More than 90 New York activists, citizens, politicians, city officials, and religious leaders who survived the Bloomberg administration have united to pen an open letter in an attempt to shed light on “The Real Mike Bloomberg.” The missive from the group described as “New Yorkers of Color” is an appeal to voters in the remaining Democratic primaries and comes with receipts, actual evidence and an “urgent message” that can be condensed into two words:
The coalition representing “families of New Yorkers killed by the New York Police Department, community leaders, elected officials, and other New Yorkers of color” began by explaining that they lived during the former mayor’s “abysmal and destructive” 12-year tenure, noting that he used his wealth and influence to change the laws that prevented him from serving a third term.
“Although Bloomberg is running in the Democratic primary, he has a long history with the Republican party,” wrote the signers. “We urge you NOT to reward Bloomberg with your vote.”
While highlighting Bloomberg’s past as a GOP candidate and financial contributor, the letter explained that the billionaire Democratic contender stood at the helm of an administration that produced racial, economic and social inequality in New York City. But they didn’t just point to the NYPD’s racially destructive stop and frisk practices. The list of Bloomberg’s barbaric policies included:
- Warrantless surveillance of Muslim communities
- Targeting nonwhite youth for marijuana arrests
- Rezoning housing, closing shelters and canceling support for the homeless in order to make the city a “luxury product”
- Allowing big banks to discriminate against homeowners of color
- Fingerprinting food stamp recipients
- Promoting a “test and punish” policy in NYC schools
- Closing minority-serving schools and diverting taxpayer dollars to privately run charter schools
“After four years of Trump, the last thing our country needs is is someone who will champion racist and discriminatory policies, exacerbate economic inequality and undermine democracy with his wealth,” pleaded the letter-writers, who (literally and figuratively) said boldly:
“[S]tay away from Mike Bloomberg.”
“Our critics are welcome to offer alternative opinions, but the broader range of facts presents a different picture,” Bloomberg campaign adviser Stu Loeser told Buzzfeed. “But as much as we encourage everyone’s right to speak their minds, not all of the facts in this letter line up with Mike’s real record.”
Bloomberg’s campaign pointed to a New York Times article that praised the mayor’s record on race. Wait…I think that’s the wrong link because the title says New Yorkers were “conflicted.” Plus, the article says 38 percent of black New Yorkers rated him favorably while 55 percent of whites did, which was an improvement over his predecessor. But if three out of five black people didn’t approve of your performance, what would you expect the letter of recommendation to say?
It seems as if the only black people who support Michael Bloomberg all curiously have a brown paper bag filled with cash under their sink. But maybe it’s a coincidence. I think the takeaway here is that the black and brown people who know him best say “Don’t vote for Michael Bloomberg.”
I’ll take their word.