GOTHAM GAZETTE: SEARCHLIGHT 2002:The Record

The Record: December 2003

12/31/2003

A City Council report charges that Mayor Michael Bloomberg is deliberately underestimating city revenue. Some members of the council staff said the mayor is doing this so he can use the "hidden" money to cut property taxes just before the 2005 mayoral campaign. But a spokesperson for Bloomberg said the mayor is simply being prudent. (Daily News)

The City Council will hire a private firm to investigate whether City Councilmember Allan Jennings sexually harassed two former members of his staff. The city Department of Investigation is also looking into the charges. Jennings has denied any wrongdoing. (Daily News) (New York Post) (Newsday)

12/30/2003

Mayor Michael Bloomberg talked about the city's preparations for New Year's Eve. ith the city at a heightened state of alert, unprecedented security measures will be in place on New Year's Eve in Times Square, where revelers will have to pass through metal detectors borrowed from city schools for the night, officials said yesterday. "You can rest assured the Police Department has done an enormous amount of planning," he said. (NY Times)

Taxi drivers should be required to re-qualify for their jobs, Mayor Bloomberg suggested yesterday, a day after a 76-year- old cab driver was involved in a fatal accident. (NY Post) (Daily News)

City Council Speaker Gifford Miller was informed about allegations of sexual harassment by a councilman over six months ago. Miller's awareness has become an issue as Councilman Allan Jennings is being probed by the Department of Investigation for improper conduct with two staffers. A spokesman for Miller said yesterday the council is planning to hold sensitivity training next month. (NY Post)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg yesterday downplayed the importance that written procedures for the Staten Island Ferry were never distributed to many crew members, saying, "If you're driving a ferry, you should know what the rules are." (Newsday)

The Parks Department is once again picking up Christmas trees at curbside for mulching. Mayor Bloomberg announced that the environmentally friendly program - suspended last year for fiscal reasons - is returning Jan. 5 through 10. (NY Post)

The small-plane pilot who sparked a terror alert when he flew through restricted airspace and buzzed the Statue of Liberty should lose his license, Mayor Bloomberg said yesterday. (NY Post)

As he approaches the middle of his first term, Mayor Michael Bloomberg is wearing his reputation as a not-so-great-communicator like a merit badge. Bloomberg, in a year-end interview with Newsday, described his administration as an experiment -- a test to see if a mayor can be re-elected on the strength of his policy accomplishments, whatever that mayor's shortcomings as a salesman may be. (Newsday)

12/28/2003

Iris Weinshall may be the top-ranking official in the city Department of Transportation, but last year the commissioner ranked third in pay behind two ferry workers. The top earner was James Margro, a Staten Island ferry pile driver who made nearly $160,000 last year, $75,000 of that in overtime. (Daily News)

12/27/2003

No one at City Hall would say where Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg was on Friday, even though that left open the delicate question of who, legally, was in charge of the city. (NY Times)

Homeowners could get a much-needed break in their property tax bills as early as next year, according to preliminary discussions underway at City Hall. (Daily News)

The city is planning to tighten security on the Staten Island Ferry with more secure doors. (NY Post)

As he fights for his political life, Mayor Michael Bloomberg is placing a renewed emphasis on law and order to combat two years of budget deficits, tax hikes, firehouse closings and missteps. (Newsday)

12/26/2003

Like the heaping plates served at Christmas dinner, Mayor Michael Bloomberg's schedule Thursday held a little bit of everything: Palm-pressing with seniors. Admiring the city's latest technology. Soothing citizens jittery over terrorism warnings. And musing on Christmas, the weather and the economy. (Newsday) (NY Post)

12/25/2003

The city will release a list of the city's most dangerous schools early next month, Mayor Bloomberg said yesterday. "We're going to focus on that and try to send a message to everyone else - that kind of behavior that's been going on is not going to be tolerated. Period. End of story," the mayor said during a news conference in The Bronx. (NY Post)

Councilman Allan Jennings, under investigation by the Council's Ethics Committee for improper conduct with staffers, allegedly gave one of his staffers pornography; ordered another staffer to clean his apartment; andgave a third worker the phallus. (NY Post)

