Bloomberg's third term seen as challenge
With Mayor Michael Bloomberg winning another term, New Yorkers can expect him to continue pushing two of his biggest goals: improving school test scores and redeveloping large areas of the city.
But experts caution that the unexpected closeness of his victory and the city’s fiscal problem will blunt his agenda.
“If he had a 15-point margin, he would be going to sleep with thoughts of a fourth term dancing in his head,” said Democratic political consultant Joe Mercurio. “But people voted with their feet.”
The economy will pose further problems for Bloomberg.
“Whatever policy initiatives the mayor has are going to be very much compromised by the city budget,” said Bruce Berg, a Fordham University political science professor.
The city’s Independent Budget Office estimates that next year’s deficit will be $5 billion.
Still, Berg and others point to several projects on which Bloomberg will likely spend political capital, including Coney Island and Atlantic Yards.
“All these construction projects he’s talked about are going to go back on schedule,” Mercurio said.
Having already rezoned much of the city, the mayor will continue to cheerlead for private development, observers said.
Bill Villanueva, 63, of Brooklyn, said he feared the city will become more expensive under a third Bloomberg term.
“He doesn’t want middle-class people in the city,” Villanueva said. “I really don’t trust him.”
Bloomberg, who won control of the schools, sees education as crucial to his reputation.
“No mayor ... has been given this much authority” over education, Berg said. “What he [does] with that authority is going to be a major piece of his legacy.”
Bloomberg’s political power will face new obstacles, with two ambitious Democrats in citywide office and a City Council chastened by anger over the term-limits extension Bloomberg championed.
“In the last few years there’s been no easily identifiable New Yorker that was the anti-Bloomberg and that is probably going to really change,” said Patrick Egan, a political science professor at NYU.
He said Bill de Blasio and John Liu — the new public advocate and comptroller — will be quick to challenge Bloomberg.