(page 3 of 3)
“That affected his legacy, because people will always remember him as the person who got a third term against the peoples’ will,” said Norman Siegel, a civil liberties attorney and former head of the New York Civil Liberties Union.
Bloomberg’s most telling legacy may be, in one sense, himself, said Tom Wright, executive director of the Regional Plan Association, an urban research and advocacy group.
When he first ran for office, Bloomberg was an unlikely candidate with no political experience or constituency. He spent more than $100 million of his own fortune to win in 2001.
Throughout his tenure, he showed a continued willingness to back his policy priorities with his pocketbook.
“He was elected as a CEO mayor who ran on a platform of keeping crime down, balancing the budget, and trying to take control of the schools. And that was kind of it. He really didn’t have much,” said Wright. “Now, here he is leaving 12 years later, hailed as an urban visionary.”
Bloomberg moves on to his new consulting firm Bloomberg Associates, designed to help other cities worldwide achieve the same accomplishments as has New York.
City voters put their own stamp on Bloomberg’s legacy by electing Bill de Blasio, who will be the first Democratic mayor in 20 years and could scarcely be more different than Bloomberg, said Doug Muzzio, professor of politics and public opinion at Baruch College.
“New Yorkers elected a mayor who presented himself and was correctly perceived to be a repudiation in many ways of (Bloomberg),” Muzzio said.
Voters may well have tired of Bloomberg’s approach, such as his effort to bar restaurants, movie theaters and other businesses from selling large sodas and other sugary beverages. The proposal failed in court, which said Bloomberg had overstepped his authority.
“He had this idea that he knew what was best for everybody,” said Siegel. “I don’t think he respected the average New Yorker’s ability to figure out what was in their best interest.”