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Mayor Michael Bloomberg

WNYC News

PHOTOS: First Look at 4 World Trade Center

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The 977-foot office tower at 4 World Trade Center officially opened in lower Manhattan; it's the first building in the old World Trade Center plaza area to open since the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

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WNYC News

Brooke Gladstone: The Progress and Strain of Bloomberg's NY

Friday, October 11, 2013

WNYC

I’m not equipped to assess the tenure of the mayor because I’m not a political analyst and because the city is so much bigger, so much richer than any mayor. Even Michael Bloomberg. 

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WNYC News

Brian Lehrer: Why Mike Bloomberg Surprised Me

Thursday, October 10, 2013

WNYC

Michael Bloomberg won't be remembered as the anti-asthma mayor, as he will the anti-smoking, anti-obesity and anti-murder mayor. But he's done a lot more to fight the disease than I ever imagined he would.

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Transportation Nation

City to Install School-Zone Speed Cameras

Monday, August 26, 2013

The city is installing 20 school-zone speed cameras that will operate around the clock — but officials aren't disclosing their location. 

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WNYC News

City Appeals, Requests a Stay in Stop-and-Frisk Ruling

Friday, August 16, 2013

The city formally filed an appeal to a federal judge's ruling that imposes reforms on the NYPD's stop-and-frisk tactics. It's asking for a stay to delay Judge Shira Scheindlin from appointing an independent monitor to the NYPD. 

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WNYC News

City's Sandy Aid Program for Homeowners 3 Months Behind Schedule

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Nine months after Sandy, thousands of homeowners in New York City are growing frustrated as they wait for government funds to make long-term repairs to their properties.

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WNYC News

As Police Bills Are Vetoed, Commissioner Defends Tactics

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

WNYC

Mayor Mike Bloomberg vetoed a pair of City Council bills proposing more police oversight on Tuesday, including one that would expand the definition of racial profiling. The veto came the same day Police Commissioner Ray Kelly defended his approach to crime fighting.

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WNYC News

As Bloomberg Built Affordable Housing, City Became Less Affordable

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

WNYC

Near the beginning of his three terms in office, Mayor Bloomberg made two promises: He'd pump billions into affordable housing. And he'd do everything he could to make the city more desirable. He kept both promises.

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WNYC News

What Exactly Would an NYPD Monitor Do?

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The New York City Council approved some of the most sweeping plans in years to impose new oversight over the NYPD. There were two bills passed with a veto-proof majority. One would expand the definition of racial profiling and a second would establish an inspector general with subpoena power to recommend changes to the NYPD's policies and practices.

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WNYC News

Just Add Water: Mayor's Plan Calls for Instant Flood Walls

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Temporary flood protection systems have been around for centuries: think sand bags. Mayor Michael Bloomberg's climate resiliency plan unveiled Tuesday imitates more modern systems in use in Europe and elsewhere in the Midwest.

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WNYC News

Mayor to Release Post-Sandy Infrastructure Plan

Monday, June 10, 2013

Mayor Michael Bloomberg is scheduled to unveil a wide-ranging plan Tuesday calling for hardening the city's coasts and other measures to prepare for climate change.

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WNYC News

NYPD: Ricin-Laced Letters Sent to Bloomberg Are City's First Mail Attack Since 9/11

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

In an interview with WNYC on Wednesday evening, NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said the letter sent to Mayor Bloomberg that preliminarily tested positive for the poison ricin is the first of its kind in the city since the anthrax attacks in weeks after 9/11.

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WNYC News

Lessons from San Francisco as Paid Sick Leave Bill Passes NYC

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

The City Council passed a landmark paid sick leave bill on Wednesday. The bill, which would require five paid sick days a year, would affect 300,000 New Yorkers and apply to businesses with 20 or more employees starting April 1, 2014.

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Schoolbook

Possible Thawing in Teacher Evaluation Standoff

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

There were small glimmers Wednesday of an eventual return to the negotiating table, as the schools chancellor and teachers union president moved their rhetoric past the blame game over last week's failure to agree on a teacher evaluation plan.

