GOTHAM GAZETTE: SEARCHLIGHT 2002:The Record

The Record: September 2003

9/30
A bill meant to discourage wealthy New Yorkers from using their money to sway public opinion on proposals to revise the City Charter was introduced in the City Council yesterday. (NY Times)

Councilman Allan Jennings Jr. is experiencing road rage after Mayor Michael Bloomberg yanked a prestigious parking permit that would allow the freshman Democrat from Jamaica to park around town without a risk of incurring a ticket. (Newsday)

Practicing his Spanish, Mayor Bloomberg welcomed a group of Latin American diplomats to Gracie Mansion last night to kick off Hispanic Heritage Month.(NY Post)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg is a little down in the dumps about the progress of plans to replace the city's truck-based garbage-hauling system with a trash transportation network that uses barges. (Newsday)

The chairwoman of a key City Council committee yesterday charged the Bloomberg administration with setting a bad precedent by refusing to offer testimony about the impact of the Aug. 14 blackout.(Newsday)

9/29
A Queens city councilman has been using taxpayer money to pay for taxis and parking tickets since Mayor Bloomberg took his parking pass away after he voted against the 18.5 percent property-tax hike, The Post has learned.

"The message he's sending is that if you don't do what I say, I'm going to make your district suffer," said Allan Jennings (D-Queens). "He's abusing his power. (NY Post)

9/27
Mayor Bloomberg said yesterday that he accepts some of the blame for the practice of social promotion - moving unprepared students to higher grades.(Daily News)

City Councilman Charles Barron is leading a noisy campaign to keep the Republican National Convention out of New York, but he was quiet last year when the Council unanimously welcomed the GOP, Mayor Bloomberg chided yesterday. (Daily News)

The era of free baseball tickets for top city officials has just been thrown out at the plate. Mayor Bloomberg is ordering a slew of agency bosses, City Hall aides and others not to accept free tickets to Yankees and Mets games. (NY Post)

Keep the money here. Mayor Bloomberg suggested yesterday that he'd like to see legalized gambling in the city, considering casinos already are in nearby states and on upstate Indian reservations. (NY Post)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg declared final victory Friday in the war over diplomats' parking tickets, crediting none other than his younger sister, the city's volunteer representative to the United Nations. (Newsday)

9/26
The New York City Campaign Finance Board filed a lawsuit yesterday against Councilman Allan W. Jennings Jr., saying he had failed to account for how nearly $30,000 was spent in his campaign in the 2001 election.(NY Times) (NY Post)

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg made a campaign-style swing through Brooklyn last month. Problem was, it was the day of the blackout, so his visit was cut short and all but ignored by the news media.

Undeterred, Mr. Bloomberg scheduled Brooklyn Day, Part 2.

So as the cameras rolled yesterday, the mayor trekked across the
borough for the second time in six weeks in his latest effort to boost his visibility — and standing — with voters, particularly those outside Manhattan. And this time, all the lights stayed on. (NY Times) (Daily News)

9/25
Police and school officials told City Council yesterday that it would not be a good idea to require security cameras at entrances to all city schools. City Councilmember Peter Vallone has proposed a bill requiring the cameras. But police and security officials said the measure would be costly and that training, metal detectors and more school safety officers are what the schools really need. (Daily News)

City Councilmember Hiram Monserrate led the opposition to Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposed change in city policy on reporting illegal immigrants. When the mayor reversed his position, he credited Monserrate. But the Queens councilmember still does not like the way the mayor dances. (New York Times)

The state Board of Elections yesterday voted to open a formal investigation into whether Assemblymembers Roger Green and Daryl Towns and possibly others received illegal in-kind campaign contributions from the Correctional Services Corporation, which was seeking state contracts. (New York Post)

9/24
Democratic city councilman Charles Barron said Tuesday he was launching a grassroots campaign to prevent the city from hosting next summer's Republican National Convention in Manhattan. (Newsday)

