BLOOMBERG AND THE FAILURE OF CONGESTION PRICING. I've long thought of New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg as his predecessor's doppelganger. While Rudy Giuliani notoriously politicized policy-making by appointing cronies and polarized the city with his vindictive attitude, Bloomberg has appointed capable civil servants and pushed mostly technocratic, if sometimes ill-conceived, plans.
But Bloomberg shares Giuliani's megalomaniacal streak. (I mean who titles their autobiography Bloomberg on Bloomberg?) This suggests that Bloomberg, like Giuliani, lacks the political skills to be effective in any executive position where the legislature is more powerful than New York's nearly symbolic city council.
Case in point: Bloomberg failed to marshal support in the New York State Senate to pass his congestion pricing plan. And The New York Times reports that his high-handed attitude in meeting with legislators only decreased the chances of it passing:
In a tense meeting on Monday, testy exchanges erupted between the mayor and the Democratic state senators he was trying to win over. At one point, according to several people present, Mr. Bloomberg told the senators that his administration had sent plenty of information about his plan in the mail, and that it was not his fault if they had not read it.
“If the mayor came in with one vote, he left with none,” said Senator Kevin S. Parker, a Brooklyn Democrat.
“His posture was not ingratiating,” he said. “He says he doesn’t know politics, and he certainly bore that out by the way he behaved.”
It's too bad that Bloomberg let his ego get in the way of passing his sensible proposal.