The Record: September 2002

The city is poised - yet again - to explore the world of modern voting. Starting next week, the Board of Elections will hear from vendors hoping to provide new high-tech machines to replace the city's clunky - yet arguably reliable - lever voting machines. (Daily News)

The Bloomberg administration puts a high value on the secrecy of its internal decision-making... Mr. Bloomberg - who made his fortune in private business, where trade secrets are carefully guarded - prefers to make decisions first and seek support for them afterward... Some council members resent the mayor's way of doing business (New York Times)

In a slap at the Brooklyn Democratic leadership, two party members have challenged chairman Clarence Norman over his use of tens of thousands of dollars in Democratic funds and called for an auditor to oversee the organization's books. In a scolding letter to the chairman, district leader Elizabeth Rose Daly and county committee member Jack Carroll suggested there is little accountability over the party's fund-raising or spending while Norman makes use of lavish, party-funded perks. (Daily News)

In many ways, Rudy Giuliani's new book, "Leadership," reads like a series of management speeches - for which Giuliani is now getting $100,000 a pop - with chapter headings that reflect what he calls "the ideas that I leaned on." These are some of Rudy's rules: "Prepare Relentlessly;" "Weddings Discretionary, Funerals Mandatory;" "Surround Yourself with Great People;" "Underpromise and Overdeliver." And an intriguing capper, at least for a former federal prosecutor, "Bribe Only Those Who Will Stay Bribed." But scattered amid the management precepts, Giuliani lifts the veil gingerly on parts of his personal life, especially his relationship with Judith Nathan. And he expresses some opinions that he undoubtedly would not have as mayor.... Giuliani found something to admire in mobster John Gotti, whom he once prosecuted? (Daily News)

More than 250 school bureaucrats have moved into Tweed from the Board of Education's former headquarters in downtown Brooklyn. Chancellor Joel Klein's 27 top staffers can be found in the corner Power Room on the third floor. (Daily News)

Mayor Bloomberg has quietly started lobbying City Council members to support tax increases after the November elections. Acknowledging that closing the $5 billion budget deficit will be painful, the mayor is trying to get the Council behind him - a task that is proving difficult. Bloomberg rejected the Council's attempts this year to impose a personal income tax surcharge or absentee landlord surcharge. (Daily News)

The city is trying to wriggle out of providing free tutoring to thousands of kids in lousy schools - even though it's required by a new federal law. Under the No Child Left Behind law, signed by President Bush in January, students in failing schools qualify for transfers to better spots or, in many cases, free tutoring. Chancellor Joel Klein's administration is arguing that the city should have to spend only about $30 million on tutors. Federal and state education officials estimate the city should be shelling out four times that amount: about $120 million. (Daily News)

With its chairman wielding a bat as a gavel, a city council committee raucously debated this morning whether aluminum bats should be banned for New York youngsters. Oddo and Councilman Lewis Fidler (D-Brooklyn), chair of the committee, are seeking to pass the first law in the country banning the bats among players under 18 because of concern that balls hit by aluminum bats pose a greater risk to injury. (Newsday) (Daily News)

Not all dogs are created equal - at least not in the eyes of Mayor Bloomberg. The mayor said yesterday that most canines caught at night are meaner than junkyard dogs, and if something bad should happen to them, well, so be it. (Daily News)

Mayor Bloomberg's aides have been sounding out legislative and other officials about whether they'd support tax hikes to help close a $5 billion budget deficit. One insider said nothing will happen before the gubernatorial election Nov. 5, but added that come Jan. 1, tax hikes could be on the table. "After that, all hell breaks loose," the insider predicted. (NY Post)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg warned city residents Friday that tough budget decisions will have to be made to deal with a $5 billion deficit in the next fiscal year. (Newsday)

