Putin, Wen Jiaboa, Nazarbayev and Mike Bloomberg (“It’s Good to be King”): In Our Democracy Mayors, Legislators, Parents and Teachers Are Equal Partners …

 

Teachers return to school on August 28th and the kids the following week, the major issue confronting the Department is the very existence of the Department as currently organized.
 
Buddy Cianci, the former Mayor of Providence, one time guest of the feds and currently a talk show host is credited with warning, “beware, the hand you bite today may be attached to the ass you have to kiss tomorrow.”
 
The Mayor of New York is as close as you can come to a warlord, hopefully, a benevolent warlord. The City Charter revision in the 80’s emasculated the City Council and the Borough Presidents. The Borough Presidents have no legislative authority, in fact, aside from being cheer leaders for their boroughs, no role whatsoever. The City Council gets to name streets, pass laws prohibiting blowing air conditioning into streets, and, oh yes, dispensing several millions to organizations in their communities.
 
The few times the Mayor had to deal with the New York State legislature: the West Side stadium and congestion pricing,  he fumbled badly. 
 
The law that handed over the Board of Education to the Mayor has a sunset provision: the law “ends” on June 30, 2009, and, if the law is not extended, reauthorized or amended, it reverts to the previous law: the old Board of Education.
 
Mike is the modern day warlord: he rules over New York, ignores, or punishes his detractors, and basks in the adulation of his subjects.
 
In an article in the New York Sun Elizabeth Green interviewed members of the New York State legislature who all sharply question the efficacy of the current law.
 
 State Senator Martin Malave Dilan, a Democrat of Brooklyn, described trying to contact the Department of Education’s government liaison office to discuss a problem in a school. “The response I got was, ‘Well the principal of the school is his own CEO. So if the principal couldn’t help you, no one else can.'”Lawmakers said they are not trying to buy influence or favors, but rather trying to help improve the schools.

“If his definition of politics in the schools are special interest favors, then none of us want politics in the schools. But do we want good information? Yes. Do we want planning? Yes,” State Senator Liz Krueger of Manhattan said.

Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer, a Queens Democrat, asked the same question. “What kind of politics is he trying to take out of the schools?” she said. “Is it when maybe a politician calls and says, ‘Gee, I’d love this kid in this class.’ Is that what he’s talking about? Or is it when I call and say, ‘Gee, what are you doing with the extra billions of dollars that I gave you?'”

Assemblyman Alan Maisel of Brooklyn said he does not want to scrap mayoral control; he wants to improve it by implementing checks and balances that would allow more community participation. “Everybody complains about three men in a room. So what do you think about one man in a room?” Mr. Maisel said. “That’s basically what happens: The chancellor makes the decisions and everybody has to live with it.”

The Mayor, however, has no interest in modifying the law. 
 
“You can’t run something this big without having one person have accountability,” Mr. Bloomberg said of the school system. “That’s what the Legislature gave us, and hopefully come next June, they will reapprove and make permanent the change. And if they try to water it down, they might as well just take it away. Either you have accountability or you don’t.”
 
The founding documents of our nation, the Declaration of Independence, the Federalist Papers, the Constitution, the politics and fears of the 1790’s and the climatic election of 1800 were all concerned with balancing the power of the executive with the rights of the public.
 
In the 1790’s the public selected electors, either on a statewide or district by district basis. There was a lack of trust, after all the masses might not make the proper decision. In the rough and tumble election of 1800, wonderfully described by Edward Larson in his Magnificent Catastrophe,  Jefferson and the Republicans prevailed over Adams and the Federalists.
 
Bloomberg, in the tradition of the Federalists, and, increasingly resembling the autocrats around the world, has no confidence in the people, yes, those very people that Bloomberg swore to serve.
 
Perhaps the  Mayor should take some time to read James Madison in Federalist, # 51:
 
 Ambition must be made to counteract ambition. The interest of the man must be connected with the constitutional rights of the place. It may be a reflection on human nature, that such devices should be necessary to control the abuses of government. But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.
 
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