Week of August 15, 2005
City to Sell Vacant Lots
New York City will sell 248 vacant lots, the last of some 5,000 it took over from delinquent taxpayers during the 1970s and 1980s, Mayor Bloomberg said yesterday. Past properties have been sold to the highest bidder, but the hot real estate allows the city to give priority to developers of low-income housing. Preference will also be given to those incorporating environmentally friendly design. Most of the remaining lots are located in Queens, Brooklyn, and upper Manhattan. Housing advocates praised the move, and say the city must now look to brownfield redevelopment or denser zoning to create more low-income housing.
Calendar of NYC Events (Gotham Gazette)
The Best and Worst of New York (The L Magazine)
Health Care Bill
The New York City Council passed a bill that requires employers in the grocery industry to pay their workers' medical costs. The legislation requires stores with more than 35 employees to contribute $2.50 toward health care for each hour an employee works. It also applies to large chain stores - like Wal-Mart - that dedicate large portions of their space to food. Mayor Michael Bloomberg plans to veto the bill, which he says violates federal laws limiting local government's role in job benefits. The council has promised to override the mayor's veto and hopes to extend the regulations to other industries in the future.
For more, see article on the City Council meeting.
WTC Families Sue to Move Remains from Fresh Kills (Daily News)
Jets Eye 1964 World's Fair Site (NY Post)
Campaign 2005: Democratic Mayoral Candidates� Transportation Agendas (Gotham Gazette)
Council Overrides Mayor's Veto on Food Stamps and Tenants Rights (Gotham Gazette)
The Democratic mayoral candidates declined to attack one another too harshly last night in a televised debate, focusing instead on the sitting mayor. All four candidates criticized Mayor Bloomberg for not securing sufficient federal funding for security, for transferring power in certain emergency situations from the Fire Department to the Police Department, and for mishandling the public schools, though no one called for restoring social promotion. Gifford Miller and Anthony Weiner said the city is better off today than four years ago; Fernando Ferrer and Virginia Fields said it is not.
For a transcript of the debate, go here; To read coverage from the city's newspapers, go to Gotham Gazette's Campaign 2005
Arts Links in the News (Gotham Gazette)
7th Grade Policy
Over the objection of parents, education advocates and a prominent state legislator, the Panel for Education Priorities approved the Bloomberg administration's plan to hold back seventh graders who fail a standardized reading test. The school system is promising an additional $40 million spent on such programs as Saturday classes to make sure they pass. For details, see the education links in the news.
The four major Democratic candidates for mayor of New York City will hold the first official debate sponsored by the Campaign Finance Board tonight from 7 to 8:30 at Jazz at Lincoln Center. It will be presented live on NY-1 television and WNYC radio. The Democrats face one another again Sunday live on CBS at 11 a.m.
Land Use Links In The News (Gotham Gazette)
Campaign 2005: Mayoral Candidates' Plans On Land Use Planning (Gotham Gazette)
California and New York City Most Popular Places to Live (ksbi-52TV (Oklahoma))
The city of New York released Friday part of its archive of records from Sept. 11, that includes oral histories, dispatchers' tapes and phone logs. The records contain a wealth of new details about the experiences of hundreds of firefighters and their immediate field commanders as they waded into the burning towers. The often-graphic accounts indicate that the response was plagued with radio problems, and that the rank and file had limited information about the situation. The oral histories - an archive of memories that survivors recounted later - were collected by the New York City government. Earlier this year, the state Court of Appeals ordered the release of most of the materials.
For more information, go to City Hall News
Alert Level Cut, But City Is Wary (Daily News)
Con Ed Sets Record Power Usage (Newsday)
Housing Links In The News (Gotham Gazette)
Mayoral Issue Grid (Gotham Gazette)
Saving A "Non Landmark" (Gotham Gazette)