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Transportation Nation

Bloomberg: In Reponse to Climate Change, NYC Needs Levees

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Mayor Michael Bloomberg (photo: New York City Mayor's Office)

New York needs more coastline protections in the wake of climate change.  So says New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg Thursday, in a major address on rebuilding after storm Sandy delivered Thursday. Bloomberg was introduced by former Vice President Al Gore.

"Over the past month," Mayor Bloomberg said, "there has been a lot of discussion about sea walls. It would be nice if we could stop the tides from coming in, but King Canute couldn’t do it – and neither can we, especially if, as many scientists project, sea levels continue rising. However, there may be some coastline protections that we can build that will mitigate the impact of a storm surge – from berms and dunes, to jetties and levees."

We'll have more soon.  Meantime, you can find the full transcript of the remarks here.

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WNYC News

News Analysis: For Cuomo and Christie, Sandy Offers Peril and Possibilities

Monday, October 29, 2012

WNYC

National disasters are fraught with peril for any leader. As Hurricane Sandy slams the eastern seaboard just a week before a national election, no one wants to make the wrong move.  Least of all the Governors of New York and New Jersey, both of whom are eying a possible 2016 run for the presidency.

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Transportation Nation

NY Mayor: New Staten Island Buses to Reduce Commutes by 30 Minutes

Thursday, August 30, 2012

MTA Chief Joe Lhota (left), Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro (photo: Colby Hamilton)

(Staten Island, NY -- Colby Hamilton, WNYC)  Staten Island is getting a bus rapid transit -- or something like it.  New York City's brand of fast buses, which feature off-board payment and relatively few stops, is coming to the city's least populous borough.

So-called "select bus" routes already run in Manhattan and the Bronx.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg says daily commuting for thousands of  Staten Island transit users could be reduced by as much as half an hour a day.

The new bus service along the S79 line on to Hylan Boulevard will make just 22 stops, down from 80 stops on the regular bus service. Approximately 4,000 daily riders use the current, non-select service along the S79 line.

“By streamlining the number of stops to 22, we’re bringing a red carpet to the borough’s busiest bus corridor,” said Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan.

Bloomberg called select bus service throughout the city a “proven winner.”  MTA Chief Joe Lhota said, as a part of a recent round of service restorations, other Staten Island bus lines are being added -- and will coordinate with the ferry schedule.

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Transportation Nation

BREAKING: Judge Halts Mayor Bloomberg's Taxi Plan

Friday, June 01, 2012

(photo by d-w via Flickr)

(New York, NY -- WNYC) A state supreme court judge has -- at least for now -- brought the city's 5-boro taxi plan to a screeching halt, based on the theory that allowing the state to approve the plan was "an unconstitutional power grab."  The judge acted on a law suit brought by the yellow cab industry.

The plan, set to get underway this month, would have brought street-hail taxi service to northern Manhattan and the outer boros.  The sale of the additional medallions -- essentially, licenses to operate street-hail vehicles -- was to bring over $1 billion to city coffers.  The city has been offering seminars for fleet owners on how to convert outer-boro livery cars to taxis, and even designated a color for the new street hails --"Apple Green."

Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engron, who was a cabbie himself while he was an undergrad at Columbia, wrote in his decision:  “The court has trouble seeing how the provision of taxi service is a matter that can be wrenched from the hands of city government where it has resided for some 75 years. And be handed over to the state.”  He added that the restraining order “seeks to preserve the status quo until a more complete examination of the plaintiffs claim can be made.”

But the city's reaction was swift and scathing.

Corporation Counsel Michael A. Cardozo, NYC's top lawyer, said, "We are deeply disappointed by today's decision.  We think the court was mistaken in its analysis and are exploring our appellate options.  We intend to so do expeditiously, so that we can proceed with this important new initiative.  The program is geared to providing improved transportation options to segments of the City which are now woefully underserved.  In addition, because we are enjoined from issuing additional medallions, we are prevented from proceeding with a program which will provide significant benefits to the disabled and garner the City approximately $1 billion in critically needed revenues."

