GOTHAM GAZETTE: SEARCHLIGHT 2002:The Record

The Record: June 2004

6/30

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said yesterday that he had improved city schools. (Newsday)

A City Council ethics committee investigating sexual harassment charges against Queens City Councilmember Allan Jennings has recommended three more charges against him, a council official said yesterday. (New York Times) (Newsday)

6/29

In a move praised by landlords, tenants and housing groups, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and city housing officials announced a complicated new financing plan yesterday offering more incentives for property owners to stay in the Mitchell-Lama program, which provides housing for tens of thousands of low- and moderate-income families in the city. (NY Times) (Daily News)

The City Council took a major step in remaking Downtown Brooklyn yesterday, formally approving an ambitious rezoning package that is intended to encourage commercial and residential development as part of the city's efforts to attract and keep jobs within the five boroughs. (NY Times)

The City University of New York has named a new president for Baruch College, as well as a new executive vice chancellor - the No. 2 position at the university - and a new head librarian. The appointments were approved yesterday by the trustees at their monthly meeting. (NY Times)

Overriding another of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's vetoes, the City Council voted yesterday to require that companies doing business with the city offer equal benefits to the domestic partners of their employees. (NY Times) (Daily News) (NY Post) (Newsday)

New York City education officials said yesterday that they had removed 45 principals "for poor performance" over this academic year but that 25 of them would get other jobs within the city school system. (NY Times) (Daily News) (NY Post) (Newsday)

In an effort to bolster the FDNY's top brass after a series of alcohol-related incidents, Mayor Bloomberg yesterday appointed Peter Hayden as chief of the department, the highest-ranking uniformed position. (NY Post) http://www.nypost.com/news/regionalnews/26578.htm (Newsday)

6/28

Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Gov. Pataki, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sen. John McCain will all get starring prime-time speeches at the Republican convention in New York later this summer, The Post has learned. (NY Post)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg holds dinners for smaller cultural institutions regularly, luring donors and board members whom the museums and theaters have merely fantasized about. (NY Times)

The mayor wants your help to fight the gun lobby. Last week, the mayor blasted a bill that would bar the city from getting federal data tracing the sale of guns. (Daily News)

Firing his first political shot since declaring his candidacy for City Hall in 2005, Fernando Ferrer yesterday accused Mayor Bloomberg of sacrificing public services in order to give New Yorkers a property-tax rebate and build a West Side stadium. (NY Post) (Newsday)

After 34 years, community school boards make way for parent-dominated councils. (Newsday)

6/27

Political donors were ready to pay handsomely for a lunch at Michael Bloomberg's house in honor of two Republican congressmen, but then one of them, Bob Ney of Ohio, voted against a bill that would have given New York a bigger share of money from a federal antiterrorism program. The mayor promptly disinvited him, and the fund-raising lunch was canceled. (NY Times)

Attention homeowners: Getting your $400 rebate from the city may not be as easy as you think. (Daily News)

The city will launch a tough new get-to-work program for the least-employable welfare recipients amid looming federal laws that would require 70 percent of those on the dole to get a job. (NY Post)

6/26

Security measures for the convention will include putting a concrete barrier around Madison Square Garden. (NY Times) (Daily News) (NY Post) (Newsday)

The word is out, if only unofficially: if you are a trauma surgeon, an emergency-department nurse or a top hospital administrator, do not take vacation in late August, in the days up to and during the Republican National Convention Aug. 30 to Sept. 2. (NY Times)

Who gets to sign the $400 checks that Mayor Bloomberg wants to send all homeowners? Usually, it's the controller, but that's William Thompson, a Democrat who is eying a run against Bloomberg, a Republican. (Daily News)

A six-month extension for seven Big Apple private bus lines will mean worse service for about 400,000 commuters, while thousands of workers could face benefit cuts, union protesters charged yesterday. (NY Post)

6/25

The City Council early today unanimously approved a new $47.2 billion city budget that restored programs cut by Mayor Bloomberg and added millions to projects near and dear to individual lawmakers. (NY Post) (NY Newsday)

