Oct 17th - 12:50 pm
The state’s top court has agreed to hear the ban on large sugary drinks from convinence stores in New York City, potentially giving new life to what has become a signature public health effort from Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
The state Court of Appeals this morning in court papers indicated it would grant the appeal from the New York City Department of Health to hear the case after the ban was halted earlier this year a day before it was to go into effect.
The ruling from Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Milton Tingling at the time called the large soda ban “arbitrary and capricious” in part because of the loopholes inherent in the ban when it comes to the state regulating large drinks at chain stores like 7-11.
The ban applies to drinks 16 ounces and larger and would have impacted restaurants, stadiums and other venues.
The court is expected to hear arguments in the case early next year.
“Obesity is the only major public health issue we face that is getting worse, and sugary drinks are a major driver of the crisis,” Bloomberg said in a statement. “The related epidemics of obesity and diabetes are killing at least 5,000 New Yorkers a year and striking hardest in black and Latino communities and low-income neighborhoods. New York City’s portion cap rule would help save lives, and we are confident the Appeals court will uphold the Board of Health’s rule.”
Sep 27th - 11:46 am
Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration filed a lawsuit today against the United Federation of Teachers charging the union is violating the terms of the agreement to assign arbitrators to hear cases of teacher misconduct.
The increased number of arbitrators was meant to end the practice of so-called “rubber rooms” for teachers accused of misconduct or wrongdoing.
But Bloomberg today in a radio interview said the UFT has been delaying the implementation of the new arbitration system, which he says is adding to a backlog.
“They’ve been going for the last few years, year after year, they just keep delaying,” Bloomberg said. “The backlog keeps getting bigger. And it just prevents having a fair hearing for teachers who should be cleared of any charges, it allows teachers who should not be in front of our kids through incompetence or inappropriate conduct to continue collecting a paycheck. The public is paying for all of this. And year after year, we’ve really tried to come to an agreement.”
He added, “And once again, they’re showing their true colors. You know, we’ve got a small number of teachers who are not up to the job and should not be in front of our kids. And they hurt the reputation of the vast majority of the teachers who are doing a spectacular job.”
UFT President Michael Mulgrew responded later in the day calling the move “typical” of the outgoing mayor.
“The administration mismanages the disciplinary process, and in its last days tries to blame someone else for it,” Mulgrew said. “It’s a shame the Mayor is wasting public resources on this frivolous lawsuit, but we can all take comfort from the fact that Bloomberg will soon be only a bad memory to the people who care about schools.”
Aug 28th - 3:39 pm
Most are betting for a runoff, but no one has come as close as Bill de Blasio to making that extra election obsolete.
At least to Quinnipiac.
In a new Quinnipiac university poll, the public advocate continued his late race surge, climbing up to 36 percent of likely primary voters. Both Christine Quinn and Bill Thompson are trailing far behind, duking it out with 21 and 20 percent respectively. The margin of error is 4 percentage points.
Anthony Weiner’s numbers continued to fall with 8 percent, John Liu followed with 6 percent and Sal Albanese rounded out the pack with just 1 percent. Only 8 percent are undecided.
If a single candidate does not reach 40 percent, then it automatically triggers a runoff. Under that scenario, this new poll found de Blasio beats both Quinn and Thompson in a potential faceoff. He beats Quinn 59 percent to 30 percent and Thompson 52 percent to 36 percent.
In a potential Quinn-Thompson faceoff, Thompson beats the council speaker 57 to 33 percent.
Now Thompson was just in the studio and we asked him about these new numbers. He has been stalled in third place for weeks now. He had these thoughts on the latest results.
“I think I have learned over the years not to pay attention to Quinnipiac, Marist and all the public polls. They are so inaccurate and continue to be inaccurate. Look back at 2009, two days before they said it was going to be a blowout in my race against Mike Bloomberg. I lost by four and half points.”
Now, of note, the poll was conducted from Thursday through Tuesday, meaning it does not measure the full impact of Quinn receiving the endorsements all of the city’s major newspapers.
Aug 16th - 3:00 pm
As expected, Bloomberg administration filed its appeal today to challenge a federal judge’s ruling that would overhaul the NYPD’s use of stop-and-frisk.
A federal judge ruled this week the policy intentionally targeted minorities, but the city argues the safety of “all New Yorkers is at stake” if the strategy can’t be used by police.
Lawyers now have three months to file a formal brief in the appeal process.
In a ruling issued Monday, Judge Shire Scheindlin sided with a class-action lawsuit that argued stop-and-frisk unfarily and ordered changes be made to police officer training and appoint an outside monitor to supervise the effectiveness of the changes.
She also ordered a 12-month pilot program of officers wearing cameras in one precinct in each borough that has the most stops.
Aug 16th - 11:18 am
Mayor Bloomberg likes the idea of fingerprinting.
So much so, he thinks it might be a good fit for residents of public housing.
On his radio show this morning, the mayor suggested residents at NYCHA should use their fingerprints to get access to their buildings.
“If you have strangers walking in the halls of your apartment building don’t you want somebody to stop and say, ‘Who are you? Why are you here?’… Cause the locks on these doors with somebody here coming and going… What we really should have is fingerprinting to get in.”
This, of course, is not the first time Bloomberg has backed the idea of fingerprinting to receive services. Bloomberg had been a supporter of fingerprinting for food stamps. That is, until Governor Cuomo put a stop to it.
The idea, not surprisingly, did not sit well with some of the leading candidates for mayor. Both Bill Thompson and Bill de Blasio fired off these statements.
