2003-03-13 / View From the Middle

View From

The Middle
By Charles Rogers

Heaven Help Me! I’m Beginning To Like Bloomberg!


e’s not a people’s mayor," one person was heard to say about Mayor Michael Bloomberg last Thursday before his appearance here, "and you can tell him I said so!"

That person wasn’t alone. There were others nearby who echoed the words, using a few four-letter ones as well to emphasize their feelings.

I wasn’t one of them.

While I haven’t changed my mind completely, vis a vis liking the guy, I have tempered my views lately.

Maybe he’s not so bad after all.

I know, I was pretty adamant a few months ago when I blasted him for being too rich to even begin to empathize with the common man. I still feel that way and flagrantly expose him as being too aristocratic for our own good. It’s the "Let ’em eat cake" syndrome and I must say he’ll never, ever get over it.

But then there are those instances where he’s bending over backwards to not only show that "common" touch, but to bring himself down to our level.

(That’s right, I said "down." When a guy is the 63rd richest man in the world, he ain’t gonna look up to anybody!). I can’t help but refer to him as "Richie Rich," that comic book kid who was endowed with nothing but money and still just wanted to be like the other kids…but couldn’t.

Once again…it’s a tough, tough job he has. Supposedly the second toughest job in America (the first is Prez), so there are things he does that will just naturally rub against somebody. That comes with the territory of his job. If the budget needs cutting, he’s going to take the heat for cutting it.

I’ve begun to almost pity him, though (Yeah, right! Him with four-and-a-half billion bucks). He is trying, And when I see some of the things of a positive nature he’s done, I feel a little warmer towards him.

Recently, our esteemed mayor found that New York’s cultural institutions were hurting; so he gave them $10 million out of his pocket. When it was decided to hold the anniversary of the September 11th 2001 tragedy with a service at Ground Zero, did you notice who kicked in more than $100,000 cash necessary for the event — from his own pocket?

And I know it was a public relations dream when he purchased a bicycle (a $600 job) when there was the possibility of a transit strike and then, not having to use it because there was no strike after all, gave it away to a Canarsie young man who needed it. Even though six hundred bucks is a drop in the bucket to the man, he appeared more than gracious in the press-attended event. You might even say he was "personable." It’s almost as if he knows he has an uphill battle when it comes to bringing himself down to the people and, y’know what? All we have to do is understand that.

I remember, when talking about Rudy Giuliani and his first year or two in office, how I wished we had someone there who could handle it without so many political shenanigans — "rather someone who would handle it like a thoughtful Chief Executive Officer; a manager who says, ‘If we want to succeed as a city, we will have to do the following…’"

Well, we had a good thing in Rudy Giuliani — hard-headed tough guy that he was. Now I got what I wanted in a CEO.

And I’m slowly warming up to him. Maybe he’s human after all!

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