The city agreed yesterday to rescue the Legal Aid Society from its financial straits, averting layoffs of at least 140 defense lawyers for the poor with an $11 million infusion of cash. (NY Times)

Small homeowners cheering Mayor Bloomberg's $400 property tax rebate may not be so happy to hear they probably won't get a traditional break on their bills worth about $75. (NY Post)

The Bloomberg administration plans several measures to crack down on convicted sex offenders and drug dealers who live in or visit New York City housing projects, where a disproportionate percentage of crimes in the city are committed, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said yesterday. (NY Times) (NY Post)

City Council members, parents and the head of the city teachers' union criticized the New York City Department of Education's new high school admissions process yesterday, saying the department had wronged students by leaving dozens of seats unfilled at some of the city's most prized high schools. (NY Times)

The City Council's education committee yesterday rejected the mayor's new retention policy, the latest move by the legislative body to demonstrate its long-standing opposition to the controversial plan to end social promotion. (NY Newsday)

Popular high schools that have room to spare in their freshman classes next year should be filled with students who did not get in the first time around, Council Speaker Gifford Miller said yesterday. (Daily News)

Sure, Mayor Bloomberg is a Republican - but he'll write checks to Democrats if they help the city. (Daily News) http://www.nydailynews.com/news/local/story/206153p-177945c.html (NY Post) (NY Newsday)

6/24

Mayor Michael Bloomberg unveiled an ambitious plan yesterday to reduce the number of homeless people in the city by two-thirds over the next five years, proposing to build thousands of units of new housing and put new restrictions on city shelters. (NY Times) (Daily News) (NY Post)

A $400 property tax rebate that seemed destined to go into the pocketbooks of New York City homeowners was stalled in the mire of Albany politics on Tuesday night. (NY Times) (Daily News)

Mayor Bloomberg was steaming yesterday at critics who say homeowners will have to pay taxes on the $400 property tax rebates he hopes to send them this fall. But the mayor conceded those who file itemized tax returns wouldn't be pocketing the full refund. (NY Post)

Landlords and tenants were fighting like cats and dogs at City Hall yesterday when lawmakers debated a bill that would strengthen the rights of renters to have pets. (NY Post) (Daily News)

6/23

The city's plan to give homeowners a $400 annual rebate for the next three years became mired in the end-of-session rush to leave Albany as the State Legislature ended its regular session without approving the measure. The legislature will consider the plan when it returns to approve a state budget later this summer. (Daily News) (Newsday)

Chaos and inertia in Albany could jeopardize the $400 tax rebate for New York City homeowners. (New York Post)

New details of the budget deal reached by the mayor and City Council emerged yesterday. Among them: Homeowners may have to pay taxes on their $400 tax rebate. (NY Times)

Although tax rebates and other goodies approved by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the City Council may feel good, the hangover is coming, experts warned yesterday. Next year, Bloomberg and Council Speaker Gifford Miller will have to confront a $3.8 billion deficit if current projections hold true. (Daily News)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg did not attend a City Council hearing on third grade retention yesterday, angering some council members. The committee then voted in favor of a resolution condemning his stricter promotion policy for third graders. (New York Post)

The investigation of State Senator Guy Velella, who plead guilty to criminal charges, reveals links between the influence peddling scandal that sent Velella to prison and former Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer, the Post reports. (New York Post)

6/22

The Mayor and City Council last night struck a deal on a $47 billion budget that will provide a $400 property-tax rebate to small homeowners and add a new income-tax credit for the city's 700,000 poorest wage-earners. (NY Times) (Daily News) (NY Post) (Newsday)

The City unveiled its plans for a development of the far West Side yesterday. Deputy Mayor Daniel Doctoroff told a panel of state lawmakers that the long-awaited expansion of the Javits Convention Center could go forward without a controversial football stadium and exposition hall. (NY Post) (NY Times) (Daily News)

