Mayor Bloomberg Bankrolling Programs in Other Cities (WSJ)
Bloomberg Philanthropies will donate $24 million to be spent over three years to pay for initiatives in Atlanta, Chicago, Louisville, Memphis and New Orleans. The programs include efforts to reduce homelessness and gun violence, funding for small business and developing a 311-type line. Cities with strong executive forms of government made the cut.
Amateur Detective Helped Police Found Leiby (NY Daily News)
Yaakov German, a property manager and father of 12, says he was the one who got store owners to turn over security camera footage to track Leiby Kletzky’s path after leaving day camp. German says he was especially motivated to help because his son was one of Leiby’s teachers. He says he found out that suspect Levi Aron went to a dentist office with Leiby and fed that information to detectives working the case. Meanwhile, there might be more of a push for the private Jewish patrol called the Shomrim, to work with the NYPD. For example, the Shomrim has a list of “suspected child predators” (alleged killer Aron wasn’t on it), but they don’t share this list with the police. Everyone has to get permission from rabbis before calling the police. The police weren’t notified about Leiby’s disappearance three hours after the Shomrim knew about it. Kletzky’s parents posted this note thanking the community for its help.
Panel Wants Dept. of Education to Drop News Corp. Deal (NY Daily News)
The Panel for Education Policy is recommending that the state Education Department reject a $27 million no-bid contract with News Corp. education firm, Wireless Generation. The company would have access to sensitive information about students all over the city, including names, ethnicities, ages and home addresses. Since News Corp is facing invasion of privacy allegations, the panel members say the contract would be “disturbing.”
Former Gates Foundation Official Cancels Plan to Open 3 Charter Schools (NYT)
After spending $1.5 million, hiring a principal, securing space in a public school and getting applications from 150 eighth graders, Tom Vander Ark will not be opening three schools in New York and New Jersey as planned in the fall. In an e-mail to board members, Vander Ark cited the difficulty of opening charters in the two states. His critics say his plans were originally rejected because they weren’t impressive enough and that he never communicated with board members about problems he was having. Vander Ark rejects those claims.
Despite Bloomberg Initiatives, Poverty Persists (NY1)
In the past five years, Mayor Bloomberg launched more than 40 anti-poverty programs targeting everything from high school dropouts to the long-term unemployed. One-fourth of them are called successful. Another dozen were discontinued. "If the mayor is going to judge the success the way that all programs should be judged by data, data, data, then we all must conclude that the anti-poverty initiative was not a success," said Joel Berg of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger. The Bloomberg administration says the city plans to place 1,500 people in new jobs.
Whoopi Goldberg Wants to Adopt the Verrazano Kitty (Brooklyn Paper)
The city confirms Goldberg inquired about adopting the cat who survived being tossed from a car by someone driving on the bridge. The Staten Island Borough President also put his name in for the famous kitten. Verrazano, the cat that is, won’t be able available for adoption for another two months.
An Interview with 9/11 Memorial Designer (Brooklyn Paper)
Michael Arad talks about the inspiration behind the design and how he involved 9/11 families in the process.
Sen. Ruben Diaz Accuses Mayor Blooomberg of Buying Gay Marriage Votes (Times-Union)
Mayor Bloomberg confirms he sent $10,300 donations to Republican Sens. James Alesi of Monroe County, Mark Grisanti of Buffalo, Roy McDonald of Saratoga County, and Stephen Saland of Poughkeepsie. "If this is not a quid pro quo, please tell me what this is?" said Democratic Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr. Diaz says the attorney general should investigate. The mayor had no comment.
Twenty-Somethings Up and Coming on NJ Political Scene (Star-Ledger)
These days, New Jersey has mayors, councilmen, and town committee members in their early 20s. In a growing trend, so-called “millennials” are aggregating more and more political power in the state.
Iowa Senator Says Taxi of Tomorrow Should Be Wheelchair Accessible (NY Daily News)
U.S. Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa contributes today’s “Be Our Guest” Column in the Daily News. He says disabled New Yorkers and tourists deserve to be able to get around the city like everyone else. He writes that since only 240 of the 13,000 yellow taxis are wheelchair accessible: “This means that while other New Yorkers have on-demand access to any city cab, passengers who use wheelchairs must make due with less than 2% of the taxi fleet.”