GOTHAM GAZETTE: SEARCHLIGHT 2002:The Record

The Record: APRIL 2004

4/30

City Hall inked a new labor pact yesterday with the city's 2,700 traffic and parking enforcement agents - marking the second such deal in as many weeks. Under the three-year pact, agents will get a $1,000 lump-sum payment up front, a 3% hike in the second year and 2% raises in the third year. An extra 1% may be added in the last year, provided the union agrees to extra concessions. (Daily News)

Likely mayoral candidate Fernando Ferrer yesterday blitzed the city's plans to contribute $300 million toward a football stadium over the MTA's West Side rail yards. "The stadium itself is nuts," said Ferrer, who lost the 2001 mayoral Democratic primary by a razor-thin margin. "We're shutting down firehouses and nickel-and-diming senior citizens, and we're talking about this?" Mayor Bloomberg and Gov. Pataki agreed to $600 million in combined city and state funds toward the $1.4 billion project. (NY Post)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg continued to push his proposed annual $400 property-tax rebate Thursday even as the plan faced greater scrutiny, with the city facing projected multi-billion budget deficits over the next several years. The mayor stopped short of "guaranteeing" that his administration would continue to offer the annual property-tax rebate costing $250 million yearly but said he would vigorously enforce the measure if approved by Albany lawmakers. (Newsday)

4/29

Some City Council members are deeply conflicted over competing tax plans proposed by Speaker Gifford Miller and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, ensuring a vigorous debate at City Hall over what kind of property tax reduction residents are likely to see next year. (NY Times)

Mayor Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Gifford Miller are gearing up for a high-stakes battle to sell their competing tax cut plans - by far the most watched debate in their upcoming budget talks. To the winner will go a huge political prize: rights to the title of tax cutter next year, when Bloomberg and Miller could face off in the race for mayor. (Daily News)

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg objected yesterday to a plan for rallies by police officers and firefighters, and the city denied an application for a large antiwar protest on the Great Lawn in Central Park. (NY Times)

Eva Moskowitz has emerged as one of the most influential members on the City Council, largely by parlaying her role as head of the Education Committee into a crusade for the city's troubled public schools. (NY Times)

A City Council member who was blasting the Bloomberg administration's social-promotion policies sent out two press releases containing spelling and grammatical errors. (NY Post)

4/28

City officials say that what they consider "nondiscretionary" costs, mostly for Medicaid, employee pensions and interest on municipal debt, will make it increasingly difficult to bridge the gap between what New York takes in and what it spends each year. (New York Times)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said yesterday that an additional $200 million in spending for the city Health and Hospitals Corp. will prevent hospital closings and maintain services. The money is part of the mayor's proposed budget, which he announced Tuesday. (Daily News)

Ernie Hart, the chief-of-staff to Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott, has been named president and chief executive officer of the Boys Choir of Harlem following a sex-abuse scandal there, officials said yesterday (New York Post)

4/27

Declaring that the city's economic recession is over, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg released a $46.9 billion budget proposal yesterday that foresees a surplus of $1.3 billion this year. (NY Times)

The mayor presented his latest budget proposal yesterday in the Blue Room of City Hall, one flight up from the snappy new Snapple machine that was installed in the basement a few days ago. (NY Times)

It is not often that the Republican mayor of New York finds himself accusing the Democratic City Council speaker of being in bed with big business at the expense of hard-working homeowners. But that is exactly what is happening in City Hall as the official budget battle begins. (NY Times)

Declaring "brighter days are undoubtedly here," Mayor Bloomberg unwrapped a $46.9 billion budget proposal that gives New Yorkers some welcome news. (Daily News)

In his budget proposal yesterday, Mayor Bloomberg committed $500,000 to test Fire Department personnel, including firefighters, officers and EMTs. (Daily News)

A good news-bad news spending plan was offered by Mayor Bloomberg yesterday - his $47 billion budget proposal for fiscal 2005 preserves services, raises and a homeowner tax cut, but he warns the city faces a monumental $3.8 billion deficit the following year. (NY Post)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg released a partly cloudy budget forecast for the city Monday, predicting huge revenue increases and runaway expenses, while proposing a bare-bones labor deal union leaders immediately rejected. (NY Newsday)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has made sure that every dime in the city's $46.9-billion fiscal plan is spoken for - constricting the City Council's options in talks on a budget deal. (NY Newsday)

The City Council's Education Committee, by an 8-0 vote, approved the Dignity in All Schools Act, which bans bullying or harassment based sexual identity, economic circumstance, religious practice and other factors. (NY Post)