Mayor Bloomberg pledged yesterday to root out corruption in tax assessments and building inspections through a series of reforms. "Simply put, corruption will not be tolerated in this administration," Bloomberg declared. Finance Commissioner Martha Stark, whose department oversees tax assessors, outlined 35 proposals to demystify the way the city assesses property. Patricia Lancaster, the buildings commissioner, and Rose Gill Hearn, the city investigation commissioner, said there will be a series of unannounced audits in every division of the Buildings Department. Both departments were subject to a series of arrests earlier this year for bribery and extortion charges. (New York Times) (Newsday) (Daily News)

Former Councilmember Sheldon Leffler, under investigation for illegal fund-raising during his failed 2001 campaign for Queens borough president, has reversed his earlier position and decided to protest his innocence in court. Leffler had previously said that he did not have the will to fight the case. The Manhattan district attorney's office is investigating Leffler about soliciting and accepting some questionable campaign contributions. No charges have been filed yet, but officials within the district attorney's office confirmed that an investigation had been under way for some time and insisted that they would pursue the question of an indictment. (New York Times)

City Council Speaker Gifford Miller (D-Manhattan) and a handful of other Council members will visit Ireland next week, officials said yesterday. The trip is sponsored by the New York Friends of Ireland, a group founded by labor leaders to increase awareness of Irish issues, and the Emerald Isle Immigration Center. The group will stop in Dublin and Belfast, where they will talk to government officials about tourism, economic development and the status of the 1998 peace accord. (Daily News)

The City Council yesterday voted to override Mayor Bloomberg's veto to changes in term limits, ensuring Speaker Gifford Miller and seven colleagues get another two years in City Hall. The first override of a Bloomberg veto sailed through with a 47-2 tally. (New York Times) (Daily News) (NY Post)

Mayor Bloomberg's recent trip to Greece has led supporters of San Francisco's bid for the 2012 Olympics to cry foul. They complained to the U.S. Olympic Committee that Bloomberg violated rules barring cities in the running for the games from "international promotional activities." A Bloomberg administration official confirmed yesterday the city is being investigated by the USOC, but insisted "we don't believe we did anything wrong." (Daily News) (NY Post)

Parents with kids trapped in failing public schools should stick it out until Chancellor Joel Klein finds a way to fix them, Mayor Bloomberg said yesterday. Under the new federal "No Child Left Behind" law championed by Paige and President Bush, students in failing schools are guaranteed transfers to better public schools - if there's room. Nearly a third of the city's 1,100 public schools qualified this year, but angry parents found out this month that there weren't enough good schools to accommodate them or that they had missed the June deadline for transfers. (Daily News)

Mayor Bloomberg's efforts to woo the Democratic and Republican national conventions to the city in 2004 has a new weapon: the James A. Farley Post Office. The stately building would be used as a press center under the city's bid to land the conventions at adjacent Madison Square Garden, officials said. (Daily News)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg issued his Mayor's Management Report yesterday, revealing a grab bag of facts about New York and its government services. The report reveals, for example, that streets are dirtier, homelessness and traffic deaths are up, and more uninsured patients are seeking care in emergency rooms. The city is taking longer to respond to child abuse allegations, but police and fire trucks are responding faster than last year. While tuberculosis may be in decline, syphilis cases have doubled over the last year.

Bloomberg declared most vital signs to be good, especially in light of the effects the World Trade Center attacks have had on city services and the economy and the city's ongoing recession. Bloomberg is posting the 186-page report plus more backup details on the city's web site ( (Daily News (Newsday)

The presentation of the Mayor's Management Report said as much about Michael Bloomberg, the manager, as it did about the city. His predecessor, Rudolph Giuliani, would present reporters with a semiannual tome of positive statistics, presented with great fanfare as proof that the city was reaching new heights under Giuliani.

