Michael Bloomberg’s third term as mayor of New York may have been the product of his indecision over what to do with his time after leaving office—and a reluctance to devote himself full-time to his philanthropy, according to a profile in New York magazine.
As he contemplated a run for the presidency in 2008, says the article, Mr. Bloomberg came to the conclusion that his chances of victory were slim. With that dream deferred, the mayor found himself at loose ends.
“Up to that point, [philanthropy] had been an occasional hobby for him—something like flying a helicopter,” writes Gabriel Sherman in New York. “He needed more time to think, more time to plan. And it was at that moment that he came up with the idea of a third term.”
With that third term now scheduled to wrap up in January, the magazine says, the billionaire media mogul is looking to focus his foundation’s giving on the causes he championed as mayor.
For instance, his foundation is supporting 11 employees working for Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel on efforts to streamline the city’s business-license procedures and improve local energy efficiency. In New Orleans, he’s supporting a team of seven experts working in the mayor’s office on crime reduction. In Brazil, Mr. Bloomberg is supporting an effort to improve traffic signage.
“Where Bill Gates’s foundation has devoted the lion’s share of its resources to relatively nonpolitical causes like vaccines and the global aids epidemic, much of Bloomberg’s mission will be more explicitly political, ” Mr. Sherman writes. “But rather than choosing sides, it will be an assault on the shibboleths of both parties, and on partisanship itself.”
Though the New York mayor remains “obsessed” with the presidency, says the magazine, “he’s set his sights on Plan B: He wants to be mayor of the world.”
Says one senior Bloomberg adviser, “He’s used mayors around the world and his network of philanthropy to produce what I would say are the beginnings of an international infrastructure that can promote a level of change that is hard to fathom.”