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New York City - Bloomberg Miffed by "Ridiculous" Question

Published on: February 11, 2009 10:12 AM
By: WNBC By Gabe Pressman
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New York City - Mayor Michael Bloomberg called the question “ridiculous.” A reporter wanted to know whether, in view of the economic adversity facing New York and the nation, he would consider limiting his spending in the coming mayoral campaign.

The Mayor was clearly annoyed.

“I don’t understand your question,” he said angrily. “‘I am not going to talk about the campaign. I think it’s one of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard.”

It may not sound so ridiculous to the New Yorkers who are living from paycheck to pay check or those who fear that that might soon be the case. Reportedly, Mike Bloomberg is ready to spend 80 to 100 million dollars to get elected to a third term. He put the heat on the City Council to have the law changed to allow him to run—even though by referendum the people of New York had already voted twice to limit the number of terms to two.

This mayor is used to getting his own way and he’s glad to throw money around to accomplish that goal. The Times carried a story the other day detailing the fat bonuses he’s given his closest aides out of his own pocket for their services in furthering his ambitions. His generosity also extends to how he treats them on the road. According to the Times, Bloomberg puts his senior staff members up at the Four Seasons in London [$400 a night], at the Intercontinental in Paris [$320] and at the King David in Israel $345]. And, the Times reports, as he seeks to recruit new members to his staff for the campaign ahead, he makes it clear that they will have a chance to inhabit the Bloomberg world and get handsome bonuses for their efforts.

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One former adviser said he was surprised to find, after the 2001 election, that $25,000 had been added to his bank balance. Bloomberg had bestowed a little gift on him.

“I was shocked,” he said. “I knew big campaign operatives would negotiate bonuses but I was just a policy adviser.”

William Cunningham, an affable man who advised Bloomberg on strategy in the 2001 and 2005 campaigns, was paid about 1.2 million dollars for his work—-and, the Times reports, he got bonuses of $300,000 each after each contest. The money enabled him to send his children to college, he said, and to go on pricey vacations with his family. “For that,” Cunningham said, “I am very grateful.”

No one can begrudge anyone a chance to make a good living. And the fault here is hardly on the recipients of Bloomberg largesse.

The problem here falls squarely on Bloomberg’s shoulders. New York has a campaign finance law that was devised to make for an equal playing field. In the coming mayoral election, the two major contenders for the Democratic nomination are City Comptroller William Thompson and Congressman Anthony Wiener. Alongside Mike Bloomberg, both are paupers. Financially, he can wipe the floor with them.

Thompson’s campaign manger, Eduardo Castell, said: “as he has in the past, the Mayor is buying a campaign.” Speaking of the perks that go to Bloomberg aides, the Mayor’s spokesman Stu Loeser said: “These are rare and relatively minor benefits that don’t come close to offsetting the workload, especially when you’ve flown through the night and have to work on both local and New York City time.”

Which gets us back to what the Mayor called a “ridiculous” question.

We’re facing tough times. The mayor is a great philanthropist. He’s supported many charitable causes. The other day, he promised the bishop of Brooklyn to consider a plan to convert four parochial schools threatened with being closed into public charter schools.

But it is hardly ridiculous to ask whether this man should flaunt his wealth in the political arena. he has done good for the city. He has also exhibited great hubris and if he truly believes in a democratic system, he should be willing to accept legal limits on campaign expenditures.

You have fans out there, Mr. Mayor, and critics. Are you afraid to test your achievements on a level playing field?



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Read Comments (33)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Feb 11, 2009 at 09:34 AM fakewoodnj Says:

spending is good for the economy. the more people spend the stronger the confidence grow. this money provides hundreds of jobs and is a welcome infusion into the ny economy. stop letting yourself be led by the liberal media.

2

 Feb 11, 2009 at 09:34 AM Mentch Says:

We need a fair playing field, no question. Anyone can buy an election with Gloombergs money. Besides he is out of touch. He seems to dictate every aspect of our life, but he seems to do whatever HE feels like in hi sown life. He can rob us of our last dollar always finding issues that have some support by some consituents, but only those that he can profit off. He wont be tough on crime or other things, it's all about money. He has not made goverment better in anyway. He has brought DOWN quality of life by constantly taxing us in every way in good times and bad and stressing our lives to the max. OUT WITH GLOOMBERG.

