GOTHAM GAZETTE: SEARCHLIGHT 2002:The Record

The Record: March 2005

3/31

Prevailing in the auction would amount to a critical and hard-won victory for the Jets and the Bloomberg administration. (NY Times) (NY Daily News) (NY Post) (Newsday)

City Council members blasted the MTA for wanting to close down token booths throughout the city and replace them with automated turnstiles. (Newsday)

3/30

A key member of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority board yesterday announced his support for the Jets plan for the West Side railyards, putting the team in a strong position prior to tomorrow's scheduled vote on competing bids for the site. (Newsday) (Daily News) (New York Times) (New York Post)

More than 4,000 battered women were turned away from emergency shelter in the city last year, Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum charged yesterday. (Daily News)

The complicated and politically charged issue of garbage will come into sharp relief today when city officials begin to present the mayor's 20-year sanitation plan to the City Council. (New York Times)

3/29

The Jets' offer for the MTA's West Side railyards site could be worth nearly $300 million more than rival Cablevision's - but it comes with more strings and less upfront cash, documents released yesterday show. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority released bid proposals from the two suitors, plus a third, days after details of the offers were divulged. (Daily News) (New York Post) (Newsday)

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority released previously undisclosed details yesterday about the offers by the Jets and two other bidders for the hotly contested development rights at the West Side railyards, including closing dates and how much money would be paid and when. At first glance, the Jets appear to have made an enticing $720 million offer in which they promise to close on the deal with the authority by May 2.But only $280 million is coming from the team, including $30 million for long-term maintenance. The remainder would come from six developers who have signed a nonbinding agreement to buy excess development rights for $440 million if and when the city rezones the 13-acre parcel, a process that could take a year or longer. The bid from Cablevision is $760 million. But the cable television company, which owns Madison Square Garden and views the stadium as competition, is silent in its bid documents about when the company would close on the deal.But last night, Hank Ratner, vice chairman of the Garden, said, "We're prepared to close immediately." Unlike the Jets' offer, the Cablevision offer includes the estimated cost of building a deck over the railyards, $360 million. So the net value of the offer to the transit authority is closer to $400 million. A third company, TransGas Energy, has offered $1.05 billion. But it would require the authority to assist it in obtaining approval for a power plant in Brooklyn and to sign a 40-year contract to buy power from TransGas. (New York Times)

What was Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg doing yesterday, standing in his tasseled loafers at the rain-soaked intersection of 65th Street and 70th Avenue in Glendale, Queens, shoveling asphalt into a pothole?Ostensibly, the mayor was there with the city's transportation commissioner, Iris Weinshall, to announce that his administration has filled more than 600,000 potholes during the three years he has been in office, roughly 40 percent more than in the three previous years. "Nobody likes having potholes," the mayor declared, adding later that the budget for road repaving was going from $75 million in this fiscal year to $90 million next year.But even if there was something to crow about, a news conference showcasing the city's pothole-filling success is a first for the Bloomberg administration. And it just so happens that he is running for re-election. (New York Times)

City homeless shelters are now required to have signs that inform parents of proper sleeping positions for children. Mayor Bloomberg yesterday signed into law a bill that was sponsored by Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum, who said even her own daughter required instructions on how to put her baby to bed. "Since 2000, there were about 35 deaths in the homeless shelters, many of which probably could be prevented with a little bit of education. Clearly, people don't know that co-sleeping is dangerous," Gotbaum said. Bloomberg said, "Co-sleeping is when an adult sleeps with a kid and can roll over on top of the infant." (New York Post)

3/28

The Jets' next home could be in New Jersey for all Mayor Bloomberg cares about the football team's future - what he really wants is a new convention center that would be part of a West Side stadium. (NY Post)

A failed wholesaler center is one example of the mayor's sometimes rocky relations with immigrant groups and minorities. (Newsday)

3/27

Controversial City Council proposal to prevent The Plaza hotel from converting more than 20 percent of its space to condos would be tossed by the courts in "two seconds," Mayor Bloomberg said yesterday. The mayor was reacting to council legislation introduced last week to block Elad Properties, the new owner of the landmark hotel, from cutting the number of rooms it has by 80 percent - from 805 to 150. (NY Post)

The $2 billion extension of the No. 7 subway line "still may be possible" if the MTA awards Cablevision the site of the proposed West Side stadium, Mayor Bloomberg said yesterday. (Daily News)

A flabbergasted Mayor Bloomberg yesterday said he could hardly believe it when he learned that city educrats produced math test-prep manuals that were rife with errors. (NY Post)

