As Mayor Michael Bloomberg inches closer to the end of his third term, we are all collectively wondering what he's going to do next (the "we" includes Barack Obama). With such an open-ended political future, it's fitting that the Times gave some insight into Bloomberg's less-than-enthusiastic relationship with his hometown roots in Medford, MA (pronounced "Medfehd" in the local dialect).
Much of the article—which includes a somewhat uninspiring slideshow—highlights an arm's-length level of acknowledgement, much of it tied to the presence of Bloomberg's late mother once had in the community. She died last year at 102, and seems to be the primary reason for his keeping ties to the middle-class, suburban community of approximately 56,000 people. The Boston Globe obituary quotes one elderly acquaintance referring to her as a "A Medford person all the way, just like the rest of us’’, which greatly contrasts with her son's distance.
As the story goes, Bloomberg's parents had to buy a house through a lawyer because of a "de facto ban on selling to Jews" in the town. Then again, for a billionaire, a "distant" relationship with community includes donating thousands of dollars to public schools, local orchestras, hospitals ($100,000 in this case), and $1.5 million to Temple Shalom, his mother's synagogue (all totaled, it's a fraction of the hundreds of millions his foundation gives away each year).
Ultimately, it seems like Bloomberg's public relationship with Medford exhibited the same benevolence one shows a kindly spinster aunt with too many cats, or a similar kind of less-than-fortunate relative. For example, Bloomberg was happy to arrange "an introduction to an executive at a major Wall Street bank" for David Honeycutt, a senior at Columbia who is a Medford native; in the same vein Marjorie Tiven, the Mayor's sister, arranged a tour of the Tenement Museum for some visiting Medford students. As the local town historian puts it, "The general take on Mayor Bloomberg and Medford is that Mayor Bloomberg made his money in New York and is very focused on that."