Tuesday, July 03, 2012
By Ilya Marritz
The nonprofit that has spearheaded many of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's biggest economic development initiatives over the past decade conceded in a settlement Monday that it illegally lobbied the City Council for projects, and has pledged to restructure to avoid further violations.
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
By Jim O'Grady
(New York, NY - WNYC) By the end of the decade, climate-related actions taken by cities around the world will reduce greenhouse gases by 250 million tons per year. That's what New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg told delegates at the Rio Earth Summit. He added that by 2030, the annual reduction of greenhouse gases by major cities could be a billion tons per year--the combined output of Mexico and Canada.
Bloomberg was addressing the Rio+C40 Summit, which he said includes 59 cities "from Bogota to Berlin, from Jakarta to Johannesburg, and from my New York." One of every 12 people on the planet live in those cities, he said, and account for about 14 percent of the world’s total carbon footprint.
“The world is rapidly urbanizing," Bloomberg said. "Cities are becoming bigger and bigger. Our problems are sometimes harder and harder to tackle. Yet we continue to make major progress, even in times of tough budget cuts."
He said New York City has shrunk its carbon footprint by 13 percent in the past five years, and praised other cities for taking similar steps.
“Let me point out that nearly two-thirds of the climate change actions the C40 cities have taken have been paid for solely from our budgets – without support from our national governments," he said. "That’s because cities recognize our responsibilities to act; we haven’t waited for our national governments to go first."
Bloomberg also announced initiatives to improve the management of city solid waste, including reducing the release of methane and other greenhouse gases, and a web site "to provide a broad, deep, and constantly updated library on what the world’s cities are doing about climate change – and about the tools and resources cities can use to further their work."
Go here to read the mayor's full remarks.
Friday, May 25, 2012
Both rock stars in their own right, both trying to right their states' ships, and both building serious momentum for a potential presidential run. Every Friday, we'll look at whose week will look better on a résumé come 2016.
Check out last week's results here.
Friday, April 27, 2012
By Jim O'Grady
(New York, NY - WNYC) NY Metropolitan Transportation Authority chairman Joe Lhota told planners at a Midtown conference that the first project on his "wish list" is extending the Number 7 subway train down 11th Avenue to 23rd Street.
"It's something that I think would make sense because if you look at the demographics of the West Side, we shouldn't just make one stop," he told reporters after taking part in a workshop at the Regional Plan Association's annual assembly, which was held at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.
Lhota said, "It's important to have plans, to have a wish list." But he cautioned there was no active push to send the 7 train from Times Square past its planned terminus at W 34th Street. "I'm not sure it can be done," he said. "I'm not sure about how close you can get to the Hudson River."
The $2.1 billion extension is scheduled to be done by December 2013 at a cost of $2.1 billion. It's being built in conjunction with a massive development of the Hudson Yards immediately to the south.
NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg has also been thinking about boosting the capacity of New York's transportation system.
Appearing Friday as a guest on WOR Radio's John Gambling Show, he said "it'd be great" to offer free transfers to the city's private ferries with a Metrocard. "It's all one big thing in these days of technology," the mayor said. "You could use one card and then revenue could be divided up" between the ferry operators and the NY MTA.
Lhota liked the idea of allowing ferry passengers to pay by Metrocard, noting that several non-NY MTA transit operators in the region already do that, from the PATH Train to New Jersey and a newly privatized bus system on Long Island. But he wasn't keen on the idea of making the transfer free and sharing fares. "The NY MTA is in no position to share its revenue with the ferries," he said.
The NY MTA is perennially cash-strapped and only recently received funding from the state for the last three years of a five-year capital plan.
Thursday, April 12, 2012
By Jim O'Grady
The Yankees hold their first home game in the Bronx on Friday afternoon, but the company that owns their stadium's parking garages may be on its last legs.
