The Record: January 2005


The leader of New York's Conservative Party warned Sunday that Republicans risked losing their majority in the State Senate because the party faithful was angry over tax and spending increases, business regulation and other measures. (NY Times)

The MTA has floated the idea of selling naming rights to help close a nearly $120 million budget gap. (NY Post)


For State Senator Joseph L. Bruno, the Republican majority leader, it's time for political payback. (NY Times)

Mayor: Union hikes could bankrupt city If the state arbitrators give cops, firefighters and teachers the raises they are seeking, the city could go broke, Mayor Bloomberg warned yesterday (Daily News)

Mayor Bloomberg wants to extend a parking program to help the city get foreign diplomats to pay up on $20 million in long-overdue fines as part of his newly released budget. (Daily News)

The Yankees and the Mets had better cross their fingers that the Jets stadium materializes on the West Side, Mayor Bloomberg suggested yesterday. (NY Post)


Mayor Bloomberg released a budget of $48.3 billion for next fiscal year. It calls for some cuts and increases in fees but no new taxes or layoffs. (Daily News) (New York Times) (Newsday)

A sharp increase in the real estate property transfer tax boosted city revenues and spared the mayor from having to make more drastic cuts in the city budget. (New York Post)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg yesterday revealed major cuts in the capital budget for city schools, delaying $1.3 billion in new construction and repairs. (Daily News)

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority yesterday selected a joint venture of Civic Entertainment Group and Octagon Worldwide to sell companies the rights to promote their brand on the subways, buses, commuter railroads, stations, bridges and tunnels. (New York Times)

In an October 20 letter, state development czar Charles Gargano backed City Council review for any major state-funded development plan. But today, Gargano maintains no formal council approval is required for the Jets stadium on the West Side. (Newsday)

The subway relay room destroyed in a fire Sunday that wrecked A and C train service was not equipped with a smoke detector. (Newsday)


Transit officials scrambling to fully restore C and A train service will be laying the groundwork for a futuristic computer-operated train system. (NY Times)

City Council Speaker Gifford Miller became the latest Democratic mayoral hopeful yesterday to call on Mayor Bloomberg to hold a referendum on the proposed $1.4 billion West Side stadium. (Daily News)

A Brooklyn state lawmaker wants to require schools to grade kids on their weight in addition to their academics. (NY Post)

The city got $5 million in federal fund to train teachers to deal with children showing signs of stress from the Sept. 11 attacks. (Newsday)


Mayor Michael Bloomberg and day care workers yesterday announced a tentative end to their long-running contract dispute. (New York Times) (Newsday)

The city has collected more than a half-billion dollars in additional tax revenue than budget experts expected for the final six months of 2004, City Council officials said yesterday. (Daily News)

The city will open an elite high school -- one using the same exam that determines entrance to Stuyvesant, Bronx High School of Science and Brooklyn Tech -- on Staten Island as part of a plan announced yesterday to provide school gifted and talented programs in the borough. (Daily News) (New York Post) (New York Times)

Minorities and women are being shut out of billions of dollars in city contracts, a new City Council report charges. The report could be used to justify new affirmative-action measures, council leaders suggested Tuesday. (Newsday) (New York Post)

The owner of the Mr. Softee will appear before the City Council's Environmental Committee to testify on Mayor Bloomberg's noise plan -- a proposal that aims to silence the jingling ice-cream trucks. (Daily News)

Members of the City Council Tuesday called for stricter safety review of buses used to takes special education students to school. On Friday, young students on such a bus were evacuated from it shortly before the bus burst into flames. (Daily News)

Queens Borough President Helen Marshall unveiled her vision for the borough Tuesday, touting tourism, economic development and improvements to local playing fields and commercial strips. (Newsday)


Two of the city's subway lines - the A and the C - have been crippled and may not return to normal capacity for three to five years after a fire Sunday afternoon in a Lower Manhattan transit control room that was started by a homeless person trying to keep warm, officials said yesterday (New York Times) (New York Post) (Daily News)

The fire, which raged from early Sunday afternoon into the evening, short-circuited wiring in a crucial signal-relay control room at the station at Chambers Street in Lower Manhattan. Officials are investigating the fire as an act of arson. It started after a homeless man ignited a shopping cart containing wood and garbage, according to a press report. "It has been ruled arson. Everything else is hearsay," a spokesman for the New York Fire Department, Brian Nolan, said. (New York Sun)

A full reckoning of the events of a day that led to the deaths of three firefighters is now under way in sweeping inquiries that will be led by the Fire Department and the city's Department of Investigation. The inquiries will examine why a critical fire hose lost water pressure and whether the partitions in apartments on the top floor that created bedrooms but apparently cut off escape routes had been illegally built. The Fire Department will also explore the feasibility of providing every firefighter with emergency ropes, as it did until 2000, when the department began providing ropes only to those in specific rescue tasks.

