The Record: July 2003

Geoffrey Davis, the brother of slain City Councilman James Davis, officially declared his candidacy yesterday for the vacant seat in Brooklyn. At a news conference, Davis vowed that his "brother's legacy must live on. This is bigger than me."

As reporters began asking Davis about his qualifications, he walked off without replying. Police records indicate he was arrested in December 1985 on a charge of criminal possession of stolen property, a misdemeanor. Davis pleaded guilty to attempted possession of stolen property. He was sentenced to three years' probation and paid a $100 fine. "That was close to 20 years ago," he told the Daily News later. "Things happen during the course of life, and I'm a student of life. I made mistakes. That part of my life is over," said Davis, 39. "That was then. This is now." Asked whether he was arrested on any other criminal charges, Davis said, "I'm not going to respond." He has spent the past several years running an after-school program. Asked how many children he has, Davis said, "That's personal." (Daily News)

Davis picked up one key endorsement just hours after he announced his candidacy, with a spokesman for Council Speaker Gifford Miller saying the speaker will support him. Anthony Herbert is a potential Democratic primary opponent to Davis, but his nominating petitions are being challenged. Letitia James, who narrowly lost to James Davis in 2001, is another possible candidate for the seat. (New York Post)

As Mr. Davis officially became a candidate, Letitia James, an aide to Assemblyman Roger L. Green, asked the New York City Campaign Finance Board for permission on an "emergency" basis to participate in its program to use public matching funds for a possible candidacy for the same Council seat on the Working Families Party line in the general election in November. (New York Times)

After struggling with behemoth budget deficits, Mayor Bloomberg plans to deliver an optimistic report on the city's fiscal outlook when he testifies before the state Financial Control Board today. (Daily News)

After months of hearings and sometimes heated public debate, a panel studying whether to change the city's voting system to lessen the involvement of political parties finally reached a consensus last night that the issue should go before voters in November.The panel, the Charter Revision Commission, largely adhered to the wishes of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who appointed them this year to consider his proposal to eliminate party primaries and switch to nonpartisan elections. Mr. Bloomberg, a billionaire who personally financed his 2001 campaign as a Democrat-turned-Republican, has suggested that the change would dilute the power of political bosses.Responding to concerns about the plan, Mr. Bloomberg has said that the first elections under the new system should take place in 2009 after he has served a presumptive second term. He has also said candidates should be able to list their party affiliations on the ballot.Although the commission informally agreed to accept both ideas during a public meeting last night, it must formally vote on whether to put the issue on the ballot. The panel said it would study the issue further before it voted and would also discuss with city lawyers whether a nonpartisan primary could be held in June instead of the traditional date of early September for the party primary. (New York Times)

The Coalition for Court Reform issued a call yesterday for voluntary reform of the judicial selection process on the part of both political parties.

Under current policy, New York Supreme Court judges are, technically, elected in general elections across the state. But with most of upstate New York dominated by the Republicans, and New York City dominated by the Democrats, judgeships are usually determined in party primaries or at judicial conventions.

The system has led to innumerable scandals over the years, most recently highlighted by the conviction of Victor Barron, a former state Supreme Court judge, on bribery charges. The problems led to the formation of the Committee for Modern Courts nearly 50 years ago.

"We need to broaden the process so that [judges] are not the designates of party leaders," said the executive director of the committee, Ken Jockers. "The system needs to be more fair, more democratic, more efficient."(NY Sun)

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg reiterated his opposition to capital punishment yesterday, after Staten Island prosecutors said they would seek the death penalty for a man accused of killing two police officers."The death penalty I've always had problems with, because too many times in the past you've seen innocent people incarcerated and, tragically, every once in a while, they've been executed," Mr. Bloomberg said at a news conference in Queens. (New York Times)

A week after the City Hall assassination of Councilman James Davis, an obvious wall of blue surrounds the building - the most visible part of new beefed-up security efforts. Any time there is a meeting or hearing in the second-floor Council chambers, where Davis was shot, a police officer will watch the proceedings. (Daily News)

The manager of Mark Green's failed 2001 mayoral campaign was responsible for authorizing and paying for the flier that led to charges the campaign was being racially divisive, former staffers have told The New York Sun.

