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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Mayor Mike Bloomberg Says That New York Observer Reporter Azi Paybarah is "a disgrace."

YouTube: Mayor Mike Bloomberg says that New York Observer reporter Azi Paybarah is "a disgrace".

Mayor Bloomberg calls reporter 'a disgrace' for questioning rationale for third term run
By Celeste Katz, DAILY NEWS CITY HALL BUREAU, Thursday, May 28th 2009, 5:58 PM

Ask Mayor Bloomberg about job creation statistics and you're fine.

Ask him about that pesky term limits thing and apparently, "you're a disgrace."

Bloomberg - who controversially got the City Council to lift the two-term limit so he could try for a third this year - went off on a reporter Thursday who questioned his rationale for running again.

At a Queens news conference to announce $31.7 million in job training funds, Bloomberg said there has been a change in the economic "psychology" of the city.

He mentioned improvements in the real estate market and a renewed willingness on the part of citygoers to spend at stores and restaurants.

At one point he said although the city still faces grave problems, "I'm reasonably optimistic that we've turned the corner."

But the mayor seemed downright provoked when a reporter asked if such improvements eliminated the need for a third Bloomberg term.

He had justified his desire for a third term, in part, by saying the city needed his management expertise in rough economic times.

"Why don't you just get serious questions here?" he interrupted New York Observer reporter Azi Paybarah.

"The rationale for extending term limits is the City Council voted it and the public's going to have a chance on Nov. 3 to say what they want," the mayor said, interrupting again.

"I don't think we have to keep coming back to that... If you have a serious question about the economy, I will be happy to answer it."

After asking if there were any further questions - there were none - Bloomberg thanked the attendees, closed the news conference, glared at Paybarah and said, quietly, "You're a disgrace."

Paybarah referred questions about the mayor's putdown to Observer Political Editor Josh Benson.

"It was a reasonable question," Benson said.

"We're comfortable leaving it to everyone else to judge the quality of the response."

You're A Disgrace' (Updated)
May 28, 2009

To the annals of Mayor Bloomberg's mistreatment of the press add his testy exchange today with The Observer's Azi Paybarah, who dared to ask Hizzoner a question about term limits.

The mayor, having just finished explaining to the DN's Celeste Katz that he happens to be "very optimistic" about the city's economy and giving anecdotal examples of how things are turning around, did not take kindly to Azi's inquiry about how this might undercut Bloomberg's own rationale for extending term limits - not to mention running for re-election.

Here's the transcript:

Azi: "If the economy is turning around as you said, does that mean that the rationale for extending term limits, which is the fiscal challenge...

Bloomberg: "I don't know. Why don't you just get to serious questions here and we'll just..."

Azi: No, but the question is...

Bloomberg: "The rationale for extending term limits is the City Council voted it, and the public's going to have a chance on Nov. 3 to say what they want, and I don't think we have to keep coming back to that. When you have a serious question about the economy i'd be happy to answer it."

"Anything else? Thank you very much. Nothing else? Great. Thank you."


And then, as the mayor walks away from the podium, he looks at Azi and says, almost under his breath: "You're a disgrace." (Read his lips).

Ironically, Bloomberg once used that very word to describe...the City Council's effort to change term limits.

Actually, he said that was an "absolute disgrace." But why quibble?

Bloomberg, who happens to be a media mogul, has a long history of tense interactions with reporters. His most recent dust-up was with blogger Michael Harris, who uses a wheelchair, during Gov. David Paterson's gay marriage press conference.

There was also his rather infamous exchange with Newsday's Michael Frazier over the word "maintain," which took place almost exactly a year ago.

UPDATE: Azi referred questions to his boss, Political Editor Josh Benson, who said (via e-mail): "It was a reasonable question. We're comfortable leaving it to everyone else to judge the quality of the response."

UPDATE2: Bloomberg spokesman Stu Loeser e-mailed Katz to say: "The Mayor asked me to pass along his apologies to Azi for the comment after the press conference, which I did."

Meanwhile, Comptroller Bill Thompson's campaign manager, Anne Fenton, commented:

"What’s disgraceful is the Mayor’s refusal to answer the tough questions. Calling people names, having staff block cameras and bullying the press aren’t going to stop people from asking the mayor to explain his term limits bait and switch.”


Field Marshal Tania

May 28, 2009
5:37 PM

Why does nobody seem to recognize what a hideous troll Bloomberg is?


May 28, 2009
6:05 PM

Wow! Liz, you and celeste, don't miss much.Nice work.The Mayor, looked, like, he was ready to turn over a table.The leader of the greatest city in the world needs to be cool and steady.But, that moment! Scary!..

" Not cool" there.


May 28, 2009
6:12 PM

[Why does nobody seem to recognize what a hideous troll Bloomberg is?]

Maybe you have to be a hideous troll to be mayor of New York City?

Learning the Political Game

May 28, 2009
7:11 PM

Azi is my new hero......Great question. His last comment before walking off........priceless!!!!

topo gigio

May 28, 2009
7:42 PM

Emperor Bloomberg doesn't like to have his motives questioned.

Keep up the good work, Azi.

We know who the real disgrace is here. It's the dude who is buying himself a third term and all the pols who were so easily bought off.


May 28, 2009
10:05 PM

Good job Azi and keep it up. By the way, why couldn't Bloomberg call Azi himself to apologize or is it beneath him to tell a reporter that he, Mike Bloomberg, is a jerk.



May 28, 2009
11:07 PM

Lizzie, looking out for Azi, yeah. If Bloomberg spoke that way to Lizzie then I would have punch him in his mouth.


May 28, 2009
11:12 PM

It seems that most of us posting notes dislike Napoleon Bloomberg. Besides voting for Bill Thompson, please talk to your friends and family in NYC to vote against him. This is the only way we're going to get rid of this egomaniac and save our city. Thompson is the City Comptroller and obviously knows how to handle a billion dollar budget and talk to the citizens of the city he grew up in politely and with dignity. VOTE BLOOMBERG OUT!!!

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