Friday, October 24, 2008

Dog-Mat- -Icky?

This is about “dogmatism.”

“People that don’t change their mind when the facts change are so dogmatic, they’re not very practical or effective.” . . .

. . . . That is Michael R. Bloomberg’s statement made few days ago.
Dogmatism and “Flexible Principles”

Bloomberg was arguing for overturning term limits in an unprincipled way. (See: Back When the Mayor Loved Term Limits, by Clyde Haberman, October 20, 2008) Not sure if Bloomberg’s proposal to change term limits was unprincipled? Consider that the change is supposed to apply only to him. (See: Lauder and Bloomberg Strike a Deal, by Michael Barbaro and Sewell Chan, October 8, 2008) We call this unfair “billionaire exceptionalism.”

Can the Mayor Change His mind When Facts Change?

But what about Mr. Bloomberg? Is Mr. Bloomberg good at changing his mind when facts change?

We have already pointed out that Mayor Bloomberg is unwilling to change course when he has made an acknowledged mistake. (See: Coming to Terms With Mistakes, Wednesday, October 1, 2008

We are talking about the ill-advised Atlantic Yards megadevelopment.

Atlantic Yards: A Lot of Changing Facts

The facts have been changing a lot with respect to Atlantic Yards. But our “dogmatic” Mayor hasn’t wanted to change his mind and leave the mistake behind.

Our economy changed; not the Mayor’s mind. . . . The megadevelopment’s schedule changed by decades: The Mayor seems to like parking lots which might conceivably be there until he is six feet under. . . . . The project’s cost is up (Beyond what the New York State PACB approved.); by more than 50%. . .. . We’ve gone from a hypocritical Governor Spitzer to Governor Paterson, who has a history of opposing eminent domain abuse. . . . .The flimsy theory of the arena’s tax-exemption was blown.- But the Mayor is willing to embarrassingly have the city unconscionably lobby the IRS to grandfather loopholes and fake real estate tax appraisal figures to try to salvage it. .. Remember: There is no legal or binding obligation for the city or the Mayor to go through relentless gyrations to prop up the project against the public’s interest.

What does it take to change the Mayor’s mind about an acknowledged mistake? Is there no line that the Mayor would not cross in pursuing such a mistake?

Is the Mayor’s inflexible conduct in the face of change what the Mayor means when he talks about `dogmatism’ that makes a person “not very practical or effective”?

Other Explanation at the Public’s Expense?

Is there another explanation?

Why would Mayor Bloomberg be committed to perpetually pursuing a mistake at the expense of the public?

Maybe there is a kind of principle that the Mayor is not willing to abandon. It is not what is owed the public. It is what is owed another member of the billionaire’s club. We have already written about the Mayor’s collection of hundreds of thousands of dollars in apparent quid-pro-quo money from Atlantic Yards developer/subsidy-collector Bruce Ratner. (See: Wednesday, October 22, 2008, Are the Atlantic Yards Land Grab and City Official Fraud Being Used to Finance Bloomberg’s Bid for Billionaire Term Limit Exceptionalism?) The money was collected by the Mayor’s “charity,” but we have also written about how the Mayor’s “charities” are not necessarily all that real (See:Monday, October 20, 2008, “Charity?” We Begin to Groan)

Want an explanation for the Mayor’s irrational and seemingly dogmatic commitment to a mistake? The more irrational and dogmatic the Mayor is in his commitment to the Atlantic Yards mistake, the more it seems that the only reasonable explanation is that the Mayor is adhering to a quid-pro-quo that puts developer/subsidy-collector Bruce Ratner above the public interest.

And Then There Is Irrational Exuberance!!!!

While we are at it, is there any substantial difference between: a.) irrationally and dogmatically adhering to a mistake when the facts change and b.) irrational exuberance without any regard to facts at all? I refer to the fact-divorced irrational exuberance the Brooklyn Borough President has for the Atlantic Yards project. Mr. Markowitz has something in common with Mr. Bloomberg. Similar to Mr. Bloomberg, Borough President Marty Markowitz’s “charities” have been taking hundreds of thousands of dollars from Atlantic Yards' Bruce Ratner. Irrational and inexplicable exuberance? Atlantic Yards Report asked the question: Is Mr. Markowitz bought and paid for? The question is examined very well: Monday, October 13, 2008, Marty "bought and paid for"? Following up on the Post's scoop.

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