The Record: August 2003

Nearly 2,000 city-owned buildings have been cited for outstanding problems over the past five years, according to a Department of Buildings list. The violations, ranging from crumbling facades to faulty safety equipment, would have brought in fines totaling more than $1 million had they been slapped on private property owners. But the city does not fine itself, which has meant that some of the violations have been in limbo for years. (NY Post)

Faced with sagging poll numbers and accusations that he's out of touch, Mayor Bloomberg has become a travelin' man - using his passport and private jet to visit the homelands of major portions of his constituency. (Daily News)

When Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg kissed the Western Wall in Jerusalem last week, it was a paradoxically familiar and jolting sight. Traveling to Israel in its times of trouble, after all, is what New York mayors do. Making an overtly religious display in public is not something Mr. Bloomberg is known for. But then the relationship between mayors of New York City and religion is complicated. (New York Times)

Anthony Herbert, a former aide to United States Representative Edolphus Towns, said yesterday that he would run on the Republican ballot in the race for James E. Davis's City Council seat in Brooklyn. Mr. Herbert's decision followed his removal from the ballot for the Sept. 9 Democratic primary. It adds to the intensity of the competition in a general election race that has become one of the most watched in the city. Herbert said that he had met with Republican leaders in Brooklyn, and that they had invited him to take the place of Francis Voyticky, who had been on the ballot. Voyticky said yesterday that he thought Mr. Herbert would be "the better candidate to carry the Republican banner." (New York Times) (Daily News)

Since his election to the City Council two years ago, Kendall Stewart has been widely seen as a quiet legislator who worked without much fanfare or notice to the affairs of his district, which is anchored in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn. But all that changed in June, when Mr. Stewart, a podiatrist-turned-councilman, faced embarrassing news reports that a building he owns in the heart of the district had 144 building code violations, including broken locks and peeling lead paint. Adding to his problems were comments he made in explaining the violations, statements that have been widely perceived as being anti-Haitian. All of this is in a district that has a large population of immigrants from the Caribbean, including Haiti. And so, Mr. Stewart, 52, now finds himself to be the major issue in a campaign in which he faces three challengers. Each of those rivals has made Mr. Stewart's fitness for office the cornerstone of the campaign. Two are candidates who have become increasingly well known to voters in the 45th Council District, which also includes portions of Flatlands and East Flatbush. One is Omar Boucher, who ran unsuccessfully for a State Senate seat a year ago. The other is Sam Taitt, who was one of seven candidates in the 2001 race for the same City Council seat. The third challenger is Erlene King, who worked as an aide to Mr. Stewart's predecessor, Lloyd Henry. (New York Times)

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg visited a center for the elderly in the Bronx yesterday and offered up what sounded to some government officials like a little revisionist history about his budget policies. The mayor, who tries to sound upbeat during his increasingly frequent campaign-style trips through the city, told the lunch crowd at the Morris Senior Center that "right at the beginning we said we were just not going to cut any of the senior centers." Mr. Bloomberg actually spent much of his first year in office trying to cut centers for the elderly as he worked to whittle away a multibillion-dollar budget gap. (New York Times) (Daily News)

When Mayor Bloomberg was choosing a traveling companion for his first official trip to Israel Tuesday, he didn't look to the largely liberal Upper West Side or to the Upper East Side of Manhattan, where he lives. Choosing among nearly a dozen Jews in the City Council, he picked the only one who wears a yarmulke to work, the council member from Borough Park, Simcha Felder. He brought along an Orthodox rabbi from Manhattan who has been a vocal supporter of Israel's tough stance toward Palestinian terrorism, Haskel Lookstein. Two of the mayor's Orthodox Jewish deputies, Jonathan Greenspun and Ester Fuchs, also made the trip. Mr. Greenspun, the director of the Community Assistance Unit who also serves as Mr. Bloomberg's Jewish liaison, said the trip marked a new, higher profile for Jewish issues. (New York Sun)

Gov. George E. Pataki won a temporary victory in court today in his fight to keep the city from refinancing debt from the mid-1970's to help close its budget shortfall. (NY Times)

Just two days after the Charter Revision Commission voted to send the issue of nonpartisan elections to New York City voters in November, a large group of labor leaders met yesterday to reaffirm their commitment to defeating the measure. (NY Times)