The former campaign manager, Richard Schrader, denies any involvement with the flier - which depicted Fernando Ferrer, who was running against Mr. Green, kissing the backside of the Reverend Al Sharpton - but the man who designed the flier told the Sun Mr. Schrader approved it as a piece of campaign literature. (NY Sun)

The mayoral race is more than two years away, but Mayor Bloomberg spent the entire day touring Queens yesterday in what looked liked an early-bird campaign swing. (NY Post)

The city seems to be emerging from the fiscal crisis that has plagued it since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, many financial and budget experts believe. (NY Times)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg could resume his call for cheaper pension benefits for future city employees when he appears before the state Financial Control Board Thursday. The board has said pension costs will reach 9 percent of city spending -- some $4.2 billion -- by 2007. (Newsday)

The Citizen's Budget Commission, an independent watchdog group, has given Mayor Michael Bloomberg a "C" for his handling of the city budget. (New York Post)

City officials yesterday approved a change in the rates charged businesses to remove their garbage, a change that could result in increases in the amounts paid by some businesses. (New York Post)

For one solemn day, the bustling rotunda of City Hall was silenced, cloaked in blue and transformed into a memorial chapel yesterday for slain Councilman James Davis. (Daily News) (NY Times)

The city's Board of Elections could clear the way for the brother of slain City Councilman James Davis to run unopposed in the Democratic primary. (Daily News)

Less than one week after the fatal shooting of Councilman James Davis, security is nearly nonexistent at 250 Broadway - an office building across from City Hall where every City Council member has an office. (Daily News)

Mayor Bloomberg is defending a plan to open the city's first entire high school for gay students, touting it yesterday as a haven from bullies. (Daily News)

There is a cynical precept of politics that says that those who cast the votes decide nothing, but those who count the votes decide everything. A third group, though, decides quite a bit, too: those who set the election rules. New York City's election rules could be rewritten soon, if the voters approve Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's plan to abolish party primaries in 2009. (NY Times)

"Stop the Violence" rally drew hundreds to the street in front of the Brooklyn home of City Councilman James E. Davis, who was shot to death on Wednesday. (NY Times)

By changing its security routine, the city saved $3.7 million in the parade season that started in mid-March and ended in mid-June. (NY Times)

Councilman Hiram Monserrate, whose life was allegedly threatened by an opponent's campaign volunteer, says he and his colleagues should have their own security details. (NY Post)

A Corona man was arrested Friday for threatening to shoot and kill another councilman, just two days after Councilman James Davis was fatally wounded inside City Hall by a political rival, authorities said. Julio Abreu was arrested at his home for allegedly making threats against Councilman Hiram Monserrate (D-Corona) and several of his staffers, police said. Police sources said that Abreu, who works at Kennedy Airport, allegedly threatened to harm four people, including Monserrate, over the past month. (Newsday)

The body of slain City Councilman James E. Davis is to lie in state at City Hall on Monday, punctuating a series of memorial events in Brooklyn. City Council and Bloomberg administration officials said the honor was being bestowed at the family's request. (NY Times)

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg sought to quiet rumblings yesterday that his administration had allowed security to slip at City Hall, saying that he had built upon security measures inherited from his predecessor, Rudolph W. Giuliani, in a way that was not noticeable to the public. (NY Times)

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, conceding that he has failed to get the point across, yesterday tried to reassure immigrants who are living here illegally that he is not interested in handing them over to federal authorities. (NY Times)

Kicking his boosterism up another notch, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Friday that the local economy would not only improve in coming years, but he could end up with a reputation as a tax-cutting mayor by the time he leaves office. (Newsday)

Even though the NYPD is conducting a top-to-bottom review of security measures in municipal buildings in the wake of the shooting death of Councilman James Davis, Mayor Bloomberg vowed yesterday that the steps of City Hall will remain open to all. (NY Post)

It is often when the prizes are small that the battles seem the most ferocious. Local elections for offices like City Council can attract neighborhood gadflies and the occasional oddball. But they are also frequently bruising street fights, full of threats and intrigue, promises and favors.

