Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Bloomberg Gets His Bill, and a Public Earful - NYTimes.com:

“To hell with your agenda,” thundered David Tieu, a 21-year-old deliveryman from Brooklyn, as the mayor sat about 15 feet away, staring at him.

Patrice Senior, a nurse from Brooklyn, accused Mr. Bloomberg of “plantation politics.” And Patti Hagan, a writer, assailed his “strong-armed knuckle-busting” tactics.

Custom at City Hall has long allowed anyone to appear at a bill signing and offer an opinion on the legislation being enacted. Most such ceremonies are sleepy affairs that attract a handful of political gadflies.

But on Monday, this tidy ritual was turned on its head. For four uninterrupted hours, scores of New Yorkers walked up to a microphone, looked at Mr. Bloomberg and rendered a blunt verdict on the legislation that would allow him to seek a third term.

It was a singular moment in the Bloomberg era of government. For much of his tenure, the mayor has been showered with accolades and surrounded by friendly crowds that have treated him like a head of state.

But during the bill signing, a man unaccustomed to direct, public criticism endured a heavy — and very harsh — dose of it from those he governs.

Dozens of speakers accused the mayor of arrogantly disregarding the will of New York voters, who overwhelmingly endorsed the current eight-year term limits in two referendums in the 1990s.

2:13 PM