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Michael Bloomberg

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Mayor Bloomberg's Ready to Listen to Us?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Not many people expected to say the word “crowdsourcing” in Bloomberg's 10th State of the City address on Wednesday.

Of course, it’s not surprising to hear the word employed in a public official’s speech. Far from simply being the latest fad, crowdsourcing is real, potentially quite powerful and should be thoughtfully engaged by government. What makes it surprising is hearing it in this mayor’s address, because Mayor Bloomberg is not a crowdsourcey kind of guy.

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The Empire

Fact-Checking Bloomberg

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Here's a fact-check on some of the claims Michael Bloomberg made in his speech yesterday. I'll just add one more to the list.

"Over the past three years, we’ve cut spending nine times for a total of $5 billion, including a $1.6 billion cut this year," Bloomberg said.

According to Doug Turetsky of the NYC Independent Budget Office, that is a cut in the rate of growth, not a cut in absolute terms.

"Year-to-year total budget continues to grow," Turetsky said.

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WNYC News

Bloomberg's Confident Speech Draws Mixed Reactions

Thursday, January 20, 2011

At the landmark St. George Theater, the choir from PS 29 sang as the mayor took to the stage and delivered a confident speech — with no apology for the snow removal fiasco. He said the city was leading the nation from recession to recovery.
 
"In fact for the first time in decades New York City entered a national recession later than the rest of the country and now we have come out of it faster and stronger than the rest of the country," Bloomberg declared to loud applause.

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It's A Free Country ®

The State of Bloomberg's New York: The Mayor's Address

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Mayor Michael Bloomberg delivers his tenth State of the City address today in Staten Island.

As Mayor Bloomberg delivers the address he will mark the end of his first year in his third term. He faces another grim budget year ahead. And with both Albany and Washington tightening spending, new initiatives with high price tages are not likely. » Read more

WNYC's Azi Paybarah, who writes The Empire blog, is live blogging the speech below.

Listen | Prepared Transcript | Watch City Hall's Video Feed

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: ARC Repayment Deadline Absolutely, Positively Jan. 25th; NJ Gov. Christie to NY Sen. Schumer: Mind Your Manners

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

NJ Governor Chris Christie says when it comes to voicing opinions about the ARC tunnel, NY Senator Charles Schumer should "mind his manners on the other side of the Hudson River."

Meanwhile, New Jersey's third--and final--deadline to repay the federal government $271 in unused ARC tunnel money is January 25th. (NorthJersey.com)

Amtrak passenger rail service will be restored to downtown St. Paul when the $243 million renovation of the Union Depot is complete next year. (Minnesota Public Radio)

San Francisco Muni employees will lose their free parking perk--and agency officials have vowed to crack down on their staff who park illegally on the street and sidewalks around their job sites (San Francisco Chronicle). But exactly when this will happen is unclear.

In his State of the City speech today, Mayor Bloomberg will roll out a proposal to change taxi rules to make it possible to hail a new category of livery cab anywhere in the outer boroughs. (WNYC)

Mismanagement in the Washington State Department of Transportation caused a “gross waste of public funds,” costing the state $42.5 million in cost overruns. (The News Tribune)

The Federal Transit Administration on Tuesday cleared the way for Oahu to begin construction on a $5.5 elevated rail transit system. (KITV)

One side benefit of China's epic traffic jams: enterprising village residents sell food to stranded travelers at a markup. (New York Times)

Ray LaHood says that "the number of laser strikes on airplanes in 2010 nearly doubled from the previous year to more than 2,800. This is the highest number of incidents since we first began keeping track in 2005."

A new British study found public transit riders are six times more likely to suffer from acute respiratory infections, and occasional riders are most at risk.  (New York Daily News)

Which cars cost the most to insure? Rule of thumb: "Any vehicle that would cause a teenage boy to stop and gawk." (MSN Money)

Minneapolis' Caribou Coffee redesigned bus shelters to look like ovens as part of an ad campaign to promote their new breakfast sandwich. Yes, that heating element is real. (Adrants.com)

Why are thieves swiping catalytic converters from vehicles--which happened this week at an auto dealership in Wayne, New Jersey? 1) The pollution-reduction devices contain platinum and palladium, and 2) they're relatively easy to steal.  (The Star-Ledger, KRDO)

Top Transportation Nation stories that we’re following:  NY Senator Schumer and NJ Governor Christie are trading rhetorical blows over the ARC tunnel. Also: House Transportation Committee chair John Mica says the next transportation authorization bill needs "alternate means of financing," and Montana legislators continue to wrestle with that state's DUI problem.

