GOTHAM GAZETTE: SEARCHLIGHT 2002:The Record

The Record: November 2003

11/30/03

The Medicare bill passed by Congress last week includes sizable increases in payments to hospitals, but under formulas intended mostly to help small-town hospitals, little of that money will go to the New York metropolitan area. (NY Times)

Twenty-five years after their introduction, more than 80 cops are alive, or have escaped serious injury, thanks to the 10 layers of Kevlar woven together into the bulletproof vest. (Daily News)

11/29/03

Mayor Bloomberg spent $7.5 million of his own money - $5 million more than previously known - in his failed bid for nonpartisan elections, records released yesterday show. (New York Post) (New York Times)

State and city officials say they are inching toward a tentative agreement with the owners of the New York Jets to split the $1.5 billion cost of building a new football stadium over Manhattan's West Side rail yards. An announcement could come as soon as January, the officials said…[But] the city has yet to release its long-promised financial plan for the transformation of the West Side, including the stadium, an expanded convention center, new zoning for commercial and residential construction and parks and the extension of the number 7 subway, as the cost has climbed to $5 billion from an estimated $2.68 billion. The financial plan would presumably detail how the various projects could be turned into reality without tapping into the state's or city's current revenues, something the city has promised not to do. (New York Times)

11/28/2003

Fearful the city could run out of blood by Christmas, health officials are aggressively looking for new donors. But finding people is getting harder because the list of reasons that disqualify donors is getting longer, said Dr. Richard Davey, chief medical officer for the New York Blood Center, the city's main blood provider. The center already has experienced five shortages this year and expects another next month, a record in the past five years. Last November, the Food and Drug Administration banned the use of blood from Europe for fears of transmitting mad cow disease, Davey said. New York was particularly hard hit because 25% of the center's supply came from Europe. "We also lost an opportunity to draw from people who had lived in Europe - business people, students and military personnel," he said. As a result, the center estimates it has lost 5% of its donors. This year, the FDA temporarily banned donors who might have been exposed to West Nile virus or the SARS virus. Also unwelcomed are people who have had tattoos within the past 12 months, traveled to malarial regions of the world or served time in the military in Iraq. The increasing number of people rejected only leads to "donor apathy," more people figuring they'll be turned away, too. Less than 2% of area residents donate blood, compared with 5% nationwide. The center's inventory is currently well-stocked at 15,000 pints, Davey said. The last time the supply ran low was August.(Daily News)

11/27/2003

Staten Island ferry boat Captain Michael Gansas was fired yesterday for not cooperating with the investigation into last month's deadly ferry disaster. (New York Post) (Daily News)

New York stands to get $25 million from Uncle Sam to help pay for security at next summer's Republican convention to renominate President Bush, state lawmakers say. The actual security cost to New York is estimated at $65 million. The NYPD plans to deploy 6,500 officers to protect Republicans holding their first-ever Big Apple national convention. (New York Post)
Initially, Representative Tom DeLay, who as majority leader has a big say in what the House approves, had opposed setting aside money for the conventions, maintaining that taxpayers should not be shouldering the costs of political events, his aides said. The city, which is pleading with the federal government for more antiterrorism aid, had asked for more money specifically for the convention. In the end, Mr. DeLay agreed to allow the money to be included in the bill after two New York congressmen - Thomas M. Reynolds and John E. Sweeney, both Republicans from upstate - argued, among other things, that it would be a way to smooth things over with the city. (New York Times)

The heavily guarded area around the New York Stock Exchange will be beautified, and its security revamped, with a $10 million grant announced yesterday by state and city officials. (New York Post)

The Bloomberg administration is pressing New York City's unions to agree to hundreds of millions of dollars in savings in health care costs to help hold down the city's health insurance premiums and to help finance possible raises for city workers…the city was pushing for municipal workers to begin paying part of the premiums toward their basic health insurance plan, as many private-sector workers have long done. The city also wants the unions to agree to higher co-payments for doctors' visits and for drugs, expecting that this might cause city workers to be more careful about visiting doctors and buying medicines. (New York Times)

