For Bloomberg on stop-and-frisk, there’s no going back

bloomberg-stop-and-frisk-theres-no-going-back
Briefing: Bloomberg and Sharpton. (via nyc.gov)
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Mayor Michael Bloomberg isn't backing away from the comments he made in defense of the New York Police Department's stop-and-frisk tactics, and he took a new, direct shot at one prominent African-American critic.

Speaking to reporters before the gay pride parade this weekend, Bloomberg said that Al Sharpton should be helping the less fortunate rather than "building his own political career."

"You know, there was a time when the Rev. Sharpton did that. He got away from that, became a television star and doesn't seem to focus on the kids," said Bloomberg.

Bloomberg is not seeking re-election, has virtually unlimited money and feels strongly about his opposition to the police oversight bills that recently passed the City Council. But with the final city budget passed, Bloomberg seems to be acting out an adult form of senioritis, no longer calibrating his actions, or showing much interest in the patient work of giving cover to potential allies or finding pet causes with which to entice lawmakers to his side.

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In reaction to the bills passed by the Council, Bloomberg said Friday that "nobody racially profiles," and that in fact he thinks the city "disproportionately stop[s] whites too much and minorities too little."

If his comments this weekend or his unnecessarily provocative remarks about race last week are any indication, the mayor seems to have removed that filter altogether, giving up on feigned sensitivity in favor of an ill-tempered frankness that serves the reporters covering him a lot better than it serves his remaining legislative agenda.

If Bloomberg is to stop a racial-profiling bill he detests from becoming law, he'll need to find at least one Council member to switch sides on it; the bill passed with just 34 votes, the bare minimum needed on the 51-member Council to override a mayoral veto.

While Bloomberg was talking about Sharpton's declining use as a civic leader, Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson said the administration will be looking for someone amenable to their argument to join them in blocking the bill. 

Quote

"[W]e’re going to recanvass as many members as we can and see what we come up with." — Howard Wolfson

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