12/24/2003

The City Council ethics committee has reportedly launched an investigation of Queens Councilmember Allan Jennings for sexually harassing a staff member, having female staff members clean his apartment and giving another staff member a "pornographic gift." Jennings has denied any wrongdoing. In the past, Jennings has often been at odds with the council leadership and the Queens Democratic organization. (New York Times) (New York Post)

Representative Vito Fossella of Staten Island is increasingly being mentioned as a possible challenger to Mayor Michael Bloomberg in the 2005 Republican primary. The only Republican member of the city's congressional delegation, Fosella is seen by many Republicans as being more in step with the party mainstream than the mayor is. (New York Times)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg donated $245,000 to the State Republican Party and city Republican groups this year. (New York Post)

12/23/2003

Violent kids will be kicked out of regular schools and placed in newly created reform schools and suspension centers under a safety plan crafted by Mayor Bloomberg, sources said yesterday. The mayor, in a proposal to be unveiled today, also is expected to fund more violence-prevention programs in schools. (NY Post)

The state Financial Control Board said it will be difficult for the city to make ends meet in the near future because higher income and sales taxes enacted this year phase out in fiscal 2007. The two taxes are expected to generate $1 billion this year, $650 million next year and $304 million in fiscal 2006. (NY Post)

Report Faults City on Health Care for Mentally Ill Inmates a year after signing a court settlement to provide a post-jail health care plan to mentally ill inmates scheduled for release, New York City health officials have failed to fulfill many of its most basic requirements, like scheduling doctor appointments and completing Medicaid applications, according to a report by court-appointed monitors. (NY Times)

12/22/2003

In a mid-term interview, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said he regretted little that he has done since taking office at one of the most difficult times in New York City's history. (NY Times)

The newly proposed Brooklyn arena that is being built to house the New Jersey Nets would force 1,000 people from their homes, said City Councilmember Letitia James. (NY Post)

There's a new $100,000 club in town - veteran city employees who are leaving the payroll with six-figure settlements for unused vacation and sick time. Records provided by Comptroller William Thompson's office show that the city has paid out $19.2 million so far this year to 663 departing employees. (NY Post)

Despite being eligible for food stamps, more than 1.2 million New Yorkers are passing up the government program, according to a new study. The Nutrition Consortium of New York State found that confusion over eligibility, or the stigma attached to applying for welfare, prevented people from taking advantage of the program. (Daily News)

Murders are on the rise, but the rate should still fall below 600 for the second straight year - a far cry from the record 2,245 homicides recorded in 1990. In 2002, the city had 584 homicides; there were 567 through Dec. 14 this year, the latest count available. (Newsday)

12/21/2003

When it comes to education, Mayor Bloomberg has put his money where his mouth is - making $6 million in "anonymous" donations to help city schools over two years. (Daily News)

12/20/2003

New York City Department of Environmental Protection seeks to spend $270 million to buy pristine land on the edge of the city's watershed to protect it from the effects of development and, in turn, protect the city's water supply. (NY Times)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg yesterday vetoed a City Council measure that would regulate the removal of lead-paint hazards, including lead dust, from older apartments where young children live. The mayor cited "fundamental problems" with the legislation in his veto message, saying that it would discourage the rehabilitation of affordable housing by making many more demands on landlords, increase the city's exposure to liability lawsuits and impose unreasonably short deadlines for compliance. (NY Times) (Daily News) (NY Post)

Four months into the school year, hundreds of new teachers are still without health insurance because the city Department of Education has failed to process the paperwork. (NY Post)

12/19/2003

The New York State comptroller warned yesterday that New York City food venders were not being properly monitored and that complaints, including one about a bagel with roach-tainted cream cheese, languished unchecked for months. (NY Times)

A leading fiscal watchdog group yesterday confirmed what Mayor Bloomberg has been saying for weeks - that, despite better than expected revenues, New York City is still facing massive budget gaps over the next three years. The city will have to plug a $1.7 billion hole next year and close deficits of $3.4 billion and $3.9 billion in 2006 and 2007, respectively, according to a report from the Independent Budget Office. (NY Post)

