GOTHAM GAZETTE: SEARCHLIGHT 2002:The Record

The Record: February 2005

2/26

The New York City Council has unanimously adopted a resolution which "calls upon City agencies to use their funding and regulatory power to support and encourage the provision of affordable high-speed Internet service and computer purchases for the benefit of residents of affordable housing." (Yahoo News)

Mayor Bloomberg blasted gunmakers yesterday and hinted he favors an all-out ban on handguns. He assailed a bill headed for a vote in Congress that would grant gun manufacturers immunity from liability suits by victims of gun violence. (Daily News)

Mayor Bloomberg, who is known to like a glass of red wine with dinner, admitted yesterday he imbibed one too many at his party Wednesday night for visiting Olympic officials. (Daily News) (NY Post)

2/25

The city has said it will cover up to $492 million in any cost overruns that could arise from the 2012 Olympic Games -- assuming, of course, that the citys bid to play host is successful. But this may not be sufficient for the International Olympic Committee. (New York Times)

The Bloomberg administration yesterday agreed to pay $150,000 to a black Department of Environmental Protection worker who charged that his city bosses hurled racial slurs and punished him for reporting "double-dipping." (New York Post)

2/24

A developer has dropped its plans to include a Wal-Mart store in a Queens shopping complex, thwarting Wal-Mart's plan to open its first store in New York City. (NY Times) (NY Daily News) (NY Post) (Newsday)

In relying on some risky savings, new borrowing and one-time sources of cash, the budget that Gov. George E. Pataki unveiled last month could lead to budget gaps of $11 billion within three years, the state comptroller warned on Wednesday. (NY Times) (Newsday)

Ironworkers crashed a news conference of mayoral hopeful Anthony Weiner held on the steps of City Hall, taunting the congressman over his opposition to the West Side stadium. (NY Daily News)

2/23

The mayor and governor assured Olympics officials yesterday there will be a new stadium on the West Side in time for the 2012 games - then set about showing off city attractions already in place. (NY Post) (Daily News)

Shea Stadium might be good enough for Mets fans, but Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said yesterday that the 40-year-old ballpark in Queens would never meet the lofty expectations of the International Olympic Committee. (NY Times)

2/22

The Bloomberg administration urged a judge to toss out a federal civil-rights lawsuit alleging the city is responsible for five boys being strip-searched by a school aide at a Bronx elementary school, according to court papers. (NY Post)

When volunteers hit the streets Monday for the city's annual homeless head count, they'll have to be on the alert for something new: "decoys" scattered around the city. (Daily News)

For the second time in two years, the city has had to cough up thousands of dollars to fix and replace the pricey bluestone plaza near the historic building. The stones, part of a 1999 $28 million face-lift for City Hall Park, have cracked and popped. (Daily News)

The city Department of Education, red-faced over Brooklyn sixth-graders who slammed a GI with demoralizing anti-Iraq-war letters as part of a school assignment, will send the 20-year-old private a letter of apology today. (NY Post)

2/19

During his three years in office, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has vetoed 25 bills sent to him by the City Council, two more than his predecessor, Rudolph W. Giuliani, did during his eight years as mayor. The rash of vetoes suggests that the mayor and the Council leadership have starkly different views of how to run the city. For instance, the Council speaker, Gifford Miller, a likely mayoral candidate, has portrayed Mr. Bloomberg as an enemy of children and parents. The mayor's first deputy press secretary, Jordan Barowitz, once accused the Council of "spending money like a drunken sailor." But the reality is that the City Council and the mayor agree more often than not on the main legislative priorities for the city: making the public schools better, reducing crime and improving quality of life. And while the mayor and the Council had sharp disagreements over one important bill - regarding campaign finance - most of the issues they disagree on are less controversial, like Council proposals to toughen a ban on motorized scooters and to expand weekend service on the Staten Island ferry. But with a mayoral election looming, what has become obvious to some political experts and elected officials is that the business of passing laws is no longer only about policy, but also about the politics of who gets credit for what. (New York Times)

Madison Square Garden's plan to build housing on the same site proposed for the Jets stadium is "never going to happen in a million years," Mayor Bloomberg declared yesterday. "It's not their business," Bloomberg said. "They don't have the expertise." In a public plea, Bloomberg urged the Garden's parent company, Cablevision, to end this "craziness" about trying to develop the West Side rail yards and, instead, build a new Madison Square Garden on the west side of the James A. Farley Post Office. (Daily News) (New York Post)

2/18

Developers interested in bidding for the West Side rail yards - the site of the proposed $1.7 billion Jets stadium - will not automatically be bound to the current zoning scheme, Mayor Bloomberg pledged yesterday. (Daily News)

