Mayor of the People

Folks that have chastised Mayor Bloomberg for not being as much of a
strap-hanger as people think need to simmer down. The fact that the
New York billionaire uses mass transit at all is enough in my mind to
connect him to transportation issues and to the experiences of other
riders (which, in New York, means all people).

It makes sense for the mayor of the largest city in the US to get
driven around, not to distance himself from the people but to be more
efficient in the use of his scarce time. Plus he was getting tired of
the trail of reporters who would hound him, paparazzi-style, whenever
he walked the street to and from stations.

But Mayor Bloomberg did initially invite the media to tag along. And
this reminds me of another New York politician, none other than my
favorite present, Theodore Roosevelt. Before his ascendancy to the
presidency, TR was a state assemblyman, police commissioner, and
governor, all in New York.

And every single time, he allowed - no, demanded - that the media be
with him virtually all the time. Certainly some of that was to feed
his massive ego, but it was also to craft his public message and to
ensure utter transparency in his political dealings. (I can think of
another mayor, closer to home, who could learn a thing or two on both

As public servants, mayors are held to a high standard and scrutiny.
I appreciate TR's willingness to not only accept that but embrace it
and bend it to his good and his gain, and ultimately make himself a
more accountable and more effective politician. And you know he
would've not only ridden the rails but bounded down the street from
home to station.


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