Yesterday's presentation, for the fiscal year ending June 30, was quite different. The feature Bloomberg seemed most excited about was a web site ( that allows New Yorkers to view statistics about their neighborhoods and to compare them with other areas of the city. (New York Times)

By considering bans on cell phones and weekend construction as well as requiring more baby-changing stations, the City Council is trying to eliminate some of the petty irritants of urban life. (New York Times)

A proposed law to bar the use of cell phones in movie theaters and other "places of public performance" ran into criticism yesterday at City Hall. The measure, backed by Councilman Philip Reed and 21 others, would make it illegal for someone to use a cell-phone during a performance and levy a $50 fine. While many praised the idea of the proposal, the critics said it could be virtually impossible to enforce. Reed said some changes will be made to the bill before a final vote is taken next month. (Daily News) (Newsday)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposal to ban smoking in the city's bars could faces major changes in City Council. "I very seriously doubt it's going to survive intact," said one council official. "[Council] members are all over the place on this." (New York Post)

The number of homeless families seeking shelter is up, while the number of drug related deaths is down, and the typical child in foster care is reunited with parents more quickly. These bits of information are among the hundreds included in the Mayor's Management Report, to be released today at City Hall. The report, which covers the last six months of the Giuliani administration and the first six months of the Bloomberg administration, was redesigned as a report card on public services. (New York Sun)

The first two floors of the historic Tweed Courthouse should be set aside for public programs, City Councilman Alan Gerson and other city officials and preservationists said yesterday. A spokesman for Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the landmark building would remain the base of operations for the efforts of the mayor and Schools Chancellor Joel Klein to improve the school system. (Newsday) (New York Times)

Mayor Bloomberg's proposal to ban smoking in city bars and restaurants will also include private clubs - those smoke-filled bastions that Bloomberg once suggested would not be covered under his toughest-in-the-nation ban. (Daily News)

Starting next Tuesday, fines for the most serious parking infractions are soaring from $55 to $105. There's been little publicity about the new fines, first proposed by Mayor Bloomberg in February to raise $62 million for the cash-starved city. The state gave the go-ahead in July, but the city had to hold public hearings before it could start collecting next month. (New York Post) (Newsday)

School Chancellor Joel Klein and his top aides got their first opportunity Monday to explain their educational philosophy and responsibilities in the new Department of Education during the first ever meeting of the Panel for Educational Policy. (Newsday) (New York Times) (New York Post)

City Comptroller William Thompson Jr. and 10 City Council members announced yesterday they will introduce a bill requiring city contractors to provide benefits to employees with recognized domestic partners. (Newsday) (New York Post)

Elected to serve locally, Mayor Michael Bloomberg's globe-trotting has put him in the multinational spotlight as the city grapples with problems of worldwide consequence. (Newsday) (New York Times)

Mayor Bloomberg took a surprise detour yesterday in his overseas sojourn and ended up on the combat lines of Afghanistan. (Daily News) (NY Post) (Newsday)

From the moment he arrived in Turkey after spending two days in Athens, Mayor Bloomberg was greeted with expressions of sympathy - and a large, chaotic group of local journalists with a seemingly insatiable appetite for photographing him - at nearly every stop he made. It was a strong reminder of how much the city's image in the rest of the world has been altered in the year since the attacks. (New York Times)

A proposed law that would require public places like restaurants, parks and houses of worship to install baby-changing stations accessible to both men and women has begun wending its way through the City Council. (New York Times)

City school districts might be axed as a way to cut administrative costs and increase accountability, under a review of the school system being undertaken by Chancellor Joel Klein. There are 33 community school districts in the city, each with its own superintendent and staff. But the school boards that oversee each of the 33 districts are being phased out next year under the new governance law that gives the mayor direct control of the city school system. (NY Post)

In the city's drive for more cash, even the lowly parking meter is now available for rent as advertising space. The meter-as-billboard program starts next month, when workers will start outfitting up to 500 poles in Manhattan with mini-ads as part of a one-year test. (Daily News)

A City Council committee narrowly rejected a resolution yesterday calling for "an evenhanded policy" toward Palestinians and Israelis. Without debate, the 3-to-2 vote by the Cultural Affairs Committee blocked Councilman Charles Barron's resolution from going to the full Council. (Daily News)

