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Michael Bloomberg

WNYC News

Mayor Bloomberg Enjoys Taxi Deal Victory Lap

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

WNYC

Flanked by livery and yellow cab drivers, Taxi and Limousine Commissioner David Yassky and legislative supporters — Mayor Michael Bloomberg savored the outer borough taxi agreement with Governor Andrew Cuomo that  he called an “historic victory.”

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Transportation Nation

Deal Reached on Controversial NYC Taxi Plan

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

(photo by Kathleen Horan/WNYC)

(New York, NY - WNYC) New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Tuesday a deal that would expand taxi service in Upper Manhattan and the outer boroughs, by allowing livery cabs to pick up street hails, and meet concerns about ensuring wheelchair accessibility.

Under the deal, 2,000 medallions will be available, and all of them will be accessible. The bill that passed earlier this year would have made available 1,500 medallions with only 500 as accessible-taxi medallions.

Cuomo said the deal means the city gets "more than a good bill." The sale of the medallions will generate revenue for the city, the outer boroughs will get better service and there will be accessible cabs that will help the disabled, in particular those in wheelchairs.

"No one thought we'd get this home," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at the press conference via phone. "We never gave up and we never stopped making the case."

The legislation authorizing the new cab service, and the sale by the city of $1 billion worth of medallions, has been held up for weeks by Cuomo, who said the bill did not provide enough handicap-accessible cabs, and would be shot down in court.

TLC Commissioner David Yassky said the agreement "will bring first rate, legal taxi service to all five boroughs."

As for permits for outerborough livery cabs, 18,000 permits will be made available over the next three years, and 20 percent of those cabs will have to be accessible. The city's original plan had called for 30,000 permits.

The governor hosted the press conference in the Red Room of the State Capital.

With reporting by Kathleen Horan

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WNYC News

City’s Billion Dollar Taxi Plan Gets Green Light From Governor

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Governor Andrew Cuomo has agreed to sign Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s controversial taxi legislation with some big tweaks.

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The Empire

Convicted political operative Haggerty sentenced

Monday, December 19, 2011

By JENNIFER PELTZ
Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) - A political operative convicted of bamboozling Mayor Michael Bloomberg out of hundreds of thousands of dollars was sentenced to prison Monday un a case that brought the billionaire politician to the witness stand and gave the public a behind-the-scenes look at his campaign and City Hall.

John Haggerty agreed to pay $750,000 in restitution to Bloomberg in addition to his prison term of 1 1/3 to 4 years.

Haggerty, a veteran Republican campaign consultant, was convicted in October after a trial that jurors called a crash course in the workings of politics. Besides the business-mogul-turned-mayor, the case drew in the state's third-largest political party and featured a coterie of Bloomberg insiders sketching their roles in his political, philanthropic and business affairs.

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The Empire

De Blasio makes his move on living wage in New York City

Monday, December 19, 2011

Updated with additional statements below.

Colby Hamilton/WNYC

As the New York Times reported today, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio has thrown his support behind the contentious living wage bill sitting stalled in the City Council. In a letter to City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, de Blasio said the legislation was need because "we have not done enough to grow the prospects of all New Yorkers."

"Our city is in the midst of a prolonged economic crisis that has battered the middle class, driven down wages and led to unacceptably high rates of unemployment. Underlying these problems is a rising income inequality that threatens our social fabric and economic future," de Blasio said in the letter. "New York City must move aggressively to address rising income inequality—and I firmly believe that the Living Wage bill represents one of the most immediate and important steps our City can take to do this."

The move puts de Blasio on firm ground in the debate over the bill--and on the side of labor, whose backing he courts in the coming mayoral race--while further boxing in Speaker Quinn, who has not taken a position on the bill. However, the legislation cannot move to the floor without her consent, where it will likely pass. The Speaker has positioned herself as the candidate friendly to business interests in the city, which observers believe are pressuring her to keep the bill from becoming law.

Political consultant Michael Tobman, of the New York City-based firm Hudson TG, saw the letter reflecting three current political realities in the early stages of the 2013 mayoral battle.

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WNYC News

Bah Humbug! City Halts Staten Island Ferry Decorations

Friday, December 16, 2011

Ferry riders are getting "scrooged" out of holiday decorations this year at the Staten Island Ferry terminals. That's because the Department of Transportation has nixed the tinsel, tree, lights and bows this holiday season.

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WNYC News

Taxi Stakeholders Plead Their Case To The Governor

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

WNYC

Taxi industry insiders attended a meeting in Albany on Wednesday in a last bid attempt to resolve issues surrounding the Bloomberg administration’s outer borough taxi bill. The 2-hour discussion was convened and chaired by Governor Andrew Cuomo himself.

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The Empire

NYC likes Mike the man, but not the mayor or his handling of OWS

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Getty

The Occupation looks to have won a few more hearts and minds than Mayor Michael Bloomberg, according to a new Quinnipiac poll. New York City voters, who are down on Bloomberg the mayor but up on OWS and its message, disapprove 51 to 42 percent of the way the Mayor handled the protesters in Zuccotti Park. The Occupation conducted itself appropriately said 52 percent of those polled.