Mayor Bloomberg signed a bill yesterday to extend contracts of seven private bus companies that primarily serve the outer boroughs. Bloomberg wants the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to take over the heavily subsidized routes, but the MTA is resisting because of the estimated $100-million-a-year price. "I'm hopeful that such a successful arrangement can be reached," Bloomberg said. "In the interim, signing this legislation will enable the city to continue uninterrupted bus service for the nearly 395,000 daily passengers." Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-Queens) said, "I just want to thank the mayor for ensuring that the ridership in the city that uses the private bus lines will not have to worry." (New York Post)

11/26/2003

In hearings on October's Staten Island Ferry accident yesterday some members of City Council criticized the city for what they charged was the slow pace of the investigations into the fatal crash and called for major changes in the operation of the ferry. But transportation commissioner Iris Weinshall defended her reforms of the ferry. (Newsday)

At the hearing on the Staten Island ferry crash, some council members complained that city and federal officials were keeping the public in the dark. (New York Times)

The city has rehired another 100 sanitation workers who were laid off last spring as a cost-cutting measure. If the workers go on the payroll by December 8 as planned, all but 117 laid-off sanitation workers will have been rehired. A sanitation department spokesperson said there is no timetable for bringing back those workers but that the city hopes to do so .as soon as possible." (Daily News)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg acknowledged Tuesday that big obstacles face his proposal to have the Metropolitan Transportation Authority take over private Queens bus routes. Today, Bloomberg is scheduled to sign a six-month extension of the private franchises on seven lines citywide. (Newsday)

An overwhelming majority of city voters would rather have someone other than Michael Bloomberg as mayor, according to a recent survey. The Quinnipiac University poll found that two politicians considered likely to run against the mayor in 2005 -- former Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer and City Council Speaker Gifford Miller -- would both defeat Bloomberg if the election were held now. (New York Times) (Daily News) (New York Post)

Six in ten New Yorkers do not want to sit down to turkey and the trimmings with their mayor, a poll found. The mayor professed to be undaunted by the collective rebuff. "Well, that's good," he said, "because I have plans with my family on Thursday, and while we have a big table and we always have lots of people, I don't think we can have as many people as the other 40 percent that do [support me]. (New York Post)

While many New Yorkers may not want to share a meal with the mayor, some may want to share a smoke with Fernando Ferrer. The former Bronx borough president and possible mayoral candidate showed up at "Cigar Aficionado's" annual Big Smoke last night. Ferrer said he was just having fun but some speculated he could be courting city smokers angry at Bloomberg's anti smoking measures. (New York Post)

11/25/2003

Monday morning found Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg blessing the bread in a Jerusalem synagogue beneath stained-glass windows by Chagall. Evening found him here, dancing the valle, a circle dance, with folkloric dancers in red headdresses at the Albanian National Theater. (NY Timess) (Newsday)

City Council members threatened to slap the Bloomberg administration with a subpoena yesterday after officials were no-shows at a committee hearing - standing up the Council for the second time in a week. (Daily News)

The city's failure to aggressively market and ease access to the federal food stamps program leaves 835,000 low-income New Yorkers without that hedge against hunger on the eve of the holidays, a City Council committee was told yesterday. (Newsday)

11/24/2003

With no groundswell of support for any one of the party's nine presidential candidates, a political free-for-all has ensued in political clubhouses across the city and state. (NY Times)

11/23/203

City food-stamp offices that are supposed to have extended hours are rarely open late, a report by Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum has found. (Daily News)

Of all the things money has bought Mayor Bloomberg, few are as luxurious - or as politically expedient - as the private jet he uses to hopscotch across the globe. (Daily News)

Mayor Bloomberg wants to saddle taxpayers with the liability for the largest urban oil spill in the country and let the culprit, ExxonMobil, off the hook. In a Nov. 13 letter to the company, obtained by The Post, the mayor's office said it wants to buy a 9.8-acre property in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, from ExxonMobil that is saturated with 17 million gallons of oil - 6 million more gallons than was spilled from the tanker Exxon Valdez when it ran aground off Alaska. (NY Post)