Mayor Bloomberg said yesterday that after Athens, no other city in the world was better suited to host the Olympic Games than his own. After touring construction sites for the Athens 2004 Olympics, Bloomberg said he was "working to bring the 2012 Summer Olympics to New York." (NY Post)

New York City has agreed to pay millions of dollars in penalties dating to 1995 to homeless families who were forced to stay overnight in a Bronx office while awaiting emergency shelter, a violation of court orders. The agreement, disclosed yesterday at a hearing in State Supreme Court in Manhattan, resolved years of wrangling between advocates for the homeless and the city over how and when the penalties would be paid to the families. It is part of an effort by the Bloomberg administration to disentangle the city from a web of lawsuits left over from the previous administration. (New York Times) (Newsday) (Daily News) (New York Post)

A City Council bill requiring public places that cater to 250 people or more to install baby-changing stations is gaining steam and appears on its way to enactment. The measure will require libraries, auditoriums, banquet halls, playgrounds, bowling alleys, churches and synagogues to install such stations by 2004. (New York Post)

More than half of any new apartments built with the special financing created by Congress in response to the terrorist attack on Sept. 11 should be offered at below-market rents for low- and moderate-income families, City Council leaders said yesterday. The Council has no official authority to influence the program, which authorizes issuing tax-exempt bonds, called Liberty Bonds, to finance construction projects in the city. Gov. George E. Pataki and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg are each able to approve $4 billion in projects, $800 million of which can be for residential rental units. (New York Times)

Tobacco giant Philip Morris said it is preparing to unleash its considerable bankroll on stopping Mayor Bloomberg's proposed bill to snuff out smoking in city bars, restaurants and office buildings. The company has four lobbyists on retainer and will spend some $193,200 this year trying to sway city legislation. (Daily News)

A City Council committee set the stage Wednesday for the full body to override the mayor's veto of a much-debated change to term limits. The Governmental Operations Committee voted 7-0 to send the mayor's veto message for the full body to counteract. Under the bill, Council Speaker Gifford Miller, Deputy Majority Leader Bill Perkins, who chairs the govermental operations panel, and six other senior council members would be allowed to run for an extra two years in office. (Newsday)

The 13-member panel that replaced the city's contentious Board of Education will hold its first meeting Monday at Evander Childs High School in the Bronx. But with no time set aside for public comment, and a 4:30 p.m. meeting time, parents already are wondering whether what was supposed to be a window for public involvement is locking them out. (Daily News)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced yesterday that the Department of Education would find and punish disruptive students in the public schools, particularly those in schools with high crime rates, and hold principals more accountable for reducing disciplinary problems. To that end, the mayor announced the creation of the Office of School Safety and Planning, which will be charged with creating safety plans and disciplinary procedures for children who disrupt classrooms. The new office will supplement the system's Division of School Safety which began reporting to the Police Department in 1999. (New York Times)

Benjamin B. Tucker, a longtime police officer and former Justice Department official, was appointed yesterday to head the new Office of School Safety and Planning. (Newsday)

Rowdy students in city schools could be put in a "community service" program like the one facing convicted criminals under a new program announced yesterday by Mayor Bloomberg. In general, Bloomberg hopes to bring policing strategies, from community service to a computer program for tracking school violence, into education. (New York Sun)

City Council members will call on the state Legislature today to enact a tough new criminal background check law for nursing home attendants and home health aides. (Daily News)

The NYPD's $1.17 million Domestic Violence Database failed to fulfill 50 percent of its requirements - including the creation of a critical link between the police and Probation Department, Comptroller Bill Thompson said yesterday. (New York Post)

Mayor Bloomberg's three days in Greece and Turkey will be packed: He'll give the keynote speech at the 2002 Mayors of the World Summit in Athens, meet with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, leader of the Greek Orthodox Church, and tour 2004 Olympic venues. (Daily News)

The city's firefighters unions are preparing to do public battle with the Bloomberg administration over its failure to support Sept. 11-related pension bills proposed in Albany. The two unions, which together represent more than 10,000 members of the much-lauded Fire Department, plan to place full-page ads in area newspapers within days, assailing the mayor for failing to put his weight behind the legislation. (Newsday)