It was in a corner of that often-overlooked political world ‹ Fort Greene, Brooklyn ‹ that James E. Davis and Othniel Boaz Askew came together, and in
that corner lie the roots of the violence that left both men mortally wounded on a City Hall balcony on Wednesday. (New York Times)

The man who gunned down City Councilman James Davis in City Hall was driven by a double-fisted anger prompted by a feeling that Davis disrespected him and a fear of being outed by the Brooklyn Democrat, sources said Thursday.

Askew, who was killed after he shot Davis in the balcony of the City Council chamber Wednesday, took with him the full scope of his rage. But investigators, based on interviews with Askew's companion and others, have pieced together a portrait of a man in ruin, a would-be politician who couldn't collect enough signatures to get on the ballot and, perhaps as a ruse, agreed to help Davis. (Newsday) (NY Post) (NY Daily News)

Othniel Askew literally walked into James Davis' life just two weeks before he killed the councilman, beginning a series of increasingly menacing encounters. Details of the killer's obsession, which drew Askew to Davis even as he continually criticized the councilman, came from close associates of the slain councilman. (Newsday)

The death of Councilman James E. Davis has touched off mourning in his district, but it also leaves the question of who will take his place on the ballot. Mr. Davis, a Democrat, filed papers with the New York City Board of Elections to secure his spot on the ballot by July 10, the deadline. Under the election law, another name can be substituted for a candidate's in the event of a death or the candidate's declining to run.

Some Democratic officials say that Mr. Davis's brother, Geoffrey, is considering taking the councilman's place on the Democratic line. Mr. Davis said last night that he had not begun to contemplate that matter. (New York Times) (NY Post)

A day after an armed man walked freely into City Hall, Mayor Michael Bloomberg set out to prove security was tight.

Looking almost like any other visitor to the city's seat of government, Bloomberg emptied out his pockets and then walked through a metal detector Thursday afternoon. (NY1)

A top adviser to Mayor Michael Bloomberg complained about lax security at City Hall more than a year before a gun-toting assassin walked past a metal detector and fatally shot Councilman James Davis.

Deputy Mayor Carol Robles-Roman, Bloomberg's legal counsel, protested after finding one of City Hall's police posts unmanned when she arrived at work on a spring day in 2002, according to law enforcement sources. (Newsday)

New York Times Special Section: Shooting At City Hall

Newsday Special Section: City Hall Shooting

A deranged political wanna-be turned City Hall into a scream -filled shooting gallery yesterday - slaying a Brooklyn city councilman in a rampage that ended when a hero cop's bullets took the killer down. (Daily News)

In the instant it took for a .40-caliber Smith & Wesson to spit out a bullet yesterday, City Hall was transformed from a place of law and order into an unrecognizable scene of terror and chaos. Bullets whizzed across the stately room where lawmakers debate the issues of the day, politicians cowered under desks, stretchers were hauled up steps. (Daily News)

Slain City Councilman James Davis was a political outsider who doggedly pounded his way into elective office without the support of party leaders - and continued to abide by that independent spirit until his dying day. (NY Post)

Sobbing friends and neighbors of James Davis gathered in front of the slain councilman's Crown Heights home last night - desperately trying to make sense of the City Hall bloodbath that claimed their friend. (NY Post)

The City Hall shooting sparked massive closures of streets and subways in lower Manhattan, as police searched vehicles for a gunman they first thought might be on the loose. Traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge was closed in both directions for about an hour and a half, city officials said. Motor vehicles were prohibited on downtown stretches of Broadway and on Park Place. Subway traffic initially ceased in lower Manhattan - and then trains simply skipped the City Hall, Chambers Street and Park Place stops on the 2, 3, A and C lines. (Newsday)

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg was talking on the telephone at his desk on the second floor of City Hall yesterday, in the open-office bullpen he shares with a few score aides, when shots rang out down the hall. (NY Times)

City Hall has seen its share of turmoil in its 191-year history, but Wednesday's shooting is apparently without precedent. (Newsday)