Busted windows, broken fire alarms and decrepit toilets at hundreds of city schools will not be repaired this year because of cuts to education funding, city lawmakers charged yesterday. (NY Post) (Daily News)

Vicious dogs that injure or kill other dogs could face the death penalty under a bill being considered by the City Council. Current law authorizes "the humane destruction" of dangerous dogs - but only if they kill or severely injure humans (Daily News)

The City Council held a hearing Thursday to sort out which government agencies are responsible for the demolition of three buildings contaminated by the World Trade Center attack. (NY 1)

2/17

Mayor Michael Bloomberg yesterday indicated his support for the hotel-worker union's campaign against a condominium-conversion plan for the Plaza Hotel and invited the developer and union officials to Gracie Mansion to talk. (NY Times)

Acting on Mayor Michael Bloomberg's election-year promise to expand gifted and talented programs in the New York public schools, city education officials said yesterday that they would develop a standardized admissions test for such programs to be administered to 4- and 5-year-olds beginning in the spring of 2006. (NY Times)

Potential bidders for the proposed site of a new Jets home could be scared off by Mayor Bloomberg's ironclad goal to build a West Side stadium. That was the theory advanced yesterday by several elected officials and community leaders, who urged Bloomberg to allay fears from developers. In response, Bloomberg said, "Anybody that wants to bid on the air rights over the Hudson Yards should call the MTA right now and send them a letter with the details and how they're going to pay for it." (Daily News)

The West Side stadium fight is fast becoming a no-holds-barred, billionaire-on-billionaire smackdown. Wednesday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg took his biggest shot to date at Cablevision owners Charles and James Dolan, accusing the stadium foes of fouling up nearly every business they've run, including Madison Square Garden, their sports teams -- even defunct electronics retailer The Wiz. (Newsday)

Councilman Robert Jackson complained about the governor's decision to fight a court ruling that an additional $5.6 billion per year must be pumped into the city's schools. (Daily News)

2/16

The Archdiocese of New York notified six struggling Roman Catholic elementary schools that they would be closing at the end of the year. (NY Times) (NY Post)

A Democratic senator and a Republican assemblyman sued their own Legislature, its two leaders and Gov. George E. Pataki on Tuesday, alleging that the three men run the Capitol like a political machine to centralize power and money in their hands - to the detriment of New Yorkers whose views are in the minority. (NY Times)

A court-appointed panel has recommended the city regain control of its homeless services as soon as possible, prompting the mayor to declare victory in a suit brought by homeless advocates. (NY Daily News)

2/15

The historic school-funding ruling that could send billions of dollars to city schools to correct years of inequity was backed yesterday by a Manhattan judge. The ruling, by Supreme Court Justice Leland DeGrasse, affirmed a courtappointed panel's recommendation that city schools get an extra $5.6 billion a year on top of their existing $15 billion budget. The order, which will be appealed by the state, agreed with the panel that the money was needed to ensure city students get a "sound basic education" as guaranteed by the state Constitution. The panel also called for an additional $9.17 billion over four years to build and repair school buildings. DeGrasse, whose order gives the state 90 days to comply, punted on the controversial issue of who should pick up the tab. (Daily News) (New York Times)

In the latest development in Brooklyn's long-running judicial scandals, the State Commission on Judicial Conduct announced yesterday that it was seeking the removal of the Kings County surrogate judge, contending that he improperly awarded millions of dollars in fees to a longtime friend. The commission found that the judge, Michael H. Feinberg, appointed a neighborhood friend and law school classmate, Louis R. Rosenthal, to handle the legal matters of people who died without wills. He then rubber-stamped Mr. Rosenthal's fee requests of $9 million, including $2 million that the commission called "excessive."(New York Times) (Daily News)

Charles J. Maikish, a former Port Authority official who was responsible for rebuilding the World Trade Center after the 1993 terrorist attack, was named yesterday to oversee rebuilding throughout downtown. He is to be the first executive director of the Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center, created three months ago by Gov. George E. Pataki and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg to bring some order to the building, demolition and roadwork in one of the city's densest and most constricted quarters. (New York Times)

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey put a name and a price yesterday on its plan to preserve commuter ferry service across the Hudson River.Saying that it had averted the prospect of a shutdown of most of the ferries that run between New Jersey and New York City, the Port Authority announced that it had reached a tentative agreement with a new company, BillyBey Ferry Company L.L.C., that would take over about half of the operations of New York Waterway, which has been floundering. BillyBey is owned by William B. Wachtel, a partner in a Manhattan law firm. (New York Times)

