Week of August 29, 2005
City gas prices have shot to an average of $3.09 a gallon in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, 40 cents higher than the price on Sunday. Prosecutors have received hundreds of complaints from consumers about price gouging, but the state attorney general has yet to confirm any such cases. Taxi drivers, meanwhile, are asking the Taxi and Limousine Commission to impose an emergency surcharge to stay in place as long as gas remains above $3 a gallon. The proposed surcharge would rise to $2 if gas prices rose above $4. The commission will consider the issue at next week's board meeting.
Calendar of Events (Gotham Gazette)
Mayoral Town Hall
Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his four major Democratic challengers appeared in a televised town hall meeting last night, taking turns answering questions from reporters and the audience. The mayor was the focus of most of the criticism. City Council Speaker Gifford Miller attacked Bloomberg for cutting money from school construction projects, libraries, and senior centers. Former Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer said the mayor had failed to address the affordable housing crisis. U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner said that while Bloomberg would make "an excellent private citizen," he has failed to represent the city in Albany and Washington. Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields talked about her education and housing platforms and implied that her ideas were being given less credence in the press because she is a woman. Mayor Michael Bloomberg defended his record on education, affordable housing, and job creation. "We're going in the right direction. We've got to continue to stay on course," said the mayor. For more election coverage, see Campaign 2005
Hillary Clinton Staffs Campaign to Prepare for Challenge (NY Observer)
Three Ways The Next Mayor Could Improve The Waterfront (Gotham Gazette)
Waterfront Links in the News (Gotham Gazette)
Poverty Increases in City
The number of New Yorkers living in poverty increased last year, with more than one in five city residents -- 20.3 percent -- having incomes below the national poverty line, according to statistics released yesterday by the U.S. Census Bureau. Poverty across the country rose slightly last year to 12.7 percent, but New York was the only city with more than a million people to see a statistically significant increase in its poverty rate. And the Bronx and Brooklyn were both among the 10 counties in the nation with the highest levels of poverty. "We can't assume that just because we have something that looks like a recovery, that people are better off," said Mark Levitan of the Community Service Society of New York, a nonprofit poverty organization. The Democratic mayoral candidates quickly faulted Mayor Michael Bloomberg for not doing more to alleviate poverty in the city.
For more see Demographics Links in the News.
Mayoral Race Could Affect Services to the Poor, by Linda Ostreicher (Gotham Gazette)
More Third Graders Promoted
The Department of Education released test scores yesterday showing more third-grade students in summer school program scored high enough on standardized English and math exams to move on to the next grade this year than last year -- 55 percent of the 6,259 third graders will earn promotion, up from 49.2 percent last year. Mayor Michael Bloomberg created the summer program last year after imposing new rules barring promotion for children who failed to show basic competency on reading and math tests. It was expanded this year to include fifth graders. Critics argued that the summer program is too expensive and not as effective as Mr. Bloomberg has suggested.
For more information, go to City Hall News
Campaign 2005: Much At Stake For Immigrants (Gotham Gazette)
Immigrants Links in the News (Gotham Gazette)
Health Care Proposals
Two mayoral candidates made proposals to improve health care in New York City. Fernando Ferrer outlined a plan to provide health insurance for the 290,000 children who are without it, for at about 200,000 adults who are eligible for it but do not have it because of various bureaucratic or language barriers. Anthony Weiner offered a plan to provide health coverage to the city's uninsured pregnant women. For details, see the health links in the news.
With two weeks to go until the Democratic primary, many candidates are stepping up their advertising, and the newspapers are filling up with reports of campaign doings. Virginia Fields promised to create a deputy mayor for planning and zero waste (she long has said she would appoint a deputy mayor for full employment). Gifford Miller defended what critics call his aggressive campaign financing tactics, and blasted Bloomberg for vetoing free parking on Sundays. Ferrer and incumbent Michael Bloomberg battled over what the school dropout rate really is.
For details on these and the other stories, see the Latest News From The Campaign Trail on Campaign 2005. Also, check out the mayoral issues grid, to which we have added parks.
Judge: Subway Bag Search Details Can Be Secret (Daily News)
2 Subway Clerks Working Outside Booth Menaced (Daily News)
1. Rape Surges 31 Percent In August (NY Sun)