GOTHAM GAZETTE: SEARCHLIGHT 2002: The Record

The Record: June 2003

6/29
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)

A city council member has accused the Boys' Club of New York of trying to rip off the city in its attempt to sell a Lower East Side clubhouse. Council member Margarita Lopez, who represents the Lower East Side, says the 128-year-old Boys' Club wants to profit on the sale of its Milliken Clubhouse, at the corner of Houston and Pitt streets. The property was bought from the city two decades ago for a cut-rate $8,000. (NY Post)

6/28
With vows to carry on the fight for closed firehouses and laid-off employees, the New York City Council overwhelmingly passed a $43.7 billion budget yesterday that includes income, sales and property tax increases but maintains many services. (NY Times) (Daily News) (Newsday)

Mayor Bloomberg said yesterday he'd like the city to be in control of rebuilding Ground Zero - and New Jersey shouldn't have a big hand in the process. (Daily News) (NY Post)

Mayor Bloomberg made a big splash yesterday, plunging into a city pool - with his shirt and shorts still on. He approached the lectern for his news conference to mark the opening of the city's 52 pools, the mayor greeted the kids waiting poolside. "Want me to speak for a long time?" he asked the kids. "Nooo!" they roared. "Want me to answer lots of their questions? Same answer. "Nooo!" "Want to go swimming?" Finally, they wailed: "Yesss!" In they went, the 61-year-old billionaire splashing around, enjoying a moment when his poll numbers didn't matter. (Daily News) (NY Post)

After raising income, property and sales taxes, Mayor Bloomberg suggested yesterday that some hikes could be rolled back - perhaps by 2005, when Hizzoner is running for reelection. (Daily News)

6/27
Despite all the doomsday talk, most New Yorkers will find it extremely difficult to discern any difference in the services they are accustomed to receiving from their city. (NY Times) (Newsday) (NY Post)

One election may not be good enough for New Yorkers. The next mayor could win a majority of votes in a citywide election - and then be required to win a majority in a second round of balloting before getting the keys to City Hall. The Charter Revision Commission's staff recommendation for nonpartisan elections, released yesterday, calls for an automatic runoff even if one candidate receives a majority of votes the first time. (Daily News)

Business owners got a six-month reprieve yesterday when the City Council passed a moratorium on a 1962 law that makes more than 90 percent of storefront awnings in the city illegal and subject to fines. (Newsday)

Although analysts see fewer risks in the budget that Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and the City Council agreed to this week than the one they passed last year, they warned yesterday that the coming year was still something of a fiscal minefield. (NY Times)

6/26
After months of warnings of dire cuts to city services, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the New York City Council agreed on a budget last night that was remarkable not for how many services were cut, but for how few. (NY Times) (Daily News) (Newsday)

The budget agreement guarantees that plastic will join paper and metal on the recycling list as soon as possible, a Sanitation Department official said, but collection will switch to once every two weeks. Next April, according to the agreement, New Yorkers will also have to put out glass for recycling, but the schedule will switch back to weekly collection. (NY Times)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg reached a deal yesterday to close this year's budget gap without getting the concessions he wanted from the municipal unions, but the mayor and the unions are sure to clash again in the future as the city faces ballooning deficits. (NY Times)

Mayor Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Gifford Miller announced a budget deal last night that provides $115 million to head off threatened service cuts, and delivers a plan to block sidewalk lawsuits against the city. (NY Post)

Bloomberg, who cut astonishingly few city services when faced with the worst fiscal crisis in a generation, is probably best known throughout the city as the man who closed six firehouses. His poll numbers are the lowest for a mayor in two decades, in large part, those polled say, because of how he has handled the city's fiscal woes. (NY Times)

With his polls in the Hispanic community heading south of the border, Mayor Bloomberg offered a rare display of his Spanish-language skills yesterday as he highlighted new NYPD efforts to safeguard bodegas. (Daily News)

City Controller William Thompson's new "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Directory of Services and Resources," issued June 11, is 120 pages long and can be accessed from Thompson's city Web site or obtained at his office. (Daily News)

Brooklyn City Councilman Kendall Stewart apologized yesterday for inflammatory comments he made about Haitians this week. Stewart was cited for owning a building in his East Flatbush district that has 144 violations, for everything from peeling lead paint to rats to lack of heat and hot water. Stewart blamed his tenants at 1740-1744 Nostrand Ave. for the sorry state of the building, saying they broke the front door lock and smashed mailboxes open. (Daily News)

