The Record: January 2004


A saddened Mayor Bloomberg put careless cops on notice yesterday, telling hundreds of angry mourners at the Brooklyn funeral for slain teen Timothy Stansbury that police needed to safeguard lives, not put an end to them. (NY Post) (Newsday)


In a reversal in both tone and tactic, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg assailed the Metropolitan Transportation Authority yesterday for voting to expand its capital budget by $231 million to buy new rail cars for the Metro-North line, which has been hobbled with service problems this winter. (New York Times)

In an effort to reach young people who dropped out of high school or were pushed out because they had fallen behind, the New York City Department of Education published ads yesterday in 27 newspapers inviting them to re-enroll. (New York Times)

The Daily News ran a front-page story yesterday asserting the city is on track to raise $1 billion in parking ticket revenues this fiscal year. In fact, the ticket revenues will be closer to $540 million, City Hall officials said yesterday. That's still a 30% jump over last year's $414 million, but a far cry from $1 billion. (Daily News)

Mayor Bloomberg will attend today's funeral for the 19-year-old man shot by a cop on the roof of a Brooklyn housing project - a signal that the city may bear some reponsibility for his death. (Daily News)

Uncle Sam may owe you up to $5,464 under a federal program to help low-income New Yorkers at tax time, according to Mayor Michael Bloomberg. (Newsday)


Mayor Michael Bloomberg has entertained President Bush at his home, and once made the optimistic claim that Mr. Bush could carry New York City in the next election. But that does not mean that Mr. Bloomberg plans to spend his time at the Republican National Convention this summer screaming his support for the president. (NY Times) (NY Post)

Moody's Investors Service, revised its ratings outlook on the city's bonds to stable, from negative. It said in a statement that Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg had balanced the city's books through a combination of tax increases, spending restraint and borrowing. It called his newest budget plan "reasonable and achievable.'' (NY Times)

The Yankees over-billed the city nearly $500,000 in maintenance expenses in 2002, City Comptroller Bill Thompson said. Thompson said he recouped the money with routine audits. Under a 1972 lease agreement, the ball club is responsible for the care and upkeep of the city-owned stadium. Maintenance costs offset rental income due the city. Offices, concession areas and dining rooms are excluded. (NY Post)

The City Council will ask the Bloomberg administration to explain how it missed counting 128,729 quality-of-life summonses, said officials who were fuming over the hidden ticket blitz. (NY Post) (Newsday)

There are so many parking summonses being written that the city is on pace to crack $1 billion in revenue from parking fines this fiscal year - a first. Over a four-month period last year, more than 2.7 million parking summonses were issued, up 18% from the same period in 2002. (Daily News)

An MTA proposal to spend some $231 million on new suburban commuter trains - at the same time the agency is threatening to cut city bus and subway service - has Mayor Bloomberg "furious," aides said yesterday. (Daily News)

Two city officials at the center of the Staten Island Ferry disaster are stonewalling the investigation by refusing to meet with federal prosecutors. Department of Transportation Director of Ferries Patrick Ryan and Port Captain Joe Ecock have declined to voluntarily meet with the Brooklyn U.S. attorney to discuss their enforcement of ferry rules, sources said. (NY Post)

Financier Carl Icahn has donated $10 million to help the Parks Department build a $40 million track-and-field stadium on Randalls Island that will bear his name, Mayor Bloomberg announced yesterday. (NY Post) (Daily News)

Mayor Bloomberg said yesterday he will press developer Bruce Ratner to do right by people whose homes may be razed to make way for the proposed Nets arena in Brooklyn. (Daily News)


City Councilmember Charles Barron charged yesterday that the Bloomberg administration "created a formula for violence" when it cut school personnel and eliminated parts of the curriculum. Barron, who is planning to run for mayor, blasted the administration during a City Hall news conference to announce a new Independent Commission on Public Education in New York City. (Newsday)


Representative Anthony D. Weiner said yesterday that he had formed an exploratory committee for a potential run for mayor in 2005, the clearest sign yet that he may join what could be a crowded field of candidates hoping to unseat Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. (NY Times)

