Part 2 of 2: Mayor Bloomberg at Cooper Union

Mayor Bloomberg and Tom Brokaw at Cooper Union

After watching Mayor Bloomberg on the stage and looking at the candidates – I have been forming a greater interest in seeing a candidate like him step up to the plate. Even if he does not take the steps to become a candidate, at least he is causing a conversation to be engaged.

One of the challenges the mayor put to us was to outline what we were looking for in a President. And interestingly enough, I have had some thoughts on this. In a later post, I promise to outline these thoughts and put it to my faithful readers as to what you think should be some of the qualities that become our next President of the United States.

Continuing from the prior post:

TB: Nothing was asked of us in this war – we have two militaries: one in uniform, one is not.

MB: The challenge is that we have no draft – all volunteer. The rest of us feel no pain. Rest of us do not feel it. A very small number of American are feeling the real pain. GWB needs to find a better way to explain the what and why of this war. We no longer trust the military leadership – a lot of the decisions made are political. For example – weapons that are being built for our country are being built for political reasons. A ship is constructed with parts from all 50 states to satisfy the political needs of the politicians. Back in Boston, American farmers were part of an unconventional war, using guerrilla tactics to fight off the British. Now, in Iraq, we are the British and the Iraqis are the colonists.

We are being constantly being attacked – while we have lots of technology advantages, it is not guaranteed to be useful man-to-man. A lot are going to be useless.

TB: Let’s switch topics: education. Congrats on the success of NYC schools!

MB: Overall, there was a 43% improvement – with enough credit to go all around. This improvement was the “easy part” – it will be tougher from here on out. We have a long way to go.

Before, we used to say that there was a two class structure – black/latino and others. Now, we eliminated the gap. All of the students are showing improvement. People ask “could we have done more?” It seems to easy to blame the teacher unions. In NYC, there are 300K workers here – all hardworking. Unions want to improve the lot and the City.

We now have accountability – much better in the NYC school system. Parents get a report card to grade the schools. Principals are held responsible, and staff jobs are in jeopardy – nothing is sacred. People want to work in NYC for the school system. Working in the NYC School System is not a cushy gig – people are held accountable and responsible. Bonuses are given based on performance and we use metrics to measure success. We spend over $20B / year for the school system – vested interests already exist, but they will retire.

TB: What is your take on the differences between public schools, charter schools and vouchers?

MB: I believe it is good to have competition – charter schools are great for innovation. And the essentials for innovation are challenges. If a particular program works, we can do it with public money. Breaking up large programs into smaller ones is good for relationships. We have seen an increase in graduation rates from 30% to upwards of 80-90%.

With regard to vouchers – they are a politically explosive topic – I am not sure of the 100% viability of vouchers over all.

TB: So, why would you not run (for President)?

MB: There are lots of candidates and lots of options to make a difference. There are 828 days left to go until the Election. I believe in Making Every Day Count – there need to be successes to build upon. After being Mayor, I think philanthropy is the best job for me. Being the Mayor of New York – I have to deliver results. It is the ultimate executive job – if I wanted to change the direction of traffic on Fifth Avenue, I could have it change tomorrow morning. That is incredible.

In terms of improving the city – it has always been about crime. Crime brings down the tax base. If we bring down the murder rate, we see growth. The city is booming – 47M tourists this year, original aim was 50M in three years – we will hit it. More corporate headquarters are coming here.

TB: And what happens after Super Tuesday? What if you are not happy?

MB: All I can say is – the Yankees are two games out – I need to get us a Subway Series.

I am not a candidate for President.

I think we, as voters, need to ask the basic question: what do we think are the qualifications for being the President of the United States? What if we did a scorecard?

The press always seem to focus on the missing elements – while the public wants to know about what is good about the people they are electing. The American Public is a lot smarter than what people seem to give them credit.

Yes, American can be considered arrogant – but remember, people are always wanting to move to America – our culture is accepting and draw people in. People, no matter where they are from, vote with their feet. They are always walking toward America, not away.

Yes – someone is always unhappy about something – not that I know anything about that with raising taxes, smoking bans, etcetera.

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