Saturday, December 20, 2014

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NY1 Political Director Bob Hardt's daily look Inside City Hall.

NY1 ItCH: Mayor Bloomberg Battles Doctor Detroit

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Like an old homeowner selling his house to a strange new couple, Mayor Bloomberg is worrying about who's moving into Gracie Mansion next year. Invoking Detroit's bankruptcy, the mayor today is expected to play Cassandra to his would-be successors, warning them in a major speech how the city could go off the rails if they don't follow some of his sage advice.

Taking to the Twittersphere, Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson is riding herd on the mayoral pack, claiming Bill de Blasio would put the city on a "u-turn back to the 70s" while saying that some of the candidates' take on Occupy Wall Street " sound like parodies of a Tom Wolfe novel."

It's all a bit reminiscent of the end of days for Rudy Giuliani, who in the wake of 9/11 unsuccessfully pushed for a three-month extension of his term. Bloomberg has already succeeded where Giuliani failed, temporarily revoking term-limits four years ago by citing his concerns about the city's economic future in the middle of a recession.

While the candidates all deserve to be pushed on where they stand by Team Bloomberg, it's important to remember that the mayor wasn't exactly a policy whiz during his first campaign in 2001. He then never invoked his concerns about health or the environment that have become such an integral part of his legacy in City Hall. And forget about promising to honor term limits, Bloomberg also pooh-poohed raising property taxes, only to hike them dramatically in 2003.

This is all to say that many candidates – and politicians – grow on the campaign trail and in office. Go back and listen to Bloomberg give his victory speech from 2001 and you won't exactly be thinking Pericles. So while it's well and good for the mayor to be delivering Washington's Farewell Address several times before he leaves office, let's also not be pushing the panic button too hard as the mayoral candidates hit the home stretch in this campaign season. Detroit may be farther away than you think.

Bob Hardt

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