As Deputy Mayor Daniel L. Doctoroff described the details of next week's presentation to the International Olympic Committee's evaluation commission, he made it clear yesterday that he would do everything shy of personally installing the NYC2012 banners that will drape storefronts, buildings and utility poles around New York City. (New York Times)

2/14

The city Charter Revision Commission has decided that there is no legal authority for a ballot referendum on the West Side stadium. (Newsday)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg will entertain members of the Olympic Committee at his own home as part of his effort to win over the committee members, who arrive in the city on Sunday. (Daily News)

2/12

Cablevision provided more details of its $600 million bid for the Hudson Yards. (New York Times) (Daily News) (Newsday)

2/11

A day after the Brooklyn Diocese announced it would close 26 elementary schools, aides to Mayor Bloomberg said the city is considering buying or leasing the buildings.(NY Post)

Mayor Bloomberg charged yesterday that Queens Republicans endorsing his chief GOP rival are upset because they couldn't land patronage jobs in his administration. (NY Post)

Inquiries regarding the $400 property tax rebate overtook noise complaints late last year as the number-one source of calls to the city's 311 help line, according to figures released Thursday by City Hall. (Newsday)

2/10

Coming soon to a store near you: Official New York City boxer shorts, sports bras, snow globes, earmuffs, golf balls - you name it. In a bid to raise some extra cash for the city, the Bloomberg administration has invited manufacturers to slap the city's official seals - including those of the NYPD and FDNY - on all manner of merchandise. (Daily News)

City lawmakers said yesterday that they are intensifying a push to force companies that do business with the city to disclose whether they profited from slavery. Hearings will begin next week on legislation that would require city contractors to delve into their histories. (Daily News)

2/9

The city yesterday formally began the process to appeal a state Supreme Court judge's decision that would allow gay marriage in the city. (Newsday/Associated Press)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg says he personally believes same-sex couples have a right to marry, and that his decision to appeal a judge's ruling allowing it is merely an attempt to clarify the law once and for all. But in legal papers, the Bloomberg administration has argued its position that state law does not permit gay marriages, and it has done so with an aggressiveness that some gay rights advocates say is at odds with the mayor's assertion that he simply wants guidance from New York's highest court. (New York Times)

After months of questions about how the city would pay for its $300 million share for the proposed Jets stadium on the West Side, the Bloomberg administration announced this week that the city would subsidize the stadium by diverting tens of millions of dollars in real estate payments that normally go into the city budget. Mark Page, the city's budget director, told a City Council hearing on Monday that the city planned to use the annual payments in lieu of taxes, known as Pilots, that are made to the city by developers. (New York Times)

2/8

The Bloomberg administration stood its ground yesterday in defending the stadium project it's been championing for Manhattan's far West Side, but critics questioned the mayor's revenue calculations and his plan to pay off debt.At a hearing at City Hall, the head of the Independent Budget Office, Ronnie Lowenstein, testified that the project would generate a cumulative $202 million in surplus revenues over 30 years for the city, the state, and the MTA - far less than the $716 million that the Jets, the football team that would play its home games at the proposed New York Sports and Convention Center, predicted."We found that over 30 years the stadium will in fact pay for itself, but it will generate far less than the Jets have projected," the spokesman for the budget office, Doug Turetsky, said. The calculation, which will be included in a report to be released in the next few days, is the first one the fiscal watchdog has done on the stadium's revenues and costs over a 30-year period. (New York Sun)

Suddenly faced with more than one potential offer for the West Side railyards, Peter S. Kalikow, chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, said yesterday that the authority's need to get the highest possible price to keep the transit system running properly outweighed even City Hall's desire for a football stadium and its bid for the 2012 Olympic Games.Until Friday, the authority had been negotiating solely with the Jets on a sale of the development rights over the West Side yards, which the team wants for a football stadium and the city sees as the anchor for its Olympics bid. But then Cablevision, which owns Madison Square Garden and has opposed the stadium plans, stunned the team and the Bloomberg administration by offering to buy the property for $600 million, hundreds of millions more than the Jets had proposed. (New York Times)

The city intends to shift tens of millions of dollars a year in proceeds from government subsidized real estate deals, which usually end up in city coffers, to pay for the West Side stadium platform, Bloomberg officials said Monday. Under the $315 million plan for a platform over the western rail yard, bonds will be repaid beginning in 2009 with so-called "payments in lieu of taxes" or PILOTS, which normally flow from the city Economic Development Corp. and the Industrial Development Agency into the city's general fund. That money usually totals about $40 million a year, but Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff said at a City Council hearing Monday that the proceeds from the large Bank of America deal inked last year will be diverted to swell the surplus to $70 million. In all, 261 different PILOT agreements will be used, city budget director Mark Page said at the hearing.But City Council Speaker Gifford Miller, a probable mayoral candidate, criticized the plan. "It appears to be a $71 million slush fund that the mayor can direct wherever he wants," he said. (Newsday)

