(Photo of an ad in the NYT…Via Herb Greenberg on Twitter)

**A Guest Post from TAM Shifra**

It was a hard act to follow, from the get-go. I mean, who could have possibly succeeded Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and have done so well? Rudy cleaned up the city; he transformed Times Square from a drug-and-porn-infested hellhole into a lovely, clean promenade. Under Rudy, drug addicts could no longer jump at cars that were waiting for the red light to change, “cleaning” the windshield with filthy rags and demanding money for the “service.” Panhandlers could no longer accost pedestrians for loose change. Crime – murders, car thefts – dropped significantly. And on 9/11 – Rudy’s pain, anger, and determination to help us “get through this” – well, we got through it. We knew that the grown-ups were in charge.

Enter Michael Bloomberg. A life-long Democrat. Years ago, he was a regular guy, working in finance, like thousands of others. He had a great idea. He invented a bond information system known as “the Bloomberg” that was used all across Wall Street. It made him a fortune.

Bloomberg wanted to be Mayor of NYC. He switched parties, ran as a Republican. (He has since switched parties again, this time as an Independent.) Spent a small fortune of his own money. (Well, he has billions, so no worries.)

Mayor Bloomberg started out just fine. Cancelled parking rules for weekends, so you could park just about anywhere, free. And he implemented a wonderful system for providing quick access to city government information and non-emergency services. All you do is dial “311” and a real-live person will ask you, “How may I direct your call?” And, you then get another real-live person, to respond to questions. Nice.

So, when did the romance begin to sour? I think the Bloom Was Off the Rose (pun intended) five winters ago. I call it the NYC Motorists’ Day of Outrage.

But first, some background on one of the really obnoxious and annoying features of this city: Alternate Side Parking. Three words that strike fear in the hearts of NYC car owners. Here’s how it works (or, doesn’t work). In order for street cleaning trucks to drive down each block, sweeping the gutters, motorists cannot park on one side of the street during street-cleaning days. (You are allowed to double-park on the other side of the street during those hours, but God help you if you did not know about Alternate Side Parking – your car will be locked in by double-parked cars during those hours. And you had better be ready to move your car exactly, and I mean *exactly* when ASP ends, or You Will Be Ticketed!)

Now, here is where it gets crazy: There are many different permutations of the street-cleaning hours e.g., Monday and Thursday 8:30-10:00, Tuesday and Friday, 11:30-1:00. Tuesday and Thursday, 10:30 12:00. And, in some places, Wednesdays, 11:00-12:30. But God forbid the rules should apply to a whole neighborhood. Instead, every few blocks, the days/hours change. (I heard there is a block in Brooklyn where half the block has one set of days/hours, and the other half has a totally different set.)

One winter day in ’07, it snowed. Really bad. And the snow removal teams, bless ‘em, plowed all the snow from the middle of the streets to the curbs, as they usually do, trapping the cars in hard snow banks. The next morning, the cops had a field day, ticketing everyone for failure to move their cars for Alternate Side Parking. People went nuts! And what was Bloomberg’s response? People shouldn’t be so lazy. Get up earlier, shovel out your cars. As one furious woman told a reporter, “I had no problem digging out my car. But where exactly was I supposed to move my car to?

OK, Bloomberg did apologize, and the parking tickets were voided.

But from that moment on, I realized: Bloomberg is an elitist, insufferable, condescending **expletive deleted.**

And then came the Great Salt Ban of 2010.

I was standing in line at a Starbucks on the Upper West Side of Manhattan (Uber-Lib country). A young woman in front of me ordered a sandwich. She asked for extra salt. “Nope, can’t do that,” said the guy. (barista? whatever.) I was shocked. “Wait!” I said, in a voice just a little too loud, “You *can’t,* as in, “I don’t have a salt shaker?” or, “I can’t because it’s against the law?” The guy responded, “Not allowed to give extra salt.” “OMG!” I shouted, “WE LIVE IN A POLICE STATE!” (OK, I should have said “nanny state,” but I was upset.)

(Note to TAMS: if we ever meet for coffee at a Starbucks, I am usually very well-mannered.)

I did not know about the Slurpee Law until I read Tammy’s post. Truth be told, I never had a Slurpee. I love junk food, but I do have standards. Slurpees look awful. Full of food coloring and chemicals. But now that they’ve been banned, I’m thinking about the Supersized Slurpee. I think I really really want one.

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22 Comments | Leave a comment
  1. MACVEL says:

    So, what do we do about these tyrants?

  2. LucyLadley says:

    Shifra, thank you for the “Cultural Anthropology” trip to NYC! Your descriptions were beautifully visual! I felt like I was there with you. I liked your speaking up at Starbucks. I always love your stories!!!!!! I just returned from family time that included air travel. My 81 year old mother in a wheel chair did get the “How Do You Feel Mam?” – treatment by a TSA agent. I naturally do not mean, “How Do You Feel?” as a polite question. Surprisingly, she held her tongue during the “Feeling” process. I can still picture the exasperated facial expressions my mother was giving.