4/26

Anyone who has wondered why mayors rarely tackle public education as a signature issue might consider the predicament of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. (NY Times)

The budget Mayor Bloomberg will release today includes a $400 annual rebate for homeowners - a giveback Council Speaker Gifford Miller has denounced as a quick-fix gimmick. (Daily News) (NY Post)

4/25

Tony Avella, a city councilman from the northern shores of Queens, speaks passionately about running for mayor next year. Having won his seat in a competitive race in 2001, he acknowledges that he is a long shot in the 2005 Democratic primary, since he is barely known outside his district. (NY Times)

In all the legal wrangling over making Snapple an official city drink, one key ingredient in the juice deal has been widely overlooked: the money. Last week, a check for $1 million was deposited in city coffers. (Daily News)

Mayor Bloomberg is looking for some muscle. The city's Economic Development Corp. wants to hire a consultant to help push out residents and businesses in the way of plans for the West Side, the Daily News has learned. (Daily News)

Mayor Bloomberg throws out the first pitch of a Little League game in Bayside, Queens, yesterday - one of two rare Saturday public appearances by Hizzoner, who is often out of town on weekends. (NY Post)

4/24

In his role as chief advocate for the city, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has sought to defend its eight million residents from terrorist threats, parking scofflaws and the dangers of secondhand smoke in restaurants. But yesterday the mayor found himself on the defensive over a charge that for all its successful moves to reduce crime and eliminate grime, the city has lost some of its spark. In a strange twist of fate, however, the mayor had some unlikely - and unwelcome - allies to help him prove his case that all was not too squeaky clean in New York: two near-naked men in a tree in Central Park. (NY Times)

Talk about rubbing it in. Over objections from Controller William Thompson, Mayor Bloomberg began installing Snapple vending machines in city buildings yesterday - starting at Thompson's doorstep. (Daily News)

Council Speaker Gifford Miller apparently doesn't trust his colleagues - and took a drastic step yesterday to plug leaks about sexual-harassment charges against Councilman Allan Jennings. (NY Post)

Snapple began installing the first of 2,500 vending machines in municipal buildings yesterday - but not in the offices of City Comptroller William Thompson. (NY Post)

4/23

More New Yorkers approve of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's handling of his job than did last June, the latest New York Times Poll has found, and since June almost twice as many believe the city's economy is better. But the public is deeply divided over how he is handling the school system, an issue that Mr. Bloomberg has told voters should determine whether he is re-elected next year. (NY Times)

Snapple and Mayor Bloomberg won round one yesterday in a court battle over the drink's exclusive city franchise. Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Richard Braun rejected a plea from City Comptroller William Thompson for a temporary restraining order that would have barred the Bloomberg administration from installing Snapple machines in municipal buildings starting today. (NY Post)

Citing high unemployment among black men, City Council members urged Mayor Bloomberg yesterday to declare joblessness among blacks "a state of emergency." The legislators cited a report by the Community Service Society (CSS), an anti-poverty advocacy group, that found only 51.8% of black men in the city, ages 16 to 64, hold paid jobs. In contrast, the ratio is 75.7% for white men and 65.7% for Hispanic men. (Daily News)

City Council Speaker Gifford Miller has blasted Mayor Michael Bloomberg's fiscal policies, but Bloomberg aides said Miller had voted for the policies he criticized. Bloomberg spokesman Ed Skyler also said Miller's speech, at a Crain's New York Business magazine forum, borrowed the mayor's ideas for signature Bloomberg projects like marketing the city internationally and keeping track of federal legislators who raise funds in the city but vote against the city's interests.

4/22

The three-year deal that Mayor Michael Bloomberg reached Tuesday night with the city's biggest municipal union, District Council 37, achieved a goal that has repeatedly eluded mayors over the last two decades: broad labor savings to help balance their budgets. Bloomberg not only persuaded District Council 37 to agree to lower starting salaries and benefits for newly hired workers - important savings in themselves - but also got the union to pledge to work closely with the administration to find additional workplace savings in the future. (NY Times)

The labor deal Mayor Bloomberg made with the city's largest union won't work for the police, fire and teachers unions, leaders of those groups said. (Daily News)

City Comptroller William Thompson accused Mayor Bloomberg yesterday of trying to swipe New York's valuable name, as the city chief fiscal watchdog filed a lawsuit to block Snapple from becoming the Big Apple's official beverage. (NY Post) (Daily News)