Parents yesterday demanded that city officials take immediate action to bolster school safety by booting violent students, increasing security patrols and installing more surveillance cameras. (NY Post)

The administrator of Daniel Doctoroff's blind investment trust has sold off his personal stakes in eight city properties to avoid appearances that the wealthy deputy mayor would profit from City Hall's development plans for Manhattan's West Side. (Newsday)

12/18/2003

Before a phalanx of cameras, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Gov. George Pataki stepped off the AirTrain into the gleaming new terminal in Jamaica, a few hours before it opened to the public. (NY Times)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg urged his senior staff yesterday to continue to push for ways to cut spending, warning that the city must remain fiscally vigilant despite signs that the city economy is improving. The plea for fiscal restraint, made by the mayor in a meeting with city department heads at Gracie Mansion, came even as four separate budget monitoring agencies are estimating that city tax revenues are surging faster than the Bloomberg administration recently estimated. (NY Times)

The city yesterday sued New York Waterway for $1.4 million, claiming the ferry operator has failed to pay landing fees at Lower Manhattan's Pier 11 since 9/11. (Daily News) (NY Post)

Former Councilwoman Kathryn Freed was slapped with $7,720 in penalties yesterday for violating campaign filing requirements in her failed 2001 bid for public advocate. (Daily News)

12/17/2003

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and the City Council took turns yesterday accusing each other of endangering the health of New York City's children. The mayor charged that a bill that the Council passed on Monday to protect children from the dangers of lead paint could actually end up harming them by making landlords reluctant to rent apartments to families with small children. "The City Council, for reasons known only to them, has gone and passed a bill that really hurts the children of this city," Mayor Bloomberg said at a news conference. The Council volleyed back an hour later, saying that its lead bill would protect children while the mayor's proposed cuts to city health services would harm them. "We should be doing things to save money, but those things should not include closing child health clinics, tuberculosis clinics, cutting basic fundamental public health services which are good investments for our city and critical to the health an well-being of our children," said City Council Speaker Gifford Miller. (NY Times)

New Yorkers seeking social services will soon be able to get help in six languages (NY Post)

12/16/2003

Putting aside months of feuding, the Bloomberg administration and the unions for teachers and principals joined forces yesterday on the issue of violence in the public schools, vowing to use a number of strategies, including the swift removal of the most dangerous students, to make schools safer. (NY Times) (Daily News)

Mayor Bloomberg refused to say where he was when snow and news of Saddam Hussein's capture hit the city, but at least one likely Dem opponent may want to keep it tuned to the Weather Channel. (Daily News)

12/15/2003

The State Board of Elections has voted to seek criminal charges against State Assemblymember Roger Greens campaign committee and a Florida company, Correctional Services Corp., for making illegal campaign contributions to the Brooklyn legislator. The Albany district attorney, who is already investigating Green, will have to decide whether to prosecute the case. All the proposed charges are misdemeanors. (NY Post)

Few people knew where Mayor Michael Bloomberg was this weekend, although he did issue a statement, delivered to reporters by email, on the capture of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. (Daily News)

12/14/2003

In a booming holiday season, the nation's most populous city reported Saturday that almost 17,000 homeless children and their parents live in city shelters -- twice as many families as in the 1990s. (Newsday)

In the auditorium at PS 28 in Washington Heights on Tuesday, a third-grader asked the visiting Mayor Michael Bloomberg if his job is hard. "It is sometimes frustrating, and sometimes there's no easy answers," Bloomberg told the kids. "But it's a wonderful job and I don't think of it as hard or easy." The poll-challenged Bloomberg, with the start of his term's second half beginning New Year's Day, is well-acquainted with the hard periods. That has been part of his strategy. (Newsday)