Score one for the mayor. A Manhattan judge ruled for Mayor Bloomberg yesterday in a legal fight over a predatory lending law passed by the City Council over his veto. (Daily News)


Despite a law designed to prevent ripping into newly repaired roads, cuts increasingly are being inflicted on streets that are supposed to be protected. A Daily News review of city Transportation Department records found that during the past five years, the number of permits issued to contractors and utilities to shred streets has shot up by nearly 21,000, or 21%. (Daily News)

Black and Latino lawmakers furious over Gov. Pataki's plan to open gambling parlors to fund cash-starved city schools had this message yesterday: Don't bet on it. (Daily News)

The city has saved $13 million by borrowing attorneys from prestigious law firms to try its cases - taking advantage of private-sector attorneys eager for trial experience, The Post has learned. The Corporation Counsel Public Service Program was conceived in the days after 9/11, when the entire Law Department was forced to move into private firms because of damage to its home offices. (NY Post)

She's watched her husband vilified as a coward and a killer, but now the wife of ferry-boat captain Michael Gansas is fighting back. In an interview with The Post, Wendy Gansas broke her silence for the first time, defending her embattled husband as a good man - and a convenient scapegoat for a city bent on finding a villain. (NY Post)

Investigators are probing whether embattled Brooklyn Democratic Party boss Clarence Norman spent $4,000 in political funds to pay for trips to Buffalo to visit a longtime gal pal who just became his fiancée. (NY Post)


One-third of the 46 children who died under city monitoring in 2002 might have been saved by better casework or by being removed from unfit parents, according to a study by Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum. (Newsday)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg issued a rare public apology yesterday, to the widow of Dr.Robert Atkins for mocking the late diet guru at a Brooklyn firehouse last week. (NY Times) (NY Post)

Mayor Bloomberg, a billionaire who rarely loses a bidding war, exudes New York-style confidence when he talks about the city's chances of winning the right to host the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. But with eight other cities around the world vying for the gold, New York faces tough competition - and the outcome is anything but certain. (Daily News)

Rep. Anthony Weiner hasn't chucked his hat into the 2005 mayoral ring, but he's moving $1.6 million of his congressional war chest into a committee to use for a possible City Hall run. (Newsday)


Mayor Bloomberg invited New Yorkers yesterday to join the Athens 2004 Olympic Torch Relay, which will reach the city June 19. (Daily News

At a table in the plush, quiet bar of The Mark hotel on the Upper East Side, a woman asked fellow drinkers if they minded her lighting a cigarette. She leaned from a perch on an armchair toward well-dressed diners at four tables near her. In the dimly lighted room, where about seven small groups sat sipping wine and cocktails, most guests simply muttered that they were not opposed. But Richard Medley, out for a drink with friends, spotted an important reason to say no. He had watched as Mr. Bloomberg entered the bar
earlier. The city's antismoking champion had taken his seat behind the unsuspecting smoker. (NY Times)

The tiff between Mayor Bloomberg and the wife of the late diet guru Dr.Robert Atkins burst into open warfare yesterday when the mayor told the angry widow to "lighten up." (NY Post) (Daily News)


In every budget season, there are certain items like Medicaid spending, school reforms and some taxes that seem only to expand from year to year. Here in the City Council, there is another number that defies limits: Council committees. Even as city officials are trying to keep down costs, Speaker Gifford Miller ushered in the new Council term this week by naming a record 41 committees, or five more than last year, to oversee a host of city issues from immigration to technology in government. (NY Times)

The Brooklyn U.S. attorney has enlisted the help of Staten Island Ferry captains in a bid to determine whether supervisors enforced a rule requiring both captains be in the same pilothouse when docking, sources said yesterday. (NY Post)

For the second day, Mayor Bloomberg has refused to apologize to the upset widow of Dr. Robert Atkins for a blistering attack he made on the late diet guru . and Veronica Atkins has gotten tired of waiting. (NY Post)

