Oh, it's on: After Mayor Bloomberg complained about the State Senators stalling on the bill that would give him control of the public school system, the Senators sounded off right back. On Friday, Bloomberg said, "The only thing I can think of is they want to ruin the schools," suggested the state troopers "drag them back" to Albany and saying the Senators' summer off was "Meshughena." This prompted State Senator Hiram Monserrate to say, "We believe it would be meshuganah not to include parents in the education of our children. As opposed to loosely using the word meshuganah, we would also say we don't need a yenta on the other side of this argument and this debate. Raising the issues that he has raised in the manner he has raised them is unfortunate."
The NY Times reports that the "10 senators, all of them Democrats, held an hourlong news conference, ostensibly to demand that Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg make some concessions before they consider extending his control. All of the senators spoke, and they proclaimed the issue too important to be sidetracked by political rhetoric. Then some proceeded to vilify the mayor, calling him everything from a dictator to a yenta to a plantation owner." The Post has the plantation quote: Sen. Bill Perkins said, "We are interested in negotiating and ending the plantation politics that apparently the mayor believes requires us to do his bidding." The Daily News notes, "The irony of calls for civility from senators like [Sen. Kevin] Parker, who is under indictment for striking a news photographer, and Hiram Monserrate (D-Queens), who allegedly slashed his girlfriend's face with broken glass, had some Bloomberg loyalists rolling their eyes."
Mayor Bloomberg's spokesman told the Times, "We’re at an impasse because a handful of state senators would rather return to an old school board system well known for being better at handing out patronage than educating our city’s kids." And Sen. Marty Golden (R-Brooklyn) said the State Senate—now controlled by the Democrats—should at least vote on the issue, "It’s amazing that they’re looking for civil discourse and they’re using words like 'plantation.’ This is all about embarrassing the mayor."