Mayor Bloomberg's generous spending of our tax dollars to reward his campaign advisors with City jobs has coupled with his personal spending to create a scandal dynamic, while Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is shining in the midst of the Haitian tragedy as she leads the effort to get the United States to allow Haitian immigrants to remain in the US for a minimum of eighteen months while the Haitian recovery and rebuilding process begins.
Mayor Bloomberg's "Money Troubles"
The latest pieces of the Bloomberg Money Scandal are 1) his hiring of participants in his campaign for City jobs, and 2) his mysterious and still unexplained $750,000 payment to the Independence Party that ended up in the hands of an advisor.
The Mayor has decided that our tax dollars should be used to reward his campaign workers, despite his "doomsday" budget cuts that slash the jobs of so many hard working City workers. He has also been caught in the most obvious case of "pay to play" politics we have ever witnessed. These latest pieces follow the growing scandal of Bloomberg's enormous bonuses paid to his campaign staff (many of whom had worked for the City and were taking a leave of absence to support the Bloomberg campaign) out of his personal fortune.
The hiring of Bloomberg's campaign advisors to City jobs is somewhat shocking during this period of cost cutting. The advisors, fifteen of them, are not inexpensive additions to the labor pool at City Hall. Many of them are earning six-figure salaries, and they include some of the highest paid City Hall workers. To add insult to injury, Bloomberg has hired seven advisors who left their City Hall jobs to work on the campaign. That brings us to 22 workers and more than $2 million of annual expense that is now the responsibility of the tax payers and is entirely devoted to compensating Bloomberg's campaign staff while City workers face cuts.
As Bloomberg demands reduced services for all of us who live in New York City, and as he proposes 18,000 lay offs of City workers, he generously rewards his campaign staff with high-paying positions in City Hall. Some of the positions were created specifically to allow his campaign staff to shift to taxpayer funding.
This latest scandal is part of a pattern. Bloomberg provided retroactive raises to his City Hall staff last summer despite the harsh economic times and his calls for cuts nearly everywhere else in the city government. The pattern has its roots in Bloomberg's three electoral victories and the large bonuses he paid out of his personal fortune to his campaign staff. Some on the campaign earned more than $400,000 for two months of work.
The retroactive raises and the creation of City Hall jobs for campaign staff are clear evidence of Bloomberg's arrogance and unwillingness to apply the same "belt tightening" requirements to himself that he demands of others. The lavish bonuses are a potentially corrupting influence on our politics, particularly because so many of the campaign workers had been working in the City government until late in the campaign.
Now, we see an additional scandal in a mysterious $750,000 payment Bloomberg made to the Independence Party during the campaign. Bloomberg should explain the payment and why there has been no explanation of it for many months.
Gillibrand Protects Haitian Immigrants
Earlier this month, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand demonstrated her leadership once again by guiding the United States to provide temporary protected status to Haitian immigrants living in the United States. The President followed her lead, and as a result, Haitians living in the United States cannot be forced to return to Haiti for at least eighteen months.
France and other nations worked very hard to bankrupt and undermine Haiti over two centuries. The emergence of a free Black nation in the Western Hemisphere was unacceptable to many part of the Western World. The forced end of slavery in Haiti was a great victory for the concept of freedom, but it was the reason that Haiti was forced to be a poor country. The Western World was determined to punish Haiti for being the first country to end slavery on a timetable set by the slaves rather than by the slave owners. Now, we hope that the tragedy that began in January 2010 in Haiti will help the world address the tragedy that has been occurring in Haiti for centuries. The world is responding to the earthquake.
As the world works to help the people of Haiti to build a stronger and better country, we could not be more proud of our Senator for leading our country as our country leads the world.