Mayor Bloomberg was spotted on the golf course of the Tucker's Point Club in Bermuda, where he has a vacation home, on Friday. (NY Times)

3/25

After three years of searching for a way to get rid of New York's trash, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has come up with a plan with a problem: cost. (NY Times)

The money train that will pay for subway upgrades over the next five years needs to come from Albany, Mayor Bloomberg said yesterday. (NY Post)

Encouraged by union leaders, teachers across the city "called in Catholic" to protest the Education Department's decision to hold classes on Holy Thursday, school sources said. (Daily News)

3/24

The city will end the fiscal year with a $2.5 billion surplus - $500 million more than Mayor Bloomberg projected in January. (Daily News)

Mayor Bloomberg lashed out at transit officials yesterday after rush-hour subway service was snagged for the fourth time in a week - adding to the underground March madness. (Daily News)

Domestic partners would be entitled to all benefits and services provided by the city to spouses under a measure introduced yesterday by City Council Speaker Gifford Miller. Officials said the impetus for the bill came after the Department of Homeless Services required domestic partners to provide additional documentation to prove their relationship. (NY Post)

The union, Local 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union, persuaded allies in the City Council to introduce legislation yesterday that would require residential developers planning projects in Williamsburg and Greenpoint to pay the prevailing union wage for janitors, doormen and security guards. (NY Times)

The city's Board of Elections has finally gotten around to answering e-mails from voters who were wondering where to cast their ballots Nov. 2 nearly five months after the election. (NY Post)

The Rev. Al Sharpton joined the battle to build a West Side stadium yesterday and immediately tackled Cablevision accusing the company of failing to create jobs for minorities like the Jets promised to do. Sharpton joined with city lawmakers and union leaders on the steps of City Hall to endorse the $1.7 billion stadium because of the Jets' commitment to create jobs for minority workers. (NY Post)

3/23

Madison Square Garden officials, who have been battling the Bloomberg administration over the proposed West Side stadium, asked the City Council Tuesday to preserve the garden's $11-million annual tax break. The hearing was on a resolution calling on Albany to scrap the garden's property tax exemption, which was instituted in 1982 to keep the Knicks and Rangers from fleeing the city. (Newsday) (Daily News)

The Reverend Al Sharpton is expected to endorse the proposed Jets stadium today. (New York Times) (New York Post)

The City Council on Tuesday began considering legislation that would give it some say over the city's financing for the proposed West Side Stadium. (NY1

Two things seem clear from the bids submitted for the West Side rail yards: More high rises will be built than had been originally planned, and the transit system wil get more money than it had expected for the rail yards. (New York Times)

TransGas Energy Systems, one of the three bidders for the West Side rail yards, has offered to join forces with Cablevision to keep the Jets from building a stadium there. (Daily News)

Cablevision is refusing to run an ad in which former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani strongly endorses the proposed Jets stadium on the far West Side. (New York Post)

Despite the addition of housing to the Jets proposals for the far West Side, community groups remain unimpressed. (Newsday)

The City Council demanded yesterday that the Bloomberg administration explain why it did not tap $27 million in capital money that was appropriated years ago to improve the city's election system. (New York Times)

The Department of Education is taking hundreds of thousands of dollars from some city schools and giving money to others. The reallocation of money reflects enrollment figures. (Newsday)

The City Council is expected to introduce a bill today that would bar any hotel, including The Plaza, from converting more than 20 percent of its space to condos. More than a dozen hotels in the city have converted some or all of their rooms into high-price condos - eliminating more than 1,000 union-backed hotel jobs and, some say, threatening the city with a shortage of hotel rooms. (Daily News)

3/22

The Jets sharply raised the stakes yesterday in their battle to build a football stadium over the West Side railyards, offering the state $720 million for the site and adding a residential development to their original plan. The bid is far larger than the team's original $100 million offer. At the same time, Cablevision and another rival bidder also increased their offers for what has become one of the most hotly disputed sections of Manhattan since rival gangs battled over Five Points. Cablevision, the principal opponent of the stadium, unveiled new details of its proposal, which involves thousands of housing units, a park and a hotel. (New York Times)

By huddling with six of the city's biggest real estate developers, the Jets football team - which wants to build a $1.7 billion stadium on the site was able to boost its bid to more than seven times what it offered to pay the MTA just a month ago. The Jets' bid now calls for buying up all the development rights for the 13-acre site. Its partners would transfer roughly two-thirds of those rights to build on sites in the surrounding district. The Jets have partnered with Glenwood Management Corp., Jack Resnick & Sons, Rockrose Corp., The Related Companies, Donald Zucker Organization and The Brodsky Organization. (New York Post)