With the State Democratic Committee's full blessing, a bill to allow gay marriage is heading to the floor of the Legislature - ready or not. "What's next?" asked Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn). "Do we legalize bestiality? Do we legalize incest?" The issue is so sensitive that the Legislature's top Democrat - Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) - as well as Queens Assemblyman Brian McLaughlin, an expected Democratic challenger to Mayor Bloomberg in 2005, did not return phone calls seeking their respective positions on the issue. (Daily News)

Office buildings taller than 10 stories will be required to install fire sprinklers within 16 years under a plan proposed Tuesday by the Bloomberg administration in the wake of the World Trade Center collapse. All new office buildings 10 stories or higher have been required to have sprinklers since a 1984 city law, but about 200 to 400 older buildings of that size have been exempted. (Newsday)

9/23
Officially, it was the fall business meeting of the State Democratic Party, but the leaders from 62 counties paid a surprising amount of attention to an issue on the New York City ballot. (NY Times)

Nearly two-thirds of New Yorkers want former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani back in public office, according to a statewide poll released Monday. (Newsday)

Gov. George Pataki and Mayor Michael Bloomberg made light but daggered remarks Monday on their continuing legal war over a $5.1-billion state bailout of city debt. (Newsday)

Moments before cutting a ribbon for a new stretch of riverfront park yesterday in Brooklyn, Mayor Michael Bloomberg condemned the legacy of the late master of public works Robert Moses for having cut off waterfront access. (Newsday)

9/22
With the politicians and labor unions determined to mount a grass-roots campaign this fall to defeat a referendum on nonpartisan elections, one big question has begun to emerge: What is Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg going to do? (NY Times)

About 50 community activists and civic leaders spoke up at a street fair, calling for Mayor Michael Bloomberg to sell shuttered, hulking Brooklyn House of Detention for Men at 275 Atlantic. (Newsday)

9/21
A day after two police officers were suspended without pay for their handling of a racially charged attack in a Staten Island park, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said yesterday that bias cases in the borough had decreased by 25 percent so far this year. (NY Times)

The city will soon roll out hand-held computers for issuing parking summonses, closing loopholes that have allowed motorists to get out of paying more than a million handwritten tickets each year. The computers, which scan an illegally parked car's registration sticker and then print the summons, could be on city streets by next month. (NY Post)

The Bloomberg administration's flip-flopping on trash recycling over the last year has been a fiscal fiasco, a new study claims. The city may have saved only $3 million - rather than the hoped-for $39 million - by scrapping the recycling of plastic and glass in July 2002, according to an analysis of Sanitation Department figures by the National Resources Defense Council. (NY Post)

Every top commissioner in the city can tell the same story: The phone rings unexpectedly and on the line is Mayor Bloomberg, who wants to talk about new data he has just seen from the city's 311 hotline. (Daily News)

In a telling sign of the Brooklyn Democratic organization's eroding power, the Working Families Party has nominated its own slate of candidates for Supreme Court. (Daily News)

9/20
For the first time, New York City officials from several agencies have agreed to create a comprehensive post-jail employment, drug treatment and housing plan that they say will prevent far more Rikers Island inmates from committing new crimes that return them to jail. (NY Times)

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg yesterday criticized a wrongful-death claim against the city by the mother of slain City Councilman James E. Davis. (NY Times)

Maybe it's the thin, wry smile. Or the sharp, dark eyes. Or perhaps the high, receding hairline. Whatever, the resemblance between a City Hall portrait of Henry Clay, the famed 19th century orator and statesman, and Mayor Bloomberg is strong enough to give some City Hall denizens the creeps. (Daily News)

Mayor Bloomberg demanded yesterday that municipal union leaders "stop trying to lie to everybody" by suggesting the city has money for employee raises. (Daily News)

Principals were fuming yesterday after the Bloomberg administration ordered them to identify the race of school parent leaders - but Schools Chancellor Joel Klein defended it as necessary to comply with federal law. (NY Post)

9/19
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who engineered the city's smoking ban, said that his cigar-loving predecessor, Rudolph W. Giuliani, had called Wednesday evening to clarify his pro-smoking comments on Irish radio. In an interview earlier that day, Mr. Giuliani had suggested that the Irish government might be going too far in its proposal to ban smoking in bars and restaurants, saying that "some people want to make the choice of being able to have a cigar or a pipe or a cigarette after dinner." (NY Times) (Newsday) (Daily News)