Seven weeks after he issued an executive order altering the way city workers deal with immigrants, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has conceded that he may have to change it. In his order, the mayor changed the long-standing policy that had prohibited city agencies from reporting a person's immigration status to federal authorities. Now there is nothing stopping city workers from reporting illegal immigrants, although Bloomberg also ordered that city workers could inquire about someone's status only in certain instances. Despite this, the new approach angered many people who work with immigrants and frightened many immigrants themselves. (New York Times)

The day after Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the City Council reached a deal to build as many as 20 public toilets on city streets, companies began competing to design and build the facilities. (New York Post)

City Council Speaker Gifford Miller refused yesterday to rule out using public money to “educate” voters about Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposal to have non-partisan elections in the city. (New York Post)

Billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Tuesday that his administration is the city's best ever because "I really didn't have to pay back any favors." "Anybody who believes that you get money or support without a favor is very naive, is a nice way to phrase it," added Bloomberg. "I can afford to spend my own money. Why should I spend the public's money or anyone else's?" (Newsday)

Landlords in the city’s Mitchell-Lama housing projects would have to give tenants 18 months notice if they plan to raise rents to market level under a bill introduced by City Council Speaker Gifford Miller. Currently, landlords must give 12 months notice. (Daily News)

City leaders hope a new scheme to scatter 20 public pay toilets around town will be flush with success with revenue from selling advertising on the commodes.(Daily News)

Mayor Bloomberg is looking for some "light savers" to help pay the $75,000 yearly electric bill for the decorative bulbs that line the cables of four East River bridges.(NY Post)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has said he plans to run for re-election and win in 2005, but many of the usual denizens of the political world say they'll believe it when it happens. (Newsday)

A news conference on the steps of City Hall yesterday featured three Democratic members of the City Council calling on Mayor Michael Bloomberg to agree to a spending ban during the coming debate over whether the city should switch to nonpartisan elections. The odd thing was, the council members were essentially calling on the mayor to agree to something he had already called for on Friday. (NY Times) (Daily News)

Mayor Bloomberg yesterday said New York Democrats are afraid of his proposal to ban spending any money to put the question of nonpartisan elections to voters in November. (NY Post) The fight over Mayor Michael Bloomberg's nonpartisan elections referendum turned nasty Sunday, as the state's Democratic chairman and the mayor accused each other of behaving like old-time political bosses. (Newsday)

Two city councilmen are hoping to close legal loopholes that allow public employees convicted of crimes to collect pensions - even if they're behind bars. (Daily News)

Meet Mayor Michael Bloomberg's $100,000 club; 47 mayoral staffers make six-figure salaries, data provided by the Bloomberg administration shows. Last year, there were 43. (Newsday)

Donde esta Alcalde Bloomberg? That's what organizers and spectators were asking yesterday at the Bronx Dominican Day Parade. Mayor Bloomberg, who is struggling to rebuild his slumping popularity with Latino voters, was a no-show - a move taken by many as a slight. (Daily News)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that he would refrain from spending his billions to promote the idea of nonpartisan elections if opponents of the idea would also hold their fire. The opponents countered that they would hold off on television ads, if Mr. Bloomberg also would stay off the air. (NY Times) (Daily News) (NY Post)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg called on the State Legislature yesterday to pass a law that would allow New York City to double the number of cameras the Police Department uses to detect and ticket drivers who run red lights. (NY Times)

Mayor Bloomberg went on the radio and picked a fight with the City Council yesterday, blaming lawmakers for a $1 billion hike in pension costs next year. (Daily News)

Mayor Bloomberg changed his proposal for nonpartisan city elections yesterday, saying he now backs letting candidates list their parties on the ballot. Bloomberg, who has been accused of proposing nonpartisan primaries to benefit his 2005 reelection bid, said he still wants party primaries abolished. But in addition to allowing ballots to note candidates' parties, he also flip-flopped on when the new system should take effect. The mayor recommended yesterday that nonpartisan elections, if approved by the voters, should take effect in 2009, when term limits would prevent him from running. (NY Daily News) (New York Times)

