Is Mayor Bloomberg having a multiple personality crisis? Just a week ago, Bloomberg was railing against Occupy Wall Street, saying the continued protesters were "really hurting small businesses and families," and calling reports of vigilante justice "disturbing." But this morning on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," Bloomberg praised law-abiding protesters; and while he was reluctant to call OWS "a movement," he did say that OWS "is part of a much bigger thing we should be focusing on." Watch the segment (the OWS stuff starts at 13:15) below:

I will say in all fairness to the people down there, we watch very carefully and they generally do not break the law...When they protest they march in a line, they stay on the sidewalk, they follow the directions of the police, they exercise their First Amendment rights. They're in one controlled park. If you were to go one block away from the park, you'd never know it (the protest) exists. It's just literally—just one block away—there's just nothing, literally.

To review Mayor Bloomberg's shifting pubic statements about OWS thus far: he believes that Occupy Wall Street is bad for businesses in the neighborhood. Oh, except for when he says he thinks Occupy Wall Street is "a tourist attraction." But even so, those kids down there don't know what they're talking about—but mostly they're just bad for tourism (except when they're not)! The constant shifting in Bloomberg's comments on OWS reveal just how difficult it has been for his administration to decide upon the right tone (and policy) to take—with a particular friction between Bloomberg's deeply-rooted belief in the First Amendment and his deeply-rooted hatred of "class warfare."


There is still the matter of the non law-abiding protesters and hangers-on at Zuccotti: the NY Times charts the increases in the the number of arrests and crimes in the neighborhood over the last month, noting that the number of summonses has fallen simultaneously. In the month of October, there were 446 criminal complaints this year in the First Precinct, up from 362 last year. There were 404 arrests, up from 323 during the same weeks last year. But the number of summonses issued for criminal activity fell by a third from 330 to 205.

And none of that takes into account the reports of "vigilante justice" and self-policing by protesters. One office spoke on anonymity about why police were trying to be as hands-off as they can possibly be with the protesters: “We try to maintain a low profile and not antagonize the crowd. And once you go in there, there’s a sense of hostility.”