The investigation into the Brooklyn fire is still in its early stages, but it now appears to have started when a laundry basket fell against a space heater, according to a statement issued by the Fire Department (New York Times)


Mishandled, a deadly fire and a huge snowstorm over the weekend had the potential to cause grave political damage to Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The billionaire businessman, known more for his pragmatism than his emotional connection to voters, has chosen to make managerial skills a key rationale for his continued tenure in City Hall, raising the stakes whenever events conspire to test the very qualities that he has claimed as his. (NY Times)

When Mayor Bloomberg arrives, hat in hand, at the state Capitol today, lawmakers will take careful note not only of what he says, but also of how he says it. (NY Sun)

As Mayor Michael Bloomberg critiques Gov. George Pataki's budget proposal Monday, Council Speaker Gifford Miller plans to critique the mayor. (Newsday) (Daily News)


Mayor Michael Bloomberg's passionate devotion to the stadium is emerging as a dangerously soft spot in what even some of his critics acknowledge to be an otherwise formidable record. And it is becoming the first major flash point in the mayoral race this year. (NY Times)


Officials would be required to get the lead out - and make certain that tenants are quickly informed about problems with water in their buildings - under a proposed City Council bill. (NY Post)


It could be called "Ethics for Dummies." Two years in the making, the City Council's new 74-page ethics handbook for legislators and staffers is chock full of what they should already know:
* Don't sexually harass employees.
* Don't take lavish gifts from lobbyists.
* Don't force government employees to work on campaigns. (NY Post)


The city's block-by-block initiative to clear litter-filled streets and vacant lots will be expanded to all 59 sanitation districts in the city. Operation NICE, for Neighborhood Intensive Cleanup Effort, began a year ago in the 18 sanitation districts with the lowest ratings on a cleanliness scorecard. (Daily News) (Newsday)

To avoid the appearance of any conflict of interest, Correction Department Inspector General Michael Caruso is not participating in the city probe of onetime correction chief Bernard Kerik, the city Department of Investigation disclosed Tuesday. Caruso attended Kerik's wedding in 1998. Questions have emerged over whether correction employees improperly served at bodyguards at the wedding. (Newsday) (New York Times)

For the first time in the nation, gun makers and dealers are now liable for injuries or deaths caused by the criminal use of their weapons, under a landmark law signed yesterday by Mayor Bloomberg. (New York Post)


After Manhattan's assistant district attorney for 32 years, with a boss, Robert M. Morgenthau, known for his longevity (but in office for only 28 years), John Moscow has entered private practice. (New York Times)

Clarence Norman's beleaguered Brooklyn Democratic Party is hitting up district leaders and even elected officials for money to keep its downtown Brooklyn clubhouse open. (Daily News)


The weeklong private- bus strike in Queens became a campaign issue yesterday when City Council Speaker Gifford Miller blasted Mayor Bloomberg for supposedly ignoring the outer boroughs. (NY Post)


The Bloomberg administration has discreetly raised $36 million in private money over the last three years to help ease the city's budget crunch. (Daily News)


Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said yesterday that he favored regulations allowing states and cities to tax purchases made on the Internet. (NY Times)

Mayor Bloomberg urged union leaders yesterday to end a six-day bus strike that has crippled parts of Queens by stranding 70,000 daily riders.