6/25
Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the City Council are believed to be close to a deal on the city budget that will restore some but not all of the mayor's proposed cuts. (New York Times) (Daily News)

The City Council yesterday approved a temporary hike in the city income tax that would increase the tax rate for individuals making at least $100,000 and couples making more than $150,000 from 3.65 percent to 4.25 percent. (New York Post) (Newsday)

New York City's arcane laws that restrict dancing in clubs and bars could soon be changed. (Daily News)

Some 190 people, most of them critical of the city's cabaret law, attended a hearing yesterday that could lead to changes in the measure. The law requires that clubs that offer dancing have a special license that costs as much as $1,000. One witness, Jen Miller, a member of the Dance Liberation Front, declared, "I'm here as a dancer. And as a citizen I have a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And what is the pursuit of happiness if not dancing?" (New York Times)

Beginning in September, the New York City school system will ban food with minimal nutritional value from vending machines in city public schools. The schools also hope to reduce the fat content of meals served in school cafeterias. (New York Times) (Daily News) (New York Post)

A City Council committee yesterday held hearings on a bill that would require that food sold in school vending machines be nutritious. A representative of the Department of Education told the committee that the school system is already taking steps to address the issue by the time school reopens in September. (Newsday)

At a news conference in Flushing, City Councilmember John Liu and other officials yesterday announced a six-month pilot program that they hope will bring yellow cab service to Queens. (Newsday) (New York Post)

6/24

A bill that would make it easier for the parents of children with lead poisoning to sue their landlords finally made it to a City Council hearing yesterday, amid a swirl of politics, recriminations and explanations. (NY Times)

The Bloomberg administration yesterday came out against a proposal to beef up the city's lead-paint law, saying the current law was working and that changing it would be expensive and wasteful. (NY Post)

Mayor Bloomberg conducted a campaign-style swing Monday, hitting four boroughs and a suburb, a day after protesters dogged him at a centennial celebration for the Williamsburg Bridge.(Newsday)

President Bush came to New York last night to raise $4 million and sound the themes he is riding toward a second term: lower taxes, higher morals, and, above all, national security. The event was also a pageant of Republican alliances, demonstrating Rudolph Giuliani’s star status with the national Republican Party — and Mayor Bloomberg’s distance from it. (NY Sun)

City officials fear vending chaos in Midtown - and on Fifth Avenue and other posh streets - after state lawmakers failed to renew a law strictly regulating peddlers' locations, The Post has learned. (NY Post)

6/23
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg went to Williamsburg, Brooklyn, yesterday to celebrate the 100th birthday of a neighborhood institution: the Williamsburg Bridge. When he got there, though, he found himself booed and heckled by a dozen demonstrators noisily protesting his recent decision to close an even older neighborhood institution: Engine Company 212, a firehouse on Wythe Avenue. (New York Times) (Newsday) (Daily News) (NY Post)

6/22
New York City improperly denied the owners of a Midtown Manhattan hotel tax incentives worth millions of dollars and will now have to pay back those lost benefits with interest - despite the city's deep fiscal crisis - an appeals court has ruled. (NY Times)

Protesters angered by a deadly police raid and the shooting of an unarmed immigrant gathered outside City Hall Park yesterday to demand changes in NYPD policies. (Daily News)

6/21
Deadbeat parents are soon going to be hunted as though they're criminals. Starting July 1, the task of stalking child support evaders is being transferred from the Administration for Children's Services to the Human Resources Administration. And sources say HRA Commissioner Verna Eggleston intends to pursue her new responsibility very aggressively. (NY Post)

A move by the City Council to severely stiffen penalties for unruly behavior at professional sporting events got a thumbs up yesterday. City Council Speaker Gifford Miller (D-Manhattan) proposed hiking fines for out-of-control behavior during pro sports matches - such as the bizarre incident involving designer Calvin Klein at a Knicks game in March. (NY Post)

6/20
The Bloomberg administration and the City Council began showing faint signs yesterday that they were drawing closer to a budget agreement. They held an evening negotiating session, with some officials predicting that a deal could be reached next week. At issue is what negotiators call "the number," which refers to exactly how much in proposed budget cuts the administration will allow the Council to avert. (New York Times)

