The last time a big city mayor (well, if San Francisco counts) went full Pol Pot, it was San Francisco's Gavin Newsom skylarking in 2009 about turning road medians into collective farms. The handsome mayor, now at an undisclosed location as California's seldom-seen Lt. Governor, ordered
an audit of unused land—including empty lots, rooftops, windowsills and median strips—that could be turned into community gardens or farms that could benefit residents, either by working at them or purchasing the fresh produce.
Newsom also issued guidelines banning snacks with presumed bourgeois tendencies such as donuts and potato chips at municipal meetings, replacing them with revolutionary sustenance such as vegetables and fruits (the people's candy). Seriously.
(To his credit, Newsom these days is pushing full pot legalization in the Golden State).
Now New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is taking a break from his truly sinister behavior (such as continuing to push unlawful and discriminatory stop-and-frisk measures) to simply act like Woody Allen's insane dictator in Bananas. Bloomberg, reports the New York Times, is "taking on a new cause: requiring New Yorkers to separate their food scraps for composting."
The residential program will initially work on a voluntary basis, but officials predict that within a few years, it will be mandatory. New Yorkers who do not separate their food scraps could be subject to fines, just as they are currently if they do not recycle plastic, paper or metal.
Christine Quinn, the leading candidate to replace Bloomberg when he (finally) steps down at the end of this year, is all for it:
She said a mandatory program should be in place by 2016.
"We're going to lock it in," she said. "When New York makes composting part of everyday life, every other city will follow through. This is going to create an urban trend."
Still to come: New York's big switch to Swedish as its official language. See below.