Mayor Bloomberg blew smoke in the eyes of city puffers yesterday, saying he has no sympathy for those who bought tax-free cigarettes over the Internet but are just now getting hit with the tax bill. (Daily News) (NY Post)

With city finance officials pushing to collect millions in tax revenues from cigarette sales on the Internet, Mayor Michael Bloomberg may face a political risk or a political win, depending on who's talking. (Newsday)

Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly yesterday announced a multipronged offensive against vandals that includes infrared cameras and a $500 reward program. Bloomberg called the stepped-up enforcement necessary to maintain the city's quality of life. (NY Post)

The city and the main police union have finished presenting evidence to an arbitration panel, and a new labor contract is expected to be handed down within two months. (Newsday)

Congressman mayoral hopeful Anthony Weiner blasted Mayor Bloomberg's economic development policies yesterday, accusing him of focusing too much on Manhattan and big business. (Daily News)

Bloomberg has been taking complaints directly from citizens who have not had their concerns addressed through 311 since 2002 at various civic meetings. (Newsday)


After Mayor Bloomberg made a racket about his stalled plan to update the noise code, the City Council announced that the first hearing on the proposal will be held this month. (Daily News)

City Hall does not want an added $5.6 billion for the city's struggling schools if it has to pay a penny toward the extra aid, the top city lawyer said yesterday. (Daily News)

Union and city officials will meet today to try to end a four-day strike and get buses rolling again in Queens and Brooklyn. (Daily News)

The city has quietly launched a crackdown on New Yorkers who have bought tax-free cigarettes via the Internet, the Daily News has learned. Some 2,300 city smokers were hit this week with warning letters from the city Finance Department, threatening severe penalties unless the back taxes are paid. (Daily News) (NY Post)


Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg delivered a feel-good State of the City address heavy with campaign-year pomp yesterday. He declared the city had risen from the ashes of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack under his leadership, and he promised a host of new initiatives clearly aimed at the traditionally Democratic constituencies he will need for his re-election. (NY Times) (Daily News) (NY Post) (Newsday)

The mayor's upbeat diagnosis of the city was met with great doses of cynicism Tuesday by adversaries seeking to boot him out of City Hall. (Newsday)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg Tuesday announced a $14-million initiative that will aim to get struggling teenagers back on track with programs that blend education and career opportunities. (Newsday)


Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's ambitious plan to transform part of the West Side into a new high-rise business district took a significant step forward yesterday after his administration reached an agreement with City Council leaders over housing, development rights and financing. The mayor's plan calls for replacing the brick warehouses, factories and parking lots that dominate the area with office towers, parks and a new boulevard, while extending the No. 7 subway line one mile, from Times Square to 11th Avenue and 34th Street. The Council agreed yesterday to reduce the total cost of the 30-year plan to $3 billion from $4 billion by appropriating money from the city's operating budget to make early interest payments annually over the first decade.

In exchange, the Council won an agreement from the administration that a quarter of the 13,600 new apartments planned for the 59-block district would be affordable for moderate- and low-income New Yorkers. That compares with only 16 percent, or 2,176 units, in the mayor's original plan. At the same time, the Council's leaders took steps to sever any connection between the redevelopment of the West Side and a separate but far more disputed proposal to build a $1.4 billion football stadium with a retractable roof for the Jets over a rail yard on the west side of 11th Avenue between 30th and 34th Streets. Under the agreement, none of the money appropriated for the redevelopment can be used for the stadium. (New York Times) (Daily News) (New York Post) (New York Sun)


As cases of influenza start to mount and sick patients flow into emergency rooms, city health officials say they have managed to round up enough vaccine to inoculate not only those most at risk but everyone over the age of 50. Officials have stopped worrying about getting enough vaccine and are now concerned that the public, frustrated and confused, will not take the threat of influenza seriously. (New York Times)

With the mayoral campaign heating up, mayoral vetoes of City Council measures and council overrides of those vetoes are becoming all but standard at City Hall. As Speaker Gifford Miller faces a Democratic primary for mayor, he sees veto overrides as a way to distinguish his policies from Mayor Michael Bloomberg's. (Newsday)

The chair of the City Council Finance Committee, David Weprin, called for a higher pay increase for city police officers, but has sidestepped questions about the cost, which could be $1 billion--or $3 billion if extended to all uniformed workers. (Newsday)

The police department's Operation Impact will get an infusion of new blood when 1,000 rookie cops from the class that graduated Friday flood the city's toughest neighborhoods. (New York Post)

The Fire Department is proposing to reduce the number of paramedics from two to one on ambulances providing advanced life support, saying the change would lead to dramatically reduced response times. But the paramedics' union condemned the plan yesterday, calling it the "stupidest and most dangerous proposal that the Fire Department has made." (New York Times)


Mayor Bloomberg warned two private bus lines yesterday the city will not make a "bad deal" -- regardless of the workers' vow to strike on Monday. (Daily News)


