During his briefing on the city's efforts to remove the mountains of slow in the streets, New York City Mike Bloomberg broke into Spanish to provide a (completely insufficient) summary for Spanish speakers. Apparently, this is something Bloomberg has been doing for some time:
“Before we go to questions, I would like to summarize today's announcements for some of our Spanish speakers,” he says at the end of most public events.
He then launches into two sentences of Spanish that – though heavily accented and somewhat mispronounced – are sure to land him on Spanish-language TV and radio.
Maybe landing on Spanish-language TV and radio is the only point, because the information provided is so minimal that there's no way Spanish-speaking listeners get anything out of it. Today's summary effectively conveyed the following: “We're getting some vehicles to clean up the snow.” That's it.
English speakers, on the other hand, learned about the hundreds of vehicles roaming the streets cleaning up the snow. They learned about the importance of making sure there was no snow in the exhaust pipe of their cars, just to make sure the car doesn't fill up with carbon monoxide.
Political types may think this kind of symbolism is a slam dunk for politicians hoping to gain the Hispanic vote — but it's craven tokenism that serves no one but political ambitions.