Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Andrea Peyser,& The Post, Bloomberg Lap Dogs

The stories showing up in the New York newspapers are just too convenient. The New York Post, writes these days as if it were the central organ of the Bloomberg as Emperor for Life Party. Who dug up the information about mayoral candidate Bill Thompson and his water bills? Who fed that information to the Post? The Post reported as follows about Bill Thompson owing $1000.00 in unpaid city water bills.

"City Comptroller Bill Thompson was delinquent to the tune of nearly $1,000 in unpaid water bills on his Brooklyn and Harlem homes, city records show.

The Department of Environmental Protection's Web site showed the charges -- nearly $500 for each of the two houses -- outstanding as of last week. Each amount included a late fee.

The high cost of water service in the city has been a major issue for several political candidates this year, and Thompson -- the leading Democratic hopeful to take on Mayor Bloomberg in November -- has made an issue of it on the stump.

Asked for comment on the bills, a DEP spokeswoman said she couldn't release "this kind of personal information."

Millions of New Yorkers have had a rude awakening under the Bloomberg regime. Under laws passed by Emperor Bloomberg's rubber stamp consultatative assembly, also known as the City Council, it is possible for a water bill such as that owed by a citizen to result in the city taking over a citizen's house, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars and to sell it to satisfy the debt. Mayoral candidate Bill Thompson is as subject to such confiscatory measures as the rest of us. A water bill is not something you can run away from.

The New York Post was breathless in reporting this "scoop" that was probably fed to it by a Bloomberg flunky. All they succeed in doing is to remind us of the heartless and aloof policies of the Bloomberg administration towards struggling home owners.

Then there is the pitiful story by Andrea Peyser in the New York Post about Bill Thompson's marital history. In it, she makes much of the fact that Thompson's current wife was a guest at his wedding to his ex wife. Peyser is unfortunately indecisive about whether she is a political columnist or a gossip columnist. For the time being, her compromise involves doing personal hits on politicians. Lovely. Just lovely. Mayor Giuliani is living proof that a mayor with a troubled marital history can do very well by the city.

If Peyser is so interested in troubled marriage stories, she could look at Bloomberg's broken marriage, although nobody is talking there. A principled position would be that the broken marriages of public servants should be private business. Unfortunately, Peyser has the sharp eyes of a sea gull that has just spotted a happy meal left on the beach at sunset. Fortunately for her, Bill Thompson is not wealthy enough to buy silence. So she can pick over unseemly memories as she sips coffee with menbers of the Bitter Ex club.

What is a matter of concern is the matter of sexual harassment suits at Bloomberg's communications company. the Village Voice actually published an article and named names of people who had settled out of court some very serious claims of sexual harassment. New York Magazine also provided vivid details of the joys of being a pregnant female in the employ of Bloomberg's media empire. The story of Sekiko Garrison is reported in New York Magazine as follows.

"What, is the guy dumb and blind? What the hell is he marrying you for?" Bloomberg is alleged to have asked Sekiko Garrison, a senior sales executive, who is one of the plaintiffs in these papers, when he saw her engagement ring. A week later, she maintains, he said, "Still engaged? What, is he that good in bed, or did your father pay him off to get rid of you?"

The pregnancies of his female employees -- another issue, according to the papers, that he dwells on -- he seems to take as a kind of betrayal. (Or is it just the distraction of an employee's private life that he resents?) On top of his "Kill it" admonition to Garrison, he allegedly bemoans that she is the sixteenth person in the company to take maternity leave.

The Michael Bloomberg depicted here seems often to be sensing the possibility of sexual betrayal (even on the part of people with whom he is not sexually involved). When Bloomberg sees Garrison speaking with Bill Beutel, the local news anchor, at a Corporate Challenge road race in Central Park, Bloomberg, in the presence of other employees, accuses her, allegedly, of wanting to have sex with the anchorman.

A sense of proprietorship over his female staff is another constant theme in these papers. He tells Garrison, in one instance, that he doesn't like her dress. "Your ass looks huge in it," she says he said.

The New York Magazine article is bare knuckles. It is explicit. Although I will link to it, I would not reprint some of its frank languageIt gives you a sense of what the women of Bloomberg's media empire were up against. Peyser has often taken up the cause of abused women and children. But when it comes to Mayor Bloomberg, she is simply not at her desk and not returning calls.

I do not have to read the New York Post to see what Bloomberg is doing to our city. I do not have to read his fliers that clog my mailbox like so many Chinese menus. There are journalists who go against the tide. you can look around you and use Google to dig for a fuller picture of who Bloomberg is and how life has been under his watch.

There are people in journalism who are not shilling for Bloomberg. There are people who will talk about life in a city that is being made over as a playground for the rich. Unfortunately, the Post, The Times and the Daily News are all in the tank for Bloomberg. It's a pity that it has come to this. A free press is supposed to be a watchdog for the people, not a lap dog of the wealthy.

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