Striking a tough rhetorical pose, Mayor Michael Bloomberg aimed barbs at top city union leaders at their own conclave, honing his message that only labor concessions will fund new wage hikes. Speaking before the Municipal Labor Committee, Bloomberg alternately drew groans, murmurs and laughs from more than 100 labor officials assembled at a Hilton Hotel in Suffolk County. (Newsday) (NY Times) (NY Post)

After luring the Grammy Awards back from the West Coast last year, the Bloomberg administration is looking to the South - making a pitch to host the annual Country Music Awards in 2005. (Daily News)

Overtime costs are threatening to erase $12 million in savings that the city hoped to collect when it laid off 325 sanitation workers, City Council members charged yesterday. The workers were fired in May during the city's budget crisis. But amid complaints of dirty streets and overstuffed litter baskets, Mayor Bloomberg authorized last month spending $275,000 per week on sanitation overtime. Over a year, that adds up to $14.3 million, said Councilman Michael McMahon (D-Staten Island), who is chairman of the Council's Sanitation Committee. (Daily News)

In his strongest comments to date against his own tax hikes, Mayor Bloomberg said yesterday the 18.5 percent property tax increase was too high because "people just don't have the money to pay it." "The property-tax increase the City Council voted at my request is just too burdensome at its current level," Bloomberg declared in a speech before 150 municipal labor leaders. (NY Post)

9/18
Under pressure from immigration groups and the City Council, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg revised his immigration policy yesterday to make it much harder for city agencies to report illegal immigrants to federal authorities. (NY Times) (NY Post)

A state judge ruled today that New York City's plan to sell bonds to refinance its 1970's debt is constitutional, giving the Bloomberg administration a victory in its ongoing battle over the issue with the state. (NY Times) (Daily News) (NY Post)

Trying to make it easier for more companies and agencies to bid on city business, New York City is embarking on a sweeping revision of how it buys $8 billion in goods and services each year. Numerous proposals to overhaul the city's purchasing procedures are on the table, including several from the mayor's office and from the City Council, as well as one from the Charter Revision Commission that will be part of a referendum on the November ballot. Not all the proposals are likely to be adopted, and many have become caught up in political turf battles among various branches of city government. (NY Times)

Teachers and other city workers should be "optimistic" about getting raises - as long as their unions agree to productivity improvements to help pay for them, Mayor Bloomberg said yesterday. (NY Post)

New York City government has weathered several rounds of budget cuts and trimmed its work force, but the Bloomberg administration reported yesterday that it had managed to maintain most city services pretty well, despite some fraying around the edges. Crime continued to decline, the city responded more quickly to reports of child abuse, and it placed more homeless people in permanent housing last year, according to the Mayor's Management Report, an annual rite of self-examination by City Hall. It also found that the Police and Fire Departments took a little longer to respond to emergencies, rat complaints rose, more water mains burst and fewer restaurants were inspected. (NY Times) (Daily News) (NY Post)

As the city continued to brace for a hurricane that may hit North Carolina, Mayor Michael Bloomberg Wednesday said his emergency management office was prepared to move to higher ground if necessary. (Newsday)

Mayor Bloomberg said yesterday that the city "probably" made a "mistake" by permitting officials and their guests to bypass metal detectors at the entrance to City Hall. (Daily News)

9/17
Several Staten Island elected officials Tuesday condemned remarks by black City Council members that they say unfairly labeled their borough "a racist state," as two police officers accused of not properly investigating a bias attack there remained on desk duty. (Newsday)

As prosecutors continue an ongoing probe into whether the leader of the Brooklyn Democratic Party has played a role in the possible sale of judgeships, Mayor Michael Bloomberg told a special judicial ethics panel there was something "profoundly undemocratic" in how judges were selected. (Newsday)

9/16

Concerned about efforts to open more emergency shelters to accommodate a growing homeless population, the New York City Council appears likely to adopt legislation requiring the city to alert local communities to any plans for new shelters there. (NY Times)