One veteran lawmaker was left on the sidelines when City Council Speaker Gifford Miller doled out committee chairmanships worth a total of $488,700 in added pay, and he was not happy about it. (NY Post)

Even though Mayor Bloomberg slashed funding for the Prospect Park and Queens zoos in his new budget proposal, administration officials privately are telling advocates that they expect a significant amount of money - including nearly $5million to the zoos - will be restored in the next few months. (Daily News)


Councilman Allan W. Jennings Jr., who has been fighting sexual harassment and misconduct charges brought against him by two of his former aides, was removed from a lucrative committee post yesterday in a move that City Council leaders said was prompted only by his poor leadership skills. The Council voted nearly unanimously, 47 to 0, to replace Mr. Jennings as the chairman of the Civil Service and Labor Committee, a position that pays an annual stipend of $10,000. Mr. Jennings, a Democrat from Queens, and two other council members abstained from voting. It was the first time in 10 years that a member has been removed from a committee chairmanship, Council aides said. (NY Times)

Projecting a long-term rise in the city's electric demands, a mayoral task force has called for measures to streamline the financing and siting of new generators and to promote energy efficiency. A 57-page report released yesterday by the task force avoids naming specific sites for new power plants - a political hot-button issue due to air-pollution concerns. While urging speedier state approvals for generation projects, it says that process must "consider environmental justice concerns" to avoid over burdening low-income and minority communities. (Newsday)

Mayor Bloomberg's proposed budget includes millions of dollars in hidden cuts, including 1,650 day care slots, the closure of the Prospect Park and Queens zoos and a reduction in library hours, the City Council said yesterday. The Council's finance division told the Daily News it identified more than $200 million in cuts in Bloomberg's budget for the fiscal year starting July 1. The cuts were not in the budget documents the mayor released last week. (Daily News)

An audit due out today accuses private businesses in city parks of failing to complete $10 million in capital improvements. The audit - issued by city Comptroller Bill Thompson - alleges that 37 of the 58 concessionaires failed to complete a variety of tasks, possibly causing dangerous conditions in their facilities. But City Hall officials claim the report is wildly inaccurate and smacks of politics, incompetence or a combination of the two. (NY Post)

Mayor Bloomberg and Con Ed chief Eugene McGrath finally met in person yesterday to discuss progress in the probe of the death of a woman who stepped on an electrified grate on a East Village street. The two got together at a meeting of the City's Energy Policy Task Force, a day after the mayor complained that McGrath had been ducking him. Neither city nor utility officials would say what happened. (NY Post)


City Councilmember Allan Jennings is expected to lose his chairmanship of the Civil Service and Labor Committee when new assignments are announced today, according to City Hall sources. Jennings is the subject of two separate probes involving possible ethical misconduct and allegations of sexual harassment. He has denied all charges. (Newsday)

During a visit to a Brooklyn senior citizen center yesterday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg endorsed the plan to build a stadium for the Nets basketball team in Brooklyn, even though it might displace some residents. The mayor said more homes would be built than would be lost and that the development would be "good for Brooklyn." (Newsday)

The mayor has been quietly visiting the schools his administration has identified as the most dangerous in the city to see if his new security plan is reducing violence. (Daily News)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said yesterday that Con Edison must safeguard pedestrians against electrocutions such as the one that killed an East Village woman Friday. Con Edison has said that salt contributed to the death of Jodie Lane on East 11th Street. (Daily News) (New York Post)

The system of granting tax-free disability pensions to firefighters should be looked into, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said yesterday. But Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta said the city could not do anything about the retirement arrangements. Newsday has reported that four former top officials of the firefighters union have retired on disability pensions within the last year. (Newsday)


New Yorkers can earn cash rewards for ratting out bodegas, groceries and individuals selling bootlegged cigarettes if a bill supported by Mayor Bloomberg wins approval. (NY Post)


In a rapid response to Mayor Bloomberg's demand for tighter security at toughest city schools, the NYPD is forming two new task forces that could begin operating next week. (NY Post)