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg is overhauling a city program aimed at helping the unemployed improve their chances of getting a new job. City officials said it was an attempt to improve a neglected city service in which millions of federal dollars have sat idle or have drained away. By signing a bill on Wednesday, Mr. Bloomberg eliminated the Department of Employment and consolidated worker programs into the Department of Business Services. The bureaucratic shuffle has real consequences for workers, since it will give them the chance to be trained to fit the needs of city businesses looking for workers. (New York Times)

Doubling the number of cameras at traffic lights would net millions of dollars for the city, Mayor Bloomberg acknowledges. But the real reason he wants them, he says, is to save lives. (Daily News)

Recycling pickups will be reduced to once every two weeks beginning July 28 under a new city law signed Wednesday. At that time, the city also will resume recycling plastic bottles and jugs, which had been suspended since last year. (Newsday)

Mayor Bloomberg is considering modifying his recently issued Executive Order 34, which has raised a furor among immigration activists. (Daily News)

With three potential mayoral candidates standing by, a City Councilmemer Helen Foster implied yesterday that Council Speaker Gifford Miller was condoning environmental racism by failing to move quickly on a proposed law to reduce childhood lead paint poisoning. (NY Times) (Daily News) (NY Post)

For weeks, the incumbent City Councilmember Pedro Espada Jr. has had supporters collecting signatures to enable him to qualify for the Democratic nomination in September. But after having collected far more than the required number of signatures, Mr. Espada announced yesterday that he would not run after all. And, because the signature-collection period ended a week ago, the vacancy on the ballot created by Mr. Espada's withdrawal will have to be filled by the committee on vacancies established by Mr. Espada's campaign. Mr. Espada said yesterday that he is recommending that the vacancy be filled by his son Pedro Gautier Espada. (NY Times)

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver yesterday blasted Mayor Bloomberg's push for nonpartisan elections - taking a shot at the billionaire mayor's deep pockets. (NY Post)

Challengers are raising enough money to threaten strong races against four City Council incumbents from Queens, according to the latest campaign filings. (Newsday)

With City Council sponsors on hand, Mayor Michael Bloomberg Monday signed into law a six-month moratorium on enforcing arcane zoning restrictions on awnings for which many small business owners have been fined. (Newsday) (NY Daily News)

New IRS red tape will tie up poor, says Mayor Bloomberg urged the IRS yesterday to scrap proposed rule changes that he said will make it harder for the working poor to claim their tax breaks.(NY Daily News)

Council Speaker Gifford Miller is expected to add $500,000 to his 2005 campaign war chest in fund-raising reports to be filed today. (NY Post)

State Senator David Paterson said in a television interview that Mayor Michael Bloomberg's plan for removing parties from city elections should be opposed. "This would favor people who have money," Manhattan Democrat Paterson, the state Senate's minority leader, said." Bloomberg has argued that nonpartisan elections would increase voter participation and weaken party machines. The Charter Revision Commission is expected to make a decision on whether to hold a voter referendum on the issue by the end of the summer. (Daily News)

He has cursed out one reporter on camera and thrown a napkin in another's face for asking where the mayor was going on vacation. In the crush of daily business, he can be at once dismissive and attentive toward the media. He is Ed Skyler, Mayor Bloomberg's pit bull press secretary, who has been at the mayor's side since the media magnate jumped into politics in 2001. (Daily News)

Mayor Bloomberg has traded the public pool for the private power powwow - for two days. Bloomberg left behind his slumping poll numbers yesterday for Idaho, where he hobnobbed with fellow tycoons. (Daily News) Mayor Bloomberg yesterday told a crowd of high-powered business tycoons that New York City won't get a better chief executive. (NY Post)

Mayor Bloomberg yesterday told a crowd of high-powered business tycoons that New York City won't get a better chief executive. (NY Post)

Amid an ongoing flap over who gets to drink alcohol in public, City Council Speaker Gifford Miller threw a beach party with two kegs of beer on Kingsborough Community College's oceanfront campus yesterday. (Daily News)

