Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Gotbaum Goes HuffPost, Comparing Bloomberg To Anti-Stimulus Governors

Michael Bloomberg is certainly not on the top of my list of favorite elected officials, but I hadn't thought of comparing him to the ilk that Republican Governors Sanford and Jindal are. Now thanks to a Huffington Post article written by the generally laid-back NYC Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum, I've got good reason to call out the Mayor not only for his bad leadership and power plays, but for putting stipulations on Federal assistance that our city desperately needs.

From The Huffington Post:

President Obama's stimulus package is expected to bring billions of dollars into New York City at a time when we desperately need it. Included in this package is a provision that will suspend the limit on how long able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDS) can receive food stamps through September 30, 2010 -- it is a provision designed to address hunger during a time of high unemployment. However, we recently learned that Mayor Bloomberg has refused to accept the provision without conditions, a decision that could cause the city to miss out on millions in federal funds for the local economy.

This is nothing new for Mayor Bloomberg: New York City, as a locality with high unemployment, had previously been eligible for a waiver to extend the time limits, but despite the urging of myself, other elected officials, and hunger advocates -- and even the advice of his own appointees -- the mayor has never accepted the ABAWD waiver.

Mayor Bloomberg refuses to extend federally funded benefits to hungry, out-of-work New Yorkers while they look for jobs, but when it comes to another group of able-bodied adults -- his friends in the financial sector -- he isn't so strict. He has announced that he is willing to spend millions of dollars in city money to retrain and support former financial services workers.

It isn't news that Bloomberg is out of touch with people who make less than a mid-six figure salary, but this adds more fuel to the fire. It is a cruel act of a man engorged with power and money that would deny the lengthening of food stamps to those that are barely getting by. If New Yorkers want a mayor that cares about the non-millionaires, electing someone other than Bloomberg is a necessary choice.

Cheers to Betsy Gotbaum for writing this and bringing attention to our heartless mayor. When she wants to, she is definitely able to step up and be a worthy advocate of the people. Her message to go around Mr. Scrooge the mayor is also a smart idea.