Two bidders were disqualified because they didn't come with the required $25,000 deposit. That left the Jets' proposal and bids from Cablevision and TransGas Energy Systems. .. Adam Victor, president of TransGas, said his company's bid package was worth as much a $1.05 billion in cash and capital improvements to MTA facilities. (Daily News)

The speaker of the City Council, Gifford Miller, said yesterday that the process designed to pick a developer for the Hudson rail yards site was "rigged" and demanded an extension of last night's deadline for submitting building plans.In another attempt to block the New York Jets from winning the right to build a football stadium on Manhattan's West Side and to deny his political rival, Mayor Bloomberg a victory, Mr. Miller said developers had been discouraged from coming forward with plans to transform what is now an industrial wasteland. (New York Sun)

Pasquale J. D'Amuro, head of the F.B.I.'s New York office and one of the bureau's leading terrorism experts, has announced that he is retiring to become chief executive of a security consulting company that is a division of Giuliani Partners L.L.C., the consulting company headed by former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani....Giuliani Security and Safety was formerly known as Giuliani-Kerik L.L.C., which was renamed after Bernard B. Kerik, former police commissioner, resigned from his position with the company after the collapse of his nomination to be Homeland Security secretary (New York Times)

Former New York police commissioner Bernard Kerik is stepping down as a director on the embattled stun gun maker Taser International Inc.'s corporate board, the company announced Monday. (Associated Press)

3/20

With City Council Speaker Gifford Miller now in full campaign mode for Mayor Michael Bloomberg's job, their relationship - awkward from the get-go - has hit an all-time low and now is better characterized by ill-disguised - if mild - contempt, people close to both men say. (NY Times)

Students from across the city turned out to gripe about the sorry state of their schools yesterday, citing broken bathrooms, curt safety agents and outdated textbooks. (Daily News) (Newsday)

3/19

The Jets could ditch their plans to relocate to Manhattan's far West Side if New York doesn't make progress with the proposed stadium, Mayor Bloomberg said yesterday. (NY Post)

The West Side stadium fight flared anew Friday, as Mayor Michael Bloomberg again lashed Cablevision for battling to stop the project -- while foes backed a state bill aimed to block its city funding. (Newsday)

Mayor Bloomberg should be prohibited from spending any city taxpayer money on the proposed $1.7 billion West Side stadium unless he has City Council consent, two state lawmakers demanded in legislation announced yesterday. (Daily News)

In a secret verdict, an ethics panel has nailed City Councilman Alan Jennings on misconduct charges involving two fired female staffers, sources said yesterday (Daily News)

3/18

Facing election-year criticism from parents and public officials, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced plans yesterday to double the amount of money the city will spend this year to repair and improve school buildings. (NY Times)

3/17

A day after a defeat in court, City Council members said yesterday that they would continue their legal push for a law requiring companies that do business with New York City to extend the same benefits to employees' domestic partners that they provide to spouses. (NY Times)

Mayor Bloomberg left the opening of Israel's Holocaust Museum yesterday with a warning that intolerance seems to have surfaced at "a number of universities" in America. (Daily News)

City officials have conceded they may have goofed by putting 2-inch-high bumps on a bike path over the Williamsburg Bridge. (Daily News)

The city's Department of Education accountability chief is calling it quits after eight months on the job - following his predecessor, who left after nine months at the post. Joshua Starr, 35, director of school performance and accountability - a position created when Mayor Bloomberg took control of the school system to gauge education reforms - is leaving to become the superintendent of schools in Stamford, Conn. (NY Post)

3/16

A state appeals court Tuesday struck down a law barring the city from doing business with companies that provide benefits for employees' spouses but not for their gay partners. The state Supreme Court's Appellate Division in a 5-0 ruling declared the equal benefits law illegal because it "expressly excludes a class of potential bidders for a reason unrelated to the quality or price of the goods or services they offer." The judges also said the law "intrudes" on a federal law providing for the administration of uniform national employee benefit plans.

