Latest Newscast: De Blasio Makes Five More Appointments

Tuesday, December 31, 2013


Here are the latest headlines from the WNYC newsroom.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has walked out of New York City Hall as mayor for the last time.  He walked down the steps of City Hall at 5:11 P.M. to the cheers of hundreds of staffers and well-wishers.  Smiling broadly and waving, he thanked the crowd and wished people a happy new year.  "If I wasn't happy today, I don't know when I would be happy," he said.  He then walked to the subway, after a final wave. He will be celebrating New Year's with family and friends.

Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio said the media will have access to his swearing-in ceremony at his Brooklyn home at midnight.  His transition team had previously said the event would only be available through live streaming on the Internet and through government-issued official photographs.

The mayor-elect picked up the pace somewhat of the slow, deliberative roll-out of his administration, naming five people to top-level positions.  Polly Trottenberg was chosen to head the Department of Transportation.  She is currently the undersecretary for policy at the U.S. Department of Transportation. Gilbert Taylor, a top deputy commissioner at the Administration for Children's Services, will lead the Department of Homeless Services. Veteran labor negotiator Bob Linn has been named Director of Labor Relations. He'll get help from Stanley Brezenoff, who will serve as an unpaid Special Adviser to the First Deputy Mayor. De Blasio said Kyle Kimball will stay on as president of the New York City Economic Development Corporation. De Blasio has now announced 13 senior staff positions, the fewest, according to The New York Times, since David Dinkins in 1990.

Mayor-elect De Blasio said his new administration will be ready for a snow storm expected on Thursday.  That's because he's temporarily keeping Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty.  The Sanitation Department is responsible for snow removal. De Blasio also asked Fire Commissioner Sal Cassano and Office of Emergency Management head Joe Bruno to stay on temporarily. The National Weather Service said four to eight inches of snow accumulation is possible and has issued a winter storm watch from Thursday night through Friday afternoon.   

A federal judge has upheld most of New York's new gun control law, rejecting arguments that its bans on large capacity magazines and the sale of some semi-automatic rifles violate Second Amendment rights.  Judge William Skretny in Buffalo said those provisions are constitutional because they're related to achieving an "important governmental interest" in public safety.

Snowflakes fell on Times Square, as multitudes of people waited for the midnight ball drop that kicks off 2014.  Neither Mayor Bloomberg nor Mayor-elect de Blasio will attend.  The new year is to be rung in by US Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor instead.

Tonight, partly cloudy, windy and cold, low 25.  Tomorrow, New Year's Day, partly sunny and cold, high 32. The National Weather Service says light snow will begin Wednesday night and increase Thursday during the day. A winter storm watch is in effect from Thursday evening through Friday afternoon, and total snow accumulation will be between four and eight inches for the city. It'll also be cold on Friday and heading into the weekend, with temperatures in the mid-teens.

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