The announcement last week that Bloomberg's commissioner of Housing Preservation and Development, Jerilyn Perine, is resigning for personal reasons served as a reminder of just how rare high-level departures from the Bloomberg administration have been. (NY Times)

Mayor Mike may be the re-marrying type after all. The billionaire divorcee, who has often maligned marriage as an institution, says he hasn't ruled out asking his beau, Diana Taylor, to tie the knot someday. (Newsday)

In some ways, Charles Barron remains the 1970s Black Panther idealist he once was, scrapping for social change as the councilman from East New York while appealing for greater black power through local government. At 53, the former activist turned canny politician is getting ready to register with the city's Campaign Finance Board this week to begin his long-shot bid for mayor in 2005. (Newsday)


Calling himself a "facilitator of those who are practicing free speech," NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said police would closely monitor protests during the 2004 Republican convention but would not impede demonstrators' First Amendment rights. (Newsday)

In an effort to stop losing millions of dollars in interest waiting for property-tax checks to clear, the city has switched banks, and may propose legislation requiring large property owners to pay their bills electronically. (NY Post)

Mayor Bloomberg wants CBS's new "CSI: New York" shot in the Big Apple, and he's aggressively lobbying Tiffany Network suits to bring the hit crime drama east, officials said yesterday. (NY Post)

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's ban on smoking appears to have created an irreparable rift between him and Graydon Carter, the editor of Vanity Fair. (NY Times)


The City Council, seeking to one-up the mayor's plan to offer $400 annual rebates to home owners, is instead considering permanently rolling back a small percentage of the city's property tax rate for all who pay property tax, including apartment building owners and businesses, senior council officials said yesterday. (NY Times)

What the mayor giveth, his taxman taketh away. One day after Mayor Bloomberg announced a $400 property-tax rebate for small-home owners, the Department of Finance yesterday revealed increases in assessed property values that will cost those same homeowners between $93 and $138 on average. (NY Post) (Daily News)

New York City released its initial bid yesterday to hold the 2012 Olympics, saying the summer games would pump $12 billion into the local economy and leave a lasting legacy of athletic fields, a stadium and waterfront development. (NY Times)

The city will have no trouble getting new aid from Albany, Mayor Bloomberg claimed yesterday - even though he's returning $250 million to taxpayers - because "we support the rest of the state." (NY Post)

Mayor Bloomberg disclosed that he would have built new schools where the World Trade Center once stood - instead of a memorial commemorating the dead. (Daily News)

Mayor Bloomberg was "livid" when he spotted the names of celebrity friends - including designer Oscar de la Renta - listed as donors in the campaign finance report of mayoral rival Gifford Miller, according to City Hall sources. (NY Post)

Four health care officials were charged yesterday with cheating their poor and sick patients to benefit their political patron, Pedro Espada Jr., a former state senator and city councilman, the authorities said. (NY Times) (Newsday)


City Council Speaker Gifford Miller reported yesterday that he had raised nearly $1 million in campaign contributions in the last six months, the clearest indication yet that he is seriously contemplating running against Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg next year. With that $1 million, Mr. Miller increased his fund-raising for a possible 2005 campaign to about $2.5 million, placing him well above any other potential Democratic rival to Mr. Bloomberg, a Republican. (NY Times)

Inmates will help balance the city budget every time they get a haircut or make a phone call. That's because the city has decided to start charging jailbirds $2 per haircut and to increase fees for phone calls from inside its 10 jails and courtroom holding pens. (NY Post)

New York City's Correction Department spent an average of nearly $59,000 per inmate in the 2003 fiscal year. But when all city expenses are factored in - insurance and pension benefits for correction staff, for instance, as well as more than $150 million for jail medical care - the yearly per-inmate cost is closer to $100,000, according to the city's Independent Budget Office. (NY Times)

The silent skipper of the Andrew J. Barberi finally talked to prosecutors yesterday - but not specifically about the disastrous ferry crash three months ago that killed 11 people and maimed scores more. (Daily News)

Mayor Bloomberg yesterday set aside $25 million to eliminate "social promotion" for failing third-graders this year -- money that will be used to provide remedial math and English instruction for low-performers and a new summer program for the kids held back. (NY Post)