“The Occupy Wall Street protesters outscored Mayor Michael Bloomberg in the eyes of New York City voters:  The mayor gets a slightly negative grade for the way he handled the situation while the protestors get a slightly positive grade,” said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, in the release.

New Yorkers are also not stoked on the job the Mayor is doing. Among those polled, the mayor's job approval rating was 49 to 42 percent. Despite being in office for 10 years nearly 1-in-10 voters still aren't sure how he's doing.

But this doesn't mean they don't like the guy: 64 percent say they like Bloomberg as a person.

“New Yorkers like Mayor Mike personally and they sort of like his policies, but his job approval meanders far below those heady days late in his second term," noted Carroll. "Voters continue to think that he’s lost his focus in this third term.”

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The Empire

Cuomo's statement on on-going taxi legislation negotiations

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Governor Andrew Cuomo just sent out this statement on tax legislation negotiations that have been in limbo for weeks now. The deadline for the legislation to be passed before becoming nullified is quickly approaching. Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the livery car industry have been pressing Cuomo to pass the legislation, while opponents from the disabled advocates community as well as medallion owners have been pushing for a veto:

Tomorrow, the Governor's office will be convening a summit of the stakeholders involved in the taxi legislation negotiations in order to resolve the outstanding issues. Among the outstanding issues are handicap accessibility of livery cabs, the transferability of and market for livery permits, livery and yellow cab pickups at airports, lack of financial incentives to purchase handicap accessible licenses, and concerns regarding the effectiveness of Taxi and Limousine Commission enforcement. As we have said all along, we are working very hard to reach consensus with the stakeholders in order to address taxi access issues in the five boroughs. The meter is running and this is the last chance to get a deal done before the end of the year. The issues are not primarily governmental ones among the Governor, the state legislature and the City. There are, however, remaining issues among the various stakeholders, business and advocacy groups whose interests must be reconciled.

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WNYC News

Bloomberg Still Optimistic About Taxi Bill

Thursday, December 08, 2011

WNYC

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he Friday he remains optimistic Governor Andrew Cuomo will sign a bill that would put $1 billion in the city's coffers and allow street hails of some livery cabs in residential areas.

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The Empire

Governor Cuomo hands out Regional Economic Council awards

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Courtesy of the Governor's office. ( )

Governor Andrew Cuomo and other state elected leader today handed out the first set of grants to the Regional Economic Councils as part of an economic proposal competition meant to help spur job growth throughout the state.

"The plans submitted by all ten regions were truly extraordinary,” the Governor said in statement. “For the first time, we are putting the power of the State Government behind the innovation of our people, giving them the tools to rebuild our economy."

All the regions received some form of funding, with a total of $785 million in grants for projects throughout the state. The four big regional winners were Central New York, the North Country, Long Island, and Western New York:

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WNYC News

Attempt to Revise Bloomberg's Taxi Plan May Have Stalled

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

WNYC

Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s plan to overhaul the way taxis are hailed could be headed for defeat. The city’s top lobbyist said the bill will be sent to Governor Andrew Cuomo without any changes and the governor has already signaled he’s unhappy with the bill as is.

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The Empire

Bloomberg administration pushes Cuomo on taxi bill

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

After reports surfaced that the outer borough taxi hail bill wouldn't be part of Governor Andrew Cuomo's broad economic stimulus bill, it appears the Bloomberg folks are ramping up their efforts to get it passed. Remember: the city is depending on $1 billion in revenue from the passage of the bill for its own budget gap closure. Courtesy of Bloomberg's Director of State Legislative Affairs Micah Lasher:

Over the last six months, the Governor has repeatedly expressed support for the goals of the legislation and also said he wanted to make certain changes in the form of a chapter amendment.  He and his staff were finalizing an amendment this morning, but it was never sent to the Legislature. While the Mayor, along with legislative leaders, was prepared to support that amendment, it is not necessary to achieve the goals of the legislation.

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WNYC News

Clock Ticking Down For Bloomberg Administration's Taxi Plan

Monday, December 05, 2011

WNYC

The clock is ticking on legislation that the Bloomberg administration promised would improve taxi service in the five boroughs and generate city revenue.

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The Empire

NYC living wage battle well-worn subject matter

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

It turns out the current battle over a living wage bill that would raise the pay of workers in a select number of city-sponsored work environments is old hat. According to Doug Turetsky of the city's Independent Budget Office, New York already has living wage legislation on the books that, thanks to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, goes far beyond what's currently being proposed:

Amid the uproar during the past few weeks over the proposed living wage law there’s one important point that you might have missed: the city already has a living-wage law. Its rules cover thousands of workers employed under more than $1 billion worth of contracts with the city.

In fact, New York City had one of the first living-wage laws in the country, though the city’s first bill covered just a couple thousand workers. Passed in 1996, over the veto of then-Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, the legislation was championed by advocacy organizations such as the Industrial Areas Foundation as well as local unions. It required that private firms contracting with the city to provide food services, security guards, cleaners, and temporary office workers pay their employees a living wage that ranged at the time from about $7.25 to $12 an hour.

