In The New Yorker’s “After Bloomberg,” New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (pictured) says that when it comes to his legacy, he’d like to be remembered as the mayor who brought the city “efficient, honest government that is responsive to the needs of the people, without worrying about politics, focusing instead on the things that will make a difference in the long term.”
For a specific fraction of the population, perhaps that is how he’ll be remembered, but for the Black and Brown wings of the community, he’ll be known as the staunch advocate of “Stop and Frisk,” which U.S. District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin recently ruled to be unconstitutional.
As Scheindlin wrote in her ruling:
The city’s highest officials have turned a blind eye to the evidence that officers are conducting stops in a racially discriminatory manner.
It is also a policy whose effectiveness has been challenged despite Bloomberg’s assurance that he knows of what he speaks. Such is a sentiment professed so often by the three-time New York mayor that “I know of what I speak” could serve as the title of his autobiography, biopic, and funeral program.
Meanwhile, in 2012 the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) used the NYPD’s own statistics to dispute the notion that the stop-and-frisk program has served as an effective tool to take guns off the streets.
NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman said of their analysis:
The NYPD’s own data undermine many of the Bloomberg administration’s justifications for the stop-and-frisk program. Contrary to the mayor and police commissioner’s assertions, the massive spike in the number of stops has done little to remove firearms from the streets. Instead, it has violated the constitutional rights of millions of people and corroded the ability of communities of color to trust and respect the police.
Likewise, PolicyMic’s Justine Gonzalez wrote:
There is no conclusive evidence directly linking the NYPD’s Stop and Frisk policy to the overall decrease in crime rates or to the slight decrease in shootings.
The NYPD didn’t make it easy for groups to prove how fallacious their argument about the benefits of stop-and-frisk was then and continues to be in the present. The NYCLU had to sue the NYPD in 2007 for access to their electronic stop-and-frisk database. A year later, a State Supreme Court judge ordered the NYPD to turn over the database.
Prior to this legal action, the NYPD kept all information about the program in shrouded in secrecy.
What was that Mike Bloomberg was saying about “efficient, honest government” again? Never mind. After all, Mike Bloomberg knows better than you and I!
Interestingly enough, in that same New Yorker profile, Bloomberg admitted that if he had a son, maybe, just maybe he would look at the controversial policy differently.
If I had a son who was stopped, I might feel differently about it, but nevertheless. Maybe I was inelegant, but I don’t think anybody thinks I am anything but — I hope not, anyway — supportive of trying to help all people. With my own money as well as time, thank you very much. I’ve spent 12 years of my life doing this.
Well, the reality is that even if Michael Bloomberg had a son, he’d be White and of privilege — making his chances of being stopped by the NYPD for anything besides a handshake to be extremely slim.
For Bill de Blasio, the city’s public advocate and a Democratic candidate for mayor, though, he has no choice but to consider the ramifications of a policy that is nothing more than racial profiling with a catchy name.
In a new campaign ad that began airing on Monday, de Blasio disses the conversation he along with his wife, Chirlane McCray, who is Black, had to have with their 15-year-old son, Dante, about the day he’ll be stopped by the police.
In the ad, entitled, “Dignity,” de Blasio says, “There are hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who have never experienced stop and frisk. Chirlane and I have talked to Dante many times about the fact that some day, he will be stopped. Parents all over the city are having that conversation with their kids.”
Should de Blasio be elected mayor, it would be a welcome change from Bloomberg; Bloomberg and his brand of wealthy White paternalism is nauseating. His entire “I know what’s best for you!” style of governing is often negated by the fact that when he is purportedly “thinking of the people,” he only tends to look out for the interest for a certain type of person.
He’s not taking a genuine interest in understanding the needs of the communities he as well as Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly say they are protecting by way of legal persecution. If he were, he wouldn’t dare utter such stupidity like the suggestion that public housing tenants be fingerprinted as a way of keeping criminals out of buildings.
If one wanted to truly combat crime in a way that “will make a difference in the long term,” one might think to start with attacking the conditions that cause people to turn to it.
He could start by singling out all of his finance buddies downtown who built their enormous wealth off the backs of the poor.
But that isn’t Mike Bloomberg’s aim.
He is nothing more than a know-it-all with the bank account that affords him the ability to shove his brand of stupid down everyone’s throats.
In fact, he will be remembered as a poor-bashing, racist-policy-endorsing politician. Hopefully, he won’t figure out a way to buy his way out of it.