With the start of school just around the corner, current and former education officials say that Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's efforts to overhaul the public schools are being undermined by a lack of a coherent communications strategy and a failure to build broad support out of the initial enthusiasm for his plans. (NY Times)

In a Washington Heights council race, two candidates are challenging City Councilman Miguel Martinez. And each challenger has made as his central issue Mr. Martinez's commitment and integrity. (NY Times)

Billionaire or not, Mayor Bloomberg doesn't like to pass up a deal. So when he had a chance to save another $10 on a $29.99 jacket for his daughter by applying for a credit card during tax-free shopping week at Sears in Rego Park, Queens, Bloomberg put away his $50 bill and broke out a pen. (Daily News)

Jerusalem -- Exactly a week after a suicide bombing here that killed 21 people, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg visited this grieving city today and encouraged its leaders and residents to fight back against terrorism, saying that New Yorkers and Americans were staunch allies in that effort. (New York Times)

Gov. George Pataki's attempt to block the Bloomberg administration's $2.5 billion bond sale is scaring away investors and pushing the city toward fiscal Armageddon, City Hall charged in court papers yesterday. (Newsday)

Even after passing mammoth tax hikes and cutting services, more than half of the City Council's incumbents won't face any opposition in next month's primaries. Twenty-eight of 51 council members will run unopposed on Sept. 9 - which officials said is surprising, because of the city's generous campaign-finance system. (NY Post)

City lobbyists raked in $22.6 million last year in another record haul, it was disclosed yesterday. Figures released by city Clerk Victor Robles found the lobbying industry thriving even in the Bloomberg administration, which is run by a billionaire who says he's immune to people trying to influence decision-making. (Daily News)


When Mayor Bloomberg arrives in Jerusalem today, a week after a suicide bomber killed 21 bus riders, he will find a city recovering from tragedy - yet stoically steeled for more misery. (Daily News) , (Newsday)

The People's Firehouse saga took a strange turn when two men ripped a controversial painting off a Brooklyn warehouse in the dark of night, as four cops looked on.(Daily News)

Many city agencies have been experiencing computer problems to viruses, and while there has been sporadic slowdowns and shutdowns of programs, officials say "critical systems" have not been affected. (Newsday)

Some City Council members have received tens of thousands of dollars in city campaign funds even though they face only token opposition in this years council elections. Three members have requested the maximum -- $82,500 -- in city matching funds despite having virtually no serious opposition in the election. (NY Post)

After months of hearings, the mayors Charter Revision Commission is expected to approve a referendum that, if passed by city voters in November, would end political primaries and establish nonpartisan elections in New York City. (NY Times)

In the aftermath of the shooting last month of Councilmember James E. Davis, the City Council is pushing ahead with several changes in New York City's gun-control laws that would make the laws, already among the toughest in the nation, more restrictive. (NY Times)

Two Republicans are competing in the Sept. 9 primary for the honor of running in the November general election against the most powerful of the council's 51 members: Speaker Gifford Miller, a Democrat. (NY Times)

The 11-member city Charter Revision Commission is set to recommend next week that the state grant U.S. permanent residents the right to vote in municipal elections, officials said Friday. A resolution in favor of allowing non-citizens to vote will be put forth to allow for increased participation in local government, said Paul Elliott, a spokesperson for the commission, a panel appointed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg to study nonpartisan elections in the city. (Newsday)

Mayor Bloomberg tried to give the Blackout of 2003 a silver lining yesterday - announcing that all parking tickets issued during the outage would be forgiven. The offer is good on any ticket written between 4 p.m. last Thursday, Aug. 14, and 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 16. (Daily News) (NY Times) (NY Post)

Mayor Bloomberg will travel to Jerusalem next week to let people there know "we share your grief and outrage" following Tuesday's horrific suicide bomber attack. The mayor announced his plans at a vigil outside the United Nations for victims of the massacre that killed 20, and a truck bombing the same day in Baghdad that left 23 dead. (Daily News) (Newsday) (NY Post)

Angry-man artist Scott LoBaido had his sights set on Mayor Bloomberg yesterday, with a gigantic mural of Hizzoner shooting a New Yorker in the back. The 16-by-26-foot painting depicts a smiling Bloomberg armed with a pearl-handled revolver pegging a shot into the back of a man wearing an "I heart NY" T-shirt. LoBaido, also known as Citizen Scott, last night hung the mural from a warehouse next door to Engine Co. 212, the Williamsburg firehouse closed by the city in May. (NY Post)