6/19
The city budget remains unresolved, with less than two weeks before the next fiscal year begins. Tensions with the City Council are running high. And yesterday Mayor Michael Bloomberg took some time out for a little midweek golf in Westchester County. (NY Times)

City officials yesterday announced a rezoning plan that would open the crumbling East River sections of Williamsburg and Greenpoint in Brooklyn to housing and recreation. The city's plan calls instead for housing and open space on the 1.6-mile stretch of Brooklyn riverfront between the Williamsburg and Pulaski Bridges, and increased residential and commercial zoning in a 170-block swath inland. (NY Times)

City Council Speaker Gifford Miller got help from five powerful allies yesterday in launching his latest budget attack on Mayor Bloomberg - five district attorneys whose funding is in City Hall's cross hairs. (Daily News)

6/18
City Council and the Bloomberg administration have agreed not to enforce a city law that says only the name and address of a business can appear on awnings - in lettering no larger than 12 inches. A City Council committee yesterday approved the moratorium, and the full council is expected to pass it on June 25. (Daily News) (New York Post)

City Council Speaker Gifford Miller yesterday reportedly told Mayor Michael Bloomberg to help end the impasse between the mayor and City Council over the city budget. The city must approve its budget by July 1. (Daily News)

6/17
Mayor Bloomberg, who last week said he hated to fight in public, picked a doozy yesterday - with powerful House Majority Leader Tom DeLay. Hizzoner attacked a bill proposed by the Texas Republican, charging it would "fleece" New York by rejiggering the federal gas tax - the one levy that returns more aid to New York than the state sends in taxes to Washington. (NY Daily News)

Blitzed with complaints from angry merchants, the City Council will vote today for a six-month moratorium on tickets issued under an arcane law that limits the size of letters and the type of information allowed on storefront canopies. (NY Daily News)

City Council plan to boot 134 city lawyers prompted a biting response yesterday from the mayor's office. In his ongoing budget skirmishes with Mayor Bloomberg, Council Speaker Gifford Miller (D-Manhattan) proposed a dozen measures to save $107 million in spending, which could be used to finance restorations sought by the Council. (Ny Daily News) (Newsday) (NY Times)

6/15
City Council leaders joined community activists yesterday in demanding Mayor Bloomberg reverse the planned closure of 11 child-health clinics. (NY Post)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Friday recommended two members for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority board who he said would enhance the city's ability to monitor the embattled agency's budget practices. (Newsday)

6/14
Michael R. Bloomberg, the billionaire mayor, did not exactly lose his shirt in the stock market last year, but he dropped the equivalent of a button from his oxford collar. (NY Times)

The following 97 charities are listed on Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's personal tax returns. They are primarily in communities where he owns a home: Manhattan; Armonk, N.Y.; North Salem, N.Y.; Vail, Colo. and Bermuda. Johns Hopkins University, the mayor's alma mater, received stock. The Committee to Protect Journalists received book royalties of $1,000 to $5,000. Those 2 and 95 others received cash donations. The list was released yesterday by the mayor's accountant. (NY Times

Mayor Bloomberg copped a defiant attitude toward the growing number of New Yorkers who dislike him, defending his record yesterday as "spectacular." (NY Daily News) (Newsday)

Mayor Bloomberg argued for the umpteenth time yesterday that there's no ticket blitz. Then the mayor heard from yet another New Yorker who got a silly summons - and was forced to concede that every once in a while, a "crazy one" slips in. (Newsday)

Budget talks blew up yesterday as City Council members accused Mayor Bloomberg of setting aside more construction dollars for courthouses than new schools to relieve overcrowding. (NY Post)

Mayor Bloomberg signed an executive order yesterday outlining a plan to steer more city contracts to companies owned by women and minorities. (NY Daily News)

6/13
The City Council agreed yesterday to give consumers two sales-tax-free weeks on clothing - and then voted to permanently abolish the tax early. During the tax-free weeks of Aug. 26-Sept. 1 and Jan. 26-Feb. 1, consumers will be spared the combined city-state levy of 8.625% on clothing and shoes costing up to $110. (NY Daily News) (Newsday)

The increasing speculation that former President Bill Clinton may be interested in running for mayor of New York City resonated through local political circles yesterday, as Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said that he fully expected to be re-elected in 2005, even if Mr. Clinton ran. (New York Times) ( Newsday) (NY Post) (NY Daily News)