For as long as most New Yorkers can remember, the Yankees routinely win in October - and the Democrats prevail in November. Now, Michael Bloomberg, our billionaire Republican mayor, in an unholy alliance with Lenora Fulani, leader of the fringe Independence Party, wants to change the rules of the game. (Daily News)

The city has launched a crackdown on illegal dumping - after Mayor Bloomberg raised questions about a lot he drove past in Brooklyn that was filled with 147 tons of debris. (NY Post)

Most of the giant charts and posters had been taken down, and the Bronx storefront campaign office was calm and quiet. Just a week earlier, Annabel Palma's political headquarters had been a whirlwind of commotion, people and energy. (NY Times)

Some Staten Island officials are calling for action after the second bias attack on the island in the last month. (NY1)

9/15
The Department of Education has revamped its procedures for keeping track of students who are discharged from the school system, reacting to charges that a growing number of school administrators had been pushing struggling students out of the system. (New York Times)

Kevin Sheekey will oversee planning for the 2004 Republican National Convention New York even though he is a Democrat. A special advisor the the mayor, Sheekey will be responsible for making sure the convention comes together -- not for its politics. (Daily News)

9/14
Prosecutors probing Brooklyn Democratic Party leader Clarence Norman have found that for a man with a relatively unexceptional income, he has built a complex financial empire involving personal and political funds. (New York Times)

Voters in November will be asked to vote on a question that, if approved, would enable the mayor to make secret purchases in cases where he decides the usual disclosure "may be detrimental to the security of the city or its citizens." (Newsday)

Pharmacists at city-run hospitals are failing to tell poor and uninsured patients about a program that exempts them from paying $10 prescription fees, according to a City Council report. (Newsday)

Just a few days after closing a deal making Snapple an official beverage of New York City, Joseph Perello, the city's chief marketing officer, said he is hoping to reach other arrangements, though he said, "We have to keep our dignity." (New York Post)

9/13
City Council Speaker Gifford Miller is trying to walk a fine line on the lead paint issue. On one hand, he has said removing lead paint from city apartments is a top priority, But he also has not endorsed a proposed law authored by Councilmember Bill Perkins that has won backing from many council members and children's advocates. (New York Times)

City Council Speaker Gifford Miller yesterday expressed reservations about parts of a bill designed to remove lead paint from city apartments. Critics have accused Miller of not backing the bill to mollify real estate interests and other potential campaign contributors. (Daily News)

The City Council began hearings yesterday on proposed measures to further tighten the citys already tough gun control laws. The council was spurred to action by the murder of City Councilmember James Davis, who was shot to death in council chambers in July. (New York Times)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has invited members of the public to comment on how they think the city handled the August blackout. (New York Times) (New York Post)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg defended the citys deal giving Snapple exclusive rights to sell beverages in city schools but some critics criticized it for commercializing city schools. (Newsday)

9/12
Officials in New York City are crowing about the $166 million deal they announced with Snapple to allow the company exclusive rights to sell its beverages in public schools and in city buildings. (NY Times)

9/11
City Council Speaker Gifford Miller waded into the politically charged issue of what the city should do about illegal immigrants yesterday, throwing his weight behind a proposed law intended to pressure the Bloomberg administration to change its policy. (New York Times)

Most New Yorkers hardly noticed, but on Tuesday there was a Democratic primary, a civic exercise that could become extinct if Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has his way. Few voters showed up. Not even half the members of the City Council faced challengers, and only about a fifth had serious races. And although most members of the Council had voted in favor of several unpopular tax increases, unofficial election results appeared to show that every incumbent who ran won, mostly by large margins. (New York Times)

Leaders of the Queens Democratic Party said yesterday that they considered the Democratic primary race between City Councilman Allan W. Jennings and their candidate, Yvonne Reddick, too close to call, despite unofficial results that showed that Mr. Jennings won by 106 votes. (New York Times)

Vice President Dick Cheney, like President Bush, will not attend this morning's memorial service at ground zero. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's office issued a statement early yesterday saying the decision had been based on concerns that increased security precautions for Mr. Cheney would inconvenience families of Sept. 11 victims. (New York Times)