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who was saddled with a reputation during his first year in office for rarely appearing in the city's neighborhoods, is suddenly everywhere. (NY Times)

The race for the Democratic nomination in City Council District 14 in the Kingsbridge and Fordham sections of the Bronx is fierce in tone and, at times, highly personal. (NY Times)

City Council Speaker Gifford Miller took one for the team on Wednesday. A baseball nailed the Upper East Side Democrat in the nose as he batted against a Babe Ruth World Series champion pitcher -- one stop in a daylong tour to boost council incumbents in their re-elections this November. (Newsday)

Fed up with illegal truck traffic in residential communities, a majority of the City Council is demanding a big increase in enforcement agents assigned to ticketing lawbreaking truckers. (Daily News)

Manhattan Borough President Virginia Fields fought the law, and the law lost. Fields had her ticket for a "dirty sidewalk area" dismissed yesterday by the Environmental Control Board. Fields had been fined $100 for allegedly leaving the tree-bed area outside her home on historic Strivers' Row in Harlem strewn with garbage. (NY Post)

The City Council unanimously approved a bill yesterday that could finally help bring public lavatories to city streets. The measure calls for leasing maintenance of all the city's bus shelters, trash cans and, eventually, public pay toilets, to a private company in exchange for a portion of any advertising revenue gained from billboards on the walls of the new structures. (Newsday)

City Council held its first meeting since Councilmember James Davis was killed by a onetime political rival in council chambers on July 23. Members used the occasion to pay tribute to the Brooklyn council member and vowed to continue his fight against violence. (New York Times) (Daily News) (Newsday,0,5830714.story) (New York Post)

Councilmember James Gennaro introduced a bill yesterday that would require the city to empty its 25,000 street trash bins every day. Sanitation officials have said they cannot keep up with overflowing cans because some of the workers who emptied them have been laid off. Also yesterday, small-business owners and elected officials rallied support for another bill that would allow commercial food-waste disposal machines in the city. (Daily News)

Brooklyn Democrats agreed yesterday to a compromise proposal that would create an 18-member panel to screen prospective Civil and Supreme Court judges. Brooklyn Democratic Party boss Clarence Norman will name two of the members , and three will be put forward by Assembly members, most of whom are close to Norman. The new scheme comes on the heels of a spiraling investigation into whether judges have been able to buy their way into office. (Newsday) (Daily News)

The Bloomberg administration said yesterday the city would suffer "monumental" damage if a court approves Governor George Pataki's request for a preliminary injunction blocking a $556 million bond sale. In court papers filed in Albany opposing the governor's request, city Budget Director Mark Page warned that the $556 million bond sale might "collapse" if it is delayed. That, said Page, could force the city to either cut $500 million more in services. (New York Post)

The Charter Revision Commission reversed itself yesterday and voted to eliminate a proposed provision that would have banned donations to candidates from labor unions as well as political action committees. (New York Times)

The Charter Revision Commission informally approved a proposal yesterday that would reduce the role of the so-called "committee on vacancies" that selects a new candidate if a candidate dies during a campaign. Under the commission's proposal, the top two vote-getters in a non partisan primary advance to the general election. If one dies, the commission recommended that the candidate who came in third in the primary advance to the general election to replace the deceased candidate. A committee on vacancies would continue to select the replacement for a candidate who dies before the primary. (Daily News)


Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg asked two members of his administration yesterday to lead a task force to study New York City's response to last week's blackout. (NY Times)

The Blackout of 2003 may have plunged New York into darkness, but it is shining a national spotlight on the poll-challenged Mayor Bloomberg. He hit all three major morning news shows yesterday. (Daily News)

Two red roses and an American flag will adorn Councilman James Davis' empty desk today when the City Council meets for the first time since the Brooklyn lawmaker was slain there last month. (Daily News)

The city won't sue to recover damages from the blackout, Mayor Bloomberg said last night. (NY Post)

The Sanitation Department says it empties all 25,000 curbside litter baskets in the city at least once a day. A Queens councilman wants it in writing. (Newsday)