11/22/2003

The city is putting together a plan to end chronic homelessness in the next 10 years, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said yesterday. Though he praised the city's extensive shelter system as compassionate, the mayor said it was not enough. (NY Times) (Daily News)

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg vowed yesterday to challenge a federal subpoena requiring the city to turn over records of 911 calls from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. He said that the request was ghoulish, and that complying would invade the privacy of the victims' families. (NY Times)

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's travels to Jerusalem and Kosovo will last only 36 hours, but he will cover a lot of ground. (NY Times)

Mayor Bloomberg hopes his budget critics are correct. Responding yesterday to allegations that City Hall is lowballing tax revenue estimates, Bloomberg said, "I hope they're right, because that's the only ways we're going to balance" next year's budget. (Daily News)

Mayor Bloomberg said yesterday that the Staten Island ferry - which probers have found is rife with patronage - has been allowed to sail along without enough scrutiny. The mayor hinted that staff shakeups at the Department of Transportation may be coming as a result of the Oct. 15 tragedy. (Daily News) (Newsday)

City Council Speaker Gifford Miller is no friend of the working man, labor bigwig Brian McLaughlin charged in a fiery attack yesterday. McLaughlin, a Queens assemblyman and president of the city's Central Labor Council, ripped into Miller for allowing the Council's Education Committee to probe the controversial work rules in school labor contracts. (Daily News)

Mayor Bloomberg is looking to bring some greenery to Manhattan's West Side - as in Gang Green. Bloomberg said yesterday he's hopeful the city will soon strike a deal with the New York Jets to build a stadium there. The administration is proposing to expand the Javits Convention Center and construct the stadium for the Jets nearby. The stadium is a major component of the city's bid for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. (Daily News)

11/21/2003

City teachers - under fire during City Council hearings for refusing to ditch stifling contract rules - struck back yesterday, charging that the system's problems run far deeper than labor issues. (Daily News)

The state's highest court ruled yesterday that a city principal ran afoul of the teachers contract when he filled an after-school job with teachers he thought were qualified - instead of a teacher with seniority. The court upheld the 1999 decision of an arbitrator, who found the school had no "documentary evidence" to support the hiring decision.(Daily News)

If Mayor Bloomberg doesn't win a second term in 2005, he can probably blame the 18.5 percent property-tax increase, the mayor's budget director said yesterday.(NY Post)

A group of diplomats from the West African republic of Guinea-Bissau were booted from their East Side offices yesterday morning after a multiyear battle over nonpayment of rent. It is believed to be the first such eviction of a U.N. mission - which, like embassies and consulates, are considered sovereign territory. (NY Post)

11/20/2003

It was City Council Speaker Gifford Miller's turn to one-up Mayor Bloomberg yesterday in their escalating political battle at City Hall. Miller proposed that the city join Nassau County's prescription-drug initiative, which costs taxpayers nothing but offers up to 50 percent discounts to residents through a pharmacy-card program. (NY Post)

Why would Republicans booze it up at sea when they can party down in New York? That was Mayor Bloomberg's response yesterday to a Texas Republican's plan to dock a luxury liner for Republicans who'd rather float in a boat than sleep in a good hotel during the GOP convention next September. (NY Post)

It is hardly the standard procedure for potential political rivals, but Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Fernando Ferrer shared a dinner Tuesday night. They dined at a popular Manhattan restaurant two weeks after Mr. Ferrer, the former Bronx borough president, announced that he had formed an exploratory committee for a possible mayoral race. (NY Times)

Unexpected surges in Wall Street profits and real estate taxes have been pouring into the city's coffers, but the revenue gains have been eaten away by ballooning costs for Medicaid and increased overtime pay for municipal workers, according to figures released yesterday by the mayor's office. The updated tax-and-spending plan shows that despite $575 million in additional tax revenue, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg intends to cut $65 million from city agencies during the remainder of the fiscal year that ends next June. City Council leaders immediately objected to the cuts in services, particularly $445,000 from children's health clinics and $5.4 million from community colleges, as well as a plan to eliminate the tax on absentee landlords. (NY Times)