The medallion industry has bitterly fought the Bloomberg plan, hiring consultants, organizing opposition rallies and threatening to litigate. The industry complained that allowing cars other than yellow taxis to pick up street hails would devalue the billion dollar medallion industry because for more than 80 years only they enjoyed that right.

One of the plaintiffs, the fleet group the Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade, is celebrating the Judge’s decision. Spokesman Michael Woloz said “By preventing the Taxi and Limousine Commission from issuing any outer borough street hail permits the court has prevented a trampling of the NY State constitution as well as an economic disaster from taxi owners and drivers who invested their life savings into what they regarded as the American dream—the taxi medallion. "

TLC Commissioner David Yassky called the last minute decision "unfortunate."

“We share the disappointment of the 80% of new Yorkers who live and work outside Manhattan and are waiting for safe, legal and reliable taxi service as well as the thousands of livery drivers who stand ready to provide that service," Yassky said.

The city was poised to start issuing the permits this month. The yellow medallion auction that’s scheduled for July and is estimated to bring in about 1 billion dollars to the city ‘s budget is now also on hold.

 

Here's the ruling:

SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK
COUNTY OF NEW YORK: PART 52
--------------------------------------------------------------------x
TAXICAB SERVICE ASSOCIATION, et al.,
Index Number: 102553/12
Plaintiffs,
Oral Argument Date: 5/31/12
- against -
Temporary Restraining Order
THE STATE OF NEW YORK, et al.,

Defendants.
----------------------------------------------------------------x
METROPOLITAN TAXICAB BOARD OF TRADE,
et al.,
Index Number 102472/12
Plaintiffs,
Oral Argument Date: 5/31/12
- against -
Temporary Restraining Order
MICHAEL R. BLOOMBERG, in his official capacity
as Mayor of the City of New York, et al.,

Defendants.
------------------------------------------------------------------x
GREATER NEW YORK TAXI ASSOCIATION
et. al.
Index Number 102783
Plaintiffs,
Oral Argument Date 5/31/12
- against -
Temporary Restraining Order
THE STATE OF NEW YORK, et al.,

Defendants.
------------------------------------------------------------------x

Arthur F. Engoron, Justice

Every New Yorker worth his or her salt knows the following basic facts about taxicabs: only “medallioned” cabs are allowed by law to pick up street hail passengers; the City limits the number of medallions (NYC Charter § 2303(b)(4)); and finding a medallioned cab outside of lower- and mid-Manhattan and the airports is usually quite difficult. Indeed, in the so-called “outer-boroughs” (which for the sake of this order includes Manhattan above East 96th Street and West 110th Street) persons needing taxi service must, practically speaking, either telephone a livery cab company, or hail a “gypsy” cab not authorized to make the pickup. For decades, the problem of the lack of legal, reliable taxi service in the outer boroughs has proven intractable.

Recently, the executive branch of defendant City of New York, i.e., the mayor’s office, asked the legislative branch, i.e., the City Council, to increase the number of medallions and to authorize licenses for outer-borough hails. When negotiations broke down, the executive branch asked the State Government for the same. The result is the legislation at issue in these three roughly parallel (and fascinating) cases: Chapter 602 of the Laws of 2011, and Chapter 9 of the Laws of 2012, collectively known as The Street Hail Livery Law. These enactments essentially, and greatly simplified, allow the mayor to issue 2,000 more medallions; allow the Taxi and Limousine Commission, a part of the executive branch, to issue 18,000 outer borough hail licenses, and mandates certain handicap accessibility quotas.

Plaintiffs in the Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade case are medallion owners and New York City Council Member Lewis A. Fidler. Plaintiffs in the Taxicab Service Association (“TSA”) case are credit unions and the like that finance the purchase of medallions. Plaintiffs in the Greater New York Taxi Association case are medallion owners and one individual. Defendants in both cases are, simply put, the State of New York, the legislative and executive bodies thereof, the City of New York, the Mayor thereof, the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission, and the Commissioner thereof.