After detecting a slight increase in people seeking emergency treatment for stomach illnesses after the blackout, the city's health commissioner Thomas Frieden yesterday repeated his warning to New Yorkers to throw out spoiled food. (Newsday)

As electricity slowly returned to the region on Friday, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg found himself embroiled in a literal power struggle over whose lights would be turned back on first, New York City's or upstate's, Bloomberg administration and utility officials said yesterday. (NY Times)

The mayor, appearing calm in shirtsleeves at City Hall news conferences during the blackout, seemed energized by the lack of electricity. A few hours after the lights went out on Thursday, he waded out on the Brooklyn Bridge to cheer on those who were homeward bound. Soon after, he was rushing up 10 flights of stairs at Bellevue to visit a stricken cop, razzing reporters about their lack of stamina. The next morning, the 61-year-old mayor showered in the dark, just like a regular Joe. But there were a few missteps, including a Thursday night promise that most power would be restored by Friday morning. (Newsday)

Don't get mad at Ohio. That was the word from Mayor Bloomberg yesterday, who said even though Akron-based FirstEnergy Corp. looks like the main culprit in the biggest blackout in U.S. history, New Yorkers shouldn't point fingers. (NY Post)

When Mayor Bloomberg spoke yesterday, he was brimming with good news. For a change. The lights were on. The subways were running. There were few serious fires over the weekend. The cops made a big heroin bust. Even some of the city's beaches reopened. (Daily News)

The Charter Revision Commission will have two public meetings this week - one tomorrow and another on Thursday - to finalize the language of proposals that could bring the most significant change ever to New York City elections. (NY Times)

City Comptroller William Thompson estimated the economic impact of the blackout at $800 million to $1 billion in the city. (Newsday)

The marching band, the words of gospel and the rousing speeches about the need to stop black-on-black violence, all of these traditional highlights of the annual "Love Yourself, Stop the Violence" rally in central Brooklyn were there again yesterday. But one critical ingredient was missing: City Councilman James E. Davis, the Stop the Violence founder, a black man shot dead by a black man less than a month ago. (NY Times) (Daily News) (NY Post)

While the city plunged into darkness hours after Bloomberg launched a huge rat-control campaign, the administration vowed this weekend not to let the nearly 29-hour outage interfere with the rodent war. (Daily News)

Mayor Bloomberg's actions during the blackout seem to be intended, at least in part, to show that this is a different man than the one who has been variously criticized as out of touch, humorless and too ready to back down rather than pick a New York-style fight on the city's behalf. He exuded a newfound sense of authority, and he appeared to revel in it as the lights in section after section of the city came back on. (NY Times) (Newsday)

The blackout caused major problems for the city's EMS dispatch system, including backlogs of thousands of calls, and the complete collapse of the radio system on at least three occasions. (Newsday)

The blackout will deal its hardest financial blow to the city government's already stressed budget, experts said yesterday. The City Council issued preliminary estimates yesterday forecasting blackout overtime totals of up to $10 million. The city will likely also lose $35 million to $40 million in tax revenue, said Larian Angelo, the Council's finance director. (Daily News)

Now some political observers are wondering if the blackout crisis will provide Bloomberg with a similar opportunity for climbing - out of the cellar in the polls. (NY Post)

Faced with a citywide blackout, Mayor Bloomberg did what New York mayors have often done in times of crisis: quickly explain the facts, appeal for calm - then take to the streets.

For Bloomberg, that meant heading out of City Hall around 6:45 p.m. in his rolled-up shirtsleeves to shake hands with the throngs of hot, frustrated people flowing past his office onto the Brooklyn Bridge. (NY Daily News)

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly was driving downtown from a Harlem news conference around 4 p.m. when he lost radio contact. As he arrived at One Police Plaza and got news of the massive blackout, his first thought was terrorism, Kelly said. The NYPD's disaster plan, which decentralizes operations so each borough functions as its own police department, was put immediately into effect. (Newsday)

Virginia Fields wants a clean slate. The Manhattan borough president went to a Sanitation Department hearing yesterday to fight a ticket she got for trash outside her Harlem home. (NY Daily News)

For a guy who's spent 18 months ducking every chance to take on Gov. Pataki, Mayor Bloomberg finds himself in a curious position: in a mega-battle against Pataki in the most public of arenas, the courts. (New York Post)