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's proposal to put tolls on the city's free East River bridges is turning into something of a lose-lose proposition for him. The idea faces such an uphill political battle from the state and city officials who would have to approve it that the mayor has taken it out of the city's four-year financial plan and is no longer counting on the $2.4 billion it was supposed to raise. But because he is leaving the door open to installing the tolls and talking about their many benefits, as he did yesterday, Mr. Bloomberg continues to anger elected officials and residents from Brooklyn and Queens who bitterly oppose the tolls. (New York Times) (Newsday) (NY Post)

For the last few months the topic of nonpartisan elections has percolated just below public consciousness, drawing the interest of those New Yorkers who always show up at small community meetings or who have a personal stake in its outcome. But that is changing. In recent weeks, the issue has been attracting more discussion and much outcry, and forces are starting to amass to try to block an electoral change that many say can affect city politics as much as term limits did in the late 1990's. (New York Times)

Children's health advocates are increasing pressure on New York City Council Speaker Gifford Miller to pass a new law to clean up lead paint. About three dozen people picketed a political fund-raiser for Mr. Miller on Tuesday night, putting a spotlight on him as he explores running for mayor. (NY Times)

The East River bridges will remain free for at least four more years, officials said yesterday. The mayor had proposed charging drivers to cross the East River, starting this year, anticipating an eventual annual windfall of $800 million. (Daily News)

Drinking in public is illegal, and you might get busted for it. Then again, you might not. It all depends on where you're drinking - and how you act. That's the gist of Mayor Bloomberg's defense of why police cracked down on a Fourth of July beach fund-raiser in the Rockaways - while doing nothing to thousands of concertgoers who drank away during placid New York Philharmonic performances in Central, Prospect and Cunningham parks. (Daily News Mayor Bloomberg says drinking at Rockaway beaches can be deadly - but alcohol played no role in the last half-dozen drownings there. (Daily News)

Bloomberg administration officials are urging Governor George Pataki to sign a bill passed by the legislature last month that would allow the city to build a $1.3 billion water treatment plant under a golf driving range in Van Cortlandt Park. The city says it is facing federal fines of $7,500 a day for failing to lock in a site to filter water from the Croton reservoir system. (New York Times)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said yesterday that he would be able to convince opponents of his proposal for non-partisan elections that the plan is a good idea. (Newsday)

Restaurants and bars in New York City appear to be complying with the new smoking ban. Only 23 were cited for permitting smoking in May, a tiny fraction of the city's 20,000 bars, restaurants and clubs, officials said yesterday. (New York Times)

Mayor Bloomberg's push for nonpartisan elections drew criticism yesterday from two veteran Democrats: former Mayor David Dinkins and Manhattan Rep. Charles Rangel. (Daily News)

Restaurants and bars this week will begin asking customers to help fund a lawsuit seeking to strike down the looming statewide ban on smoking, The Post has learned. (New York Post)

Russell Harding, a former official in the Giuliani administration, lost a bid yesterday to keep federal prosecutors from introducing sexually explicit images of children and an e-mail message in which he purportedly discussed a desire to have sex with young boys. (Newsday)

Out of 20,000 eateries and cafes in New York City, 71 were given tickets for smoking violations in May, the first month the anti-smoking code was enforced, according to Department of Health records. (Newsday)

Bloomberg, who also visited Coney Island, clearly enjoyed the warm reception he received yesterday, whether he was munching on a Nathan's hot dog, strolling on the boardwalk or marching in the parade. He relished the chance to tell the crowds that the newest Staten Island ferry would be named after Guy Molinari, their beloved former borough president. But Bloomberg said he isn't making a concerted effort to woo back voters. (Daily News) (NY Post)

New York City may be recycling plastic again, but the ever-changing rules of disposal have left many residents befuddled. (NY Times)

In the last three weeks alone, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has traveled to Staten Island to speak at a paper plant that intends to add 125 jobs, address an elementary school graduation, play in a golf tournament and throw out the ceremonial first pitch at a home baseball game. Today, he is scheduled to march in a local Fourth of July parade. New York's least populated and most remote borough is showing up frequently on the mayor's public agenda, and he is making his presence felt there in ways both large and small. (NY Times)