The city's equal benefits law required companies with city contracts worth $100,000 or more to provide health, family and bereavement benefits to domestic partners, gay or straight. After the City Council passed the legislation in May, Mayor Michael Bloomberg vetoed it. The City Council overrode his veto, and the Bloomberg administration sued. State Supreme Court Justice Faviola Soto sided with the City Council in December; the mayor appealed and the Appellate Division reversed her Tuesday. The City Council will appeal, Councilwoman Christine Quinn said, adding she was disappointed the mayor was continuing "this wrongheaded appeal." City law department attorney June Buch disagreed. "Ensuring equal benefits to all New Yorkers, regardless of sexual orientation, is the administration's deeply held belief," she said in a statement. "The City Council passing invalid legislation isn't the way to achieve this goal." (Associated Press)

The city's Department of Education will not use a lottery this year to allocate hundreds of empty spots in some of the highest performing neighborhood schools on the Upper West Side, Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein said last night. (New York Times)

New York State's Board of Regents adopted new standards for high school mathematics yesterday and approved the creation of five charter schools in New York City. (New York Times)

The case of Anthony Vitiello underscores the hurdles that often must be crossed before prosecutorial misconduct or mistakes can be corrected. (New York Times)

3/15

With Albany controlled by just three men, the lobbying industry has taken full advantage of the situation and blossomed. (NY Times)

New York State's Board of Regents is expected to reorganize high school mathematics into three one-year courses, each with a single focus.(NY Times)

After six months in jail - a shortened sentence served in two stints - former State Senator Guy J. Velella will change into his street clothes and board the Q101 bus to freedom later this week. (NY Times)

The smothering death of a Brooklyn toddler has spurred the city to institute background checks for 19,000 unregulated day care providers who get city money. (NY Daily News) (NY Post)

The city should abandon its plans to build a West Side stadium and look to Queens to become the new home of the Jets and Giants, City Council Speaker Gifford Miller said yesterday. (NY Daily News) (NY Post)

Council Minority Leader James Oddo yesterday called on Speaker Gifford Miller to hold hearings on two bills that would give the council oversight responsibilities over nonprofit groups contracting with the city. (NY Post)

Ten months after the MTA first warned photographers to keep their lenses covered, the agency board has not passed its controversial ban. (Newsday)

3/14

Mayor Michael Bloomberg is fighting Governor George Pataki's plan to slash about $150 million from child-and-family programs, cuts that would cost the city 22,000 child-care slots and 8,000 summer youth jobs. The budget proposal would also scuttle the city's $28-million-a-year plan to expand community-based homelessness prevention programs. (Newsday)

Examining Mayor Bloomberg's record on garbage. (Newsday)

Recycling has come full cycle under Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Although the city for a while suspended collection of glass and plastic, the mayoral term will close as it opened -- with residents required to keep paper, metal, plastic and glass separate for curbside pickup. (Newsday)

By next year, parents in half of the city's elementary schools will get fitness report cards for students that list weight and athletic ability. (Daily News)

3/13

While minorities account for more 57 percent of all city workers -- and more than 60 percent of the total population -- blacks, Latinos and Asians hold less than a fifth of senior and executive staff jobs in city government, according to a report by the organization Blacks in Government. Whites, who account for less than half of the workforce, hold more than three-quarters of the top positions. (Daily News)

After years of demanding more cops, Staten Island will get a fourth police precinct to protect its booming population - just in time for Mayor Bloomberg's re-election bid (Daily News)

3/12

The Fire Department said Friday it would provide an additional $1.4 million to bolster its efforts at recruiting minorities to the overwhelmingly white force. Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta als said the department would add five staff members to its Equal Employment Opportunity office, and would expand other outreach programs. (Newsday) (Daily News)

3/11

The possibility of the Giants joining the Jets in a move from the Jersey swamps to a proposed West Side stadium is for real, Mayor Bloomberg said yesterday. (Daily News)

President Bush is sending Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg to represent the United States in Jerusalem next week for the opening of the new museum at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial, city officials said yesterday. (NY Times)

3/10

The city's 311 hotline received 11,488,792 calls during its second year of operation - a 75% increase from its first 12 months, officials said yesterday. (Daily News)

A whopping $29 million was spent last year on lobbying related to Mayor Bloomberg's proposed West Side stadium for the Jets, a new report shows. Anti-stadium advocates vastly outspent stadium supporters, about $22 million to $7 million. (NY Post)

3/09

The City Council is expected to pass legislation today aimed at protecting children in the city homeless shelter system. It would require city shelters to post signs emphasizing the importance of reporting child abuse and neglect and to put up warnings about the dangers of an infant sleeping in the same bed as a parent. (Newsday)

The number of families applying for emergency shelter has declined by between 250 and 300 a month, city officials reported yesterday, and they credit the new city policy that denies federal housing vouchers to homeless families. Last month, for example, 1,344 new families applied for shelter, compared with 1,592 in February 2004. (New York Times)

The State Legislature yesterday named UNICEF executive director and former City Council President Carol Bellamy to the state Board of Regents, which sets education policy for the state. Bellamy is set to leave UNICEF when her term expires at the end of April. (Newsday)

3/08

The city Board of Elections is accepting a helping hand to ensure that voters don't get a busy signal when they try to get through on Election Day. (NY Post)

