New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg continues to claim that an attraction bringing hundreds if not thousands of curiosity-seekers down to Lower Manhattan is hurting the economy. But he also claimed the existence of threats against the owners of the private park, Brookfield Properties, accounting for the stand-down early this morning against the Occupy Wall Street protesters.
Bloomberg also said the park’s owner, Brookfield Office Properties, “got lots of calls, from many elected officials, threatening them.”
The mayor declined to identify the elected officials […]
The mayor repeatedly said the protesters appeared to be peaceful but misguided.
“I don’t necessarily agree with their message” or “their target,” he said.
Later, he said, “I disagree with a lot of what this protest is about.”
The mayor’s going to have to do better than that. Unless he considers Jerry Nadler writing a press release to be a threat against Brookfield Properties, he’s going to have to come up with some evidence of thuggery on the part of elected officials. Is he talking about the crowd in front of Cipriani last night, where Bloomberg shared dinner with his girlfriend, Diana Taylor, who is on the board of directors of Brookfield? Does that constitute a threat?
And I don’t think a billionaire has to say out loud that he doesn’t agree with the message of the 99% movement – the economy works pretty well for him. So less of that, more evidence of threatening phone calls. Or rather, any evidence.
Meanwhile, I don’t think protesters should trust this victory to last. As I remember, the first attempt to evict protesters from the Capitol in Madison didn’t work, either. Protesters prepared to get arrested en masse and the Capitol police stood down. But they eventually muscled the protesters out of the building slowly and deliberately. We saw yesterday a confrontation in Denver, with police in riot gear evicting Occupy Denver protesters from the state Capitol grounds. So this isn’t the end of the fight, from that standpoint.
Also, to bring a public policy perspective to this, the whole concept of a privately owned public space, as a gift for getting a favor on some zoning requirement, is flawed, as Matt Yglesias points out for Atlantic Cities.