In his seventh annual State Of The City address today, Mayor Michael Bloomberg revealed his plan to ask Albany for the power to gather DNA from anybody arrested in New York City, innocent or guilty, for any crime, including simple misdemeanors such as participating in civil disobedience.
Why this? Why NOW? We already live in the safest (by FAR) large city in the United States. Obviously, Bloomberg is casting an eye towards his upcoming presidential candidacy. The mayor is well-known for his wonky habit of relying on studies and surveys. Did some heartland focus group steer him to this fubar plan? Two years ago Bloomberg lobbied Albany for the right to collect DNA from convicted felons and those convicted of certain sex-related misdemeanors. That seemed justified to me. But not THIS. Get ready for the civil liberties groups to completely lose their shit, Mayor.
As I’ve said here many times, with a couple of notable exceptions, I’ve been very impressed with Bloomberg thus far. If not for the obvious fear of his Naderizing the 2008 election, I’d even consider supporting him for president. Unlike others, Bloomberg supports gay marriage. He’s strongly pro-choice, and generally (but not always) says and does the sort of things that make progressives happy. His personal philanthropy is legendary and his billions immunize him (probably) to the backroom deals of scumbag lobbyists, although many are rightfully concerned about his allegiances to big business. That concern aside, the man knows how to run the business of the country’s biggest city and that’s an invaluable skill to bring to the White House in this darkening economy.
Until today, for me the biggest downside to Bloomberg has been his relative silence on the Iraq war, other than to call Bush arrogant on the issue. Still, I’ve sort of given Bloomberg on pass on the war until he is actually a candidate. But this Orwellian DNA bullshit is a total dealbreaker. Even though I don’t see Gov. Spitzer supporting this crapola for one minute, Bloomberg needs to pull back from this immediately.