Geoffrey Davis can be forgiven, perhaps, for being a touch media-shy these days.Davis, 39, the brother of slain Councilman James Davis, received a rude awakening to public life when his nascent campaign for his brother's seat was immediately overshadowed by reports of his arrests for marijuana possession in 1982, possession of stolen property in 1985 and soliciting a prostitute in 1995. (Newsday)

An incumbent Queens City Council member was knocked off the ballot Wednesday on a challenge from his own party. (Newsday)

Defying Gov. George E. Pataki, the Bloomberg administration announcedplans yesterday to sell $556 million worth of bonds to refinance its remaining debt from the 1970's fiscal crisis and said it would go to court to force the state to repay the new bonds. (NY Times)

Mayor Bloomberg's decision to move forward with selling $556 million in bonds to refinance city debt is fiscally imprudent, state officials charged yesterday. (Daily News)

Mayor Bloomberg vowed yesterday to clean up New York, saying he would pump another $275,000 a week into street cleaning - even as he argued there is not more garbage on the streets. (Daily News)

Mayor Bloomberg made another foray into Staten Island yesterday to announce a $37.3 million plan to buy wetlands and relieve flooding. (NY Post)

The members of the Charter Revision Commission appointed earlier this year by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg have reached consensus on a number of features of a plan that would radically restructure politics. (NY Times)

An aide to Geoffrey Davis, the brother of slain Councilman James Davis, accused a political opponent of making threats against him - prompting a police investigation and a speedy dismissal of the issue. (NY Post)

Racial slurs made about the Board of Elections' top African-American official could lead to an oversight hearing by a City Council committee chaired by her husband. (NY Post)

Behind closed doors yesterday, the opposing camps of Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Gov. George Pataki stepped up plans for a court fight over a state bailout of city debt. (Newsday)

Mayor Bloomberg knows a good deal when he sees one - at least a good deal for the city. The mayor, who plans a no-holds-barred court fight to make the state abide by a debt refinancing plan approved by the Legislature, wouldn't say whether the plan was good for the state. (Daily News)

After a tense two-day standoff with City Hall, Gov. George E. Pataki offered a compromise city aid plan late today, saying the state would assume a large portion of New York City's debt payments on bonds left over from the 1970's fiscal crisis. But the Bloomberg administration immediately rejected the offer, saying that the governor was proposing a deal that is inferior to an aid package the Legislature has already enacted and that city officials believe will hold up in court. (NY Times)

City taxpayers will help finance the battle to fill the seat of slain Brooklyn Councilman James Davis. The Campaign Finance Board yesterday said Davis' brother, Geoffrey, is eligible to get public funds in his bid to win the Crown Heights seat. The board gave similar approval last week to Letitia James, Davis' main rival in the Nov. 4 general election. Davis and James could each get up to $82,500 in public matching funds, provided they agree to cap their spending at $150,000. (Daily News) (NY Post)

See a broken window or a leaky pipe in your local school? Call Mayor Mike, the billionaire custodian! Mayor Bloomberg said yesterday that New Yorkers can call the city's quality-of-life hotline, 311, to report school maintenance problems. If that doesn't get the trouble fixed, Bloomberg will take care of it himself. (Daily News)

Placing tolls on four East River bridges would discourage people from traveling to Manhattan and cripple businesses there, a Queens lawmaker warned yesterday. City Councilman David Weprin blasted Mayor Bloomberg's proposal to impose a toll on the free crossings, citing a new British study that found that 70 percent of London businesses were economically hurt after that city introduced congestion pricing. (NY Post)

In the nearly two years of Michael R. Bloomberg's mayoralty, he has enjoyed what many political experts and government officials say is the best relationship a New York City mayor has had with his governor in decades. Even as Mr. Bloomberg and Gov. George E. Pataki have disagreed over major policy and budget issues, they have taken pains to be publicly solicitous. In the case of the mayor, his generous and constant praise of Mr. Pataki has often made him the object of ridicule among fellow elected officials. But on Wednesday, when a board controlled by the governor's representatives voted to quash a five-year $2.5 billion aid package for the city, a year's worth of acrimony brewing between the two men was laid bare. Mr. Bloomberg called the action "irresponsible" and "illegal," and vowed to fight it in court. Suddenly, the city canceled a joint news conference the mayor and governor had scheduled yesterday, and though the two men were polite in referring to each other, City Hall remained steamed. (New York Times)