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg gained a politically potent ally yesterday in his fight to build a Jets stadium on the West Side: Representative Charles B. Rangel of Harlem. (NY Times) (NY Post) (Daily News)

Juan Gonzalez: City Council Speaker Gifford Miller will introduce a bill tomorrow to force Mayor Bloomberg to get the Council's okay for a new Jets stadium on Manhattan's far West Side. (Daily News)

The city's liability risk from World Trade Center disaster lawsuits has shrunk to $1.3B - down from an early estimate of $9 billion, city officials said yesterday. (Daily News)

A man who heckled Mayor Michael Bloomberg at a gay-inclusive St. Patrick's Day parade is a staff employee in the office of State Senate Minority Leader David Paterson. (Newsday)

3/04

Facing an anxious and angry crowd of Harlem brownstone owners, city finance officials said last night that they would roll back most of the hefty tax increases - often as much as $10,000 a year - imposed on small-building owners who renovated their properties. (NY Times)

Mayor Bloomberg defended the city's track record for hiring police officers yesterday. "In terms of are we hiring the right people, well, just take a look at the crime statistics. Clearly, we are." (NY Daily News)

City Controller Bill Thompson said yesterday he will probe the little-known stream of money that Mayor Bloomberg plans to tap for the city's $300 million contribution to the West Side stadium. (NY Daily News)

For weeks Mayor Michael Bloomberg has declared that there will be no 2012 Olympics in New York without a West Side stadium. (Newsday)

3/03

With the Far West Side stadium emerging as a central issue in the mayoral race, Council Speaker Gifford Miller yesterday sought to take the lead in opposing the Bloomberg administration by introducing legislation to require a public review of any taxpayer money used for the stadium. (NY Times)

Under pressure from lobbying-and-consulting firms, the city's Conflicts of Interest Board has backed away from its first attempt to restrict lobbying of elected officials by consultants who work on their campaigns (NY Times)

A majority of New York City voters would support a law allowing gay marriage, according to a poll released Thursday. But by a slim margin, they also back Mayor Michael Bloomberg's decision to appeal a recent court ruling supporting same-sex unions, the Quinnipiac University Poll found. (Associated Press)

3/02

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said yesterday that anyone who opposes the building of a West Side stadium also opposes the city's bid to play host to the 2012 Olympic games. (Daily News)

The leaders of both state legislative houses said yesterday they will not be rushed into approving a West Side stadium -- even as a Jets spokesman said speed is needed for the team to make its plans. (Newsday)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg reportedly said yesterday that the city would consider building a stadium in Queens instead of the West Side but added he did not think the International Olympic Committee would like the idea. (New York Post)

A week after Wal-Mart scrapped plans for a store in Rego Park, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the City Council should not be "picking and choosing" which stores come to the city. The mayor has generally supported so-called "big box" stores. (Newsday)

The city's Department of Finance says it's waiting for 584 people to come forward to claim their share of $13 million collected as a result of either court proceedings or bail actions. (Daily News) (NY1)

3/01

Pay to pray's here to stay.
That's the message from Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who said yesterday that he's got no plans to change the city's practice of forcing motorists to feed parking meters on Sundays -- despite fire-and-brimstone protests from churchgoers and political opponents. "We're not going to change the order," said Bloomberg, speaking after an announcement at a Harlem elementary school.

Bloomberg offered to recalibrate one-hour meters into two-hour meters near churches, but the rules, instituted three years ago during the city's fiscal crisis, will stay in effect, he said. "In front of most churches, there is a no-parking zone for drop-off, anyways," he said. "If you didn't have parking fees, people would put their car, leave it there for the weekend, and people coming to church would not be able to find a space, so really it is in everybody's interest." Sunday, former Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer blasted Bloomberg's policy.

Yesterday, Councilman Vincent Gentile, a Brooklyn Democrat who is sponsoring a rollback of the rules, joined the chorus. (Newsday)

The Bloomberg administration is trying to kill legislation that would open up on-street parking in the city to 50,000 disabled New Yorkers. The bill would allow any disabled driver with a state-issued "hang tag" to park on the streets of New York City in areas now accessible only to those with special city-issued disability permits.

"This bill would create a parking and traffic nightmare . . . An influx of disability permit holders would now park in areas normally used for commercial-vehicle loading or general traffic movement," city lobbyist Anthony Piscitelli wrote in a memo. Most specially designated parking areas for the disabled in New York City are found in off-street facilities. People who hold city permits can park in certain on-street areas that are labeled no parking. (New York Post)

Click here to see The Record for February 2005