Speaker Miller has quietly spent scores of hours doing political grunt work for incumbent Council members facing re-election fights in special off-year primaries throughout the city. Miller's stated reason for devoting himself to such lowly political chores is that he wants to build loyalty among members of his Democratic Party conference, thus making himself a more effective Speaker. But all these extracurricular activities have another purpose: They are a key part of Gifford Miller's shadow campaign for Mayor in 2005. (New York Observer)

9/10
It was a good day for City Council incumbents. All members facing primary challenges won yesterday, in an election marked by very low turnout. (Newsday)

Yesterday's primary election was a big win for City Council Speaker Gifford Miller as all of the candidates he backed won their elections. (New York Post)

Council Speaker Gifford Miller spent primary day touring the city to drum up support for councilmembers facing primary challenges. (New York Times)

City Councilmember Allan Jennings, whose first term in office has been marked by controversy, narrowly defeated a challenger backed by the Queens Democratic Party organization. (Newsday)

With the primary over, attention can now turn to the November election when a referendum establishing non-partisan elections in the city will be on the ballot. (Newsday)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg yesterday announced a $166 million deal making Snapple the city's official drink. The arrangement will give the New York company exclusive rights to sell beverages in New York City schools and other city properties. (New York Times) (Daily News) (New York Post) (Newsday)

The latest Quinnipiac University poll says that 38 percent of New Yorkers approve of the job that Mayor Michael Bloomberg is doing -- up from 31 percent in the same poll in July. (Daily News)

Opinions of Mayor Michael Bloomberg split sharply along economic lines, with affluent New Yorkers approving of the job he is doing and the less affluent disapproving, according to the latest Quinnipiac University poll. (New York Post)

Experts differ over the meaning of the slightly improved poll ratings for Mayor Michael Bloomberg. (New York Times)

Representative Vito Fossella, a Staten Island Republican, said yesterday he is considering challenging Mayor Michael Bloomberg in the 2005 Republican primary. Fossella said he had been approached by Republican leaders who are unhappy with Bloomberg's performance as mayor, particularly his tax hikes. (New York Post)

9/9
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg won praise for his stewardship during the blackout, but it was not enough to convince most city residents that he is a good mayor. (NY Times)

A prominent Manhattan Democrat was suspended from his $65,000-a-year job at the Board of Elections after trying to kick down the door of a supervisor during an argument over preparations for today's primary. (Newsday)

A last-minute campaign mailing is accusing Hasidic Jews and other "powerful interests" of opposing City Council member Diana Reyna in today's primary because she's a proponent of affordable housing in Williamsburg. (NY Post)

Some Republican leaders, outraged by Mayor Bloomberg's huge property-tax hike, are seeking a candidate to challenge him in the 2005 primary. (NY Post)

Prominent conservative and liberal politicians, bolstered by a stunning poll, urged Gov. Pataki and lawmakers yesterday to ease the state's harsh new anti-smoking law. (NY Post)

Mayor Bloomberg may be setting some sort of record for distance traveled to win votes in Staten Island - by going to Wisconsin later this month to court the borough's voters. Bloomberg will be in the Badger State to christen the first of three new Staten Island ferries. (NY Post)

9/8
The Bloomberg administration is flouting laws requiring that voter registration forms be available at government offices, including community boards, health clinics and tax collection centers, according to a City Council report released yesterday. (Newsday)

It is a far cry from two years ago, when term limits, coupled with a generous campaign finance law, attracted hundreds of candidates for City Council races. All the same, tomorrow's Council primaries involve a larger-than-usual number of highly competitive races, in a year when incumbents are running in all but two of the 51 districts.(NY Times)

9/7
Mayor Bloomberg has finally decided to divorce himself from Gov.Pataki - partly because he can, and partly because he must. With his poll numbers sagging, Bloomberg has changed his tone in recent weeks, going into attack mode for the city. (Daily News)

Mayor Bloomberg looked downright gloomy as Gov. Pataki shook hands with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver during a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new high school in lower Manhattan yesterday. It was the first public appearance together for the mayor and the governor since they clashed over a schools commission created by Pataki without the city's input. (NY Post)