Follow Transportation Nation on Twitter.

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WNYC News

Bloomberg's State of the City: Belt-Tightening, More Cab-Hailing

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

For Mayor Bloomberg's tenth State of the City, he will use the landmark St. George Theater on Staten Island as a backdrop. The resourceful restoration of the 1929 theatrical space, not far from the St. George Ferry Terminal, overlooks New York Bay. It hosted a range of legends from Al Jolson to Don McClean. And like the city it's in, the St. George fell on hard times in the 1970s only to rebound.

As Mayor Bloomberg delivers the address he will mark the end of his first year in his third term. He faces another grim budget year ahead. And with both Albany and Washington tightening spending, new initiatives with high price tages are not likely.

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The Empire

AP's Frazier to NBCNewYork.com

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

(nbcNewYork.com)


I'm told Sara Kugler Frazier of the Associated Press is leaving to become the managing editor of NBCNewYork.com.

Frazier has been covering the Bloomberg administration since 2005, and managed to get scoops out of them, while not overlooking their warts.

Among the more interesting things I've learned about the mayor, from Frazier's reporting: according to one ex-girlfriend, Bloomberg is "diplomatic" about ending relationships.

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WNYC News

Bloomberg Defends Schools Chancellor's Birth Control Joke

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Mayor Bloomberg defended Schools Chancellor Cathie Black Tuesday following her controversial quip that birth control could help alleviate school crowding.

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The Empire

Snow Anger Hijacked by 'Elites'

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Senior Advisor Howard Wolfson explains how snow impacts the narrative about Mayor Bloomberg. (azi paybarah / wnyc)

Edward-Isaac Dovere:

Except for the iPad, just about any of his appearances could have easily been mistaken for those back in 2007 and into 2008. The two major initiatives of his third inaugural, the deputy commissioner exchange program and a national pro-immigration push, had both all but disappeared, the former a victim of apparently middling results and the latter of a national political climate that was even less interested in hearing from him on border control than it has been on gun control.

[skip]

"You have an elite set of critics, who decided in the beginning of 2009 that they would push a third-term-malaise narrative—even before the mayor was re-elected," Wolfson said. "That was not the case prior to the snow, and the hope and expectation is that that Christmas snow was an anomaly, and that people will come to see that."

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The Empire

Before Bloomberg got Booed

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

mrb-mlk

What the crowd heard before they heckled the mayor yesterday:

By the time Bloomberg was introduced, a few speakers had, perhaps, stoked the crowd's ire at the administration.

City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez of Upper Manhattan had blamed the current city administration for not building enough affordable housing, and for the low graduation rates at community colleges.

"Why did Mayor Bloomberg say that affordable housing was his priority," Rodriguez asked, citing the mayor's promise to renovate 100,000 units plus build an additional 60,000.

"In my district, in Washington Heights, only one big building has been built in the mayor's administration," said Rodgriguez. (The building, he said, was located at 204 Street.) "Only one building has been built. And that is a reality citywide," he said.

Then, Rodriquez, chairman of the council's Higher Education Committee, blasted the mayor on graduation rates.

"Drop out at community colleges, where about 90 percent of the students are black and Latino, only 28 percent graduated after six years," said Rodriguez, to the gasps and groans of the audience. Rodriguez reminded the crowd that Bloomberg had called community colleges one of his "priorities," and said, "the money's not there."

Rodriguez ended his speech predicting the city would not invest the same amount of money in poorer communities as they do in wealthier ones. He then added, "Yes, we have two New Yorks. The New York of the rich and the New York of the poor," echoing a slogan used by Fernando Ferrer, the Democrat who ran against Bloomberg in 2005 (and who enjoyed a visibility-stimulating endorsement from Rev. Sharpton).