A day after New York City mourned the thousands killed by devotees of despotism, some City Council members threw open the doors of City Hall to a world leader accused of repression, violations of human rights, homophobia and violence. (New York Times)

Michael Bloomberg, the fourth mayor of New York to address the United Nations General Assembly, used the occasion yesterday to make a subtle case for military action against Iraq, underscoring the message President Bush delivered just a day earlier. Calling the Sept. 11 attack an assault on the principles of the United Nations itself, Mr. Bloomberg said, "Freedom comes at a price - and tragically, sometimes that price is the commitment to defend freedom by arms." (New York Times) (Daily News) (NY Post) (Newsday)

Michael Bloomberg, who spent $75.5 million to become New York's mayor, is now the 29th richest person in the United States, according to Forbes magazine. (Newsday)

Amid budget pressure from City Hall, Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes announced yesterday that former Borough President Howard Golden has resigned from his $125,000-a-year job as head of civic affairs (Daily News)

If yesterday's City Council hearing on the Yankee TV blackout had been a baseball game, Cablevision would have been tossed off the field. After boycotting governmental hearings on its season-long stalemate with the YES Network, Cablevision sent a representative to yesterday's subcommittee session. But lawyer Kevin McGrath merely read a letter from Cablevision boss Charles Dolan restating his position, then refused to take any questions. Councilman Miguel Martinez (D-Manhattan) called Cablevision's position "insulting to this body and to the entire City of New York." Several members suggested challenging Cablevision's exclusive city franchise for 800,000 subscribers in the Bronx and parts of Brooklyn. (Daily News)

Nine months into office, the first City Council created by term limits has yet to shed its Rodney Dangerfield image - and perhaps with good reason. The 51-member Council has spent countless hours debating issues beyond its scope since 38 newcomers took office in January. "It's a tough job to improve their image," said longtime Council watchdog Gene Russianoff, senior lawyer of the New York Public Interest Research Group, who believes the new Council is getting a bum rap. The media focus more on the warts than the accomplishments, he said. "[Miller] isn't cutting the wackos off," said a mayoral aide, specifically referring to Barron, a former Black Panther who has delighted in introducing such hot-potato issues as slave reparations, amnesty for cop killers and a Palestinian homeland. (New York Daily News)

City Hall has agreed to move a lot faster to make sure every New York street corner is wheelchair-accessible, spending $218 million to fulfill the promise. The pledge to finish construction of curb cuts citywide by 2010 settles an eight-year-old lawsuit accusing officials of delaying in complying with federal laws on sidewalk access. Of the city's 158,738 street corners, 39.5% don't have accessible curbs. (New York Daily News)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg's public role may have appeared minimal yesterday, but the hats he wore were many. He was the master of ceremonies at ground zero, host to the president and other officials, and the source of comfort to those who chose to look to him. (New York Times)

In yesterday's election, a number of former City Council members sought seats in the State Senate. Some failed, despite high name recognition, and others succeeded. The losers featured Guillermo Linares, who was seeking to unseat incumbent State Senator Eric Schneiderman, and Noach Dear, who was defeated by Kevin Parker in the contest for an open seat in Brooklyn. But former Councilmember Martin Malavé-Dilán defeated five-term State Senator Nellie Santiago in Brooklyn, while former Councilmember John Sabini won a spirited, three-way race in a newly created State Senate district in Corona and Jackson Heights, Queens. (New York Times)

Sheldon Leffler, a former longtime member of City Council, is expected to plead guilty soon to charges stemming from an investigation into illegal fund-raising for his failed 2001 campaign for Queens borough president, an official with knowledge of the inquiry said yesterday. (New York Times)

