Mayor Bloomberg announced in his inaugural speech on New Years Day that now is a time for him to listen. The building behind me is yours, he said about City Hall, and the job in front of me is to listen and to lead.

Great! Because New Yorkers have a lot of things they want to say and have had few forums for speaking directly to Bloomberg since he became mayor. After all, he eliminated one of our longstanding, effective, local democratic institutions: the regularly scheduled town-hall meetings in all five boroughs that had been instituted by Mayor Edward Koch in the dark days of the early 1980s.

Bloomberg was probably right to hold off on town-hall meetings during his first term, when he was new to the job and New York was reeling from the 9/11 attacks. But hes now a fully seasoned mayor, beginning his ninth year, presiding over a city fundamentally worried about the future. Hes our mayor, and New Yorkers want to see him in person.

“Town halls offer an unfiltered opportunity for people to raise their rational concerns about where they live and work,” says Jerilyn Perine, executive director of the Citizens Housing & Planning Council, and a former housing commissioner under Mayors Bloomberg and Rudolph Giuliani.

Read more in the New York Post.