The New York Civil Liberties Union filed three federal lawsuits Wednesday claiming the city's police tactics during protests are unconstitutional and will hinder the right to demonstrate during next year's Republican National Convention. The NYCLU based the lawsuits on a Feb. 15 anti-war rally that drew tens of thousands of people. The groups says police blocked demonstrators' access to the protest in some areas and controlled crowds with unnecessary force. (Newsday)

The City Council calls it a tax "adjustment," but when homeowners get their next property tax bill, it may look a lot like another tax hike. After passing a record 18.5% increase in the property tax, the Council yesterday approved a measure to wring another $244 million out of owners of one-, two- or three-family homes. (Daily News)

11/19/2003

New York City's budget problems have eased slightly because of higher taxes and an improving Wall Street economy, but Mayor Michael Bloomberg warned yesterday that the city still faces a deficit of nearly $2 billion for the fiscal year that starts next July. Bloomberg, who was expected to released his modifications to this year1s budget yesterday, is now expected to do so today. (New York Times)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg yesterday accused City Council Speaker Gifford Miller, who many believe will challenge him for mayor in 2005, of improperly using his council office as a campaign office. Miller responded that Bloomberg1s aides spend much of their time helping their boss run for re-election. (New York Times) (Daily News) (New York Post) (Newsday)

Small business owners yesterday told City Council that what they consider unfair fines levied by the city could force them to move out of the five boroughs, and they complained that they felt left out of city economic planning. (New York Post)

Several state and local elected officials announced plans yesterday at City Hall to introduce legislation that would regulate the placement of wireless cell phone antenna towers on top of residential buildings. (Newsday)

City officials presented a new plan for downtown Flushing yesterday that would include a dredged Flushing River lined by a promenade, new stores and housing, and development of the Willets Point junkyard.(Newsday)

Profile of Letitia James, the new City Council member from Brooklyn's 35th district.(New York Times)

11/18/2003

The Bloomberg administration yesterday picked apart a lead-paint abatement law proposed by the City Council, saying it would give landlords too little time to eliminate hazards and might increase health risks to young children. (NY Times)

A day after the Daily News reported that Carl Reid's Queens home had been hit by out-of-control vehicles six times, Mayor Bloomberg ordered a crackdown on speeders at the dangerous Van Wyck Expressway intersection. (Daily News)

Actor Danny Aiello and his partners are suing the city for $30 million, claiming officials sabotaged their fledgling Staten Island movie studio. (Daily News)

The city has indefinitely put off collecting a new tax on absentee owners of one-to-three family houses. (Newsday)

11/17/2003

Too many parent coordinators at city schools are out of touch when they're needed most, according to a report released yesterday. A telephone survey of 103 parent coordinators found that two-thirds did not answer their Department of Education-issued cell phones between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. (Daily News http://www.nydailynews.com/news/local/story/137489p-122256c.html) (NY Post)

Councilwoman Eva Moskowitz's hearings on wacky school-union work rules are a big hit with parents and the public. (NY Post)

11/15/2003

As e-mail messages go, it sounded innocent enough: Council Speaker Gifford Miller was looking to hire a communications director, and possibly a press secretary, as he prepared to make a run for mayor in 2005. The only problem was that Mr. Miller has always been coy about any mayoral intentions. And yesterday he promptly issued a denial of the message, which had been sent out by an aide - without actually denying anything. (NY Times) (Newsday)

Mayor Bloomberg called City Council members panderers yesterday for kissing up to big labor during this week's hearings on school contracts. On his weekly WABC-AM radio show, Bloomberg singled out Councilwoman Eva Moskowitz (D-Manhattan) as the only Council member who asked tough questions about whether stringent work rules stand in the way of better schools. "Everybody else for the last two days in the City Council has stood there and pandered [to labor leaders] and said, 'Aren't you wonderful,'" Bloomberg said. (Daily News)