Mayor Bloomberg is getting ready to hit the road again. Hizzoner is planning to lead an official city delegation this fall to Israel - the land of milk, honey and a smorgasbord of goodwill for many a New York City mayor. That's after he takes in the Pan American Games in August in the Dominican Republic, with a possible side-trip to neighboring Puerto Rico - both countries with increasingly important political bases in New York. (Daily News)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg was warmly greeted Friday as he kicked off the holiday weekend by marching in the 93rd annual Travis Fourth of July parade on Staten Island. (Newsday)

While Mayor Michael Bloomberg struggles to keep his head above the 30-percent approval mark, 63 percent of New Yorkers said they are pleased with the job the Police Department is doing, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday. (Newsday)

You joined a gym. You signed a year-long contract. You used the StairMaster once and decided not to go back. Sound familiar? A City Council report released Wednesday says there's a good chance your gym failed to disclose all the reasons you could cancel your contract. (Newday) (Daily News)

Mayor Bloomberg is hoping for a second-half rally to bring visitors to the city and help salvage a disappointing tourism season. After rainy weekends, a sputtering economy, war and fear of SARS, the mayor said he expects travelers to flock to New York. (Daily News)

Mayor Bloomberg yesterday defiantly shrugged off another punishing poll in which 76 percent of New Yorkers said he just doesn't connect to the people of the city. (New York Post)

The budget-bedeviled Bloomberg administration won a limited $23 million court victory Wednesday in its bigger clash with the Pataki administration over Medicaid costs. (Newsday)

He gussied up a less-than-sexy announcement about federal transportation funds by holding it on an East River pier, with the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges soaring above him. He added a little flash to the traditional pre-Fourth of July warning about illegal fireworks by holding it at a police firing range where emergency workers punctuated his remarks by stuffing watermelons with firecrackers and blowing them to smithereens. (New York Times)

Operation Impact will survive for at least another six months. Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced yesterday that the citys program to provide additional police to high crime-areas will be extended and funded largely through overtime, at a cost of as much as $20 million. This is the second time the city has extended the program, which was originally supposed to be eliminated because of budget cuts. (New York Times) (Daily News) (New York Post) (Newsday)

Despite $11 million in cuts, representatives of many city cultural institutions are glad the city budget is not worse. Some $16.2 million in proposed cuts to cultural programs were restored in the final budget deal. (New York Times)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg yesterday announced seven new appointments to the city's Civil Court and Criminal Court, saying that the new judges were selected because of their merit, not their ties to political bosses. The appointments and comments came amid a widening probe into whether judgeships are bought and sold in Brooklyn. (Daily News)

Former City Councilmember Thomas Ognibene, a Queens Republican, has taken steps to challenge Mayor Michael Bloomberg in the Republican primary for mayor in 2005. We were led to believe that Michael Bloomberg would continue the legacy of Rudolph Giuliani, but we were betrayed," Ognibene said. Some Republicans are angry at the mayor because of his tax hikes and smoking ban. (Newsday)

In the last year, the City Council spent $50,000 on cell phones and calling minutes, according to a review of council expenses, which also highlighted the cost of refreshments at City Hall receptions. (New York Post)

The national Republican Party should end its position against gay marriages, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said yesterday. "I have always thought that people should be allowed to go about their business themselves," Bloomberg said. "I don't know why any of these [political party] platforms should deal with issues like [gay marriage]." Asked whether he favored gay marriages in principle, Bloomberg said, "My personal opinion is not important. "The Republican Party platform and President George W. Bush are on the record as opposing same-sex marriage. The Republican Party will hold its national convention in New York next year. (New York Post) (Newsday)

How's this for a "sign" of the times? The billboard message is meant for anyone at the police bomb range in The Bronx, but it looks as if it applies specifically to Mayor Bloomberg, whose smoking ban could become his best-known - and most infamous - legacy. (NY Post)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg yesterday defended the actions of police officers who, while searching for an armed suspect, stormed into the Brooklyn home of a man who died apparently of heart problems 10 days later. (Newsday)

For the second day in a row, Mayor Michael Bloomberg kept his position on gay marriage to himself yesterday, sparking criticism from gay activists. (Newsday) and (NY Sun)

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