New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has at times seemed to sit on both sides of the fence in regards to his stance on the "Occupy Wall Street" protests that began in New York's Zuccotti Park, and have since spread to cities across the United States.
On September 30, Mayor Bloomberg seemed to show no love for the protesters, saying in a radio interview that they are "protesting against people who make $40-50,000 a year and are struggling to make ends meet. That’s the bottom line.” On October 3, The Blaze reported on the Mayor's continued concerns about the OWS movement, expressed in his weekly radio address:
“'What they’re trying to do is take away the jobs of people working in the city, take away the tax base that we have,”'Bloomberg said. 'We’re not going to have money to pay our municipal employees or anything else.”
However on Monday, some perceived Mayor Bloomberg was softening his stance towards the protesters, when he said they could stay indefinitely in Zuccotti Park, provided they abide by the law. Wall Street Journal reports:
“'The bottom line is – people want to express themselves. And as long as they obey the laws, we’ll allow them to,' said Bloomberg as he prepared to march in the Columbus Day Parade on Fifth Avenue. 'If they break the laws, then, we’re going to do what we’re supposed to do: enforce the laws.'”
Not exactly a free pass, but definitely a change in tone.
On Tuesday, the Mayor of the world's financial capital came back at the protesters who attack many of those whom he represents, as the New York Post reports:
"'I don't appreciate the bashing of all the hard working people who live and work here and pay the taxes that support our city,' said Bloomberg, during a press conference in a Bronx library.
'The city depends on Wall Street. Let's not forget, those taxes pay our teachers, pay our police officers, pay our firefighters. Those taxes we get from the profits companies and the incomes, they go to pay for this library.'"
The Mayor prides himself as a defender of free speech and it's unequivocal importance to the city.
“This is the place where you can protest,” Mayor Bloomberg said last week, calling New York the “most tolerant, open city in the world.”
Mayor Bloomberg used his free speech Tuesday, to say what he thought of OWS's tactics, such as marching in front of the homes of some of the city's wealthiest bankers:
"Jamie Dimon is one of the great bankers," said Bloomberg. 'He's brought more business to this city than any banker in (the) modern day. To go and picket him, I don't know what that achieves. Jamie Dimon is an honorable person, working very hard, paying his taxes.'
Bloomberg also questioned why the protestors were picking on wealthy bankers and other corporate titans.
'There are a lot of people who make a lot of money,' he noted. 'You have actors and athletes and you have business people making a lot of money."
The protesters have occupied Zuccotti Park since September 17, and have already cost city taxpayers millions.