Mayor Bloomberg's battle with the teachers union turned into a Cold War yesterday after the mayor said the United Federation of Teachers contract reminds him of how things were done in the old Soviet Union. (NY Post)

Just hours after grumbling about the need for more federal cash to fight terrorism, Mayor Bloomberg lavished praise on Vice President Cheney yesterday for helping New York "every step of the way" since the World Trade Center attacks. (Daily News)

Mayor Bloomberg said yesterday it is "in the interest of the country" to re-elect President Bush. (NY Post)

11/14/2003

The New York City Campaign Finance Board has filed a lawsuit against Joel Rivera, the majority leader of the City Council, seeking the return of $36,245 in public funds it says his campaign received but did not account for. The board is also seeking $20,000 in penalties, officials said yesterday. (NY Times)

The Bush administration announced on Thursday that it would provide the New York City region about $64 million for antiterrorism programs, an amount that several New York lawmakers called inadequate. (NY Times)

Politics and education always have been closely linked in New York, but rarely has that connection been clearer than at yesterday's City Council hearing on the teachers' contract. The show of political muscle demonstrated how unnerved the unions are by the hearings, which are bringing new notoriety to City Council Education chairwoman Eva Moskowitz, who many believe has her eye on a bid for Manhattan borough president. (Daily News)

Hearings on school union contracts erupted into a political war yesterday as teachers union boss Randi Weingarten and City Council member Eva Moskowitz traded blows over whether potential witnesses were intimidated into not testifying. (NY Post)

Mayor Bloomberg last night honored the community group 100 Black Men by presenting the organization with a proclamation and declaring Nov. 13, 2003, "100 Black Men Day in New York City." (NY Post)

11/13/2003

Sheldon Leffler, the former city councilman who represented Queens for nearly a quarter-century, was found guilty yesterday of scheming to defraud the government in his unsuccessful run for borough president two years ago. (NY Times) (Newsday) (NY Post)

Arcane work rules were the stated subject of a City Council Education Committee hearing yesterday, the first in a series of proceedings aimed at shedding light on obscure provisions in the union contracts governing custodians, teachers and principals. The committee chairwoman, Eva Moskowitz, and Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein say the work rules are a major obstacle in improving the schools. (NY Times) (Daily News) (NY Post)

The city is rezoning Queens Plaza to create an additional 11 million square feet of potential office space, Mayor Bloomberg said yesterday. (NY Post)

City Council Democrats, miffed by Mayor Bloomberg's unexpected endorsements of their Republican opponents, have revived a controversial gay-rights bill the mayor opposed last year. The bill, which had languished for months, would require companies with $100,000 or more in city contracts to provide domestic-partnership benefits to their employees. (NY Post)

Rap music mogul Sean (Puffy) Combs will go to City Hall today to present Mayor Bloomberg with a $1 million check for the city's schools. (Daily News)

11/12/2003

The city's emergency-management director has become the latest Bloomberg administration official to quit for a corporate job, Newsday has learned. John Odermatt, 42, head of the Office of Emergency Management since April 2002, is taking a post at Citibank after a 21-year law enforcement career, sources said. (Newsday)

The city is taking the extraordinary step of requiring all Staten Island Ferry employees to file notarized proof they live in the city, amid charges that the skipper of the ill-fated Andrew J. Barberi lives out of state. In a Nov. 7 memo that hints at an atmosphere of distrust within the close-knit ferry service, the department asked workers to fill out change-of-address applications or sign a form saying their listed addresses are accurate Ń with a notary's stamp affixed. (Newsday)

Mayor Bloomberg is telling fellow Republicans to abandon ship. Party leaders had discussed docking a luxury liner - complete with 10 restaurants, a casino and basketball court - in Manhattan next August to serve as a floating hotel during the Republican National Convention. But Bloomberg aides yesterday called the idea a "nonstarter." "We have already reserved 22,000 hotel rooms, so we don't think it will be necessary," said Bloomberg spokesman Ed Skyler. (Daily News)

