Editor’s Note: This year The Haitian Times is celebrating its 10th year anniversary. Over the course of our existence, we’ve purposely stayed away from endorsing political candidates. We felt it was more important to build our credibility through our reporting and strong editorials. So now after a decade, we hope we have earned the trust of our readers to listen to our recommendations, which we take seriously. The Haitian community is accelerating its transformation from an exile group to an integral part of the American and New York communities. Our mission is to be the bridge that takes us there. So it is with great pride and responsibility that from now on we will endorse candidates for offices both in the United States and in Haiti. In our first endorsement, we strongly support incumbent Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.
When Michael R. Bloomberg was elected Mayor in November 2001, he inherited a City shaken to its core by the twin bombings of the World Trade Center and the polarizing politics of his predecessor, Rudolph W. Giuliani.
Throughout his nearly eight years in office, Mr. Bloomberg has guided the City with a steady hand, steering its finances and bringing people together. He reached out to civil rights leaders and community activists that were shunned by Giuliani. Even during these challenging times, New York is better off than most municipalities.
When the inevitable police brutality incidents raise their ugly heads, he defends the police when they are right and when they are at fault he says so. It is exactly the sort of leader we need.
Now, Mr. Bloomberg is seeking a third term. While his approach – muscling a compliant City Council to extend term limit law to another term – made us and most good government types uncomfortable, we believe he is the best person to guide us through the next four years and he deserves another term.
Mr. Bloomberg’s leading opponent, Comptroller Bill Thompson has run a lackluster campaign so far. He is not only outspent as we expected, he is being outhustled by the mayor’s staff, who one would have thought complacent, giving the seemingly limitless budget at their disposal. He has few contacts in the Haitian community and none in his inner circles.
Mr. Bloomberg on the other hand, has actively courted the Haitian community. This shows us that the Mayor really wants to keep his job and will not leave anything to chance, his billions not withstanding.
During an hour conversation with the editor of this publication, Mr. Bloomberg was candid, charming and witty. This is a side of the Mayor that eludes most New Yorkers. We believe that the Mayor should work over the next four years to dispel the myth that he is a Manhattan billionaire out of touch with the common folks. Mr. Bloomberg seems to have developed a genuine appetite for retail politics, making sure he talks to as many people as he can, as he did at a Manhattan diner.
During his tenure, he has remained abreast of issues and events in Haiti. He was not only the first sitting mayor to visit our troubled and beloved homeland, he has hosted Haiti’s Prime Minister Michelle Duvivier Pierre-Louis and understands the “impossible challenges” she faces.
Another area where we believe the Mayor needs to do a better job is to ensure that New York does not become a city for the rich and famous and that working and middle class residents are not flocking to the suburbs at the rate that they are. Despite an unprecedented building boom in the last eight years, New York remains elusive to its less fortunate citizens.
Mr. Bloomberg has made education reforms the cornerstone of his administration and that is partly why he seeking another term. But when asked his most controversial and difficult decision, he cited, banning smoking in restaurants and bars in the city and closing traffic in parts of Manhattan, primarily Times Square and Herald Square. He rattled off health statistics like a kid with baseball statistics. He is not afraid to speak his mind and can be conciliatory when necessary. We believe he is the right man for the job.