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Where They Stand

by Courtney Gross, Oct 19, 2009
 

Forget about term limits or perfunctory personality quirks. Here is a brief breakdown of where Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Comptroller William Thompson stand on some of the city's most important issues.

BLOOMBERG THOMPSON
Crime
Has taken his crusade to get illegal guns off New York City streets nationwide, touts his record at reducing crime even in a recession. Wants to create a footwear recognition database. Proposes using GPS to fight crime in public housing. Expanding surveillance camera initiative currently around Lower Manhattan to Midtown. Has said he will fire Police Commissioner Ray Kelly to bring in a new team. Supports stop and frisks of suspects but says policy is overused. Promises to maintain police department staffing levels. Supports higher salaries for starting police officers. Would focus on "Wall Street" crime as well as crime in public housing projects.
Economy
Put forward a five-borough economic opportunity plan, full of proposals he's touted throughout his second term; includes tax breaks for businesses, expanded hours at workforce centers and potential job creation from the city's capital budget and federal stimulus dollars. Has promised to not raise taxes in the next year and has lobbied for reducing pension benefits for new public employees. (Like Bloomberg) wants to streamline the application process for new businesses and give tax breaks to small and independent business owners. Wants to raise taxes on those making more than $500,000 a year and restrict chain stores in certain neighborhoods. Has refused to support the new pension tier for new employees, saying that needs to be negotiated with unions behind closed doors.
Education
After winning mayoral control of schools in his first term, successfully spearheaded its extension in his second. Wants to double the number of charter schools in the next four years, which would make charter schools account for 10 percent of school seats. Has touted test scores and graduation rates as a measure of how much schools have improved. Wants an additional 120,000 New Yorkers to graduate from our community colleges by 2020. Vows to get the Department of Education back to basics, fire Schools Chancellor Joel Klein, stop teaching to the test and reduce class size instead of closing schools. Wants to expand the number of district family advocates and was successful in lobbying for fiscal oversight of the Department of Education by the comptroller's office.
Environment
Put forth the 127-initiative PlaNYC 2030 in 2007, which includes a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent. Opposes drilling in or near New York City’s watershed, and has analyzed capacity limitations at landfills used by the city. Has not released any specific proposals related to environmental policy.
Health
Says role of government is to improve and lengthen lives. Under his tenure, has banned smoking in public places, implemented mandatory calorie counts on some restaurant menus and banned trans fats. Wants to ban smoking in public parks and beaches. Supports a national health plan with a public option. Touts his protest of hospital closings in Queens and his support of streamlining publicly funded health care programs, like Child Health Plus. Says his administration would focus on health disparities and preventative care as well as expanding access to health insurance, similar to Brooklyn HealthWorks, which was also supported by Bloomberg. Supports a health care plan with a public option.
Housing
Has rezoned over 100 communities during his tenure. Many have preserved neighborhoods, but waterfront communities have seen massive luxury development. Says development plan has been balanced. Has not voiced support for legislation to roll back vacancy decontrol or repeal the Urstadt Law. Has been very critical of the Bloomberg development agenda, and says his administration would reexamine those rezonings. Has lobbied for vacancy decontrol legislation and the repeal of Urstadt in Albany.
Social Services
Was unsuccessful in restructuring the Department for the Aging to consolidate services, has controversially paid for one-way plane tickets for homeless individuals to leave the city and reunite with families, did not meet his commitment to reduce homelessness by two-thirds. Says he has made the system for homeless individuals better. Was against the centralization of senior centers by the Bloomberg administration. Would allow senior centers to define core services, expand and would use these facilities for other community services, like after school programs. Wants to reopen the federal Section 8 voucher program, offer emergency housing vouchers to the homeless and work on preventative poverty programs.
Transportation
Wants to reopen shuttered LIRR lines in Queens, expand bus rapid transit, have light rail pilot project in Northern Brooklyn and Western Queens as well as install gateless toll plazas, expand ferry service, institute a transit "smart card" and give the police full authority over transit security -- much of this needs to be adopted by the MTA, which is in dire fiscal straits. Unsuccessfully lobbied for congestion pricing. Against tolls on the East River bridges and advocates for the reinstatement of the commuter tax. To solve the MTA's fiscal crisis, he lobbied for a weight based registration fee for new vehicles.


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