which has led to welcome improvements in reading and math scores. Gone are the days of front-page headlines of endless squabbles between mayors, schools chancellors and the Board of Ed.
The mayor made building and preserving affordable housing a priority and he has reversed city policy by beginning to spend Battery Park City revenue on middle- and low-income housing, as was originally intended.
In short, Mike Bloomberg has a lot to show for the past four years. And he is getting better and better at the job.
The Villager, without hesitation, endorses Mike Bloomberg for mayor.