by Barry Edelson


Dear Mayor Bloomberg: Hire Me, Too


Cathie Black has taught me that I can do anything


Dear Mayor Bloomberg,

Until your appointment of Cathie Black as Education Chancellor (or whatever she's being called), I was a skeptic about the power of education to transform people's lives. But your decision has inspired me. I suddenly realize that I, too, am highly qualified to be the head of a city department. So please accept this letter as an application for a position in your administration. I read on the Internet that you now control everything in New York, so you can appoint me to any job you like. Allow me to make a few suggestions, and to offer my qualifications for each one:

1) Sanitation Department: Though I have never worked in garbage before, I have been throwing away trash all my life, and I tie up my recyclables very neatly. For a few years, I lived a block away from a Sanitation Department garage, where the workers used to hang out at all hours of the day and night. This was very enlightening.

2) Police Department: I'm not sure if being arrested at a demonstration against police brutality in 1979 is a qualification or not, but I did get to see the inside of a police cruiser and a lock-up. Also, in grade school they once took a load of kids on a visit to the Police Academy. I don't remember too much about it, but I wonder if the current commissioner ever had that experience.

3) Fire Department: We had to call 911 once because flames came out of an electrical outlet in our apartment. I got to talk to some of the firemen, and they were very nice. (The fire was already out by the time they got there, so there wasn't much else for them to do.) Anyway, you've closed so many fire houses since you became mayor, the job can't be half as hard as it used to be.

4) Children's Services: I was a child once, and can still behave like one any time it's called for. So I would get along well with other city officials.

5) Housing: In my life I've lived in three of the five boroughs, and I've driven through the other two many times on the way to other places. I've seen a lot of apartment buildings, and take it from me, they could use some work, especially in the parts of the city you probably never get to.

6) Taxi and Limousine Commission: You may not know this, but it's really hard to get a taxi outside of midtown Manhattan, except maybe at the airports, but what good is having all those taxis at the airport when you live in the Bronx? I can't afford to take taxis very often, so I wouldn't be as prejudiced against the non-English-speaking drivers as most of the people who take taxis a lot seem to be.

7) Media and Entertainment: I was really surprised to find out that you actually have an agency for this. I have no idea what the head of this office is responsible for, but then again, who does? It can't involve too much heavy lifting, which is just right for me.

8) Parks and Recreation: Like a lot of city residents, I don't get to the parks much, but it's nice to know they're there. If you make me the commissioner, I'll get to spend more time outdoors, which I understand is healthy. It would be a nice gesture on your part.

9) Homeless Services: It couldn't be much worse, eh?

10) Cool Roofs: I just like the sound of that.

11) City Planning: I had an internship in this department for a while way back in high school (you can look it up). What I remember is a lot of old guys waiting for retirement and doing absolutely nothing. Which is kind of obvious, if you walk around the streets.

12) Education: I know, I know, you just hired — I mean, appointed — that Black lady, and the last thing you need is to go through that again. But you never know what could happen. You should keep me in mind. I went to school in New York, and so did my kids, so that already gives me two legs up on her. You could do worse.

I would be happy to to talk to you (or to one of your aides that you trust with a secret) about any of these jobs, or any other you may think is suitable for me. If you want to see my resume, just ask. I didn't include it with this letter because that's obviously not the way you do your hiring these days.

December 4, 2010


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