To hear Mayor Michael Bloomberg tell it, City Hall is in transition from hard times to happy days. His new budget plan spikes the harsh fiscal medicine he's cooked up for two years with a painkiller that could ease the political fallout of his term's first half. (Newsday)


A record number of complaints about buildings without heat or hot water are pouring into the city's 311 hotline, with the highest number ever - 5,142 calls - on Saturday when temperatures dipped below freezing, city officials said. (NY Times)

The New York City schools chancellor laid out the timeline yesterday for creating community education councils, saying the city's 32 community school boards would be gone in a matter of months. (NY Times)

The Bloomberg administration yesterday launched a massive publicity campaign to encourage parents to run for May elections to serve on 34 new district education councils across the city - the final piece of City Hall's major restructuring of the school system. Candidates' applications are due by March 16. (NY Post)

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg plans to call on the federal government to quadruple the amount of security money it sends to New York City when he unveils the outline of his third city budget today. (NY Times)

Mayor Bloomberg announced yesterday that he intends to mail a $400 property-tax rebate to small homeowners every year, not just this year. (Daily News) (NY Post)

Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum wants the city to beef up medical reviews of severely handicapped foster children. (Newsday)

The city faces a whopping $3 billion in damage claims from victims' families and those injured in the Staten Island Ferry disaster, officials said yesterday. (NY Post)

Mayor Bloomberg defended the city's new maternity leave for teen students yesterday as compassionate and practical help for new moms. (Daily News)

The controversial decision to list the names of the World Trade Center victims in random order - with rescue workers getting special designation - is final, officials said yesterday. "That decision's been made," Mayor Bloomberg said after the revised memorial design was officially unveiled at Federal Hall in lower Manhattan. (Daily News)


The arrest of more than a dozen students at city schools this week only proves the new school safety crackdown is working and paying off, Mayor Bloomberg said yesterday. (Daily News)


Mayor Bloomberg has taken heat from smokers angry over his sweeping ban on butts. But now it is members of the anti-smoking brigade who are giving him grief. (Daily News)

The City Council is wasting tax dollars by hiring a private firm to probe allegations of sexual misconduct against one of its own members, Mayor Bloomberg charged yesterday. (Daily News)

Mayor Bloomberg hailed the Daily News' campaign to raise funds to reopen the Statue of Liberty. "We're trying to raise money," Bloomberg told reporters. (Daily News).

Embattled City Councilman Allan Jennings is churning through staffers at a blistering rate - with one aide high-tailing it after just a day on the job, official records show. (NY Post)

Former Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer has raised an estimated $700,000 for a potential run for mayor in 2005, according to political sources. (Newsday)


Mayor Michael Bloomberg today is expected to announce the resignation of Jerilyn Perine, the chief of Housing Preservation and Development. She would become the highest ranking official to leave his administration so far. (New York Post)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg arrived in Kingston, Jamaica, yesterday for a one-day goodwill tour. (Newsday) (New York Post) (Daily News)


Bloomberg last week launched an action plan to crack down on crime and disorder in the city's public schools following a outcry from teachers, students and parents. (NY Post)

Embattled City Councilman Allan Jennings, the subject of an ongoing ethics probe, brought a snowblower and spent thousands on furniture for his Jamaica office, according to City Council documents. (Newsday)


Mayor Michael Bloomberg decided yesterday to postpone a visit to Haiti planned for tomorrow, after reports of increasing political and civil unrest there, the mayor's aides said. (NY Times) (Daily News)

The mayoral plan to single out small homeowners for $400 tax rebates this summer was strongly defended by Mayor Bloomberg yesterday. (NY Post)

Municipal unions shouldn't expect any handouts until they earn them through contract givebacks, Mayor Bloomberg said yesterday. (Daily News)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg remained upbeat Friday about the city's short-term future, saying the local unemployment rate had reached a 20-month low, as he continued to bask in the warm reception his State of the City address received a day earlier. (Newsday)