3

 Feb 11, 2009 at 09:32 AM Anonymous Says:

This reporter must be some jealous disgruntled minimum wage person. Bloomberg has given the most charity in this country and he is entitled to spend his money as he pleases. typical liberal mindset. I don't care how much NY is suffering, its his money, he cant take it to the grave with him, so why cant he spend it on what he enjoys?

4

 Feb 11, 2009 at 09:47 AM michal Says:

Who does he care how Bloomberg spends his money. As long as it does not come out of the city coffers, Gabe Pressman should keep his opinions to himself. Although I disagree with the Mayor at times, he is a great mayor for NYC. He knows how to get the job done without the political garbage from leftists who would love to see the Mayor fail.

5

 Feb 11, 2009 at 09:45 AM Shmuel Says:

I don't understand - the guy is a billionaire he can spend his money any way he wants to (Bloomberg can go to a homeless guy dangle a million dollars over his head and every time the homelessguy tries to reach for it, the Bloomberg can pull it a way). if any thing the more money he spends the more money goes into the economy

6

 Feb 11, 2009 at 09:23 AM Yossi Says:

Pathetic New Yorkers will let this dictator have his way with them.

7

 Feb 11, 2009 at 09:55 AM Animal Farm Says:

Reply to #3  
Anonymous Says:

This reporter must be some jealous disgruntled minimum wage person. Bloomberg has given the most charity in this country and he is entitled to spend his money as he pleases. typical liberal mindset. I don't care how much NY is suffering, its his money, he cant take it to the grave with him, so why cant he spend it on what he enjoys?

"Typical liberal media mindset"? Gloomberg is the most liberal person I have ever known. He seems to be taxing everyone so that he can set their life style for them. He believes that the world is about to crumble beacuse of global warming. Wants us all to walk to work, stop eating salt, stop smoking, clean the streets and the list is endless. Gloomberg supports everything that the most liberal people belive in pro choice rights for certain groups that claim they are wired different than regular people. Bloomberg has raised every tax their is and added plenty of his own. This story reminds me of Animal Farm.

8

 Feb 11, 2009 at 09:55 AM Anonymous Says:

Campaign spending helps the economy! What would you rather him do? Keep the money in his bank accounts??? Hes already the biggest philanthropist in the country!

9

 Feb 11, 2009 at 10:09 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #8  
Anonymous Says:

Campaign spending helps the economy! What would you rather him do? Keep the money in his bank accounts??? Hes already the biggest philanthropist in the country!

No, let there be a real and fair debate.

He has been in office for eight years and has bought every policy by bribing council members. Let there be a fair election where his opponents are heard. When you spend so much money on a campeign, your opponents are never heard or seen as you blanket the city with ads.

BTW Bloomberg has almost never given any money to Jewish organiztions causes here in America.

10

 Feb 11, 2009 at 10:33 AM Anonymous Says:

how much did barak oboma spend 500 million dollars i didnt hear any one say any thing not weiner not thompson

11

 Feb 11, 2009 at 10:20 AM NYer Says:

People most NYers care he will throw down the drain 100 million dollars and then he will tell us we need to increase sales tax there is not enough money hard working new yorkers who try making ends meet this guy has NO FEELINGS what so ever for the average NYer this reporter asked a very good question and it got him Mad why huh

12

 Feb 11, 2009 at 11:40 AM Anonymous Says:

Very good point i didnt hear anyone complaining about obama's spending... at least this is his own money and he won't owe anyone any 'favors'

13

 Feb 11, 2009 at 11:39 AM Anonymous Says:

While mayor mike and his buying the election stinks there is a little thing called freedom of speach. limiting it in any way would be unconstitutional. The campaign finance laws are specific to those taking public funds. is it right that some gifted politions are vey persuasive and can beat more qualified opponents who are less polished -- yes. Blommy's $$$ is a fact of life - if someone with a lot of money wants to finance thompson or wieners campaign more power to them.

p.s. that still doesnt change the fact that he has absolutely no right to be running again. That is constitutionally wrong

14

 Feb 11, 2009 at 11:05 AM DR Says:

It's great that he gives so much money to charitable causes. But to those of us struggling to pay our housing & tuition expenses, and who don't ask for or receive charitable handouts, all we get from this mayor is more requests that we help raise more revenue for the City in the form of taxes, fees, tickets, fines, etc.