The Bronx Parking Development Corporation is struggling to make payments on the $237 million in tax exempt bonds used to build the garages, placing the company in danger of default
As TN reported, the eleven garages were a little more than one-third full on game days last year. On days without a game, an average of 70 people paid to park there, leaving nearly 9,000 spaces empty. Each space costs $35 or $48 for valet parking. Smaller garages in the neighborhood charge much less.
Late last month, the corporation said it needed to raid its cash reserves to make its latest payment on its bond obligations. In a letter to bond holders, the corporation said that if it didn't do that, it would immediately default. The same crisis occurred before the last bi-annual payment came due, in November.
The parking company, which was set up with the backing of the Bloomberg administration because the Yankees wanted more parking spaces, also owes $25 million to the city in rent and property taxes.
In an audit last month, New York City Comptroller John Liu blasted the city Industrial Development Agency for recommending in 2006 that the bonds be issued to finance the new garages. "NYIDA did not independently analyze the financial position and cash flow of the proposed parking operation or the parking needs of the community to determine if there would be a demand for increased parking, at higher prices, in the Yankee Stadium vicinity," the report said.
Critics like Bettina Damiani of Good Jobs New York agreed with Liu's assessment. "This project was forced through despite the screaming concerns of local residents, transportation experts and good government advocates," she said.
The agency replied in a written statement that it relied on the recommendation of "a nationally recognized expert" in giving a thumbs up to the deal, and then helping to arrange for its tax exempt financing.
Agency spokesman Kyle Sklerov also stressed in an email to WNYC that the city would not lose money if the Bronx Parking Development Corporation defaulted on its debt. “The bonds are not a general obligation of the City or the IDA in any way, shape or form," he said.
Damiani said that may be true, but the garages going bust would mean a big hit to the reputation of the agency. "What does it mean for future projects in this city when a development as prominent as the one associated with Yankee Stadium goes into default?" she asked.
Sklerov disagreed. He said, "We expect that bond investors will continue to evaluate future IDA projects on their own merits.”
The garages were also controversial because city parkland was paved to make way for some of them. That parkland was fully replaced only last week when, after five years, three new baseball diamonds on the site of the old Yankee Stadium were opened to the public.
A call to the Bronx Parking Development Corporation was not returned.
Monday, March 19, 2012
By Justin Krebs : IAFC Blogger
Mayor Bloomberg needs to defend corporate abuses one day, and police actions the next, making him the best recruiter Occupy Wall Street could ask for.
Thursday, February 09, 2012
Interesting result from a Quinnipiac College poll today: some 60 percent of New Yorkers think the Sanitation department should continue its practice of stickering cars that aren't moved for street cleaning.
The results were pretty much across the board, with the least support (54%) among whites and the highest (65%) among blacks.
The city council, with the full-throated support of Speaker Christine Quinn, who is running for Mayor, recently passed a bill to end the practice, which the Mayor said he would veto.
Fifty four percent of respondents said they owned a car, and half said they parked on the street, rather than in off-street parking.
Monday, February 06, 2012
As famous for its commercials as the big game itself, this year the Super Bowl premiered an ad starring New York mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston mayor Tom Menino. The thirty-second spot promoted Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a coalition group of 600 mayors organized to promote urban safety by preventing the flow of illegal weapons into cities across the United States. While the ad may have seemed out of place alongside ads for cars, websites, and beers, the message it promoted was, in many ways, as uncontroversial as the aforementioned products.
Wednesday, February 01, 2012
By Ailsa Chang
Last year, New York City police officers made the greatest number of marijuana arrests in more than a decade, according to new state records.
Friday, January 20, 2012
Mayor Michael Bloomberg asked others to join the call for marriage equality at the launch of the Freedom to Marry campaign in Washington, D.C, on Friday.
Friday, January 13, 2012
Mayor Michael Bloomberg has thrown down a challenge to Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt over the outcome of Sunday's playoff game between the Giants and the Packers.