12/13/2003

Mayor Michael Bloomberg laid out his definitions of what is and is not a conflict of interest yesterday, concluding that the City Council had such a conflict when it came to campaign finance, but that his own office did not when it came to the city's deal with Snapple. (NY Times)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said yesterday that his administration had "done a lousy job" of removing violent students from the schools and promised to open four new suspension centers within the next three weeks. (NY Times http://www.nytimes.com/2003/12/13/nyregion/13SCHO.html) We have done a lousy job," a chagrined Bloomberg said. "You cannot blame anybody else. ... I wanted control [of schools], and I got control. And I am going to do something about it." (Daily News)

The City Council pushed ahead with legislation yesterday that would regulate the removal of lead paint hazards, including lead dust, from city apartments, despite continuing opposition from the Bloomberg administration. After a three-hour hearing, the Council's Committee on Housing and Buildings voted 8 to 3 to approve the bill, clearing the way for the entire 51-member City Council to take up the measure on Monday. Gifford Miller, the Council speaker, supports the bill, which is expected to pass. (NY Times) (Daily News)

Two lawmakers want Chancellor Joel Klein to make a promise to parents: He'll keep gifted and talented programs for at least five years. But the proposal was met with silence from the Education Department. A Klein spokesman repeated only that the department is "reviewing" the programs before making a decision about their future. (Daily News)

Mayor Bloomberg pledged yesterday to roll back at least a "decent part" of last year's 18.5% property tax hike within two years - if the economy lets him. (Daily News) (NY Post)

Mayor Bloomberg responded yesterday to a tugboat company that intends to sue the city for $6 million because one of its crews helped after the deadly Oct. 15 ferry crash in Staten Island. (Daily News)

The war of words between Mayor Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Gifford Miller over the campaign-finance system exploded yesterday, with both men using strong language about one another and the plan itself. The mayor not only ripped the way the proposed changes - including a doubling of public-matching funds - came to be, he laid into the campaign-finance system as a whole. (NY Post)

Mayor Bloomberg is outraged that some City Council members were "rude" to one of his top aides, and he wants an apology. (Daily News)

12/12/2003

In a reversal, the Bloomberg administration is expected to announce its support today for a law that requires city human services agencies to make all documents available in six languages and to provide translation to clients on demand for all languages. In theory, such legislation would ask city agencies to tackle the formidable task of providing translation to poor New Yorkers seeking services in as many as 200 non-native dialects, including Tajik, Pashto and Xhosa, a South African language that is made with tongue clicking. (NY Times)

Mayor Bloomberg's charge that plans to dramatically increase public funding for his potential opponents was a "back-room deal" came under sharp attack from City Council members yesterday. Bloomberg sent Deputy Mayor for Legal Affairs Carol Robles-Roman to stand in the fire from members of the City Council's Government Operations Committee. They were angry about Bloomberg's accusation that Frederick Schwarz, chairman of the Campaign Finance Board, cooked up the scheme with Council Speaker Gifford Miller, a distant relative and mayoral hopeful. (Daily News)

High school principals and deans say the city's system for suspending violent students is in disarray, sometimes resulting in three-week delays before dangerous students can be removed from the schools. The officials say that in the overhaul of the city's school bureaucracy this year, a newly centralized disciplinary process proved too slow - leaving school officials overwhelmed. (NY Times)

12/11/2003

A franchise review panel dominated by Bloomberg administration officials brushed aside objections from critics yesterday and approved a citywide marketing contract with Snapple, potentially setting the stage for a legal battle with the city comptroller. The decision of the Franchise and Concessions Review Committee, while not unexpected, highlighted the administration's increasingly isolated defense of the contract, which has drawn opposition from the comptroller, some City Council members and other elected officials. (NY Times) (NY Post http://www.nypost.com/news/regionalnews/13158.htm) (Newsday)

Rudy Giuliani's once-private letters are about to explode into the public arena, revealing behind-the-scenes political deals, a heartfelt plea from Katharine Hepburn and a rare apology from hard-nosed political consultant Harold Ickes. Thousands of pages of letters sent to and from the former mayor in 1994 - his first year in office - have been delivered to the Municipal Archives after nearly two years of cataloging by a private firm hired by Giuliani. (NY Post)

Mayor Bloomberg was in full campaign mode yesterday, effusively praising New Yorkers for saving the city from financial disaster and pledging that taxes would eventually go down. (NY Post)