More crowd-riling came from Rev. David Hampton of Bethany Baptist Church in Brooklyn, the same place where Sharpton started out years ago. Hampton spoke about the economic disparity between African Americans, who endured slavery and discrimination at work, to whites, who facing no such obstacles, were able to hand down their accumulated finances generation after generation.

"There's a difference between rich, and wealthy," said Hampton. "Oprah is rich. John D. Rockefeller is wealthy."

Then, Hampton invoked Bloomberg's new (and controversially approved) schools chancellor, Cathie Black. He reminded the crowd that she recently said school overcrowding could be solved by using "birth control." (The comment was made in jest and she has since apologized.)

The crowd grumbled at Hampton's telling of the incident, and one woman in the crowd could be heard saying "stupid!" in response. Then, Hampton said, "How about birth control for those who sit in positions of privilege?" The crowd applauded.

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WNYC News

MLK 2011: Sharpton Updates the Struggle, Bloomberg Gets Jeered

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

WNYC

In his annual tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, the Rev. Al Sharpton and his parade of guests urged the crowd to fight the modern battle against inequality. And in at least once instance, that meant, for some, booing the person at the podium.

"We must deal with the issues of today," said Sharpton, who flew into the event after spending the morning in Washington DC. He equated the need to update the civil rights struggle today with the 1965 television sitcom F-Troop, which, according to Sharpton drew its humor from the fact that the post-Civil War soldiers "were fighting a war that had already been fought."

"The problem with many of us today is we want to fight the civil rights battle of 50 years ago," said Sharpton. "And not deal with the civil rights battle of today."

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The Empire

Seeking proof of a work slowdown during storm

Friday, January 14, 2011

Vetean police journalist Murray Weiss offers an inside take on the investigation into the snow removal conspiracy:

There is nothing to prosecute, my sources say. Nada.

No one has come forward to investigators since the storm with the names or hard information to back-up the claims of a slowdown that were widely spread through the media.

And prosecutors opened their doors wide open for them. They even sent investigators to the office of Queens City Councilman Dan Halloran, who started all this by saying he heard of the slowdown from guilt-ridden workers themselves. Well, it seems Halloran may have gotten ahead of himself — he's backpedaling quickly.

He originally said five city workers came to him. When investigators visited him, he named two city Department of Transportation workers. Let's just say they basically contradicted his account, and leave it at that.

The three other city workers worked for Sanitation, he maintained. They came to him for legal representation, so he can't provide their names because of attorney-client privilege.

Mayor Bloomberg also uttered some doubts about the work slowdown during the storm.

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The Empire

Orchestrated work slowdown during storm? Bloomberg has doubts

Friday, January 14, 2011

A snow truck on Fort Hamilton Parkway, in Brooklyn. (azi paybarah / wnyc)

Does Michael Bloomberg believe there was an orchestrated effort by members of the NYC Sanitation Department to botch the snow removal over Christmas weekend, which has been alleged and now beinginvestigated?

On WOR this morning, Bloomberg cast some doubt:

"There was probably, as far I know, no concerted effort and very people who didn't do their all. I'm sure there were some."

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The Empire

Bloomberg says boycotting Glocks could be deadly

Friday, January 14, 2011

Mayor Bloomberg and NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly are resisting a boycott of Glock, the gun manufacturer. (azi paybarah / wnyc)

The New York Post editorial board found one ally in their call for the NYPD to boycot Glocks because they, among others, manufacture high-capacity magazines for guns like the ones used in Arizona. That supporter is Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, someone they haven't usually agreed with.

So far, Michael Bloomberg and the NYPD are resisting the boycott, to the editors chagrin.

On WOR this morning, Bloomberg - founder of Mayors Against Illegal Guns - said "we need a law to stop you from selling it." Boycotting, he said, won't work, and could lead to higher crime in the city.

Bloomberg explained that the NYPD buys their guns from three manufactures (Glock, Smith & Wesson and Sig Sauer) and "all three have these magazines," he said.