Dispirited by job losses, tax increases and service cuts, New Yorkers say they are increasingly pessimistic about their city, according to the latest New York Times poll. Those negative feelings appear to have colored New Yorkers' views of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. Only 24 percent of those polled said they approved of the job he was doing, the lowest approval rating for a mayor since The Times began taking polls on mayoral performance in 1978. It is a drop of seven percentage points since January. (NY Post) (NY Times)

City budget talks are like very high-stakes poker. Most years, the mayor and the City Council play their cards close to the vest and badger, bluster and bluff each other until the final showdown, which is usually just before the June 30 budget deadline. Not this year. With a $44.5 billion pot and lots of unpopular taxes and cuts on the table, the two sides are constantly tipping their hands early to shift credit and blame.(New York Times)

6/12
Mayor Michael Bloomberg called on the City Council yesterday to approve two tax-free weeks on clothing sales, leading Council officials, who said they had long planned to do so anyway, to speculate that he was trying to take credit for the move. (NY Times) Mayor Bloomberg - who pushed through the largest tax increases in recent memory - now says the reinstituted sales tax on clothing "really hurts" working people. (NY Post)

Mayor Bloomberg and state lawmakers are pressing to pass a new law creating parent-run "district education councils" to replace the much-maligned 32 elected school boards - but time is running out. (NY Post)

There was a lot of noise yesterday at City Hall over a bill to end the most annoying sound in New York - the constant whine of car alarms. A hearing on banning the pesky alarms elicited a chorus of supporters at a City Council hearing, but got no backing from the Bloomberg administration. (NY Post)

About 3,600 city school employees yesterday started receiving layoff notices resulting from budget cuts and the Bloomberg administration's education overhaul, sources said. (NY Post)

Mayor Bloomberg put his 2005 mayoral rivals on notice last night: He plans to spend whatever it takes to get reelected. (Daily News)

6/11
Mayor Bloomberg finally took a stand on the rent regulations battle yesterday, saying the state Legislature should renew existing laws without any changes - including the $2,000 vacancy decontrol provision. (Daily News)

The state's highest court on Tuesday upheld New York's prohibitions against most political activities by judges and candidates for the bench. The seven-member Court of Appeals ruled unanimously in two separate cases that while judges have some constitutional free speech rights when seeking office, those must be balanced against the public's right to a fair and unbiased judiciary. (Newsday) (NY Times)

Budget negotiators are revisiting the huge capital spending cuts imposed five months ago by the Bloomberg administration, sources said Tuesday. Because building projects are funded over many years, restoring them to the city's fiscal plan would offer City Council members big public credit at little immediate cost. (Newsday)

Crippled by exorbitant new fines, city restaurateurs are suing the city Department of Health, claiming the summons blitz is nothing but a revenue producer for the cash-strapped city. The lawsuit is slated to be filed today in Brooklyn federal court by the New York State Restaurant Association, on behalf of its city members. (NY Post)

6/10
The Bloomberg administration says the credit should go to a series of highly selective crime-fighting initiatives that has won significant victories in the streets. (NY Times)

Saying that he has brought school construction costs under control, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced yesterday that one of the city's leading construction companies had agreed to build a long-delayed addition to Queens Vocational High School at a cost that was nearly 30 percent lower than the city has paid for recent school building projects.(NY Times) (NY Daily News) (Newsday)

Instead of talking, the mayor and City Council bickered yesterday over the budget. Speaker Gifford Miller visited a senior center in Manhattan to prod the mayor to fund seniors' programs. (NY Daily News)

Polls say most New Yorkers don't want to have dinner with Michael Bloomberg, yet the mayor is hoping to win back the city, one diner at a time.(Newsday)

For the first time, Mayor Michael Bloomberg yesterday left the door ajar for rolling back education cuts beyond the $8 million he has already vowed to restore for "teacher's choice" - a program that gives every teacher a stipend to buy supplementary classroom supplies. (Newsday)

6/8
Firefighters, police officers and emergency medical technicians who died on Sept. 11, 2001, should be individually identified as rescue workers in any memorial built at ground zero, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said yesterday during a funeral service for the youngest firefighter killed in the attack. (Daily News)

After 17 months in office, Mayor Michael Bloomberg's top aides are telling department heads to clear all senior appointments through City Hall. A memo dated June 4 from chief of staff Peter Madonia calls for City Hall review of appointments to such departmental positions as chief of staff, general counsel, deputy commissioner, assistant commissioner and press secretary. (Newsday)