Enough is enough. While I don't agree with term limits in the way it was written into the law, it was voted upon by the people. If you don't like it, have it undone in the same way it was put into effect - by a vote of the people.

15

 Feb 11, 2009 at 12:16 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #3  
Anonymous Says:

This reporter must be some jealous disgruntled minimum wage person. Bloomberg has given the most charity in this country and he is entitled to spend his money as he pleases. typical liberal mindset. I don't care how much NY is suffering, its his money, he cant take it to the grave with him, so why cant he spend it on what he enjoys?

am I supposed to be impressed by bloombergs donations? the man has billions, he is already Mayor of NY & has even bigger public political dreams. when a struggling family living paycheck to paycheck, finds it in them to give $180 to Hatzolah every year, and $180 to Bonie Olem or Bikur Cholim (just using popular organizations as a reference) that is a million times more impressive, then bloomberg giving 1 of his 20+ bilion

16

 Feb 11, 2009 at 12:37 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #7  
Animal Farm Says:

"Typical liberal media mindset"? Gloomberg is the most liberal person I have ever known. He seems to be taxing everyone so that he can set their life style for them. He believes that the world is about to crumble beacuse of global warming. Wants us all to walk to work, stop eating salt, stop smoking, clean the streets and the list is endless. Gloomberg supports everything that the most liberal people belive in pro choice rights for certain groups that claim they are wired different than regular people. Bloomberg has raised every tax their is and added plenty of his own. This story reminds me of Animal Farm.

He became a bushi republican for most of his political career. he aint no liberal. not like rudy giuliani. giuliani is a liberal and compared to miike, mike is an ultra right wing conservative

17

 Feb 11, 2009 at 12:30 PM Berel Says:

"If he truly believes in a democratic system, he should be willing to accept legal limits on campaign expenditures."

True, if there are such legal limits. But there aren't. And to assert that his lack of creating them, or limiting himself in their absence, is a sign of his non belief in a democratic system, is absurd.

18

 Feb 11, 2009 at 12:26 PM Berel Says:

If it really doesn't "sound so ridiculous to the New Yorkers who are living from paycheck to pay check" then all they have to do is vote for his opponent. Simple, no?

Sticking one's nose into other's personal spending never does you any good.

19

 Feb 11, 2009 at 11:59 AM Shmuel Says:

Reply to #2  
Mentch Says:

We need a fair playing field, no question. Anyone can buy an election with Gloombergs money. Besides he is out of touch. He seems to dictate every aspect of our life, but he seems to do whatever HE feels like in hi sown life. He can rob us of our last dollar always finding issues that have some support by some consituents, but only those that he can profit off. He wont be tough on crime or other things, it's all about money. He has not made goverment better in anyway. He has brought DOWN quality of life by constantly taxing us in every way in good times and bad and stressing our lives to the max. OUT WITH GLOOMBERG.

don't vote for him but he can still spend

20

 Feb 11, 2009 at 01:20 PM Just saying Says:

If he isn't asking me to pay it, I don't care.

21

 Feb 11, 2009 at 01:25 PM Anonymous Says:

I once saw this guy up close when he visited Boro Park a few years ago. Honestly, he came across as very stiff and about as exciting as watching paint dry on a wall. Since then, all that power and money must've gone to this head and he has unfortunately acted accordingly.

22

 Feb 11, 2009 at 01:02 PM Realist Says:

The whole idea of a tax rebate check is that we should spend it and get that money circulating in the economy.
When Bloomberg spends that kind of money, it is going into stimulating our depressed economical situation.
In layman terms; The more he spends, the better off we are.
WE have the final say, no matter how much he spends.