As plaintiffs would have it, the trek to Albany was an “end run” by the Mayor. Be that as it may, end runs are legal in football and in politics. The most basic question (among many others) presented here is whether the legislation violates the “Home Rule” provision of the State Constitution. See NY Const. Art. IX § 2(b)(2): the legislature . . . [s]hall have the power to act in relation to the property, affairs or government of any local government only by general law, or by special law [i.e., a law affecting only one locality] only . . . on request of two-thirds of the total membership of its legislative body or on request of its chief executive officer concurred in by a majority of such membership.” As this Court has determined, in the roughly 24 hours since oral argument ended yesterday, and on the business day just prior to the one on which significant aspects of the legislation are to go into effect, that plaintiffs are likely to succeed on their claim that the law does the State Constitution, and that plaintiffs have demonstrated “irreparable harm” and a “balancing of the equities” in their favor, this Court hereby issues this Temporary Restraining Order, enjoining defendants from implementing any aspect of the law (which contains a so-called “poison pill,” pursuant to which if any aspect of the law is held to be constitutionally infirm, the whole law falls).

Since The Great Depression the legislative branch of New York City has governed, and limited, the issuance of taxi medallions. Even when, twice in the last two decades, the City Council modestly increased the number of medallions, the Council issued a home rule message to this effect. Under the Home Rule provision of the State Constitution, the State Legislature may override the laws of a local municipality only in “matters other than the property, affairs or government of a local government.” The question here is basically whether the number of taxi medallions and the rules of outer-borough hails is primarily a matter of local or state concern. Obviously, anything that affects New York City affects the state in which it is situated, and just as obviously non-New York City residents can (and do, in droves) spend time in New York City. But, generally speaking, these facts cannot satisfy the Home Rule requirements or nothing would be left of the rule but the exceptions. The argument that the City is in the State, and so is a State concern, simply proves too much. This Court has trouble seeing how the provision of taxi service in New York City is a matter that can be wrenched from the hands of City government, where it has resided for some 75 years, and handed over to the State. Both governments are democracies, but only one is solely answerable on election day to the constituents of the five boroughs, those directly affected by the taxi service at issue here.

In a memorandum in opposition to plaintiff’s request for injunctive relief, defendant City quotes the New York State Senate Introducer’s Memorandum in Support of the legislation, in part, as follows:

The bill would allow the City to implement a taxi plan that will more effectively service all five boroughs of New York City and greatly increase the availability of accessible taxicabs and for-hire vehicles. The creation of this plan was prompted by three persistent mobility problems: the lack of accessible vehicles for people with disabilities; nearly non-existent taxi availability in underserved areas of the City (e.g., boroughs outside Manhattan); and insufficient taxi supply in Manhattan’s central business district.

There is nothing in here about Nassau or Westchester Counties, much less Buffalo or Rochester.

As the TSA plaintiffs put it (Memorandum of Law dated 5/17/12, at 7), “the Street Hail Livery Law infringes on Plaintiffs’ constitutionally guaranteed right to have their local government representatives decide issues relating to the local taxi industry, in which they are longtime and central participants.”

In addition to showing a likelihood of success on the merits, this Court finds that plaintiffs have demonstrated irreparable injury (see generally Ambrose v. Malcolm, 414 F Supp 485, 493 (S.D.N.Y.1976) (suggesting that deprivations of constitutional rights ipso facto demonstrate irreparable injury, or substitute therefor)), and a balancing of the equities in their favor (briefly keeping the status quo will not harm defendants).

Because of the afore-referenced severe time restrictions, today’s order does not address the numerous other complex objections (alleged unconstitutional takings and inadequate environmental review to name just two of many) plaintiffs have raised to the subject legislation. Today’s order also does not address the wisdom, or lack thereof, of defendants’ good-faith efforts to address age-old problems. Today’s order only seeks to preserve the status quo until a more complete examination can be made of plaintiffs’ claim (among others) that the legislation at issue represents an unconstitutional power grab, and of defendants’ response that the State government has properly regulated an area of state-wide concern.