Tuesday, January 03, 2012
Mayors of both Chicago and New York said Tuesday they'd be making the locations of snow plows public during winter storms via public websites that will show GPS tracking information.
While the idea of a snowplow tracker isn't new -- it exists in Montgomery County and Howard County, Maryland, just to name a couple -- New York and Chicago would be the first major cities to deploy this technology.
Mayor Bloomberg hit once of the lowest moments of his mayoralty last winter when New York ground to a halt during the blizzard of 2010. It was particularly frustrating for outer-borough residents when streets outside of Manhattan went unplowed for days (while the Mayor recommended they take in a Broadway show.)
Also galling: city officials were increasingly unable to tell members of the public (or even elected officials) when streets would be cleared.
In an information vacuum, WNYC developed a plowed street tracker, based on crowd-sourced information. Later, Mayor Bloomberg promised to add GPS to all snow plows. But that information wasn't made available to the public. Yet.
Enter Chicago, where Mayor Rahm Emanuel (who wasn't even in office last winter), a notorious type-A techno-geek, announced with some fanfare Tuesday that city would set up a Plow Tracker. "During major snow cleanup efforts," according to a press release, " the City will activate the real-time 'Plow Tracker' map, allowing the public to track the progress of City snow plows and make snow removal efforts more transparent."
Looks like Emanuel may have upstaged Bloomberg (himself something of a type A techno-geek)
Asked at a press conference (on an unrelated subject) Tuesday whether New York would be making snow plow location information available on a public website, Mayor Bloomberg said:
"Yeah, we have a whole plan we'll get you very quickly. We've been enhancing what we do. I don't know that it necessarily improves our ability to plow. We have the routes and we're gonna do it, but it does let you see where plows went and when they went there, and that's all. Our best thing so far is my strategy so far. Look outside - streets are clean, no snow."
While Chicago's website is now live (www.cityshovels.org), New York City officials cautioned that it's not yet clear what the New York website will look like, or when it will be up and running.
Tuesday, January 03, 2012
Mayor Michael Bloomberg says the city will be setting up a website so residents can track the locations of snow plows during snow storms. The city began installing GPS devices in snow plows after last winter's disastrous "Blizzard of 2010." Word of the plan came after the city of Chicago announced a similar "plow tracker" site.
Thursday, December 29, 2011
By Jim O'Grady
(New York, NY - WNYC) The Bloomberg Administration says the city will have the lowest number of traffic fatalities in its history this year.
Mayor Bloomberg said 237 people have been killed in traffic incidents this year--a 40 percent drop from 2001. He said traffic fatalities for pedestrians and children are also at record lows.
New York Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan added that fatal bicycle accidents have held steady. She said that's despite a quadrupling of bike ridership over the past decade.
The mayor and his transportation commissioner unveiled the statistics in Brooklyn at Grand Army Plaza, where they said safety upgrades contributed to a 40 percent reduction in crashes over the past three years.
Sadik-Khan said deaths are down because the city keeps re-engineering its streets, and plans to do more. "You will see more pedestrian countdown signals," she said. "We're going to be doubling them in the next two years. You will see more neighborhood slow zones, continuing our work to create slow zones around schools. We've done 138 so far."
She said her department also plans to keep installing bike lanes, crossing lanes and pedestrian islands around the city.
New York's traffic fatality rate is already half the per capita national average.
Monday, December 19, 2011
Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Monday that Cornell University, with its partner the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, has been chosen to build a new applied sciences and engineering school on Roosevelt Island. It is another sign of his administration’s push to promote and expand the city’s growing technology sector.
Wednesday, December 07, 2011
Lawyers for New York City say they will appeal a judge's decision ordering Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration to release emails between his office and former schools chancellor Cathie Black.
Sunday, November 20, 2011
By Caitlyn Kim
A Manhattan man who was described by city officials as an al-Qaida sympathizer was arrested on charges that he was plotting to bomb police patrol cars, postal facilities and target members of the armed forces returning home, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Sunday.