Mayor Bloomberg warned two private bus lines yesterday the city will not make a "bad deal" -- regardless of the workers' vow to strike on Monday. (Daily News)

With strikes looming by employees of two private bus companies, Mayor Michael Bloomberg yesterday accused the owners of the companies of "ginning up" workers to provoke a walkout. (New York Post) (Newsday)

Mayor Bloomberg welcomed 1,591 new Police Academy graduates Friday (New York Post)


Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said yesterday that he expected homeowners would get another $400 property tax rebate this year, an election-year gift he hopes to give even though the city needs to find billions of dollars to close looming budget deficits. (NY Times) (Daily News) (NY Post)

In a move to cut school construction and repair costs dramatically, the city sealed a deal with trade unions that will limit overtime pay and improve building quality, Mayor Bloomberg announced yesterday. (Daily News)

As seen in these dramatic footage of a bizarre incident, City Councilman Allan Jennings recently had a powerful way of saying "no comment" to veteran Fox 5 reporter John Deutzman — he fired a piece of metal at the newsman and drilled him right in the back. (NY Post)

A city councilman charged yesterday that "racial profiling" by Bernard Kerik and Rudy Giuliani in the late 1990s led to more than 100 black correction officers being arrested or fired for breaking tax rules, and he called for a state investigation. (NY Post)

Hundreds of children lined the streets of East Harlem yesterday to watch the Three Kings, a couple of camels and Mayor Bloomberg celebrate the Nativity. (NY Post)


City Health and Hospitals Corp. president Dr. Benjamin Chu is quitting the Bloomberg administration to run the $11-billion Kaiser-Permanente health system in southern California on Feb. 15. (Newsday) (NY Times)

City Democrats lashed out at Gov. George Pataki Wednesday for his overly cheery portrait of the state, while Mayor Michael Bloomberg ducked any controversy. (Newsday)


The City Council's Public Safety Committee unanimously approved a measure that could make gun manufacturers and dealers liable under certain circumstances if their weapons are used to commit crimes in the city. The full council is expected to pass the bill today, and the mayor has said he will sign it into law. (New York Post) (New York Times)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg will head to Albany with a list of budgetary needs that he hopes the governor will highlight in his state of the state speech Wednesday. It includes money for transit and education and a request for the state to pay more of the city's Medicaid costs. (Newsday)

The City Council committee overseeing the trial of Councilmember Allan Jennings heard from its final witness Monday, a council spokesperson said. Deng is accused of creating a hostile work environment for five female staffers . A vote by the committee is expected in about a month. (Newsday)

The outcome of the Jets playoff game in San Diego Saturday could help determine whether the football team gets its new stadium on Manhattans' far West Side. (Daily News)


The Department of Investigation's ongoing review of ex-Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik's past actions marks only the latest in a clear series of Giuliani-era fiascoes and scandals that have bloomed retroactively during the Bloomberg years. Three years into his term, Mayor Michael Bloomberg remains reluctant to launch an open and potentially destructive feud with his predecessor Rudolph Giuliani by condemning or even noting this cluster of cases. But even without linking them overtly, the names of the accused, the suspected and the dismissed have piled up on Bloomberg's watch. The names include Roberts, Russi, Gelormino, Carbonetti, Kerik, Harding, Serra and Patrick -- all once men of stature and influence in Giuliani circles. (Newsday)

The Record: December 2004


The Jets and the Bloomberg administration, which are pushing hard for a stadium on the West Side of Manhattan, went to work early wooing black and Hispanic politicians in the Bronx, figuring they would be a counterweight to the opposition or indifference of Manhattan's liberal establishment. Cablevision then had to catch up, spreading around thousands of dollars in political donations. As a result, Bronx politicians are firmly ensconced on both sides of an issue that does not directly affect their constituents or territory (New York Times


Just months after Mayor Michael Bloomberg hosted and endorsed President George W. Bush's re-election campaign, the city's top Republican called a preliminary Bush administration tax idea "devastating" for New Yorkers and vowed to "fight it tooth and nail." "I will do everything I can in terms of lobbying to try to protect this city," said Bloomberg, who supported George W. Bush when he ran for re-election. Bloomberg denounced the plan, floated from the White House last week, that among other changes would kill Americans' ability to deduct local and state tax payments on their federal income tax returns. (Newsday)

Click here to see The Record for December 2004