11/11/2003

Did Sheldon S. Leffler, the former councilman who represented Queens for 24 years, conspire to steal matching funds for campaign contributions from the government during his ill-fated run for borough president two years ago, or was he simply the victim of overzealous supporters? (NY Times)

The City Council is going to the tape - the audiotape - to get testimony about nonsensical work rules from city school employees too afraid to bash their unions in person. (Daily News)

The City Council's education chief yesterday complained it's too hard to fire lousy teachers. (NY Post)

Guns have become "standard equipment" for gang members, experts warned the City Council yesterday, but the NYPD says gang violence is on the decline. (NY Post)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg vowed yesterday that city plans for a park at the former Elmhurst gas-tank site will prove environmentally safe - even as details remain to be worked out. (Newsday)

The future of seven private bus lines may be uncertain, but the Queens riders who use them need not worry, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said yesterday.(Newsday)

Michael Bloomberg Sunday announced plans for the fifth international tour of his term, a jaunt to Jerusalem and Kosovo that will honor two of his favorite women: Mother Teresa and his mom. (Newsday)

11/10/2003

Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that he will take a quick foreign trip later this month to name a unit of Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem after his mother and to lay a wreath at the Mother Teresa statue in Pristina, Kosovo. He will bring his mother on his second trip to Israel in four months. (Daily News) (Newsday) (New York Post)

11/9/2003

The election of Letitia James to City Council on the Working Families Party line signals a small but significant shift in New York CityŐs political landscape. (New York Times)

11/8/2003

Instead of making nice with the roughly 330,000 voters who rejected his proposal to abolish partisan primaries, Mayor Bloomberg chose to chastise them yesterday. (Daily News)

Vincent La Padula, senior adviser to Mayor Bloomberg and one of the lone Republicans in Bloomberg's inner circle, is leaving City Hall. (Daily News)

11/7/2003

The city's Human Resources Administration commissioner criticized a bill that would require welfare centers to have full-time interpreters and bilingual workers as "too costly," as immigrant groups staged a rally against the mayor yesterday at City Hall. The bill remained stuck in the City Council's General Welfare Committee, chaired by City Councilman Bill de Blasio, yesterday after Mayor Michael Bloomberg threatened to veto the legislation in its current form, council officials said.(Newsday)

A war of words erupted between angry legislators and the city's finance commissioner yesterday over the new absentee landlord surcharge, with charges and countercharges of incompetence. The council - over the objection of Mayor Bloomberg's administration - approved a bill that would force the administration to delay sending out bills for the tax until March. (NY Post)

11/6/2003

A day after Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg suffered a bruising defeat over his proposal for nonpartisan elections, Democratic leaders turned their attention to the mayoral race of 2005, with one Democrat taking the first step toward running. Fernando Ferrer, the former Bronx borough president, registered an exploratory committee yesterday with the New York City Board of Elections for the 2005 Democratic nomination. (NY Times) (Daily News)

While conceding that he was disappointed that voters crushed his nonpartisan election proposal, Mayor Michael Bloomberg Wednesday wrote off the failed effort as a fulfilled campaign promise. (Newsday)

Ever since his come-from-way-behind election victory in 2001, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has taken a special delight in proving what he calls "the smart money" wrong. But he proved the smart money right in spectacular fashion on Tuesday when his two-year quest to persuade the overwhelmingly Democratic voters of New York City to ban political primaries in local races and make it optional for candidates to list their parties on the ballot was defeated at the ballot, 70 percent to 30 percent. (NY Times)

Under pressure from children's advocates and his fellow City Council members, Speaker Gifford Miller has agreed to support a bill that would govern how lead-paint hazards are removed from city apartments. (NY Times)

The day after Letitia James ended Geoffrey Davis' bid to succeed his brother in the City Council, she declared at City Hall that she would build on the legacy of the slain councilman. (Daily News)

11/5/2003

Voters dealt Mayor Michael Bloomberg a stinging defeat yesterday, turning back his proposal to establish nonpartisan elections in the city by a margin of 70 percent to 30 percent. Indications are his opponents plan to use the defeat to help unseat him in two years. (New York Times) (Daily News) (New York Post) (Newsday)