A day after a state board controlled by Gov. Pataki blew a $500 million hole in the city's budget, Mayor Bloomberg promised to unleash hell's fury at the courthouse - but refused to throw one punch in the political ring. "The State of New York has made a promise to the people of this city - this administration will take all necessary legal actions to enforce that promise," Bloomberg vowed. (Daily News) (NY Post) (Newsday)

In a direct rebuke to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Gov. George E. Pataki and State Comptroller Alan G. Hevesi moved today to block a municipal bond deal that is critical to the city's efforts to close its $6.4 billion budget gap this year. The vote by an obscure but powerful three-member board threw into chaos the city's plan to solve its financial crisis, possibly depriving it of up to $500 million a year in savings through 2008. (NY Times)

Mayor Bloomberg made his strongest declaration yet in favor of lowering taxes once the economy comes around. "The public should not have to pay in good times the way they have to pay in bad times," he said. "But if you don't do it in bad times, you won't have a good time." (NY Post)

Mayor Bloomberg may have finally met his match in smoker Whoopi Goldberg. The comedy star, filming a new sitcom at Kaufman Studios in Queens, told the mayor yesterday her character will be puffing away during the show - and she's ready to pay the price under the city's tough new no-smoking law. (NY Post)

For a Republican mayor looking to restore his credentials as a fiscal conservative, it was a politically perfect thought: Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced last week that he was "reasonably confident" he would be able to repeal three of the major tax increases imposed on city residents this year.(NY Times)

A Brooklyn judge indicated yesterday that he would formally deny a City Council candidate's move to get back on the ballot, leaving slain Councilman James Davis' brother without an opponent in the Democratic primary, lawyers for the two sides said. Candidate Anthony Herbert was knocked off the ballot by the city Board of Elections last week because he didn't have enough petition signatures. He filed suit, and State Supreme Court Justice Joseph Levine indicated from the bench yesterday that he would issue a written order today formally granting a motion to dismiss, said Victor Bernace, the lawyer for Herbert, and Alan Racoff, the lawyer for Geoffrey Davis. "He pretty much agreed with the other side. It's almost a foregone conclusion," Bernace said. (Newsday)

The mother of slain city Councilman James Davis lashed out yesterday at a rival trying to defeat another son for the vacant seat. Thelma Davis held a news conference in front of her Brooklyn home to blast Letitia James for running against Geoffrey Davis on the Working Families Party line in November.(NY Post)

A candidate who won 42 percent of the vote in a race against James E. Davis two years ago was chosen yesterday by the Working Families Party to run in the November election to succeed Mr. Davis, the councilman who was slain at City Hall. The selection of the candidate, Letitia James, an aide to Assemblyman Roger L. Green, came after a weekend of feverish political maneuvering to find someone other than the councilman's brother to run for the seat as a Democrat. Councilman Davis's brother, Geoffrey A. Davis, was chosen last week to fill the councilman's position on the Democratic ballot. The selection was made by a committee the councilman had appointed before his death.

But Mr. Davis's candidacy was attacked by several Brooklyn leaders after disclosures that he had had several brushes with the law, including convictions for soliciting a prostitute and nonpayment of child support and an order of protection taken out by a 29-year-old woman that barred him from coming near her or threatening her or her family.

As of last night, Mr. Davis remained the candidate on the Democratic line. But the selection of Ms. James by the Working Families Party ensured that he would have strong opposition in the general election, as her bid two years ago was one of the best showings by a third-party nominee in recent Council elections. (New York Times)

Meanwhile, the only other Democratic contender, Tony Herbert, continued his fight in Brooklyn Supreme Court to be restored to the September primary ballot. A hearing on his request will continue today. Before he was gunned down, James Davis challenged the validity of the signatures on Herbert's nominating petitions. Herbert said the Davis family was treating the council seat like it was a family heirloom. (New York Post)

Battle lines have been drawn in the scramble to succeed assassinated Council Member James Davis of Brooklyn, in a manner expected to create a highly competitive general election contest in November.

