Michael Bloomberg says he is a progressive Candidate who is an advocate for People of Color in the 2020 race to be the Democratic Presidential nominee, but his extended tenure as mayor of New York tells an entirely different story of political opportunism.
Although Bloomberg has had achievements as mayor of New York, such as his 2003 smoking ban, his desire to raise taxes, and his handling of Hurricane Sandy — his disdain for People of Color is evident in NYPD Crime and Enforcement reports, which vividly show how much Black and Latino victims are targeted by law enforcement under his policy of Stop and Frisk.
Data by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) shows the negative impacts of Bloomberg’s stop and frisk policies on People of Color. The data collected by the ACLU revealed that: “innocent New Yorkers have been subjected to police stops and street interrogations more than 5 million times since 2002, and that Black and Latinx communities continue to be the overwhelming target of these tactics.
At the height of stop-and-frisk in 2011 under the Bloomberg administration, over 685,000 people were stopped. Nearly 9 out of 10 stopped-and-frisked New Yorkers have been completely innocent.”
Molly Ball, a Time’s National Political Correspondent, has investigated Bloomberg’s time as mayor of New York.
“He was not particularly concerned with Communities of Color, except when he perceived them as affecting the quality of life of his more privileged constituents” Ball said.
“With the Stop and Frisk program, he saw these young, male, people of color as acceptable collateral damage in order to make the rest of New York feel safe, even though it unjustly alienated those communities from the quarters of power in New York.”
Bloomberg was born in 1942 in Medford, which is a neighborhood of Boston Massachusetts. Bloomberg rose to prominence in the business world when he received his MBA from Harvard Business school.
In 1966, he was hired to work for a Wall Street firm, Salmon Brothers, in which he quickly rose up when he moved to New York City. When Salmon Brothers shut down in 1981, he decided to start Bloomberg L.P, which is an information technology company that would bring transparency and efficiency to the buying and selling of financial secrets.
As of today, Bloomberg L.P, which started up as a little information technology company is now a global media company that has over 315,000 + subscribers to its financial news and information services.
As the company grew, Bloomberg shifted his attention to philanthropy, donating his time and resources to many different causes, such as culture, education, politics and public health.
In a 1990’s booklet called the portable Bloomberg, Bloomberg has been accused of making profane remarks against women in the booklet, in which he states: “On the Bloomberg: I will do anything, including give you a blowjob, I guess that puts a lot of you girls out of business”.
Michael Bloomberg was elected mayor of New York City from 2002 until 2013. He entered the race for mayor of New York City as a candidate on the Republican ticket. He was endorsed by former Mayor of New York City Rudolph W. Giuliani. Bloomberg ended up winning the mayoral election that year.
In the 2005 race, Bloomberg was re-elected with a 20% margin. In 2008, Bloomberg announced that he would seek to extend the city’s term limit law and run for a third mayoral term. Bloomberg claimed that a proper leader was needed to deal with the 2008 financial crisis.
The city council voted 29-22 in favor of Bloomberg running for office again, which resulted in Bloomberg signing the bill to law two days later.
“He changed the rules in order to get what he wanted,” Ball said. “He didn't even amend the city charter to say that all mayors can serve three terms, it was specifically amended to say only he could serve three terms”.
Bloomberg came to power at a crucial time in New York City history. “He used 9/11 as a political opportunity and he seized upon what happened to make the case to the electorate that he was qualified to manage an ongoing crisis” Ball added.
After 9/11, Bloomberg wanted to make New York safer, so he instituted his See Something Say Something policy, which was later adapted by The Department of Homeland Security. The program seeks to get citizens to report suspicious activity for the public safety and security of everyone. He has testified to the National Commission on terrorist attacks on the U.S.
As mayor, Bloomberg has had some success in preventing terror attacks, such as in the case of the arrest of Faisel Shahzad in the Times Square bomb case. Bloomberg also updated New Yorkers on the arrest of two suspects in the Synagogue Terror case with police commissioner Kelly and Manhattan District Attorney Vance.
However, a 60 page report obtained by AP that was published in 2007 documented the surveillance of Muslims in Newark N.J. This secret report detailed the racial profiling of Islamic mosques, schools and businesses by the New York Police Department. The report includes names, addresses, ethnicities and capacities of various multi-ethnic Islamic centers in the New Jersey area.
The report also includes maps and statistics about specific ethnic groups that fit the Muslim persuasion. For instance, Afghani, Pakistani, Turks and Egyptian communities, among others, are presented on maps and in terms of their proximity to mosques and Madrassas (Islamic schools).
The report also features details about Muslim owned businesses. Restaurants such as Salem family grocery, Amin’s Halal Restaurant and Detroit Fried Chicken Pizza are mentioned. The ethnicity of the shop owners is noted. The report found no evidence of suspicious behavior from these communities.
In October 2012, Mayor Bloomberg’s Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly was questioned under the city council on surveillance of Muslim in New York and New Jersey’s post 9/11.
Despite this, Stop and Frisk is Bloomberg’s biggest scandal as mayor. This act allowed police to search “suspicious” citizens. This resulted in increased police activity and searches in minority neighborhoods, specifically Black and Latino communities.
According to a report by the New York Civil Liberties Union: “Young black and Latino men were the targets of a hugely disproportionate number of stops.
Though they accounted for only 4.7 percent of the city’s population, black and Latino males between the ages of 14 and 24 accounted for 41 percent of stops between 2003 and 2013. Nearly 90 percent of young black and Latino men stopped were innocent.”
In leaked audio from a Bloomberg speech from February, 6 2011 at the Aspen Institute, Bloomberg said that: “Put the cops where the crime is, which means minority neighborhoods. One of the unintended consequences is people say, oh my God, you are arresting kids for marijuana that are all minorities.
Yes, that's true. Why? Because we put all the cops in minority neighborhoods. Why do we do that? Because that is where all the crime is.”
Later on, Bloomberg claimed that the goal of the policy was to remove guns from the streets. “And the way you get the guns out of the kids’ hands is to throw them up against the walls and frisk them,” he said.
Bloomberg is now pandering to people of color in his 2020 Presidential Bid. On the Democratic Campaign trail, Bloomberg is posting a total of six to eight times a day — and these posts include him on the campaign trail with a diverse group. He includes a lot of minorities in posts to gain credibility with these demographics.
His Instagram profile features endorsements by people of color, such as the Mayor of Washington, D.C., who is a Woman of Color. It seems that Bloomberg is using various People of Color to compensate for the backlash he receives from People of Color for Stop and Frisk.
These videos include text headlines that relate to issues relevant to Bloomberg’s campaign such as “Make America a Beacon of Hope for Immigrants” and “Why We Need Background Checks”.
Bloomberg does say that he supports the Second Amendment but is an advocate for stronger and more detailed background checks to prevent tragedies.
Bloomberg said in a March, 24, 2013 Meet the Press Interview that: “You have an issue where 90% of the public, 80% of NRA members even, say that they think we should have reasonable checks before people are allowed to buy guns, they all support the 2nd Amendment, as do I.”
As Mayor of New York in 2006, Bloomberg testified before the house Judiciary subcommittee on crime, terrorism and urged congress to reject the "Firearms Corrections and Improvements Act".
Bloomberg thinks that this would coddle criminals by preventing law enforcement agencies from sharing data needed to hold illegal gun dealers fully accountable.
Bloomberg’s legacy as mayor seems to be one of laissez-faire political opportunism. With no reluctance, he is willing to change principles or planes and without hesitation, he is willing to throw people of color under the bus for political power.
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