6/21

Comptroller William Thompson Jr. is asked a question at nearly every turn these days: Will he run to succeed Mayor Michael Bloomberg next year? (NY Times)

Right-minded voters be warned: The "L" word could play a surprise role in Mayor Michael Bloomberg's future. This summer, the nominally Republican Bloomberg helps host his adopted party's national convention, where the word "liberal" sometimes is regarded as a synonym for loser, or worse. (Newsday)

6/20

Even as New York City's economy rebounds, many of its Council members are proposing to empty the government's coffers just as fast as they are being replenished. (NY Times)

Asia Friedman discovered that a trip to Dr. Bloomberg is a far more probing encounter than a visit to her family doctor. (NY Post)

6/19

Mayor Bloomberg blasted an early morning House vote yesterday that rejected an effort by New York-area lawmakers to funnel homeland security dollars to high-risk cities. (Daily News), (Newsday), (NY Times), (NY Post)

The Bloomberg administration reached a court settlement requiring city education officials to stop the alleged practice of "pushing" overage students out of school. (NY Times), (NY Post)

6/18

Negotiations on a city budget for next year have hit a snag over roughly $350 million that the City Council wants to add to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's $46.9 billion spending plan, officials on both sides of City Hall said yesterday. (New York Times)

Mayor Bloomberg was once asked if he ever smoked marijuana. He boasted: "You bet I did, and I enjoyed it!"  But that was before Bloomberg was elected mayor. So when Hizzoner was asked yesterday about his position on legalizing medicinal marijuana, his enthusiasm for the wacky weed decidedly diminished. (New York Daily News)

City employees failing to make court-ordered child-support payments will be hit with stiff penalties under a City Hall crackdown on deadbeats, Mayor Bloomberg announced yesterday. Deadbeats among the Big Apple's roughly 300,000 city workers may have their tax rebates intercepted, their bank accounts frozen or their drivers licenses suspended if they fail to make child-support payments on time and in full. (New York Post) (Newsday)

6/17

Two weeks before the city budget deadline, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Gifford Miller have not met to discuss a new spending plan for several days, Miller said Wednesday. Though negotiations between aides to the mayor and speaker continue, Bloomberg and Miller remain at odds over about $220 million in spending cuts proposed by the mayor and competing plans for property tax rollbacks. (AP)

With the clock ticking in Albany, Mayor Bloomberg's plan to give New York City homeowners a $400 property tax rebate may be running out of time. Bloomberg's failure to reach an agreement with the City Council means the Legislature - which must sign off on the rebate plan - might not address the issue before it ends its session next week. (Daily News)

When Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg arrived at City Hall yesterday morning, he breezed by the usual array of police officers, lobbyists and government aides gathered outside. But one group was not so ready to let him pass by. Several members of United for Peace and Justice, a protest group that has been battling the Bloomberg administration for the right to hold a rally in Central Park during the Republican National Convention, seized the opportunity to ask the mayor when they would receive a permit. The mayor said, "All you've got to do is apply." (NY Times) (Daily News)

The city has no special plans for relocating the midtown homeless during the Republican National Convention, Mayor Bloomberg said yesterday, contradicting a city letter describing the move. (Daily News)

Struggling students are far more likely to show up for class and graduate on time if they go to a high school with fewer than 500 kids, school officials told the City Council yesterday. (Daily News)

6/16

In an effort to reduce reliance on the shelter system, the mayorís plan for homelessness could include measures to prevent homelessness and to discourage people from trying to enter the shelter system. It may also ask people to pay part of the costs of a shelter if they are financially able. (New York Times)

Although the mayor has not yet formally announced his plan to fight homelessness in the city, advocates for the homeless are already criticizing parts of it. (Newsday)

More than a dozen Queens neighborhoods will be rezoned in an effort to prevent too much development of the areas, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced yesterday. (New York Times) (New York Post)

Some City Council members yesterday criticized Mayor Michael Bloomberg's new emergency plan, faulting it for not making a single agency in charge of major disasters. Administration officials defended the plan. (Daily News)

