DMI On Middle Class New York; Mayoral Beauties Contend
The Drum Major Institute's meeting at Baruch College yesterday was important and remarkable as much for who was there as for what was said. Three elected officials who may run for Mayor in 2009 spoke and gave those of us in the audience a side-by-side view of them as policy makers as well as campaigners. While there's a lot of substance to write about the meeting, mayoral electoral politics was on the minds of many. Diane Cardwell's NY Times article also focused on the men who would be Mayor My post on the substance will follow later today.
NYC Comptroller William C. Thompson, Congress Member Anthony Weiner and Bronx Borough President Adolpho Carrion spoke and worked the room which was filled with lobbyists, consultants, non-profit executives and policy-junkies like me. What I saw surprised me.
Judging only by their focus and remarks Monday Comptroller Thompson and Bronx Beep Carrion do not intend to run against Mayor Bloomberg's record. This was a surprise to me, since of late, a firestorm of criticism against the Mayor has been burning over Mr. Bloomberg's education policies and practices. Indeed Mr. Thompson has sometimes been one of those setting the anti-Bloomberg fire alight.
Listening yesterday, however, the only potential candidate who clearly articulated a progressive platform against Mr. Bloomberg's record was Congress Member Weiner. As in his previous run for Mayor, Mr. Weiner was focused, smart and informed. On a panel with Council Member John Liu and Carrion, Weiner wit sparkled. On health care for employees of small business, for example, Weiner proposed that NYC bring the cost down by forming a small-business buyers' cooperative. It's well known that those entities able to deliver big pools of insured people (Big Corporations, NYC) get better insurance for lower prices. It's not the best solution (single payer, universal health insurance, as I see it), but its better than what we have now for small business. Carrion and Lu were skeptical and critical without any thought out reasons. I guess I'm also a fan of Mr. Weiner's Schumer-style sharpness and repartee.