A few weeks ago, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed cutting the city’s workforce by 10,000 employees to help save $1.6 billion during the next 18 months, hoping that this would help offset at least part of a projected budget deficit of over $4.5 billion within the next two years.
Bloomberg said that rising pension costs and the loss of $850 billion in federal school aid necessitated the employee cutbacks, that will be accomplished in part by firing more than 6,000 workers, and losing another 4,000 through attrition.
And yet, Bloomberg was able to find over $100,000 to hire undercover investigators and send them to a gun show in Arizona to try to purchase handguns illegally. The mayor has authorized similar sting operations at gun shows in Tennessee, Ohio, Georgia, Pennsylvania, South Carolina Virginia, and Nevada as part of a push for tougher federal laws to help keep guns off the streets of New York. There was no mention of how much those stings have cost the city.
Bloomberg said that in the Arizona sting, his investigators were able to purchase pistols from private sellers at the gun show, even after they said they “probably” couldn’t pass a background check. In Arizona, firearms sales between private individuals are not subject to any paperwork or background checks.
A retired agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Explosives agency said the sales in Arizona were not illegal, because the purchasers were not really felons.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has asked Bloomberg not to conduct the sting operations, and the Justice Department warned the city, in a 2007 letter, that the stings might interfere with or jeopardize ongoing criminal investigations.
Bloomberg has said that most illegal guns recovered in New York City came from states along the East Coast, but he spent the money for the Arizona sting because the recent shootings of Representative Gabrielle Giffords and several bystanders in Tucson earlier this month would bring national attention to his campaign against gun show sales.
Okay, so New York City can’t pay its bills, Mayor Bloomberg is willing to put 10,000 on the unemployment line, but he can waste hundreds of thousands of dollars to prove a point. What an arrogant jerk! And what a waste of money that could be used for something positive in his own city.
But what the hell, he got some face time in front of the cameras, right? As for those city employees who are going to lose their jobs. Hey, they’re not in front of the cameras, so they don’t count.
But remember something, Mayor Bloomberg. They can vote. I hope they do, and that every other New Yorker who has seen city services cut while money is wasted this way also votes to get Bloomberg and his like out of office.
Tags: Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Explosives, federal school aid, felons, gun show, Justice Department, New York City, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, pension costs, purchase handguns illegally, Representative Gabrielle Giffords, undercover investigators, unemployment line