Will the most expensive campaign ever help NYC mayor Bloomberg?
In a city home to more than eight million people, one man – with piggy bank billions – wields ÃÂ° lot of influence. Eight years ago, Michael Bloomberg took the helm of New York City. Now he's campaigning to keep his crown for four more years.
Bloomberg’s extended political ambitions have ignited significant backlash among New Yorkers. This comes after the mayor successfully convinced city lawmakers to extend term limits without a referendum. The move undermined the results of two previous referendums, in which New Yorkers voted overwhelmingly to stop elected officials from serving more than two consecutive terms.
Bloomberg's opponents are painting the media mogul as a dictator in their campaign ads.
Attorney Gene Russianoff from the New York Public Interest Group says the billionaire has effectively bashed democracy:
“It’s politically and morally wrong what happened in the city. They were put on notice, and they still pursued the strategy. We still don’t know what the mayor gave to the council people in exchange for their voting for extending term limits.”
Amid last year’s economic crisis, Bloomberg argued that his business savvy was needed to keep the Big Apple afloat – yet unemployment and homelessness are at record levels.
New York’s richest man is bankrolling the most expensive campaign in US history, spending over one hundred million dollars in his quest to stay in office – twenty times more than his opponent from the Democratic Party, Bill Thompson.
In response to Bloomberg’s actions, actor Daniel Sunjata believes leaders have established a pattern of ignoring the will of the people.
“Is he Mayor Bloomberg or Hugo Chavez? Or Castro? You can point to any number of individuals that have maintained a stranglehold on power for much longer than people would have liked if given the opportunity to vote on the issue,” he asks.
Hugo Chavez, like Bloomberg, wanted to extend term of office limits, but the Venezuelan president was voted down in a referendum.
Unfortunately, unlike Chavez, the voters of New York will have to use the election as their own referendum to decide if he deserves a third term at the core of the Big Apple.