9:59 am Nov. 19, 2012
According to Bill Thompson, Mayor Michael Bloomberg's technocratic, business-like approach to his job has made for an uninspiring mayoralty, and that's a problem.
Being mayor "isn't just sitting in an office and telling other people what to do," said Thompson, a former city comptroller and Democratic opponent of Bloomberg, on Assemblyman Dov Hikind's radio show Saturday night. "It's being out there," and "leading from the street and letting people see you, even if they're going to be angry."
After Hikind referenced the New York Times story about Bloomberg's reluctance to be an emotional crutch for hurricane victims, Thompson said the mayor should have "a mobile office" in each affected community and move "from office to office." Thompson said that would help focus the mayor's, and the public's, attention on the areas that are still struggling.
The problem, overall, according to Thompson, is not that Bloomberg is "a bad person," he said, but "I just don't think in the long run that he ever understands the vast majority of us, the vast majority of New Yorkers, what we go through each and every day."
That stood in contrast to Mayor Ed Koch, who famously asked: "How'm I doin'?"
Thompson said what Koch was really asking was "How are we doing, as a city?"
"And I think the mayor, Mike Bloomberg, misses that," said Thompson. "Misses that that is part of being the mayor. It isn't just a job where the city runs well. It's a job where you inspire and lead the city."
UPDATE: Bloomberg spokesman Marc Lavorgna emailed in response: "Ironic criticism coming from the invisible mayoral candidate. When I think inspirational leader, I think Bill Thompson. Don’t you?"