Officials are reviewing whether former City Council General Counsel Thomas McMahon violated the City Charter by releasing a confidential report related to the investigation of City Councilmember Allan Jennings for alleged misconduct and sexual harassment. (Newsday)

Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau yesterday called for the legalization of marijuana for medical uses. A bill that would allow the use of marijuana to ease pain is currently in the state legislature. (Daily News) (Newsday)

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has condemned giving campaign contributions in return for favors from public officials and proposed tight restrictions on contributions from lobbyists and others doing business with the city. But the mayor does not practice what he preaches. He has contributed $5,000 to Representative Harold Rogers, a Kentucky Republican who is chair of a House subcommittee on homeland security and has said that, in return, he hopes to get more federal antiterrorism money for New York City. (New York Times)

6/15

A delegation of City Council members enjoyed an all-expenses paid trip to Trinidad and Tobago last year, but none of them reported the excursion on financial disclosure forms released yesterday, (Daily News)

The Bloomberg administration will propose a network of new "vocational" high schools to prepare students for 21st century jobs. (NY Post)

Under a proposal unveiled yesterday by Mayor Bloomberg, campaign contributions from people who have business with the city would be so dramatically curtailed that even those contracting with quasi-city agencies, such as OTB and the hospital system, would be strictly limited. (NY Post)

6/14

City Hall is making a list of homeless shelter residents who could end up on the streets as part of a policy to evict the unruly, the Daily News has learned. (Daily News)

Mayor Bloomberg lashed out against his Fifth Ave. neighbors who barricaded their buildings with plywood and chain-link fencing before the Puerto Rican Day Parade. (Daily News)

6/13

The mayor lashed out at the Queens judge who helped a robbery suspect dodge an NYPD detective waiting to arrest him. (Daily News), (NY Post), (Newsday)

Now that the first year of Mayor Bloomberg's sweeping education overhaul is nearly over, his administration is getting mostly positive marks on its report card. (NY Post)

Mayor Bloomberg softened his stand on Mister Softee yesterday, telling ice-cream truck owners he might consider alternatives to a proposed ban on their "annoying" jingles. (NY Post)

6/12

If labor negotiations are theater, there was a wide selection of shows to choose from this week. With a series of strikes, protests and marches, New York City's labor unions turned their disputes into high drama, disrupting the lives of thousands of New Yorkers, most notably parents who use city day care centers and elderly and sick patients who rely on home-health aides. (NY Times)

6/11

Of the many unusual moves that Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg made right after taking office, one of the most notable was his choice to remain in his Upper East Side townhouse rather than move into Gracie Mansion, home to every mayor since Fiorello H. La Guardia. Instead, Mr. Bloomberg said the historic mansion would be used as "the people's house." It really is. (New York Times)

The Brooklyn district attorney's office is investigating whether the 2001 mayoral campaign of Mark Green paid for a set of campaign fliers without properly reporting the expenditure, a law enforcement official said yesterday. The fliers and their origin became a major source of contention during that year's Democratic mayoral primary. (New York Times)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he got directly involved yesterday in the labor dispute involving home health care workers and day care workers and telephoned the presidents of both unions.

(Newsday)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg is raising a ruckus about quieting the city. But City Council members say he's neglecting one irritant begging to be muzzled car alarms. (Newsday)

6/10

A confluence of labor actions this week - three-day strikes held by day care workers and home health aides, and a protest that drew tens of thousands of firefighters, police officers and teachers outside City Hall - underscored the unusually painful headache that unions present to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. (NY Times)

The three-day walkout by home health-care workers ended yesterday with more than half the 23,000 strikers getting tentative contracts. (Daily News)

A City Council committee charged Councilman Allan Jennings yesterday with creating a hostile work environment for two female staffers - charges that the Queens Democrat vowed to fight. The Council's Ethics Committee voted unanimously to approve the charge, which alleges Jennings made unwanted sexual advances toward the two Council staffers. (Daily News) (NY Post)