Mayor Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Joel Klein ring in the grandest experiment in urban education in the United States when 1,200 city public schools open their doors to 1.1 million kids. (NY Post)

As a mayor known for hard-line contract negotiating and firehouse closings, Mayor Michael Bloomberg hasn't been Mr. Popularity among union members and firefighters. Yesterday, you wouldn't have known that. From breakfast at Tavern on the Green through the Labor Day Parade up Fifth Avenue to smile-and-handshake events in Brooklyn and Rockaway Beach, the post-Big Blackout mayor received warm receptions. (Newsday)

9/6
The mayor said that President Bush, who attended the memorial service himself last year, had made the right decision to send Vice President Dick Cheney this year. White House officials said Thursday that Mr. Bush would be attending a prayer service in Washington that day and would not be able to be in New York. (New York Times) (Daily News)

9/5
Touring classrooms filled with stacks of glossy new library books and cartons of math texts, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg yesterday declared the "start of a new era" in the New York City public schools, one he said was "built on a solid foundation of accountability." (New York Times)

Just minutes before members of the City Council planned to declare an impasse yesterday in their efforts to get Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg to amend a policy on how city workers should deal with illegal immigrants, the mayor called them back to the negotiating table. Mayor Bloomberg's decision to personally call one of his most outspoken critics on the issue, Councilman Hiram Monserrate of Queens, and to form a new group to try once more to reach a compromise reflects how politically sensitive the matter has become for him. (New York Times)

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg was talking about changing the schools yesterday, but somehow he left an impression that he might be changing jobs. During a news conference in Queens, the mayor seemed to hint that he might not be around for a second term in 2006, immediately prompting speculation among reporters that either he would not run again, or perhaps he thought the voters might not have him back. (New York Times) (Newsday) (NY Daily News) (NY Post)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg thinks Gov. George Pataki should negotiate directly with him to fix the state's inequitable school financing system instead of creating "another blue-ribbon panel." (Newsday) (NY Post)

9/4
Mayor Michael Bloomberg is seriously considering bankrolling his embattled referendum on nonpartisan elections, six weeks after saying he didn't want to use his immense wealth to sway voters. (Newsday)

Several weeks ago, City Councilman Allan W. Jennings Jr. found himself off the ballot for the Democratic nomination for his own seat, the only incumbent whose re-election was considered virtually impossible. But politics, especially in New York City, is the art of the possible. So it is that voters in the Council district anchored in Jamaica, Queens, will have the chance on Tuesday to decide whether Mr. Jennings will run again for his seat in the Nov. 4 election. Jennings, brought drama to the race when he was removed from the ballot last month by a State Supreme Court judge for irregularities on the forms he had filed to qualify for the ballot. But just as his candidacy was declared over, Jennings won an appeal and was ordered reinstated, after a finding that the irregularities did not warrant removal from the ballot. (New York Times)

Seven City Council members who voted for the 18.5 percent property tax increase last year now say they'd support an effort to roll back the monumental hike. The seven - who all face challenges in Tuesday's primary elections - are embracing a position staked out by Mayor Bloomberg recently. (New York Post)

With Primary Day set for Tuesday, Mayor Bloomberg is ready to repay a political favor - offering his support to any City Council member who voted for the city's 18.5% property tax hike. It's an offer that most Council members can refuse. (Daily News)

Transferring a fire engine from the closed "People's Firehouse" in Brooklyn to virtually people-free Governors Island makes sense, Mayor Bloomberg said yesterday. (Daily News)

9/3
City Councilmember Tony Avella said yesterday that a city law requiring that store signs be in English should be enforced. The move was prompted by the furor over a Korean-language sign for a taxi company in Flushing. (Daily News) (Newsday)

9/2
Two years ago, Diana Reyna won a spirited, three-way City Council primary by one of the smallest victory margins of the 2001 Democratic Council contests. And after nearly two years of incumbency, a time when many officials find themselves coasting to re-election, Ms. Reyna finds herself in another hotly contested primary race. (NY Times)


Click here to see The Record for August 2003