Geoffrey Davis, the late councilman's younger brother, was named the candidate of the Independence Party yesterday. "Geoffrey Davis, like his brother, has respect for the independent voter and the independent spirit in the district," Bob Conroy, the Independence Party's Brooklyn chairman, said in a statement.

While the move guarantees Mr. Davis a spot on the ballot in the November general election, he is also hoping to win the main political prize - the Democratic Party nomination - by blocking a challenger, Anthony Herbert, from mounting a challenge in the Democratic primary election in September.

For decades, securing the Democratic line has been tantamount to victory in the Central Brooklyn district, which includes the neighborhoods of Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Crown Heights, and Prospect Heights.

Mr. Davis became the sole Democratic Party candidate in the race when the Board of Elections removed Mr. Herbert from the Democratic primary ballot last week. But Mr. Herbert returns to Brooklyn Supreme Court this morning to argue before Justice Joseph Levine that he should be reinstated on the ballot.

Mr. Herbert says he submitted nominating petitions with more than the required 900 signatures of district Democrats. The Board of Elections last week said Mr. Herbert collected only 545 valid names.

If Mr. Herbert loses in court, Mr. Davis will go into the November elections without a primary, as the official Democratic nominee¦.(NY Sun)

The Bloomberg administration is rushing to get a municipal bond deal to market before the Pataki administration, which opposes the plan, can quash it.

This week, the city, through a newly created municipal corporation, will begin issuing new municipal debt. That debt would essentially replace existing bonds issued in the 1970's to help the city out of its fiscal crisis. The debt was scheduled to be paid off by the city within the next five years, at a rate of $500 million a year.

But as part of the budget deal Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg reached with state lawmakers this spring, the city is set to refinance that debt, borrowing more money to pay off the old bonds. The state would then take over the whole bill to pay back the new debt, with interest, over 30 years.

What this essentially means is that the $500 million a year in sales taxes to the city that went right to interest payments on those bonds now stays in the city's coffers.

But Gov. George E. Pataki has opposed the deal from the outset and is believed to be considering legal action to eliminate it, on the basis of complex constitutional issues. Many senior members of the Bloomberg administration are bracing for that. (NY Times)

Mark Green [said] that he's seriously considering running again. "I'm not done," he says. "I'm going to continue the career of public service I love." Right now, he's writing a book with Nation columnist Eric Alterman called The Book on Bush: How George W. (Mis)leads America, to be published in January 2004. Then, he says, "I'll decide whether to run either for mayor in 2005 or attorney general in 2006 should Eliot Spitzer leave the office." [But] for Democrats, the 2001 election still isn't over. It's being contested right now in the pages of the New York Sun, where Jack Newfield and Colin Miner have written a series of pieces trying to nail the Green campaign on everything from alleged money-laundering to racial arson in the form of the well-known last-minute flyers distributed in white areas of Brooklyn (New York Magazine)

In an experiment to increase circulation in the competitive New York market, New York Times Co. is offering its flagship newspaper for half-price late in the afternoons in about two dozen high-traffic areas in Manhattan. "It's a very narrow, late-summer test for a finite period," said Toby Usnik, a New York Times spokesman.

The newspaper began offering the cheaper, 50-cent newsstand price in mid-July. The New York Times saw its average weekday circulation slip 5.3% to 1.1 million for the six month-period ended March 31, the biggest decline among top newspapers, according to the most recent figures released by the Audit Bureau of Circulations. (Dow Jones)

In the 2000 presidential campaign, just 600,000 people -- or less than half of 1% of the voting-age population -- donated money to any presidential candidate. Oliver Muoto argues that many more average Americans would like to, but have concluded that modest contributions wouldn't make a difference."The perception is that money buys influence in politics," he says. "People feel frustrated that sending a check for $5 isn't going to do much." Based in Berkeley, Calif., PayDemocracy is trying to change that perception with a user-friendly Web site that allows anybody with Internet access and a credit card to donate to virtually any politician or political-action committee in the country. (Wall Street Journal)

Fernando Mateo spent Friday's flight to the Dominican Republic on Michael Bloomberg's private jet counseling the mayor how to win back his vanishing base of Hispanic voters back home. (Newsday)