A City Council bill aimed at adding women's bathrooms in public places is flush with costs to merchants, critics charged yesterday. The Restroom Equity Bill, co-sponsored by Councilwoman Yvette Clarke in December, would require stadiums, bars, movie halls and theaters to create a 2-to-1 ratio of women's rooms to men's rooms. (Daily News) (NY Post)

The embattled head of the city's Legal Aid Society abruptly resigned yesterday, citing the agency's financial crisis as he left after almost 10 years on the job. (Daily News)

Half of New York City voters approve of the way Michael R. Bloomberg is handling his job, the mayor's highest rating in two years, according to a new poll. (NY Times) (Daily News)

6/9

Police, firefighters and teachers protested near City Hall yesterday to demand more pay. (Daily News)

The Bloomberg administration yesterday revealed their very technical bill to fight noise but many New Yorkers remain skeptical over whether it will work and business owners worried how the law would affect them. (Newsday)

A new poll shows Mayor Michael Bloomberg's approval rating at a two-year high. (Newsday)

City Republicans yesterday criticized Mayor Michael Bloomberg's decision to keep city offices and schools open on Friday when state offices will close because of the funeral of former President Ronald Reagan. (Newsday)

6/8

The Bloomberg administration plans to overhaul the city's noise code for the first time in more than three decades. (NY Times)

City Council members are considering scrapping a proposal for a broad property tax cut next year while continuing to seek tax breaks for elderly homeowners and the working poor. (NY Times)

A controversial Bloomberg administration plan to replace hot meals with frozen ones for needy seniors in the Bronx has been postponed until October, city officials said yesterday. (Newsday)

6/6

Warning: Working for the city could be hazardous to your health. In just the first five months of this year, the state Department of Labor has issued a staggering 250 violations against the city for endangering its work force, compared with 275 for all of 2003, and up from only 38 in 2001. Arising from recent state investigations are:
* 10 violations, several for repeat offenses, against Parks and Recreation because four lifeguards were stuck with hypodermic needles on city beaches.
* 36 violations against the Department of Environmental Protection for fire code violations at the Hunts Point Sewage Treatment Plant.
* Another 30 against the DEP for locked fire exits, no safety training and threadbare protective gear at its Pike Street repair shop.
* Seven violations against Housing Preservation and Development for a mouse infestation and electrical shock hazards at its headquarters. (New York Post)

6/5/04

Mayor Bloomberg apparently believes it's time for New Yorkers to quit complaining - and get behind his most controversial initiatives. Whether it's his plan to build a new Jets stadium in Manhattan, a new Nets stadium in Brooklyn or to overhaul city schools, "This tearing down has just got to stop in this city," Bloomberg said yesterday. "Everybody says, 'I am in favor of change but not that change. I want failure,'" Bloomberg said on his weekly WABC-AM radio show. As for city schools, which produced a mixed bag of test scores Thursday, "Everybody should be cheering these numbers and cheering us on to help and make it work," Bloomberg argued. (Daily News)

6/4

Mayor Bloomberg was hoping to land a knockout punch yesterday when the state released its first reading scores since he instituted his new curriculum. This is the mayor, after all, who pointedly has asked voters to judge him on education. But if Bloomberg was looking for a decisive win, he didn't get it. (New York Daily News)

A raucous City Council hearing on the proposed West Side Stadium yesterday featured a blizzard of financial figures, random facts (the far West Side now has a mere 614 trees and shrubs) and a constant chorus of boos, hisses and catcalls that greeted the testimony. (New York Times) (Newsday)

Mayor Bloomberg yesterday vetoed a bill that would have forced businesses that have contracts with the city to offer domestic-partner benefits. The mayor's action sparked outrage among gay advocates and City Council members who vowed to override the veto.