Thus defendants are hereby temporarily restrained, pending further order of this Court, from implementing any aspect of the subject legislation, conditional on plaintiffs collectively posting a bond of $600,000 (the TSA plaintiffs claim to be a multi-billion dollar business) by Thursday, June 7, 2012. The Court will attempt to resolve with all deliberate speed plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary injunction, defendants’ request for summary judgment, and the ultimate merits of this litigation.

Dated: 6/1/12
Arthur F. Engoron, J.C.C.

Sincerely,

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Transportation Nation

Will Citibank's $41 Million Bike Share Bet Pay Off?

Monday, May 14, 2012

(Photo Andrea Bernstein)

It's been a long time since the private sector completely took in hand the funding of a public transportation network, and New York's Citibank is certainly rolling the dice by getting behind one as new as New York's bike share.

But there's some anecdotal evidence the bet to associate itself with a hip, new environmentally friendly, healthy form of transport may pay off.

(You can listen to an audio version of this story here.)

On the streets of New York last week, lots of people were already familiar with Citibank's sponsorship --  "I'm very familiar with it," said Jason Banks, who works in advertising. "Isn't it Citibank?" said Erin Goldsmith, who works for a social media company.

Lisa Lipshaw, from London, worked with the company that set up London's Barclay Cycle Hire.  "They did really well out of the sponsorship," she said.

At the kick-off press conference, Mayor Michael Bloomberg did his part.   At least four or five times, he said "Citibank" when he meant "citibike," before he corrected himself.

"The person who I have the pleasure of introducing next hopes everyone confuses Citibike with Citibank," Bloomberg said, teeing up the remarks of Citibank CEO Vikram Pandit.

Pandit himself was pretty bullish on citibike. "We think this is a very innovative program that makes people's lives easier, and that's what we do, that's what we do as a bank."

Not everyone was thrilled.   Web designer Antonio Ortiz is uncomfortable with big banks' roll in the recent financial collapse "It's like some kind of subversive way of 'Hey we're buying PR, we're being good and we care about the environment and the people of the community.' Like if it was Patagonia, I'm sure I'd feel a different way."

But still.  There are exactly zero New York bikes on the street, and already the name is catching on.

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Transportation Nation

Soda Ad Fight Bubbles Up On NYC Transit

Monday, May 14, 2012

Photo by Roadsidepictures / Flckr creative commons

(New York, NY) Subway and bus ads are the latest battleground between Mayor Michael Bloomberg's health department and soda makers. The newly formed New York City Beverage Association is taking a huge mass transit ad buy as part of a $1 million campaign to rebut the city's claim that soda is unhealthy.

For months, the city has been running public service announcements linking sugary drinks to mountains of fat and waterfalls of sugar, including a graphic video that claims drinking a can of soda a day can add ten pounds in a year by showing a man pouring fat out of a can of soda and drinking it.

Health Department Commissioner Thomas Farley elaborated on those objections in a statement to Transportation Nation: “Americans are literally drinking themselves fat, consuming 200-300 more calories daily than 30 years ago, with the largest single increase due to sugary drinks."

Farley also defended the city's anti-soda campaign in light of the association’s public relations offensive. "The Health Department will continue providing New Yorkers with the facts about the dangers of this overconsumption.”

The Beverage Association is fighting back with ads of its own on 570 subway cars, 75 buses and 120 subway platforms. The ads claim soda makers are fighting obesity and other health risks by offering low-cal drinks, smaller serving sizes and clearly displayed calorie counts.

Despite the timing of the ad campaign, association spokesman Stefan Friedman insisted his industry isn't quarreling with the health department.

"Look, we face some issues with the city but it's important for us to tell our story," he said. "All evidence is clear that the obesity epidemic comes from a number of different sources. Sugar-sweetened beverages comprise just 5 percent of the American diet."

Friedman added the beverage industry directly employs more than 8,000 New Yorkers and contributes $1.5 billion dollars to the local economy.

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