Dramatic changes being proposed to the city's campaign-finance laws would leave at least one possible Democratic mayoral candidate $1.5 million poorer for the 2005 election. If the board's recommendations are passed, Rep. Anthony Weiner - who is considering taking on Mayor Bloomberg in two years - would be barred from transferring cash raised for his 2004 congressional race. (NY Post)

Mayor Bloomberg's office promised yesterday that the city will revamp school promotion policy after a panel of experts complained that thousands of students who flunk standardized exams are still being promoted. (NY Post)

Panicked parents say city educrats are refusing to tell them if popular gifted and talented programs will survive after the 2004-05 school year. Deputy Chancellor Diana Lam sent parents into a tailspin on Friday when she let slip that the Education Department is planning an overhaul of the programs that would "expand the definition of what it means to be gifted and talented." (Daily News)

12/10/2003

The city has launched an assault on potholes in an effort to fill the thousands of them that mark city streets as a result of the weekend snowstorm, officials said. The Department of Transportation sent out 31 crews yesterday after workers filled 1,016 potholes on Monday. (New York Post)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg yesterday once again attacked the Campaign Finance Board chair as the board and the mayor continue to fight over proposed new financing rules. This time Bloomberg complained that board chair Fritz Schwarz - his own appointee - conducted "what should have been a public meeting" on Monday and "didn't tell the press." (Newsday)

12/09/2003

Twenty-three City Council members, including Speaker Gifford Miller, endorsed Howard Dean for president on Monday. Among the Democratic councilmembers throwing their support behind the former Vermont governor at a Masonic hall in Manhattan were Bill Perkins and Christine Quinn, both representing Manhattan, and Melinda Katz, representing Queens. (NY Times) (Newsday)

Pet owners and their advocates, many choked up and close to tears, espoused the benefits of companion animals and sought the city's support in keeping dogs and cats in private housing. (Newsday)

Mourners gathered in Brooklyn Monday to pay their last respects to Mary Pinkett, the city's first black councilwoman. Pinkett lost her battle with cancer on Thursday. She served her Brooklyn district for 28 years before term limits forced her out of office in 2001. Pinkett will lie in state at Medgar Evers College from 5-9 p.m. Monday. A wake will be held at Medgar Evers Tuesday from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m., with funeral services to follow. A private burial is set for Wednesday. (NY1)

12/08

Next stop on Air Bloomberg: Haiti. The jet-setting mayor will travel to the there next month to help celebrate the bicentennial of Haiti's independence. (Daily News)

Mayor Bloomberg is heading south for the winter. Hizzoner announced yesterday that he'll take a quick trip to Haiti and Jamaica in mid-January - and he's taking Abner Louima's uncle with him. (NY Post)

12/07

Mayor Bloomberg said yesterday that the city has plenty of flu vaccine to go around, a day after the only two makers of the nation's supply said they've run out of the anti-bug juice. (Daily News)

12/06

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg was still fuming yesterday over a package of proposals to overhaul the city's campaign finance laws, accusing the Campaign Finance Board of striking "a backroom deal" with the City Council against his administration. (NY Times)

Bloomberg also accused board Chairman Frederick Schwarz of being in cahoots with City Council Speaker Gifford Miller (D-Manhattan) for a potential mayoral run in 2005. (Daily News) (NY Post)

Mayor Bloomberg vetoed legislation that delayed a 25% property tax surcharge on absentee landlords, saying the surcharge should be eliminated altogether. Worth $44 million a year to the city, the surcharge is aimed at so-called absentee landlords - owners of one-, two- or three-family houses who don't live in their homes but use them for rental revenue. (Daily News) (NY Post)

The Bloomberg administration decided yesterday not to support the City Council's new lead-paint bill, saying it could generate "huge" liability costs. The much-disputed bill would replace a 1999 lead-paint law invalidated in July by the courts. (Daily News)

Mayor Bloomberg repeated his call yesterday for victims of the Staten Island Ferry crash to drop their lawsuits and settle with the city because they will "be as generous as we possibly can." (NY Post)