The number and type of workers covered by the city’s living-wage rules expanded in 2002 when Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed a law that extended living-wage provisions to home health care and child care workers whose agencies had contracts with the city. The Brennan Centerat New York University estimated that under the new requirements the pay of 50,000 home health care workers would rise immediately and later the pay of up to 9,000 child care workers. Shortly after the law went into effect, Steve Malanga wrote ruefully in City Journal, “Thanks to Mayor Bloomberg, New York will now have the largest number of workers covered by any living-wage law in the nation.”

Read the rest of the blog entry here.

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It's A Free Country ®

The Process is Political: Targeting Manhattan Fundraisers

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Republican challenger targets incumbent's link to Bloomberg and "New York liberals." A fundraiser for Mitt Romney is disrupted by dressed-up Occupy Tampa protesters. Former presidential campaign strategist Howard Wolfson explains his move from Washington to local government. 

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WNYC News

City Limits Cooperation With Federal Immigration Officials at Rikers

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed a new bill into law Tuesday that limits the city’s cooperation with federal immigration authorities on Rikers Island.

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The Empire

UPDATED: City's $1 billion budget assumption questioned

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Last week, the Bloomberg administration released some of their own budget figures. The city had been bracing for a $4.6 billion budget gap, but the Mayor's office reported that they'd revised the gap down to $2 billion.

Nearly half of that reduction is attributed to taxi medallion sales that are far from guaranteed. While bills have passed the legislature supporting the sales, Governor Cuomo has not signed the law, which has come underintense criticism since landing on the Governor's desk.

Now, critics are saying the Mayor's financial assumptions don't add up. "With all due respect to the Mayor, his livery street hail bill has become a failed budget gimmick that won’t work,"said Robert Familant with the Taxicab Service Association. "[T]he Mayor is trying to bootstrap his budget on a house of cards that will not only imperil tens of thousands of jobs in the private sector but is hinging the city budget on phantom revenues."

Familant pointed to the relatively high cost of owning a medallion as even more prohibitive should the much cheaper street hail permits become available through the plan the Mayor wants Governor Cuomo to sign into law.

"Who in their right mind would pay $1 million or more for a medallion when under the Mayor’s plan, they could lease a street hail permit for only $1500," Familant asked.

A request for a response has been sent over to the Mayor's office. If and when they get back to me, I'll update the post.

The Mayor's office sent over this statement from Micah Lasher, the Mayor's Director of State Legislative Affairs:

Perhaps Mr. Familant and other lobbyists for the large medallion lenders didn't read the bill: street hail permits would not allow pickups in the areas where yellow taxis make more than 95% of their revenue. Instead, the bill would legalize service in the many neighborhoods across the City that the yellow taxi industry ignores. That's why medallion prices have continued to skyrocket. Enormous profits for lenders and owners will not be threatened by our legislation.

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The Empire

NYC pols back Mayor Bloomberg on Occupy Wall Street

Thursday, November 17, 2011

By WNYC's Alec Hamilton

The Brooklyn Republican Congressmen have issued statements in support of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's crackdown on the OWS protesters. In a statement issued today, Staten Island Congressman Michael Grimm told the protesters to "pack up their tents, buy a bar of soap, and head home."

These people have overstayed their welcome and it's time they get the heck
out of New York City. Between the filth, the smell, the incessant noise,
and threat to public safety, they have done nothing but cause a nuisance to
the people who work and live in Lower Manhattan. They've cost the city and
surrounding businesses millions of dollars, and it's time these people find
a more productive use of their time. New Yorkers have had ENOUGH!

The people I represent are the hard-working '99%' who simply want to go to
work, do their jobs, and get home to their families without being hassled
along the way.  They already face one of the longest commutes in the nation
without having to deal with this mob.  It is reprehensible for these
lowlifes to overrun the Staten Island Ferry or the subways to Brooklyn and
add further hours to the trip home.

I applaud the efforts of Mayor Bloomberg, and the NYPD under Commissioner
Kelly's leadership, in cleaning up Zuccotti Park and managing a potentially
violent and destructive situation. They have done a tremendous job!
However, it has been two months and now it's time for the OWS protesters to
pack up their tents, buy a bar of soap, and head home.

Grimm is not the only one who has Bloomberg's back. Congressional District Nine's own Republican Bob Turner released a statement supporting the police action as well. Rep. Peter King referred to the OWS protesters as "a bunch of low-life dirtbags" on the Imus in the Morning Show. "Here are people living in dirt and disease," he characterized them.  "You can have a legitimate cause, but you don't have to be living in dirt, drugs, sex, the whole bit."

 

It's not only Republicans backing the mayor. Queens City Council Democrat Peter Vallone, Jr. told NY1, "The police have every right to use the force that they deem necessary to arrest if people aren't cooperating."

And, of course, Governor Andrew Cuomo gave his approval. Cuomo said he supported the mayor's actions, but qualified it somewhat by continuing to say that he supports all the different strategies taken by different mayors across New York in dealing with OWS.

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