Schools Chancellor Joel Klein has permanently hired three superintendents whose local school boards had been trying to fire them. The appointments give New York City a full complement of permanent superintendents for the first time in three years and end several bitter struggles between the local boards and the chancellor's office. Those hired are: Helen Santiago, acting superintendent of District 1 on the Lower East Side; Jorge Izquierdo, acting superintendent of District 6 in Washington Heights; and Joseph Quinn, the acting superintendent of District 24 in Ridgewood, Queens. (New York Times) (Daily News)

As officials rushed to make final preparations for Wednesday's Sept. 11 observances, Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Monday defended the decision not to include any original speeches in the dayŒs program, suggesting a desire not to upstage President George W. BushŒs national address. (Newsday)

The Bloomberg administration is slashing nursing services to students at private and parochial schools to help address the city's fiscal crisis. (New York Post)

The Parks Department has offered to pay for the funeral of a Washington Heights teenager crushed to death beneath the wheels of a parks truck in the Bronx on Sunday afternoon. (New York Daily News)

Before the terrorist attacks, he was a lame-duck mayor, his political future rocked by a bitter and public separation from his wife, an aborted U.S. Senate race and a diagnosis of prostate cancer. Now, his divorce from television personality Donna Hanover is final and he says he is cancer-free. Since leaving office, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani has raised money for his Twin Towers Fund to benefit the families of deceased rescue workers, crossed the country making speeches, and launched a consulting and investing business, Giuliani Partners.Giuliani said he takes great pride in the success of his fledgling business, but added he has always planned to return to public life. He left those plans vague, but he sounded very much like a man who envisions a national political future, remarking more than once on how much he has learned about the country and the world in his travels. Sitting in the Times Square offices of his consulting and investing company, Giuliani began with a brief, informal statement about the coming memorial ceremony, then answered questions for about 45 minutes on subjects ranging from the political to the personal, at one point relating his memories of waking up on Sept. 12, 2001, to see the sun rise. (New York Times) (Newsday) (New York Post)

New Yorkers are engaged in a war that has no foreseeable end, Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly says, and the greatest challenge facing his 39,000 officers is acquiring the training and the global perspective necessary to confront the devastating impact of terrorism. (New York Times)

Count Mayor Bloomberg among those who don't want to see reruns of the searing images of Sept. 11. "I don't want to see the pictures again," Bloomberg declared yesterday on his WABC Radio show. (NY Post)

Someone "got to" the arbitrator who pulled the plug on a plan to have cops work 10 extra tours in exchange for a bigger raise, Mayor Bloomberg charged yesterday. Bloomberg said arbitrator Dana Eischen was prepared to go along with the city's proposal to pay cops 14 percent more over two years if they'd agree to a schedule change that kept their annual hours the same but added 10 shifts. (NY Post)

Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein whisked through the five boroughs yesterday to mark the start of his first school year, imploring students to do their homework and promoting small schools with unconventional curriculums as "a model that we need to grow throughout the city." (New York Times) (Newsday)

More than a million New York City students will return today to a school system now in the hands of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and a chancellor who serves at his pleasure, with new and potentially powerful tools to bring about change.The biggest cloud looming over the system is Mr. Bloomberg's plan to cut $378 million from the schools budget of nearly $12 billion, starting with $100 million this month. But Mr. Bloomberg and Joel I. Klein, the new chancellor, have promised that the cuts will not affect instruction and other student services, saying they will come from the central and district administrative budgets. (New York Times)

The attack on the World Trade Center will cost New York City $83 billion to $95 billion, depending on how many businesses wind up leaving the city, according to a report issued yesterday by William C. Thompson Jr., the city comptroller. (New York Times)

New Yorkers can't escape taxes - even when they're not supposed to pay them. A City Council sting operation found that one of three stores randomly checked still charged sales tax on tax-exempt goods. (Daily News)

A City Council committee set the stage for another veto battle with Mayor Bloomberg by approving a bill to crack down on so-called predatory mortgage lenders. The measure, expected to be passed by the full Council, would prohibit the city from doing business with any financial institution that directly or indirectly engages in predatory lending. But signaling a possible veto, city officials said the measure would increase the city's cost for financial services, burden legitimate lenders with added bureaucracy and hurt consumers by making subprime mortgage loans scarcer. (Daily News)