One in three New Yorkers who received nicotine patches from the city were still not smoking after six months, officials said yesterday - raising eyebrows with a figure that's double the norm. (NY Post)

Almost 25 percent of hospitals surveyed by City Council investigators did not have a clear policy for distributing emergency contraception to rape victims, a violation of legislation passed last year, a council report released yesterday said. (Newsday)

The City Council gave its stamp of approval yesterday to the lease agreement allowing the Port Authority to run the city's two airports until 2050. (Daily News)

4/21

The city and its largest municipal employee union, District Council 37, announced yesterday that they had reached a tentative agreement on a new contract. (New York Times) (Newsday) (Daily News)

James DeSimone, a vice president at New York Water Taxi, has been hired to run the Staten Island ferry. He will take the $150,000-a-year job of chief operations officer, a new post created after last year’s deadly ferry crash. (Daily News) (New York Post) (Newsday)

Just as previous mayoral campaigns focused on crime, education is likely to be the main topic in the 2005 mayoral contest. (New York Times)

4/20

Mayor Bloomberg issued a stern warning to parents threatening to hold their children out of the controversial third grade promotion test as a means of protest: miss the test, and your child will be left back. (Daily News)

The MTA finally agreed to take over bus lines that operate in the far reaches of the city. (NY Times)

Firefighters who worked at ground zero are experiencing high rates of depression, anxiety and stress, according to a new study. (Newsday)

The private investigative firm hired to probe sexual-harassment allegations against Queens Councilman Allan Jennings is now looking into whether he had inappropriate contact with other staffers over the past two years. (NY Post)

4/19

The Bloomberg administration plans to set up a new centralized computer system to rapidly assign substitutes to fill in for absent teachers throughout the city's 1,300 schools. (NY Post)

Five New York lawmakers plan to file suit today to keep a proposed power plant in Queens from getting $400 million in state Liberty Bonds, The Post has learned. (NY Post)

4/18

Councilman Allan W. Jennings Jr., of the 28th Council District in Jamaica, is being investigated over allegations that he sexually harassed female workers at City Hall. (NY Times)

More than 1,500 city officials are enjoying the privilege of driving to work in taxpayer-funded cars - despite Mayor Bloomberg's attempts to cut the city's car fleet. (NY Post)

The Bloomberg administration's grand West Side redevelopment project should be split into pieces, with the new Jets stadium landing in the team's original home borough of Queens, Rep. Anthony Weiner says. (NY Post)

4/17

The speaker of the City Council, Gifford Miller, yesterday vehemently disputed a councilwoman's account of how he had learned about sexual harassment complaints against a Queens councilman, Allan W. Jennings Jr. (NY Times)

They have long been one of the city's richest perks: paid sabbaticals for teachers, who have used them to travel Europe, spin pottery - even launch new careers. (Daily News)

Mayor Bloomberg drew the ire of some legislators after suggesting that public housing tenants should do community service if they're just "sitting around." (Daily News)

Mayor Bloomberg went on the educational warpath yesterday - warning schools they'd better not cheat on Tuesday's high-stakes third-grade reading exam and blasting a judge for ordering the city to restore costly sabbaticals for teachers. (NY Post)

Tenants and elected officials rallied at City Hall Friday to protest a federal law requiring public housing residents to perform community service or face eviction. (Newsday)

4/16

Margarita Lopez, a veteran City Council member, said yesterday that she told Council Speaker Gifford Miller on four separate occasions that staff members were complaining about being harassed by a councilman from Queens, but that her warnings went unheeded. (New York Times)

Mayor Bloomberg met with state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer this week to seek his help defending a lawsuit challenging the city's refusal to issue same-sex marriage licenses - but Bloomberg was rebuffed, sources said yesterday. (New York Post)

Mayor Bloomberg yesterday helped New Yorkers with a sticky problem. Under a new law signed by Bloomberg, merchants who place pesky stickers and decals touting their services on people's homes and in public places now face summonses of up to $500. (New York Post)

4/15

New York City has its Finest and Bravest. Yesterday, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg unveiled an advertising campaign that proposes a new category of hero in New York - branding 80,000 public school teachers as the city's Brightest. (NY Times) (Daily News)

The Department of Education spends millions of dollars a year on contracts awarded without competitive bidding, and - since Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg gained control of the schools - with little oversight, city officials said yesterday. The no-bid contracts will be the subject of a City Council hearing today by the Education Committee. (NY Times)