Long before the anti-violence crusader was gunned down in a City Hall balcony, Davis developed a "wish list" of five people he wanted to take over for him if were unable to finish his term, his brother, the Rev. Richard "RT" Davis, told The Post. Close associates of the slain City Councilman confirmed the existence of the list. Davis' mother, Thelma Davis, is at the top of the list, said Richard Davis. (NY Post)

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg had only one day in the Dominican Republic, so he made the most of it, dancing to merengue before breakfast here this morning, hobnobbing with Olympics officials, laying a wreath for the victims of Flight 587 and watching the opening ceremonies of the Pan-American Games. (NY Times)

A battle between Mayor Bloomberg and Gov. Pataki is brewing after the governor's office said yesterday it will block the release of $170 million for the city. (NY Post)

As new City Council candidate Geoffrey Davis dodged more questions yesterday about his past, Brooklyn community leaders began debating his political future. Davis, who is running for his slain brother's seat, refused to talk about his three arrests, accusations of domestic abuse and paternity issues. (Daily News)

City Council candidate Geoffrey Davis was too busy running for office yesterday to turn up for a Brooklyn event honoring his slain brother that was hosted by Sen. Chuck Schumer. Schumer was joined by Reps. Ed Towns and Major Owens to unveil legislation that would rename a Crown Heights post office after the assassinated councilman. But neither Geoffrey, nor his mother, Thelma, were anywhere to be found. (NY Post)

The bloodstained carpet is gone and the toppled chairs are righted. But for many colleagues of slain City Councilman James Davis, the ornate chamber where he was gunned down may never be the same. (Daily News)

Geoffrey Davis has begun to absorb the kind of scrutiny that comes with a political life: court records show that Mr. Davis, 39 - a ninth-grade dropout who went on to earn his General Educational Development diploma, an undergraduate degree at the College of Staten Island and a master's degree at Long Island University - has a criminal record. In 1982, Geoffrey Davis, then 17, pleaded guilty to the possession and sale of marijuana; in 1995, he was convicted of loitering for the purposes of soliciting prostitution; and in 2000, an order of protection was taken out by a 29-year-old woman that barred Mr. Davis from coming near her or threatening her or her family."I've made mistakes in my life," Mr. Davis said in an interview in the home he and his mother share in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. "But my focus is on the positive things that I did after those mistakes." (New York Times)

Davis allegedly beat up ex-girlfriend Tanya Tyree twice and was ordered to pay child support after a judge determined he was the father of her son, court records show. "The man is so abusive. I can't believe he has the nerve to talk about, 'Stop the violence,'" said a friend of another of Davis' ex-girlfriends. "I want someone to know the truth about him. There's no way he could fill his brother's footsteps." A spokesman for Davis said he had nothing to hide and had learned from his mistakes. (Daily News)

For the first time since Councilman James Davis was fatally shot in City Hall last week, Council members will have a chance to walk back into the room where it happened. Council Speaker Gifford Miller (D-Manhattan) is offering the members a one-hour group session with grief counselors today at City Hall. Miller and the counselors will then accompany any members who want to spend a few quiet moments in the Council chamber. (Daily News)

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said yesterday that New York City had turned the corner on its financial crisis and, after two extraordinarily painful years, appeared to be on the verge of an economic revival. His remarks sounded a theme he plans to take across the city's five boroughs as he tries to restore his embattled image.

"New York has weathered the most difficult part of our fiscal crisis," Mr. Bloomberg said in his annual presentation to the Financial Control Board, a state agency that monitors the city's fiscal health. "While we still face fiscal challenges, I believe our worst days are over." (New York Times)

The city's largest-ever property tax hike could be rolled back - assuming the local economy recovers, Mayor Bloomberg said yesterday. In testimony before the state Financial Control Board, Bloomberg took credit for balancing the city's budget through a mixture of cuts and "what I hope will be - and am reasonably confident will be - temporary property, sales and personal income tax increases." (Daily News)

The NYPD gets its first woman chief when Joanne Jaffe, 45, a 23-year veteran, is promoted today to head the Housing Bureau. (New York Post)

The mother of slain City Councilman James Davis wants his body removed from his freshly dug grave because she can't bear the thought of him spending eternity in the same cemetery as his killer. The family of the killer, Othniel Askew, quietly took his cremated remains to Green-Wood Cemetery last week - the Brooklyn graveyard where Davis was buried Tuesday. (Daily News)

Click here to see The Record for July 2003