2/7

At the end of the first stage of a federal pilot program to determine how major cities could deliver medicine to thousands of people within 48 hours of a terrorist attack, New York is grappling with several proposals to achieve that goal. (NY Times)

Gay marriage supporters upped the pressure on Mayor Bloomberg yesterday, calling him a coward for fighting a judge's ruling that legalizes same-sex nuptials. (Daily News http://www.nydailynews.com/news/local/story/278553p-238651c.html) (NY Post)

Madison Square Garden and its anti-stadium coalition have sued the City Council, demanding a judge nix the recent rezoning of Manhattan's far West Side. (Daily News)

2/6

A day after a judge in Manhattan issued the first New York State court ruling in support of gay marriage, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said New York City would appeal the decision, effectively closing the door on such marriages until the issue is decided by a higher court. (NY Times) (Daily News)

The smoking ban has not had the crushing effect on New York's economic, cultural and political landscapes predicted by many of its opponents. (NY Times)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg dismissed the latest effort by Cablevision to block his administration's plan to build a stadium for the Jets over the railyards on the far West Side of Manhattan, calling it nothing more than "a joke" and "a P.R. stunt." (NY Times) (NY Post) (Daily News)

2/5

Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced yesterday that the city would build a school in a Lower Manhattan neighborhood represented by Sheldon Silver, the speaker of the State Assembly. But the announcement also comes at a time when Mr. Bloomberg is counting on Mr. Silver not only to provide more state money for city schools, but also to support the mayor's much-debated plan for a $1.4 billion football stadium on the Far West Side of Manhattan. The stadium, which would be used by the Jets, would be partly financed with $600 million in state and city money. The stadium is a significant part of the mayor's campaign to lure the 2012 Olympic Games to New York. (NY Times)

2/4

The City Administration for Childrens Services yesterday announced a major overhaul of the system that oversees almost 20,000 children in foster care. Two agencies will no longer have foster care contracts with the city, two agencies will have their services reduced, and eight were placed on probation because of poor performance. Some 2,200 children will have their cases transferred to other agencies as a result of the changes. (Daily News) (Newsday)

City officials yesterday proposed ending the practice of paying foster care agencies a daily rate for each foster child, shifting money instead toward a variety of neighborhood-based services to keep families together. (New York Times)

2/3

A massive ad campaign that casts New York as the world's most happening Olympic Village is about to blanket the city - covering every cab, bus and subway car in town. (Daily News)

Thousands of tenants, teachers, city employees, immigrants and clerics converged outside City Hall yesterday afternoon to demand more housing for the neediest New Yorkers. (NY Times)

Demanding that all charges against him be dismissed, embattled City Councilman Allan Jennings yesterday lashed out at his colleagues - and they fired right back at him. (NY Post) (Newsday)

The City Council yesterday unanimously approved a measure that would extend tax breaks for another 50 years to developers who stay in the Mitchell-Lama program. (NY Post)

2/2

Another 52 new small public schools serving more than 6,750 students will open in the city in the fall. (Daily News) (New York Post) (Newsday) (New York Times)

The city announced yesterday it was adding a fifth firefighter to 49 engine companies. Mayor Michael Bloomberg denied the increase had anything to do with the deaths of three firefighters in January, and some officials said the increase might only last through the winter, a busy time for the department. (Daily News) (Newsday) (New York Post)

More than 100 opponents of a garbage-transfer station slated for the Upper East Side told a City Council hearing yesterday that the proposed East 91st Street transfer station would disrupt traffic, cause pollution and create environmental hazards. City officials defend the Manhattan site, noting Manhattan creates 42 percent of the city's commercial waste. (New York Post) (Newsday)

Emily Lloyd, who served as city sanitation commission from 1992 to 1994, was appointed commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection by Mayor Bloomberg yesterday (Newsday) (New York Times) (New York Post)

Mayor Bloomberg yesterday signed into law a package of bills that would make it easier for parents to get information on day-care centers. (New York Post)

2/1

The sincerity of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's desire to bring the 2012 Olympics to New York has passed its most important test. (NY Times)

The city has tentatively agreed to pay $9.5 million for the assets of the Queens Surface Corporation, clearing the way for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to take over the company's 19 bus routes, which serve 43,000 riders a day in northern Queens. (NY Times)

Click here to see The Record for January 2004