23

 Feb 11, 2009 at 01:38 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #15  
Anonymous Says:

am I supposed to be impressed by bloombergs donations? the man has billions, he is already Mayor of NY & has even bigger public political dreams. when a struggling family living paycheck to paycheck, finds it in them to give $180 to Hatzolah every year, and $180 to Bonie Olem or Bikur Cholim (just using popular organizations as a reference) that is a million times more impressive, then bloomberg giving 1 of his 20+ bilion

u sound like a very jelous and sad man . hope u get better soon

24

 Feb 11, 2009 at 02:04 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #15  
Anonymous Says:

am I supposed to be impressed by bloombergs donations? the man has billions, he is already Mayor of NY & has even bigger public political dreams. when a struggling family living paycheck to paycheck, finds it in them to give $180 to Hatzolah every year, and $180 to Bonie Olem or Bikur Cholim (just using popular organizations as a reference) that is a million times more impressive, then bloomberg giving 1 of his 20+ bilion

Don't you love it when all these jealous , bitter people suddenly come out of the woodwork and start criticizing a billionair? So what, its so very nice of you to give 180 to bonei oilam. You are no billionair and you have no right to tell bloomberg how to spend his money. Mind your own business and stop being jelous.

25

 Feb 11, 2009 at 02:42 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #23  
Anonymous Says:

u sound like a very jelous and sad man . hope u get better soon

sorry if I offended you personally by tellling you my opinion on charity, I wasn't aware that Mike is reading VIN

26

 Feb 11, 2009 at 03:08 PM hitman neil Says:

Reply to #10  
Anonymous Says:

how much did barak oboma spend 500 million dollars i didnt hear any one say any thing not weiner not thompson

VERY WELL SAID and how much did the govt. (OUR TAXES) pay for the inaugeration that was the most expensive one on record in one of the worst economical times in US history!!

27

 Feb 11, 2009 at 03:49 PM iguana Says:

Bloomberg has profited by "giving" to "charities."

$26.6 million:- Bloomberg’s charitable gifts in 1997 (when he distributed to 433 groups). Handouts have increased every year since - Press mentions of Bloomberg philanthropy begin this year
$45 million:- Bloomberg’s charitable gifts in 1998 - Year Bloomberg started talking publicly about running for mayor
$47 million:- Bloomberg’s charitable gifts in 1999
$100.5 million:- Bloomberg’s charitable gifts in 2000 (579 organizations)- Year before first mayoral election campaign
$122.5 million:- Bloomberg’s charitable gifts in 2001 (540 groups) Was elected mayor in November
$130.9 million:- Bloomberg’s charitable gifts in 2002 (655 groups) Became mayor
$135.6 million:- Bloomberg’s charitable gifts in 2003 (653 groups)
$138/139.9 million*:- Bloomberg’s charitable gifts in 2004 (843 groups)
$143.9 million:- Bloomberg’s charitable gifts in 2005 (987 groups)- Second campaign for mayor in connection with the 2005 election
$165.3 million:- Bloomberg’s charitable gifts in 2006. (1,077 groups)
$205 million:- Bloomberg’s charitable gifts in 2007.- The year he started to run for President.- The year he left the Republican party
$235 million:- Bloomberg’s charitable gifts in 2008 (1,221 recipient groups)- The year that Bloomberg started running for his third term as mayor and overthrew the city’s term limits restrictions.

The most reliably constant gauge of his wealth over the years are the annual figures published by Forbes in September of each year:

1996 - $1 billion
1997 - $1.3 billion
1998 - $2 billion
1999- $2.5 billion
2000- $4 billion
2001- $4 billion
2002- $4.8 billion
2003- $4.9 Billion
2004- $5 Billion
2005- $5.1 Billion
2006- $5.3 Billion
2007- $11.5 billion
2008- $20 billion

See http://noticingnewyork.blogspot.com

28

 Feb 11, 2009 at 04:19 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #22  
Realist Says:

The whole idea of a tax rebate check is that we should spend it and get that money circulating in the economy.
When Bloomberg spends that kind of money, it is going into stimulating our depressed economical situation.
In layman terms; The more he spends, the better off we are.
WE have the final say, no matter how much he spends.