City Council Speaker Gifford Miller expressed outrage Wednesday and threatened to punish the anonymous colleague who leaked a confidential report on harassment charges against Councilman Allan Jennings as other members privately criticized the speaker's handling of the incident. (Newsday)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has convinced many voters - even those who claim in polls to dislike him - that he is an effective manager of New York City. The challenge for Mr. Bloomberg now as he lays the groundwork for a re-election bid is to prove that he can be a charismatic leader as well. In recent weeks, it has become clear that Mr. Bloomberg is making a concerted effort to persuade New Yorkers that he can fulfill the role of cheerleader, bully, baseball fiend, loudmouth and shameless advocate for a city that determinedly demands such élan from their mayor. (NY Times)

4/14

Mayor Michael Bloomberg yesterday ordered City Comptroller William Thompson to approve the deal making Snapple an official beverage of New York City, despite Thompson's objections to the contract. As a result, Snapple will be put in vending machines in city buildings. Thompson said he might take the issue to court because, he charged, Snapple was selected through "a tainted process." Bloomberg said that, while there may have been problems with the way the city handled the bidding, the Snapple deal remained "the largest and most beneficial such transaction by any city in the nation." (Daily News) (Newsday/Associated Press) (New York Post)

An investigative report on allegations against Alan Jennings says the City Council member from Queens made inappropriate sexual comments, as well as anti-Semitic comments, to a council attorney but that the charges did not represent a clear case of sexual harassment. Council members could meet this week to consider possible action against Jennings. (New York Post) (Newsday) (New York Times)

Landlords say the costs of complying with the city's new lead paint law will require an increase in rents on stabilized apartments. (Daily News)

A top city housing official told the Rent Guidelines Board yesterday that "there's no doubt that rents will increase" because of the lead paint law. (New York Times)

City Council leaders Tuesday called for an increase in city-funded day care. (Newsday)

Council Speaker Gifford Miller accused Mayor Bloomberg yesterday of allowing a contract stalemate that has left 7,000 day-care workers without a raise for four years. (Daily News)

4/13

With Rheingold set to begin airing ads that poke fun at the Mayor's smoking ban and cabaret laws, Bloomberg blasted the former Brooklyn brewery. (Daily News)

Furious about the weekend arrest of two firefighters on DWI charges, Mayor Bloomberg yesterday demanded that the city's Bravest clean up their act. (NY Post)

Even as one of their own faces sexual harrasment charges, the City Council is taking aim at sex offenders. (NY Post)

Mayor Bloomberg said he stands behind remarks he made two years ago -- that it was "ridiculous" to believe President George W. Bush was warned about the Sept. 11 attacks and failed to act. (Newsday)

4/12

Mayor Bloomberg, you'd better get a wrench. Even after the mayor promised to personally fix broken school bathrooms if complaints to the city's 311 hotline went unheeded, the toilets are still a mess. (Daily News)

You can bet they won't be serving Rheingold at Gracie Mansion anytime soon. The brewery has declared war on City Hall with a series of in-your-face TV ads that will start airing Wednesday. (Daily News)

City Council Chambers, the historic second-floor room where the legislative branch of city government conducts its official business, needs a makeover. (NY Post)

4/11

Former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani will appear before the 9/11 commission when it comes to New York next month, to answer questions about the level of cooperation between federal and local law enforcement. (NY Post)

4/10

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said yesterday that he opposed giving legal immigrants who are not United States citizens the right to vote in New York City elections, putting him at odds with many immigrant groups and others that have been pushing for such a change. ( NY Times) (Daily News) (NY Post)

Panicked parents shelling out as much as $1,500 for third-grade test preparation at least proves they're worried about their kids - which should be "music to everybody's ears," Mayor Bloomberg said yesterday. (Daily News)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg conceded Friday he cannot guarantee the city's new school promotion policy will work, but insisted it "makes a lot of sense" and that some alternative to the status quo was necessary. (Newsday)

4/9

U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero has tossed out a lawsuit seeking to overturn city and state bans on smoking in bars and restaurants. Marrero rejected all the constitutional challenges brought by an organization calling itself NYC CLASH - Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment. (Daily News) (Newsday)

An independent probe into sexual harassment allegations leveled against City Councilman Allan Jennings has concluded, and members of the Council's ethics committee are expected to be notified of the findings by mail as early as this weekend, according to City Hall sources. (Newsday)

4/8

Mayor Michael Bloomberg yesterday vigorously defended his administration's plans to hold back failing third graders and said the city would focus more on prevention efforts for young children than Chicago, whose policy against social promotion was sharply criticized in two new studies. (NY Times)

