Follow the Money

Who Controls New York City Mayors?

By Lynne A. Weikart

Subjects: Public Policy, Urban Sociology, Politics, New York/regional
Paperback : 9781438425320, 206 pages, March 2009
Hardcover : 9781438425313, 206 pages, March 2009
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Table of contents

List of Illustrations

1. Introduction
2. Theories about Urban Political Power and Financial Elites
3. LaGuardia and the Great Depression

4. The Prelude to the 1975 Fiscal Crisis
5. Mayor Abe Beame and the 1975 Fiscal Crisis (1974–1978)
6. Mayor Ed Koch and the Unremitting Fiscal Crisis (1978–1990)
7. Mayor David Dinkins and the 1989 Fiscal Crisis (1990–1994)
8. Mayor Rudy Giuliani's First Term and the Ongoing Fiscal Crisis (1994–2002)
9. Mayor Mike Bloomberg after 9/11 (2002–present)
10. Conclusion

Appendix A Expenditure Categories
Appendix B Constant Dollars

Reveals the powerful influence of financial elites on New York City’s mayors.


The critical influence of bankers and credit agencies on the mayors of the Big Apple comes to light in this fascinating study. Lynne A. Weikart reveals how financial elites in New York City have exploited recurring fiscal crises and sharply curtailed the range of choices open to mayors in setting priorities and implementing fiscal policy. Despite the appearance of objectivity and neutrality, bankers and bond-rating agencies capitalize on crises to expand their influence and force the city to drastically reduce its spending and payroll, significantly degrading the quality of city services. In the face of enormous pressure to defer programs and compromise promises to constituents, however, committed mayors from Fiorello LaGuardia to Michael Bloomberg have still managed to overcome obstacles and achieve progressive goals.

Lynne A. Weikart is Associate Professor of Political Science at Baruch College School of Public Affairs, the City University of New York.


"This is a valuable book for students of municipal finance, New York City fiscal policy and politics, the relations among state and municipal governments, and the pluralized politics of fiscal policy … There are larger lessons for our notions of democracy here, and even the lay reader will find this study sobering reading in the midst of the current economic downswing. " — CHOICE

"Weikart puts a human face on New York City's fiscal crises, analyzes their historical patterns, and compares the tenure of several mayors. In doing so, she provides an invaluable resource for those who study cities. " — Wilbur C. Rich, author of David Dinkins and New York City Politics: Race, Images, and the Media