As departing Mayor Michael Bloomberg skirts the city saying his farewells and touts his accomplishments, I reflect on his mayoralty from my Flushing digs.
Crime may be down, but I give the credit to Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and the work of our local precincts that use numerous cameras and technology as crimefighting aids.
Bloomberg is leaving a balanced budget, but he balanced it on homeowners’ backs. My real estate taxes have more than doubled during the Bloomberg years, and I just got a bill for this last quarter showing another $256 increase. That means more than a $1,000 increase next year! Thanks, Bloomberg, for the added 25 percent increase as your parting gift. Water rates are also up.
Bloomberg bullied his way into getting a third term as mayor, which further soured our view of “King Michael.” Wanting to be known as the education mayor, he sidestepped the community, made unwelcome changes and installed business leaders who did not understand education. Remember Kathy Black?
Surveys show 30 percent say he helped education but 70 percent say he hurt it. Every teacher I know is in the hurt category. More charter schools have not raised education standards but force children who are not chosen to attend them into long commutes to go to school. Union contracts have been delayed and pushed off for the next mayor to negotiate.
Bloomberg’s 1 million trees may sound like an environmental win, but how does a city that cannot take care of 300,000 existing trees take care of a million trees? Many of those added trees are now pushing up our sidewalks, causing us to be ticketed for sidewalk violations and expensive repair bills.
Queens, the “forgotten borough,” remained so under Bloomberg, but we somehow got our Queensboro Bridge renamed after ex-Mayor Ed Koch, who had nothing to do with Queens. And here I thought it already had another name: the 59th Street Bridge. Bridge tolls have more than doubled.
Bloomberg will be known as the “building mayor,” the guy who brought us the Willets Point disaster to be, the final feather in his cap. He used eminent domain around the city to push out unwanted businesses to sell the land to his developer buddies. Willets Point just got sold for $1! Millions squandered.
One has to balance his accomplishments with the downside. From my digs, the bads outweigh the goods, and I welcome the past-due change. I will not miss Bloomberg.