The late council member Mary Pinkett will lie in state Monday at Brooklyn's Medgar Evers College, from 5 to 7 p.m., council officials said yesterday. An all-day wake will follow the next day, Tuesday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (NY Post)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg defended the city's attack on the first snowstorm of the season, explaining that work crews had to wait for an accumulation of snow before they could start plowing. (Newsday)

12/05/2003

The battle over a proposal to revamp the city's campaign finance laws escalated yesterday into one of the fiercest yet between Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Gifford Miller, who is likely to challenge the mayor in 2005. The mayor, a billionaire who spent nearly $75 million running for mayor in 2001, criticized the proposal, which among other things would increase public matching funds for candidates whose opponents decided not to abide by voluntary spending caps. Mr. Miller's aids counterattacked. (NY Times)

Mary Pinkett, the first black woman elected to the City Council, died yesterday after a battle with stomach cancer. She was 77. Her husband, William, a retired administrator from the New York City Board of Education, was at her side. "Mary Pinkett was a pioneer in New York City politics," Mayor Bloomberg said in a statement. "She served the people of Brooklyn with compassion, dedication and a fiery sense of purpose for nearly 30 years. We will miss her." (Daily News)

Snapple got a sweetheart deal when it was given exclusive rights to place vending machines in city schools and to sell iced tea and bottled water on city property, representatives of several competing beverage companies told the City Council yesterday. For nearly two hours, members of the City Council's Finance and Contracts Committees grilled city officials about the process that led to the selection of Snapple as the official iced tea and water of New York City, and the sole purveyor in schools. The officials defended the arrangement, saying the process had complied with all regulations and that Snapple was, in fact, the perfect choice. (NY Times)

It's not just garbage cans the city wants to sell. City Hall officials are working on a coordinated plan to let corporate titans affix ads to everything from city trash bins to its lampposts and bus shelters. Even the recordings people hear when they call a city office and get parked on hold - often interminably - may soon feature snappy jingles promoting the latest corporate-sponsored concert or event in the city. (Daily News)

Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein said yesterday that his office was developing new ways to measure performance in the school system that would offer a far more sophisticated analysis than is currently gleaned from standardized test results. Mr. Klein said the new accountability system would be aimed a t judging every aspect of the school system, from the performance of teachers and students to that of administrators. (NY Times)

12/04/2003

In an abrupt reversal, Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City announced on Wednesday that he had agreed to release records of emergency 911 calls and other materials sought by the federal commission investigating the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Bloomberg's action comes nearly two weeks after the commission announced that it had issued a subpoena to New York City for records related to the attacks. The panel said that the city's refusal to turn over the information had "significantly impeded" its investigation. (NY Times)

The Campaign Finance Board proposed a major package of changes yesterday that included at least one aimed at Mayor Michael Bloomberg, immediately drawing harsh words from him and setting off a round of partisan sniping in and out of City Hall. Bloomberg, who spent nearly $75 million on his 2001 campaign, took the campaign finance proposals as a personal attack, and blamed Council Speaker Gifford Miller for engineering it. Miller, a Democrat, has been frequently mentioned as a challenger to the mayor in 2005. (NY Times) (NY Post)

The New York City comptroller said yesterday that he would audit the process that gave Snapple the exclusive rights to sell beverages in New York City public schools, saying he had received "contradictory and incomplete information" from city lawyers and education officials. (NY Times) (NY Post)

Comptroller Bill Thompson said yesterday that the city is showing clear signs of economic recovery. (NY Post)

Potty parity. Squatters rights. Go ahead, make fun of the fact that several City Council members introduced a bill Wednesday to have more restrooms set aside for women. (Newsday)

Members of the City Council's Jewish Caucus yesterday denounced a rash of anti-Semitic incidents over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, saying painting swastikas and slashing tires often leads to more serious crimes. (NY Post)

The most radical man in municipal government says he'll run to become the most powerful man in the city - because "white men" run New York. City Councilman Charles Barron (D-Brooklyn), a former Black Panther, plans to announce his campaign for mayor Jan. 19 on the steps of City Hall. (NY Post)

