‘He’s slitting the city’s throat for the sake of his own legacy’

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Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the opposition from Public Advocate Bill de Blasio over the mayor's taxi plan is "the stupidest one" he's seen.

De Blasio filed an amicus brief earlier this week arguing the mayor improperly got the state lift a ban on street hails for livery cabs, allowing them to compete with yellow taxis, because the mayor didn't first get approval from the City Council, which has traditionally regulated New York City's taxi industry.

"Why is somebody like that, who's not a stupid guy, why is he opposed to getting taxi service for four boroughs that have none?" the mayor said on his radio show this morning.

A lawyer who filed the lawsuit, Richard Emery, said the mayor is essentially ceding power to the state legislature and fatally weakening his own office.

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"If he wins, it means the constitution of the state of New York is being interpreted in such a way as to essentially eliminate the home-rule provision," Emery told me. "The home-rule provision disappears as a practical matter. He's eviscerating it, by his position.

"It would be one thing if the governor was trying to do that. You could understand that. But for the mayor of New York doing that, it's like he's slitting his own throat or he's slitting the city's throat, for the sake of his own legacy."

Emery, who has filed three other successful lawsuits against Bloomberg's other taxi plans, argued the case before the Supreme Court that led to the elimination of the city Board of Estimate and the creation of the New York City Council in its current form.

I asked Emery if he had any reservations arguing a case with the support of de Blasio, who is actively campaigning to replace Bloomberg and is therefore presumably motivated by electoral politics.

"I don't really care about de Blasio's politics or motivations," Emery said. "The issue here is of much more fundamental importance and long-term significance. The mayor's position is anti-New York City. He's against city power. He's giving up power in favor of the New York State legislature and that is the issue. It has nothing to do with politics. If anything, his motivation seems to be political because he's more concerned about his legacy than the structure of power in New York City."