Who is the WE? Dont you understand that advertising is name of the game. If one candidate outspends the other 100 times, most people wont even know there is another option.

29

 Feb 11, 2009 at 04:16 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #16  
Anonymous Says:

He became a bushi republican for most of his political career. he aint no liberal. not like rudy giuliani. giuliani is a liberal and compared to miike, mike is an ultra right wing conservative

you make no sense. On which issue is he a liberal? Cutting taxes, Social issues, Global Warming?

30

 Feb 11, 2009 at 06:13 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #27  
iguana Says:

Bloomberg has profited by "giving" to "charities."

$26.6 million:- Bloomberg’s charitable gifts in 1997 (when he distributed to 433 groups). Handouts have increased every year since - Press mentions of Bloomberg philanthropy begin this year
$45 million:- Bloomberg’s charitable gifts in 1998 - Year Bloomberg started talking publicly about running for mayor
$47 million:- Bloomberg’s charitable gifts in 1999
$100.5 million:- Bloomberg’s charitable gifts in 2000 (579 organizations)- Year before first mayoral election campaign
$122.5 million:- Bloomberg’s charitable gifts in 2001 (540 groups) Was elected mayor in November
$130.9 million:- Bloomberg’s charitable gifts in 2002 (655 groups) Became mayor
$135.6 million:- Bloomberg’s charitable gifts in 2003 (653 groups)
$138/139.9 million*:- Bloomberg’s charitable gifts in 2004 (843 groups)
$143.9 million:- Bloomberg’s charitable gifts in 2005 (987 groups)- Second campaign for mayor in connection with the 2005 election
$165.3 million:- Bloomberg’s charitable gifts in 2006. (1,077 groups)
$205 million:- Bloomberg’s charitable gifts in 2007.- The year he started to run for President.- The year he left the Republican party
$235 million:- Bloomberg’s charitable gifts in 2008 (1,221 recipient groups)- The year that Bloomberg started running for his third term as mayor and overthrew the city’s term limits restrictions.

The most reliably constant gauge of his wealth over the years are the annual figures published by Forbes in September of each year:

1996 - $1 billion
1997 - $1.3 billion
1998 - $2 billion
1999- $2.5 billion
2000- $4 billion
2001- $4 billion
2002- $4.8 billion
2003- $4.9 Billion
2004- $5 Billion
2005- $5.1 Billion
2006- $5.3 Billion
2007- $11.5 billion
2008- $20 billion

See http://noticingnewyork.blogspot.com

And your point is? He earned more, he gave more. How did he "profit" from "giving" to charity? Do you mean Hashem blessed him with more wealth? I don't like many of the things the mayor has done, but I have no clue what the purpose of your post was.

31

 Feb 11, 2009 at 11:55 PM Anonymous Says:

I wish he spends $200 million on the election. the more the better.
Bloomberg will boost the local economy with out spending tax payers money.

32

 Feb 12, 2009 at 02:18 AM Weiner Says:

Reply to #31  
Anonymous Says:

I wish he spends $200 million on the election. the more the better.
Bloomberg will boost the local economy with out spending tax payers money.

He'll spend it right afterwards if he wins, so what do you gain. Gloomberg has raised every tax there is throughout his tenure.

33

 Feb 13, 2009 at 12:33 AM Realist Says:

Reply to #28  
Anonymous Says:

Who is the WE? Dont you understand that advertising is name of the game. If one candidate outspends the other 100 times, most people wont even know there is another option.

We, mit a bisel saychel. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt that you're included, at least marginally, in this group!

Secondly, I think he's done a marvelous job for us.

We put him in office for what he does best; and nobody ever said it was gonna be easy for our city to remain solvent. We are a lot better off than a LOT of other cities right now and we have Mayor Mike to thank for it. Tickets, Taxes, and all!

34

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