6/7
City Hall authorized the Sanitation Department yesterday to rehire 191 of the 515 employees laid off three weeks ago, said Kathy Dawkins, a department spokeswoman. They are to start June 16. (Daily News)

The Staten Island borough president for years has been paying a top aide tens of thousands of dollars more than allowed by city regulations, auditors have discovered. One of Borough President James Molinaro's special assistants pocketed $96,635 in fiscal 2003 - $36,413 more than the maximum $60,222 allotted for the position, according to an audit by city Comptroller William Thompson. (NY Post)

Chancellor Joel Klein has ordered school custodians to buy all their cleaning and building supplies from one firm to potentially slash spending by millions of dollars and curb corruption. (NY Post)

6/6
Now that Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has rescinded $90 million of his most unpopular proposed budget cuts, City Council officials struggled yesterday to figure out how they could save even more services. The Council, which usually assumes the role of protector of endangered city services during budget negotiations with the mayor, found itself pre-empted this week when Mr. Bloomberg announced that he was abandoning his plans to reduce trash pickups outside Manhattan, cut Staten Island Ferry service and curtail library hours. (New York Times)

City Council Speaker Gifford Miller and five other council members may seek an extra two years in office, the state's highest court ruled Thursday. The Court of Appeals refused to overturn a lower court's decision that said the council members -- who had been elected to two-year terms instead of four-year terms -- have the right to seek an additional two years in November. (Newsday) (NY Post)

City Council leaders yesterday demanded Mayor Bloomberg come up with at least an additional $100 million if he wants to get his budget approved. A day after the mayor's surprise decision to restore $90.2 million in threatened service cuts, council members said there are still too many painful reductions in the mayor's $44.5 billion proposed budget. (NY Post)

A day after restoring more than $90 million in vital city services, Mayor Bloomberg showed little of the same warm-and-fuzzy goodwill to the Prospect Park and Queens zoos. "We'd like to be able to focus our money on things like rodent control and asthma and HIV prevention," Bloomberg said yesterday. (NY Daily News)

6/5
Mayor Michael Bloomberg backed away yesterday from $90.2 million in service cuts, abandoning plans to reduce trash pickups outside Manhattan, curtail library hours and slash a summer jobs program. (NY Times) (Daily News) Bloomberg was vague about where he suddenly found the extra funding, citing unspecified "efficiencies." (NY Post) The biggest restoration, analysts suggested, may be the one to his own image - balancing the perception that he is an unfeeling businessman who tickets pregnant women and milk-crate sitters while taking an ax to city services. (Daily News)

It might go down in local political history as the Bloomberg rule -- an attempt to satisfy wealthy candidates, the First Amendment and campaign finance law all at once. The city's Campaign Finance Board Wednesday proposed rules meant to have wealthy candidates abide by yet-unspecified limits on how much they can spend on their campaigns. In return, the board would curtail some of its current rules that had provided increased public financing and no limit on spending for the opponents of free-spending candidates. (Newsday)

A civil rights lawyer and a senior lawyer with the Legal Aid Society urged the City Council yesterday to increase oversight and accountability of how the Police Department handles raids like the one that led to the death of a 57-year-old Harlem woman last month. (NY Times)

Anger spilled over yesterday when a city councilman accused the police commissioner of using search warrants to harass black communities. (Daily News)

One minute after midnight yesterday, it got more expensive to shop in New York City as an increase in the city sales tax took effect. That increase of one-eighth of a percentage point was on top of a statewide increase of one-quarter of a percentage point that took effect on Sunday, bringing the combined state and city sales tax to 8.625 percent from 8.25 percent. (NY Times)

On a dull, rainy day the Fire Department Wednesday honored the actions of its heroes during the past calendar year, and the mayor drew both applause and good-natured boos. (Newsday)

6/4
As the result of an agreement announced yesterday, the city has retreated from its plans to cuts one firefighter from each of 52 fire companies, so that the companies would have four instead of five firefighters. Instead, the city will cut staff at 23 of the companies, leaving 29 of them at current staff levels. In return, the Uniformed Firefighters Association union agreed to drop seven legal actions against the city. (Newsday) (New York Times) (Daily News)