A budget watchdog group urged Mayor Michael Bloomberg yesterday to drop his plan for a $400 property tax rebate for homeowners, and to use the $250 million in savings to reduce the city's rising debt. The Citizens Budget Commission, a business-backed group that normally favors lessening the tax burden whenever possible, took the unaccustomed tack of insisting in a letter to the mayor that the city "cannot now afford additional tax cuts." (NY Times)

Mayor Bloomberg wants to recruit business leaders to put in a good word for New York City in Washington. Bloomberg told reporters yesterday that he had asked business and civic leaders to make calls on the city's behalf to Washington lawmakers. He said he made his plea at a private meeting earlier in the day at City Hall with the Association for a Better New York and the Partnership for New York City. (Daily News)

Some tax preparers are hitting New Yorkers with hidden fees for quickie refunds, despite new rules cracking down on the ripoffs, City Council Speaker Gifford Miller charged yesterday. (Daily News)

The city has scrapped designs for a new emergency command center building in Brooklyn, and intends instead to renovate an old structure for one-third the cost. (Newsday)

4/7

The cost for water and sewer service in the city could rise by 5.5 percent July 1, under a proposal announced yesterday by the city Water Board. (Newsday) (Daily News) (New York Post)

City Council Speaker Gifford Miller has criticized plans for two Manhattan barge stations intended to reduce the trucking of waste through the city. His stance has prompted an aide to Mayor Michael Bloomberg to warn that Miller, who represents the East Side of Manhattan on the council and who is excepted to run for mayor, may have to choose between the good of the city and the preferences of his district. (Newsday)

4/6

According to a published report, the Bloomberg administration has been refusing all interview requests from the NY1, the TV station that reported his off-color comments about the late diet guru Robert Atkins. (Newsday)

City Council Speaker Gifford Miller and Mayor Michael Bloomberg don't see eye to eye on New York City's finances. An interview with Miller. (WNBC)

Mayor Bloomberg, who donated $100,000 of his own money to a foundation raising money to reopen the Statue of Liberty, said yesterday that if he had his way, the landmark would have never been closed. (Daily News)

4/5

The Bloomberg administration is quietly reviving a citizens' youth board that has been inactive since the mid-1990s in violation of the City Charter. (Newsday)

4/4

Mayor Bloomberg's ambitious West Side development project - including a new home for the Jets - would cost taxpayers a whopping $300 million a year to pay off the debt. (Daily News)

City Council Speaker Gifford Miller is just 34 years old and laying the groundwork to be the next mayor of New York - but first he needs to take the boy out of boy wonder. (Daily News)


Mayor Bloomberg gave the city press corps all that jazz, poking fun at his reputation as a killjoy at the annual Inner Circle dinner. His skit was tame by historical standards but still contained some winners.(Daily News) (NY Post) (Newsday)

4/3

It is one of the prime perks that come with being a New York City official: special parking permits displayed in car windows that allow drivers to leave their vehicles in areas normally off limits to the public. But Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said yesterday that his office had revoked several permits because city officials had been sharing them with spouses and friends. (NY Times) (Daily News) (NY Post)

When it comes to estimating populations, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg rarely is mathematically incorrect. Politically, his correctness may be another matter, at least for a man who wants a second term. (NY Times)

Note to billionaire Mayor Bloomberg: Tread lightly on minimum wage matters. Bloomberg said that he supports boosting the state's minimum wage but he added that doing it wouldn't affect that many workers. (Daily News)

4/2/04


City Council passed a bill yesterday that would limit the hours when the Sanitation Department could fine New Yorkers for failing to clean up litter in front of their homes, but aides to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said he was likely to veto it. (New York Times)

Two-thirds of New Yorkers back Mayor Bloomberg's controversial plan to end social promotion in the third grade, a new poll released yesterday shows. The Quinnipiac University survey found that support for Bloomberg's stricter standards cuts across racial and ethnic lines: 63 percent of whites, 60 percent of blacks and 59 percent of Hispanics approved. About one-third of city residents were opposed or undecided. (New York Post)

4/1/04


For the first time in more than a year, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's popularity has improved to the point that his approval ratings now outweigh his disapproval ratings, according to a poll released yesterday by Quinnipiac University. (NY Times) (Newsday) (NY Post) (Daily News)

Mayor Bloomberg called on the state yesterday to come up with an extra $5 billion every year for city schools - and for the first time outlined a sweeping plan to spend the cash. (NY Times) (Newsday) (NY Post) (Daily News)

Click here to see The Record for March 2004