Fernando Ferrer last night said for the first time that he'll run for mayor. (New York Post) (New York Post)

A Nascar developer has hired Guy V. Molinari, the former Staten Island borough president, as it pursues plans to build a speedway in the New York metropolitan area. (New York Times)

With a budget deadline looming, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Thursday that he expects to convince the City Council of the merits of a property-tax rebate even as key compromises remain to be made. (NY Newsday)

Mayor Bloomberg secretly flew to Mexico City last week to meet with a high-ranking International Olympic Committee official, as he seeks to boost New York's chances to host the Games, The Post has learned. (New York Post)

6/3

An improving economy is concealing serious problems in the city's budget that can only be solved through permanent spending cuts or increases in revenue, like higher taxes, a state fiscal monitor warned yesterday. The New York State Financial Control Board said it had reviewed Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's proposed $46.9 billion budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1, and found a "deterioration in the city's fiscal condition that was temporarily masked" by a growing surplus in this year's budget. (NY Times) (Daily News)

Slowing their drive for a 2 percent real-estate tax cut, City Council leaders are considering approval of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's alternative - a rebate plan for homeowners, council sources said Wednesday. The council also appears ready to bend on its initial demand for $220 million in restorations of local program spending by settling for a lower figure as a deadline approaches for a budget deal with the mayor. (Newsday)

City Council leaders yesterday criticized a proposal by the Bloomberg administration to curtail political contributions from people who conduct business with the city, making it unlikely that the proposal will have enough support to become law. (NY Times)

Potential mayoral candidates Council Speaker Gifford Miller and City Comptroller William Thompson would have their fund-raising efforts severely hamstrung if Mayor Bloomberg's proposal to limit contributions from companies that have business with the city is enacted. (NY Post)

Frustrated City Council members gathered outside the headquarters of the Nielsen ratings firm yesterday to protest today's launch of a controversial new way of measuring TV audiences. Members of the council's Black, Latino & Asian Caucus and minority groups had previously called on Nielsen to delay using a remote control-like device called the Local People Meter to record viewing preferences in the Big Apple. The LPM replaces a manual written diary system - and critics say it undercounts minorities. (NY Post)

The City Council is poised to make racial profiling by city cops illegal. Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly barred racial profiling in a March 2002 order. But a bill negotiated by the Council and Mayor Bloomberg soon will make Kelly's ban law. (Daily News)

6/2

Mayor Michael Bloomberg is reportedly drafting a proposal that would sharply limit the size of campaign contributions from people who do business with the city. The proposal would not affect the mayor, who plans to spend tens of millions of dollars of his own money on his re-election campaign, but would affect Council Speaker Gifford Miller, who has regularly accepted such contributions. The proposals sets up a confrontation between the mayor and council over campaign spending. (New York Times)

Mayor Bloomberg, who spent $75 million on his successful 2001 mayoral campaign said yesterday that he would spend what it takes next year as well. "If I'm willing to spend money to tell people what I'm about, I think I'd be derelict in my responsibility to not do that," the mayor said during a press conference. (New York Post)

City Council Speaker Gifford Miller yesterday appointed appointed Port Authority assistant director Charles Meara to become his chief of staff. Meara's appointment comes after several departures from the speaker's staff. (New York Post)

The three Republicans on the 51-member City Council are emerging as important players in the negotiations over competing tax plans by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Council Speaker Gifford Miller. (New York Times)

Brooklyn Democratic Assemblyman Roger Green, who pleaded guilty earlier this year to submitting phony travel vouchers, resigned yesterday rather than face additional penalties. But less than two hours later, Green, the longtime head of the legislature's Black and Puerto Rican Caucus, said he planned to run for re-election in November. (New York Post)

6/1

Memorial Day is a time when the nation pauses to remember its fallen military men and women, and its politicians take the opportunity to do a little politicking, as in yesterday's parade in Whitestone, Queens. (NY Times)

With vacation homes in three countries and a private jet, it might seem a sin that Mayor Bloomberg has not logged a formal vacation in more than two years. (Daily News) and (NY Post)

Unless it's a real emergency, city workers should not pull rank on the public by turning on emergency lights just to bust through bumper-to-bumper traffic, the mayor said. (Daily News)

Click here to see The Record for May 2004