Democrat Geoffrey Davis last night failed to win the Brooklyn City Council seat left vacant when his brother James Davis was slain at City Hall this summer. By a three-to-one margin, voters instead elected lawyer Letitia James , who ran on the Working Families Party line. James becomes the first minor party candidate to be elected to the City Council in more than 30 years. All 49 incumbents running for re-election to the council won, (New York Times) (Daily News) (New York Post) (Newsday)

The Brooklyn Democratic Party yesterday kept its grip on judgeships in the borough despite several scandals and a stiff challenge from the Working Families Party. All Democratic candidates for judge won election by a wide margin. (New York Times) (Newsday)

Daniel M. Donovan Jr. won election for Staten Island district attorney, defeating Democrat David W. Lehr. Donovan, Staten Island's deputy borough president, will take over from William L. Murphy, a Democrat who held the office for 20 years and decided not to run for re-election. (New York Times)

Michael Bloomberg yesterday backed off his from his suggestion in a magazine interview that former Mayor Rudolph Guiliani's tenure was marred by racial conflict. But instead of explaining his remarks, all Bloomberg did was compliment all three of his immediate predecessors. "Rudy did a great job in this city, as did [former Mayors] David Dinkins and Ed Koch," Bloomberg told reporters. (Daily News)

11/4/2003

It was a brisk day of campaigning yesterday for three candidates in the city's most closely watched City Council race: the battle for the Brooklyn seat of the slain James Davis. Stumping in Fort Greene were Davis' brother, Geoffrey Davis, Letitia James and Tony Herbert - each looking to win over those District 35 voters who had yet to make up their minds. For the most part, the contest, which will be decided today, has been free of mud-slinging, out of respect for the memory of James Davis, who was murdered at City Hall in July, according to those in the district. (NY Post)

New Yorkers go to the polls Tuesday to vote on Mayor Michael Bloomberg's self-financed effort to scrap party primaries, which might turn into a referendum on his roller-coaster mayoralty. The election comes at a critical time for the billionaire mayor, whose approval rating bottomed out at 32 percent earlier this year after months of deficits, tax hikes and budget cuts. (Newsday) (NY Times)

State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, preparing for a possible run for governor, is looking to raise $2 million at a fund-raising luncheon next month that will feature tennis great John McEnroe, aides said yesterday. "The initial response to this lunch has been huge. We are already close to $1 million in pledges," said a memo to potential donors from top campaign aides to the New York Democrat. (NY Post)

Thousands of Bronx criminal cases may get a second look because the public defender who handled them never was licensed to practice law, the Daily News has learned. Diane Shamis, 45, who spent four years trying juvenile cases for the Legal Aid Society in the Bronx and two years with the Bronx Defenders, was fired from the defender's office in June after her lack of credentials was revealed, authorities said. (Daily News)

11/3/2003

A last-minute flurry of pamphlets and flyers hit city mailboxes late last week urging pro and con on the City Charter changes that are on Tuesday's general election ballot. (Newsday)

11/1/2003

With just three days to go before city voters decide whether to radically change the system for electing local officials, Democrats began mailing out their own literature yesterday urging New Yorkers to vote no on question No.3. A brochure mailed to voters features side-by-side photographs of Arnold Schwarzenegger, President Bush and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, with "recall," "recount" and "referendum," respectively, superimposed over the images.(NY Times) (Daily News) (NY Post)

Defending the city's $166 million pact with Snapple as a "great deal for the city," Bloomberg accused the companies that failed to win the contract of being sore losers. (Daily News)

The necklace lights on the East River bridges, darkened because of budget cuts, will be back on next week. (Daily News)

City Council hopeful Geoffrey Davis has sent a slick campaign mailing to voters that gives the impression that he's been backed by Sen. Hillary Clinton and Rep. Charles Rangel. There's only one problem: Neither prominent Democrat has done so. (Daily News)

Click here to see The Record for October 2003