"The trouble is, if we boycott one, you probably have to boycott all of them and then you go back to the days when the crooks had better guns than the cops. We don't want our cops out-armed, out-gunned. Back in the day when they were out-gunned, we had 2,000 murders. Today's there's not 2,000 murders, there's a quarter of that. There's a lot of things that went into lowering the crime, but arming the cops was part of it."

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The Empire

'using some of City Hall's own worst stats against them'

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Advocates for the Living Wage legislation say they have a potent weapon: Bloomberg\'s statistics. (azi paybarah / wnyc)

In advance of the major rally tonight in support of the Living Wage bill working it's way through the City Council, an insider provided this roadmap to their strategy.

The campaign is trying to capitalize on two things at once to generate support:

1) Bloomberg's vulnerability at a time when he seems increasingly out of touch with struggling, lower-income residents and

2) the city's laser-like focus on ensuring that taxpayer dollars are wisely invested, after recent revelations of waste (CityTime etc.) and growing concern over strained city resources.

We argue that the living wage bill will reduce the costs of poverty by enabling more working people to be self-sufficient-which means fewer residents will rely on expensive safety programs and public assistance and contribute greater sums to the local tax base and economy.

And we are actively using some of City Hall's own worst stats against them: for example, this figure that a record number of working New Yorkers, 1.8. million, now rely on food stamps because they don't earn enough to support themselves, the highest number since Bloomberg has been in office...!:

That 1.8 million figure is here.

The bill has been revised and now "would exclude businesses that make less than $1 million in revenue annually from having to pay their workers more than the state's current minimum wage of $7.25 an hour."

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The Empire

Top 10 Ways NYC is Preparing for Snow

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

David Letterman:

10.Telling everyone to spend the night in New Jersey
9.Assigning extra sanitation workers to drink and sleep on the job
8.Establishing satellite uplink to Mayor Bloomberg's command center in Bermuda
7.Stocking up on low calorie snacks
6.You know the naked guy on the subway? Today he's wearing earmuffs
5.Regis attaching a salt spreader to his Rascal scooter
4.Brainstorming cool blizzard nicknames like "Snowpocalypse" and "Snowtastrophy"
3.Airing new Rex Ryan public service announcement about how to protect your feet
2.Charlie Sheen is getting plowed
1.Blizzard? We haven't cleaned up from New Year's Eve!
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WNYC News

NY Mayor, Congressman Seek to Enforce and Strengthen Gun Laws

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

WNYC

Rep. Peter King (R-NY3) says he will introduce legislation to toughen gun laws in the wake of the deadly mass shooting in Tucson, Arizona, where a lone gunman killed six people and injured 14, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

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The Empire

Why Bloomberg doesn't say where he goes when he leaves town

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Aside from public events, Mayor Bloomberg does not disclose his whereabouts. (Azi Paybarah / wnyc)

At a press conference this morning, Michael Saul of the Wall Street Journal noted President Obama lets the public know where he is when he goes on vacation. Then, Saul asked Bloomberg why he doesn't disclose his whereabouts when he leaves town.

Bloomberg:

"We have a public schedule. We started a policy back in January of 2002. The problem is the mayor would have no private life, couldn't be with his kids with the press following you around all the time. The president's job is different. The president has to be there. Presidents have always, to my recollection, they've always told everybody where they are, but you don't know the president day in and day out. I'm sure he does a lot of private things with his family and I appreciate that."

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The Empire

Bloomberg's plane was in Bermuda

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Michael Barbaro reports:

Mr. Bloomberg and his aides refuse to talk about it. But the residents of Bermuda have taken no such vow of silence.

They say that Mr. Bloomberg’s plane arrived on the island, where he owns alarge waterfront vacation home, sometime after midnight on Christmas morning. They spoke on condition of anonymity, for fear of inflaming the mayor and the local authorities, who prize discretion for visiting dignitaries.

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Transportation Nation

The Mayor Who Mulches

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

(Photo courtesy of New York City Parks Department)

(Kate Hinds, Transportation Nation) New York City Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe and Mayor Michael Bloomberg celebrate Mulchfest 2011 at Travers Park in Queens.

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