In his first lengthy interview with reporters, new Schools Chancellor Joel Klein said he plans to use his first 100 days in office to retool exorbitant school construction budgets, set academic priorities and create a scorecard for parents to judge his performance. (Daily News)

Schools Chancellor Joel Klein said yesterday that he expects to make weekly unannounced visits to schools across the city to understand what works in the system and to allow students to get to know him. (Newsday)

Schools Chancellor Joel Klein said yesterday that examining the city's expensive process of building schools was among his immediate priorities, as was protecting classrooms from $100 million in imminent budget cuts. (New York Times)

The U.S. Justice Department approved a plan yesterday to strip the city's community school boards of their role in appointing district superintendents. The decision will allow the schools chancellor to have sole responsibility for hiring and firing superintendents. The Justice Department had to review the change because it all but eliminated the powers of the local boards, whose members are elected. The city is seeking to abolish the local school boards entirely. That change would also be subject to Justice Department approval . (New York Times) (New York Post)

Schools Chancellor Joel Klein moved into the Department of Education's new administrative headquarters in the refurbished Tweed Courthouse next to City Hall yesterday and sat in a cubicle like everyone else. His move officially ended the era when 110 Livingston Street in downtown Brooklyn served as school system headquarters. (New York Post)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that while he disagrees with the decision by his charter revision commission not to place two issues that he supports on the November ballot, the move proves the commissionųs independence. The mayor had appointed the commission in the hopes that it would place before the voters proposals to make city elections nonpartisan and to change the rules of mayoral succession so that an appointed deputy mayor rather than the elected public advocate would take over if the mayor is incapacitated, steps down or dies. Instead, the Charter Revision Commission has cleared the way for a vote on a proposal on mayoral succession that would shorten the time before a special election but leave the public advocate as next in line for the job. (New York Times) (Newsday)

The city's Campaign Finance Board is proposing that the city reduce the generous matching funds it gives to candidates for city office, but is also recommending increased payments to candidate facing high spending opponents like Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Under the proposed rules, which require approval by City Council and the mayor, participants would be eligible for $3 in public funds for every $1 up to $250 raised from individual donors. The current formula calls for $4 in matching funds. (New York Times)

Complying with city conflict of interest rules by selling his stock could cost Mayor Michael Bloomberg millions, but the mayor said yesterday that he is unconcerned because "there are other things in life than playing with your stock portfolio." The mayor has said he will transfer money from stocks into mutual funds, which the conflicts board approves. Bloomberg could get a hefty tax write-off from losses on the stock sale and will remain the owner of Bloomberg LP, his financial information and media company. . (New York Post) (Newsday)

With the opening of school comes the first truth test for the city's new chancellor, Joel Klein, and his boss, Mayor Michael Bloomberg. (Daily News)

In an essay in Time Magazine's September 11 anniversary issue, former mayor Rudolph Giuliani writes that he is still "as shocked, angry and resolute" as he was a year ago, and calls for all 16-acres of the World Trade Center site to be preserved as a memorial. "Ground zero is a cemetery. It is the last resting place for loved ones whose bodies were not recovered and whose remains are still within that hallowed ground. We must respect the role these events play in our history," he writes. (Time)

After dodging one bullet from City Hall, the public advocate's office finds itself facing another. Mayor Bloomberg's Charter Revision Commission has informally rejected his proposal to change the line of mayoral succession, which now empowers the public advocate to take over if the mayor dies, resigns or becomes incapacitated. Bloomberg had wanted the deputy mayor for operations to take over for three months until a special election was held. Instead, the commission is expected to vote this week on a new plan to strip the public advocate's power to preside over the City Council. (Daily News)

In these last few days before New York City schools open for another academic year, something strange is in the air: a sense of calm, good will and even optimism about the future of public education in the city. (New York Times)

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