Council members and other critics yesterday assailed Mayor Michael Bloomberg's decision to lift the 1980 ban on city employees reporting illegal immigrants. The measure had barred city workers from reporting an immigrant's status, unless the immigrant had committed a crime. (Daily News) (New York Post)

The city will end its fiscal year in three weeks with a cash surplus of $1 billion, but the money will instantly go into balancing next years budget. (Newsday)

Many City Council incumbents will face challenges at the polls this year, as a relatively large number of candidates have registered with the city campaign finance program. (New York Times)

The Bloomberg administration is under attack from critics who claim the city is handing out summonses for petty -- if not downright silly offenses -- in an effort to bring in desperately needed revenue. The administration denies there is any ticket blitz, but, whatever the reality, Mayor Michael Bloomberg seems to have lost the public relations war on the issue. (New York Times)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg yesterday said the city, not the state, should have control over rent regulations, but he did not say whether he thought the provision decontrolling rents on vacant apartments when the rent reaches $2,000 a month should be repealed. The mayors comments prompted tenant advocates to criticize him for not being actively involved in the fight over rent regulation. The state legislature is expected to act on rent regulation this month. (Daily News)

6/3
Yesterday, the city agreed to pay each Neponsit resident $18,000 as part of a $5 million class-action lawsuit settlement approved in Federal District Court in Manhattan, ending a legal battle that, advocates for the elderly have said, called into question the city's commitment to public health care.(NY Times) (NY Post)

Ferries go back and forth, by definition. So do city budget negotiations. As part of the back-and-forth of city budget negotiations, Staten Island ferry riders won a temporary reprieve yesterday from a plan to reduce rush hour ferry service.(NY Times)

The city Off-Track Betting Corp. is counting on a spectacular finish this month to avert its worst financial showing since 1994, when it actually lost money on operations. (NY Post)

6/2
While public officials can say with some precision how much money the new taxes and higher tolls will generate, they do not know how those costs will change the lives of individual New Yorkers. But on a single city block the effects are visible, in the small measures and basic decisions of the people, like Mrs. Messina, who live, work or do business here. (New York Times)

The new state 8.5 percent sales tax that went into effect yesterday caused chaos all over the Big Apple. A Post survey of 30 stores in Manhattan and Brooklyn found that 12 - or 40 percent - charged the wrong tax. While big stores like Macy's and Gap got it right, smaller stores and mom-and-pop operations varied all over the lot. Six of the stores - or 20 percent - charged the old rate, 8.25 percent. One charged 8.625 percent - which is what the rate will be later this week when the city sales tax hike kicks in - and one mysteriously charged 4 percent. (New York Post)

As the furor over summonses engulfed City Hall last week, Mayor Bloomberg returned often to one fact: The city has issued fewer tickets this year compared with last. Technically, he is right. But Bloomberg is wrong - or at least making a gross political miscalculation - to suggest that statistics explain why this issue has struck a nerve with New Yorkers, analysts say. "People feel like they are under siege - every aspect of their lives is costing more," said City Councilman James Oddo, a Staten Island Republican who often has sparred with the mayor. Bloomberg's argument fails to appreciate that New Yorkers already are struggling to absorb the triple whammy of sales, income and property tax hikes, not to mention a 33% boost in bus and subway fares. (Daily News) Mayor Bloomberg admitted yesterday that he's bothered that blacks and Hispanics aren't giving him high marks right now - but he said he's confident he'll win them over in time for his re-election bid in 2005. "I also believe two years from now they will support me again," Bloomberg said on WRKS radio yesterday. (New York Post)

Cell phones may be wireless, but they do come with strings attached. Hidden fees and surcharges add up to $82 million a year extra that the city's cell phone users are forced to pay, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said yesterday, calling the wireless companies an "industry out of control."In his survey of the six major wireless services in the metropolitan area, Schumer said he found that the hidden fees ranged from 47 cents to $1.75 a month, depending on the provider. Only Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile did not tack on additional fees. (Newsday)

6/1
New York shoppers will soon be asked to declare purchases they make on the Internet - and to fork over any unpaid sales tax for the items. (New York Post)

Evidence in the police slaying of an unarmed immigrant in Chelsea has been tainted, an attorney for the victim charged yesterday. Attorney Sanford Rubenstein made the allegation based on a WNBC/Channel 4 News report Friday night that plainclothes cop Brian Conroy waited a week before turning in the jacket he wore when he shot craftsman Ousmane Zongo. (Daily News)

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