  3. LJZumpano says:

    You nailed it, Shifra! If I may add one point. Mayor Rudy made lots of enemies, but after 9/11, he showed how a leader behaves. He wanted to run for a third term, to finish up what he had begun, but the law was clear – two terms and you are out – and so he didn’t. Bloomberg never let a law he didn’t like stop him, and that should have been the warning.
    The political pros say Americans have short memories. They figure we won’t remember lots of the the bad stuff when election day rolls around. Well, as you can see from Shifra’s post, that is not the case. We are being given a chance in November to remove BHO from office. I am counting on those long and dreadful memories to see that it happens.

  4. Mariachi says:

    Awesome post, Shifra! I also have little tolerance for the mayor for all the reasons you’ve enumerated, plus due to how he orchestrated the changing of the term limits law to clinch a 3rd term.

  5. jeaneeinabottle says:

    Thanks Shifra, I love your posts. Today I was driving behind a disgusting truck with billowing exhaust coming out of the whole gigantic beast and in CA we don’t see that very often because of their obsession with clean air laws. Then I passed it and the name on the truck door was freakin *Cal-Mex*!!!!! At that moment I remembered Obama/Brown opened up the border for all those disgusting trucks from Mexico who don’t have to follow the same rules as American truckers do! He has done so much to our great country I forgot about that, we must keep track and NEVER forget all he’s done!

  6. jmm says:

    Shifra great post! Love your storys.

  7. imacat says:

    Great post, Shifra! Aye-yi-yi, as my mother would say. Only in New York!

  8. Timbo says:

    Your the best Shifra! You always make me think…and laugh..I spent 1 to 2 weeks in NYC a month on business in the late 80s, 90s and until 2007…I saw and experienced the changes Rudi brought to the city. Before him even Midtown was dangerous. And Queens? Couldn’t leave the building at 1 Ct Square… luckily it had a subway stop right under the building… and a cafeteria .. After Bloomberg took office it has been on a slow slide back downhill…

  9. strider says:

    That’s governing not to improve peoples lives but to control them in a way he thinks is best for him and his drinking buddies.

  10. persecutor says:

    Great post, Shifra, but as you already know, we live in Bloombergistan!

  11. Rob_W says:

    Thanks, Shifra. Next time I’m in NYC, Supersized Slurpees are on me!

    • Shifra says:

      Thanks, Rob_W., but how about a Starbucks Venti? Oh wait… (also gonna be illegal)

      You are correct, persecutor, and I should have called the post “Notes from Bloombergistan”

      Thanks, TAMS, for your comments. Much appreciated.

  12. WalkStar says:

    Hi Shifra! You’re a terrific writer and mighty handy on that shoe phone as well! I mentioned a Big Gulp work-around on the Twitters (WalkStar11). How about mixing 16 oz. of regular soda with 16 oz. of diet? Both sides win. The same sugar limit as dictated by His Royal Nanniness, but more fluid ounces for thos who thirst for freedom. Thoughts?

  13. Shifra says:

    Sounds good, WalkStar, but then who would determine if half the Big Gulp was *really* half diet soda? Would they have to hire “soda checkers?” Anyway, I read that a majority of New Yorkers (64%) support Bloomberg’s Big Gulp Ban. I knew there were way too many Libs in this state, but I did not know, until now, that there are so many spineless cowards here. I was hoping for a great rising up of the masses to protest this outrage.

    I believe it was Voltaire who said, “I may disagree with your drinking soda, but I will defend to the death your right to drink it!” (or something like that) :)

  14. Alain41 says:

    Excellent post, Shifra.

    Pathetic that Bloomers wants to limit everyone’s eating choices when he is able to adjust to the times that he eats junk food.

    http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2009/09/mayor_bloomberg_has_a_tortured.html

  15. Shifra says:

    Alain41, hmmm. So, is this another case of “Do as I say, not as I do?”

    • Alain41 says:

      I wasn’t clear. I think Bloomers feels that he is also sacrificing. If everyone could have his calorie counting strength then there would be no obesity. But there is obesity, so he will rule to help the people while subjecting himself to the same rules.

      The liberal thought that freedom enables some people to make poor choices. True. But when you act on that fact to make rules needed to remove the poor choices that freedom enables, you enter fascism. A person’s life is not their own, we are all in this together, so you will submit to those rules that I say are for your own good. 18 is no longer the age of consent, it becomes the age of conform.

  16. WalkStar says:

    Yes, Shifra — And Voltaire also said, “Life is a persistent soda.”

  17. Trish S says:

    AMEN, SHIFRA!!!!!! Great post!

  18. PeteRFNY says:

    Grape Slurpees are particularly delicious in their inert horribleness.

    The scariest thing about this is that Bloomberg is the most odious of autocrat; he seemingly comes up with things like this on a whim. When does it end? What if tomorrow Bloombat says large coffees have to go? What if the moon is in the seventh house that particular day so King Bloomy says no more bars open after 9PM?

    Eventually, even the nutbag head cases of NYC have to wake up and smell the soda. I’m so glad I got out of there 11 years ago (before the salt hit the fan).

  19. Maynard says:

    I’m now hearing Bloomberg being referred to as “The Soda Jerk”.

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