Former Queens Councilman Sheldon Leffler was sentenced to five years' probation, a $5,000 fine and community service yesterday for trying to defraud the city Campaign Finance Board of $40,000 in his unsuccessful 2001 campaign for borough president. (Daily News) (Newsday)


Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg unveiled his proposal yesterday to send $400 property tax rebate checks to city homeowners, taxpayers exulted but some fiscal experts questioned whether the move was good policy. Some worried about the affordability of a proposal that would cost the city $250 million, when its deficit is already projected at nearly $2 billion for the next fiscal year. Others worried that the tax rebate could weaken the city's bargaining hand as it tries to wrest more school aid and Medicaid relief from Albany and concessions from unions. (NY Times)

Fewer New York City schools are at risk of being closed for poor academic performance than at any time since the state began identifying such schools in 1989. The number of city schools on the state list, known as schools under registration review, fell to 46, from 55 last year, state officials said yesterday. (NY Times)

The Staten Island ferry pilot could be off the hook for homicide, the Daily News has learned. Assistant Capt. Richard Smith, who piloted the Andrew J. Barberi into a pier at the St. George ferry terminal, is not likely to face murder charges, according to a law enforcement source involved in the case. (Daily News)

The city will pay $325,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by a deputy jail warden who alleged he was spied on and harassed by his bosses for supporting Democrat Mark Green's 2001 mayoral campaign. (Daily News)

Mayor Bloomberg's proposal for a $400 property-tax rebate ran into a buzz saw in Albany yesterday when Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said he'd prefer a rollback of the sales tax instead. Silver's position is important because the rebate plan must be approved by state lawmakers and he can single-handedly kill the measure. (NY Post)

Mayor Bloomberg yesterday announced a new program to end "social promotion" starting with third-graders - and as many as 15,000 could be left back this year. Social promotion is the term for the practice of automatically passing poorly performing students to the next grade. (NY Post)

Fernando Ferrer launched a blistering attack on Mayor Bloomberg yesterday as the former Bronx borough president all but declared his third run for City Hall. Speaking at his first fund-raiser for an as-yet-undeclared 2005 race, Ferrer used Bloomberg's own words from earlier in the day to critique the mayor's first two years in office. (NY Post)

A pilot program allowing straphangers to ride Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North trains within the city for $2.50 on weekends will start tomorrow. "City Ticket" will give riders in Brooklyn, Queens and The Bronx a faster and cheaper option in and out of Manhattan. (NY Post)


Mayor Michael Bloomberg plans to give homeowners a one-time rebate of the 18.5 percent property tax increase instituted by the city more than a year ago. The rebate would cost the city $250 million, and would mean an average of $400 returned to taxpayers who own their own homes, and owners of condominiums or cooperative apartments. It would not be available to owners of large apartment buildings, commercial property or utilities, which account for the bulk of property taxes in the city. (NY Times) (Daily News) (NY Post)

Sociologists, veteran school administrators and other experts warn that similar efforts at school safety have failed in the past, and that the mayor's goal is likely to prove elusive unless he can do more than isolate troublemakers. (NY Times)

The City Council started its new term yesterday, Speaker Gifford Miller turned a welcoming message to his members into a political attack on the man that he is likely to challenge in 2005, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. Miller praised the 51-member Council for scaling back the mayor's proposed sales and property tax increases and budget cuts. He vowed that they would override the mayor's veto of their legislation that would govern the removal of lead-paint hazards in older apartments where young children are living. (NY Times)

Mayor Bloomberg yesterday gave a thumbs-up, while Hispanic leaders reacted cautiously, to President Bush's landmark immigration proposal, which would allow undocumented workers to gain legal status if they have jobs. (NY Post)

The New York City Department of Education has settled a federal lawsuit charging that it illegally forced hundreds of struggling students out of Franklin K. Lane High School in recent years. (NY Times)

Already fighting charges of sexual harassment, City Councilman Allan Jennings could now be stripped of his chairmanship of the Civil Service and Labor Committee. (NY Post)

School safety officers are holding a protest today, charging that Mayor Bloomberg's safety plan ignores their concerns. (NY Post)


