Saturday, March 19, 2011

Bloomberg Muscles In On Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan With the “Mayors Fund to Advance the City”: Charity? We Groan Again!

(Bloomberg's appeal above muscling in on the earthquake and tsunami action.)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants in on the charity hoopla about the necessary task of sending assistance to the victims of the Japanese earthquake and quickly ensuing tsunami that struck
at 2:46 p.m. Tokyo time, on Friday, March 10. Hardly had the Japanese been struck information was appearing in the press (the Associated Press, Huffington Post, and, if you were listening, on WNYC, New York’s public radio station) that Bloomberg was soliciting to be the conduit vehicle, through the Mayors Fund to Advance the City, for sending money in aid to the Japanese! Great! That put Mr. Bloomberg immediately into the midst of one of the most Googled subjects from that point on.

But why should a Bloomberg-controlled charity run out of City Hall with “Fund to Advance the City” in its title be presenting itself front and center in this effort? And if that oddity doesn’t disconcert you enough, consider Bloomberg’s propensity to use the control he has over charitable giving (of vast sums) to further his personal political ambitions. (See: Monday, October 20, 2008, “Charity?” We Begin to Groan, Monday, May 24, 2010, Looking a Gift Horse in the Mouth? An Examination of Brooklyn Bridge Park in Terms of the Politics of Development, Part I, and Tuesday, October 21, 2008, Time to Report on the Best City Council Hearing Testimony.)

Here is the text currently on Mayor Bloomberg’s website (image at the top of this article and, closer up, immediately above):
The Mayor’s Fund is accepting donations in response to the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. 100% of your donation will be allocated to aid these disaster relief efforts. Click here to make a donation.
Below is an image of what you get if you click to donate.

Even if the money Bloomberg induces people to donate with this gambit is not deployed with political strings attached as has reportedly been the case in Bloomberg’s distribution of other “charity” in the past, this looks like it is undoubtedly a political calculation.

Want convincing on this?

Bloomberg’s charitable distributions have always been supervised by his senior political strategist, Senior Deputy Mayor Patti Harris. And, as previously covered by Noticing New York, back in 1997 when Mr. Bloomberg had already put Ms. Harris in charge of such giving, Bloomberg said in his book, “Bloomberg by Bloomberg” (which also unveiled his ambitions to be mayor and president of the U.S.):
. . . . that the FIRST consideration of charity was helping Bloomberg, L.P. We must therefore necessarily ask whether this Bloomberg who previously looked at charity primarily in terms of being “useful to our company later in our commercial activities”
(See: Friday, October 2, 2009, No Real Debate About It: Press Remains Way Off Track in Presupposing Bloomberg’s “Charity”.)

Here are links to other coverage. The comments are more interesting than the stories that simply repeat the information Bloomberg apparently disseminated press-release style to the press.
Japan Earthquake 2011: Bloomberg Says City Will Donate To Relief Efforts
First Posted: 03/11/11 02:37 PM

Commented on:
Japan Earthquake 2011: Bloomberg Says City Will Donate To Relief Efforts

Bloomberg says city will help with quake donations, Associated Press
Last Updated: 2:25 PM, March 11, 2011

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