I got the pleasure of waking up extra early this morning and attending a Crain's Business Breakfast Forum featuring New York City Deputy Mayor for economic development, Robert Lieber. There was a plethora of real estate types that probably will resemble Chod whenever he starts working for Tischman Spauer ("Thank God for them" in my best Kyle imitation of Gail Chod).
Lieber gave a talk about all this stuff they are doing across New York City in terms of real estate development. To answer your questions, yes I was bored as hell and yes I did eat a shit load of free muffins. And after the deputy mayor spoke and did this little Q&A session, he took some time to speak with the press. It was me, a guy from Crain's business magazine, a reporter from Reuters, and a guy from the New York Times.
Robert Lieber, deputy mayor of economic development to New York City
I stood there with my recorder out, listening to what the deputy mayor said to all these different questions, and it hit me. Being a public figure, especially someone in the government, sucks. These reporters were asking him all these questions that I had no idea about (I went with the smile and nod routine every time I thought he was saying something that required smiling and nodding). But all his answers were bland, non-specific ones because he's the deputy mayor and if they aren't ready to reveal something, they don't.
It was the equivalent of a basketball player going with the "We just have to focus on the next game" routine even if they are playing some dogshit team next and there's a huge game on the horizon.
But back to my story, all the reporters asked several questions apiece, and the attention then turned to me, the guy who knew next to nothing about the NYC real estate mumbo jumbo they were discussing. This deputy mayor is looking at me and I didn't flinch. I went with the tried and true "I think you answered everything I was looking for. Thank you."
The deputy mayor then kind of exhaled, and I think I may have seen him reach to loosen up his belt a little. It was a perfect example of someone changing who they are just to satisfy the press. If I were ever a deputy mayor, I definitely think I would go with the be myself routine rather than give bland, dull answers. For instance:
Q: Deputy mayor Giannotto, what are your thoughts on the Yankees asking for financing help from the city on the new Yankee Stadium
A: Fuck em'. Let em' take care of their own shit. I'm a Mets fan.
Here's the answer the deputy mayor actually gave
A:The Yankees have a number of alternatives available to them about additional financing. The financing they are looking for requires relief from the IRS, and adaptations of that kind. The stadium is going to be done, on time, for opening day 2009.
The new Yankee Stadium
I think we both got the same point across, except my mine was shorter, sweeter and a lot more entertaining. I find it funny that so many politicians get eaten up by the media here in New York, when what all the press is looking for is a little wow factor. Maybe I'm being short sighted because I don't have to win an election every so often, but I think more often than not, the people will more likely understand someone being themselves.
I just need something to keep me entertained. Maybe I'll start making things up when I see politicians, like a backhanded Eliot Spitzer comment. Something along the lines of ...
So deputy mayor Lieber, I heard Candy Delacroix gives the best hand job in the business. Is she a righty or a southpaw? Is she better on the road or does she prefer the friendly confines of your office? Man, I'm already laughing at the possible answers.