Shortly before he is to host a major fund-raising event, Fernando Ferrer has filed documents with the Campaign Finance Board making him eligible for public matching funds - a indication that he is likely to run for mayor next year. (New York Post)

Seven women now say they have been sexually harassed by City Councilmember Allan Jennings, and two have filed complaints with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The City Council has hired a private investigator to look into the charges against the Queens council member, who has denied any wrongdoing. (Daily News)

New Staten Island District Attorney Daniel M. Donovan Jr. brings a change in style to the office. (New York Times)


Mayor Bloomberg unveiled his Dangerous Dozen list yesterday: 12 city schools that will be flooded with uniformed gun-carrying cops until students there stop running amok. (Daily News)

With two "cool" New Yorkers standing by his side, Mayor Bloomberg yesterday kicked off the city's 3-week-long winter cultural celebration, "Cool New York." (NY Post)

Is Fun City turning into Blandsville? So says rumpled Vanity Fair scribe Christopher Hitchens, who laments the mayor's quality-of-life initiatives as the product of "the tiny Bloombergian mind." (Newsday)


Mayor Bloomberg is expected to identify the city's 12 most dangerous schools today as part of his plan to crack down on school violence. Last month, the mayor said he would release the names of the dirty dozen in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and The Bronx, to "send a message" that crime won't be tolerated. (NY Post)


The leftover funds from Rudy Giuliani's aborted 2000 Senate campaign being eyed by the Federal Election Commission are the result of a "bureaucratic error" and add up to no more than $9,000, a high-placed source in Giuliani's office said yesterday. (NY Post)

In his former life, Mayor Bloomberg made a fortune through a mix of hard work, financial smarts and salesmanship - traits that should serve a mayor well. But two years into his term, the businessman-turned-mayor still hasn't sold most New Yorkers on himself. (Daily News)

His rivals think he's beatable. The Democrats likely to take on Mayor Bloomberg in the 2005 battle for City Hall have a few good things to say about him: He handled the city budget crisis well and won long-coveted control of the schools. But they said Bloomberg's successes will ultimately be lost in a tidal wave of voter dislike for a mayor who has not built a relationship with most of the 8 million people he represents. (Daily News)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg is performing well at a difficult point in the city's history but must work harder to reach poor and minority residents, one of New York's most prominent black ministers said. "Mike Bloomberg, work at it _ you've got some issues," said Rev. Calvin Butts, pastor of the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem. "He's got to be in touch with the common man and woman, listen more to people on the street." (Newsday)


The party's over, the mess largely gone. The city quickly swept away 28 tons of party hats, noisemakers and confetti left by the more than 750,000 New Yorkers and tourists who celebrated New Year's Eve in Times Square. And the neon-lighted crossroads of the city was back to normal, ready for today's traffic, if not traffic jams. (Newsday)

The Federal Elections Commission wants to know if former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani used $8,150 in campaign funds to pay for aides' trips to Vienna and Washington in violation of federal law. The commission is looking into 15 possible "personal" expenses charged to the Friends of Giuliani Exploratory Committee, which still has $2 million originally slated for the ex-mayor's abandoned 2000 Senate run. (NY Post) (Newsday)


The City Council will hire an outside investigator to lead its probe into allegations of sexual harassment leveled against member Allan Jennings, according to ranking officials. Forrest Taylor, the chief of staff for Speaker Gifford Miller, confirmed yesterday that the council's Standards and Ethics Committee will turn the matter over to an independent investigator. The investigator will review misconduct and sexual harassment allegations from two former council workers, who alleged that Jennings (D-Jamaica) asked them to clean his house on city time. (Newsday)


Mayor Bloomberg all but called a congressman a coward for not having the "courage" to go to Times Square for last night's New Year's Eve celebration. (Newsday)

Mayor Bloomberg yesterday blamed lax British airport security for the grisly discovery of a dead stowaway inside the wheel well of an international airliner at Kennedy Airport. (Daily News)

Click here to see The Record for December 2003