Two members of Brooklyn's City Council delegation announced yesterday that they had enough votes to depose Lew Fidler as their leader. Bill de Blasio and Al Vann claim Fidler hasn't gotten enough city money for the borough. (NY Post)

12/03/2003

Federal officials and the police department are investigating a top Staten Island Ferry official for possible lax enforcement of the ferry's operating rules, law enforcement sources said. Patrick Ryan, director of ferry operations in the city Department of Transportation, could be culpable in the October 15 crash that killed 10 if he did not make sure that ferry workers followed city rules. (New York Times) (New York Post)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg yesterday defended the city's move to use a 19th century federal law to limit the amount of damages the city would have to pay out in lawsuits stemming from the Staten Island ferry disaster. He urged anyone with a claim to settle. Relatives of those killed and injury victims have filed $2.2 billion in claims against the city so far. (Daily News)

The city will soon have rehired all of the 500 sanitation workers who were laid off in May and could hire as many as 160 new workers in the first half of next year, according to Sanitation Department Commissioner John Doherty. (Daily News)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg admitted Tuesday that little progress has been made in solving the city's long-term waste disposal crisis (Newsday)

City Councilmember Mike McMahon, chair of the sanitation committee, charged yesterday that it could take the city another seven years to complete its two-year, $240 million plan to remove garbage from the streets. (New York Post)

The city Campaign Finance Board wants to level the financial playing field for candidates running against billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2005 by offering to provide up to $8 in public funds for every dollar raised privately by the candidate. City Hall sources said the board is asking the City Council to approve a sweeping overhaul of the system that now provides four public dollars for every $1 candidates raise privately if they agree to abide by spending and contribution limits. Bloomberg spent nearly $75 million of his own money in 2001 and has announced that he will spend liberally for his re-election bid. Under the board plan, his opponent could be eligible for as much as $8.5 million in taxpayer matching grants. (New York Post)

Mayor Bloomberg yesterday announced plans to speed up legislation curbing overdevelopment on Staten Island. Bloomberg endorsed the Staten Island Growth Management task force's recommendations making major changes to zoning codes that until now have allowed the building of homes, reduced open space and have helped the borough's population surge 20 percent since 1990. (New York Post)

The City Council could soon take on the vexing issue of long lines at women's bathrooms. City Council members Yvette Clarke and Bill deBlasio have proposed a restroom equity bill that would require some new or renovated facilities, including auditoriums, stadiums and theaters, to have twice as many "water closets" for women as for men. (New York Post)

12/02/03

The opponents of a ballot measure to end political primaries reported yesterday that they had spent about $800,000 in their hugely successful effort to defeat the referendum last month. Just last week, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced that he had spent $7.5 million of his personal fortune to urge voters to approve the measure. (NY Times)

Mayor Bloomberg - via an anonymous donation - dug into his deep pockets yesterday to pay for the funeral of the young father, Shamel Garrett, 21, shot dead in a subway robbery in Queens, sources said. (Daily News)

Mayor Bloomberg kicked off the 15th annual New York Cares Coat Drive with one of his own: a red and black checkered number he pulled from the back of his closet. (Daily News)

The city intends to offer the latest HIV test that produces results within an hour to all New Yorkers by next year, Mayor Bloomberg said yesterday in marking World AIDS Day. (NY Post)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg outspent the state Democratic Committee 10-to-1 in his failed $7.5 million bid to abolish the municipal party primary system, according to documents filed yesterday with the city's Board of Elections. (Newsday)

12/01/03

In ways large and small, city officials are using information gathered through the 311 system to re-examine how city agencies carry out their jobs.(NY Times)

The House majority leader, Tom DeLay, would like the luxury cruise liner Norwegian Dawn to serve as a floating entertainment center for Republican members of Congress, and their guests, when the Republican National convention comes to New York City next Aug. 30 to Sept. 2. Mr. DeLay's idea has infuriated a cross section of New Yorkers. New York would lose money if Mr. DeLay decides to charter the ship because it would draw visitors - and dollars - away from city hotels, restaurants and shops. (New York Times)

Click here to see The Record for November 2003