Here is Thompson:
“Disrespectful. Disgraceful. No other words apply. Just like stop and frisk, this is another direct act of treating minorities like criminals. Mayor Bloomberg wants to make New Yorkers feel like prisoners in their own homes. When I’m mayor, I’ll keep NYCHA residents safe without taking away their dignity. I’ll increase police presence and install security cameras that should have been installed years ago to safeguard residents – just like I’ll fix stop and frisk by banning racial profiling and implement community policing to protect all New Yorkers.”
And here is de Blasio:
“The Mayor’s comments that New Yorkers who enter public housing should be fingerprinted is outrageous and insulting, and shows just how out of touch this administration has become. Once again, Mayor Bloomberg has resorted to presuming innocent people are guilty simply because they happen to live in certain areas, and in doing so he is stigmatizing entire communities. Fingerprinting people just for entering NYCHA buildings will achieve little more than to further embitter tens of thousands of innocent people who have done nothing wrong, and who have earned the suspicion of the police for their trouble. This won’t catch bad guys or reduce crime — it will drive neighbors and the police even further apart at the exact moment we need to bring them closer together to keep our streets safe. Mayor Bloomberg needs to apologize for these remarks, and he should make good on ideas that would actually improve safety, like installing the security cameras tenants have repeatedly demanded and this administration has failed to provide.”
Aug 8th - 3:16 pm
Here’s something that will no doubt not sit well with Mayor Bloomberg, who already has taken issue with former Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s plan to take his Sheriff of Wall Street act to the NYC comptroller’s office.
During an interview with Larry King that will air tonight on RT America, Spitzer said he has “no regrets” about his targeting of the financial industry during his state attorney general days, save one: He wishes he had been even more aggressive that he was in taking bad actors to task.
“I wish in some contexts that we’d been harder – not on the people, but on structurally,” Spitzer told King. “Here’s what I mean by that: Between 2000 and 2006 when I was elected governor, we made a lot of what you refer to as the Wall Street cases. Did a lot of other stuff, but put that aside. The effort was to reform a capital structure that we saw taking us to disaster.”
“We began doing subprime lending cases in 1999. We did the analyst cases, which went to the very hear of how our investment banks were structured. Then the insurance cases. The mutual fund cases. What I said to the people in the industry was, ‘Look, guys, these are not isolated dots. You see the entire system, you see a system that is overleveraged, too much risk. You are taking advantage of a deregulatory system that will creat a crisis.”
“So, when I say I wish I’d been harder, I wish I’d been harder and more affirmative in saying: Guys, there’s a crisis brewing.”
Also during the interview, which will air at 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. and then will be available online at Ora.tv and Hulu, Spitzer again dodges the “do you have a girlfriend” question, saying he’s done talking about his personal life.
And, in a bit of a dig at Gov. Andrew Cuomo, with whom Spitzer has never really seen eye-to-eye, the former governor says Hillary Clinton is a lock for the Democratic nomination in 2016, but isn’t necessarily a sure thing to win it all in the general election.
For what it’s worth, Spitzer and Bloomberg are again disagreeing – this time over the mayor’s warning that NYC could very well go the way of Detroit if his successor fails to control the city’s rapidly rising health care and pension costs.
Aug 6th - 4:51 pm
Highlighting another one of his “Keys to the City,” Anthony Weiner called for a 25% reduction in the number of alternate-side parking days during a news conference on the Upper East Side today.
Standing on the sidewalk on E. 68th Street, Weiner said four-times-a-week street cleaning is unnecessary, causing driver inconvenience, lost productivity, increased traffic and pollution.
“This gentleman,” he said, gesturing toward a man sitting in his car just a few feet way. “He can be off at work. He could be doing something more productive. Instead, he’s waiting for alternate-side to end. All along this street, and all around this neighborhood, it goes on. We don’t question it because we say hey, that’s the way New York is.”
“We never go back and say hey, can we do with a little less street cleaning or a little bit more.”
In fact, thanks to City Council legislation passed in 2011—and a city pilot program before that—neighborhoods in Brooklyn, the Bronx and Manhattan have had the number of alternate-side days reduced after meeting cleanliness targets. The latest reductions took place in parts of Inwood and Washington Heights earlier this summer.
Meanwhile, responding to Mayor Bloomberg’s speech earlier today warning that labor costs could drive the city to financial ruin, Weiner said no candidate has dealt with health-care costs as seriously as he has, adding:
“I think that the mayor, were he a Democrat, would vote for me in the primary, and I expect him to vote for me in the general.”
Jul 30th - 6:37 pm
The new executive director of the city Board of Elections won’t be former commissioner Michael Ryan — at least for now.
Five Republican commissioners voted to install Ryan as the BOE head this afternoon. They fell one vote short. Two Democrats on the board voted no and three others abstained.
The surprise move came as another name gains traction for the post — Councilman Erik Martin Dilan.
Moments ago, Brooklyn Democratic Party leader Frank Seddio told me he would be “very supportive of a Dilan candidacy.”
The 10 member board has been without an executive director since 2010. The irony here is the swing vote to evict the board’s last executive director, George Gonzalez, was Ryan. Ryan, a Democrat, crossed party lines to do it.
So one insider says it makes sense why Republicans are pushing a Ryan candidacy.
Meanwhile, Dilan is not owning up (at least not yet) to wanting the job at all. When we reached him this afternoon, he said he wouldn’t comment, and he was concentrating on his job as a councilman.
Jul 30th - 1:51 pm
The Bloomberg administration plans to appeal the latest blow against the effort to ban large surgary drinks in New York, with the mayor calling today’s decision “a temporary setback.”
A four-judge Appellate Court today upheld a lower court’s ruling from earlier in the year that blocked the selling of sodas and surgary beverages of more than 16 ounces, determining the law violated the separation of powers principle.
Business groups are challenging the ban in court, pointing to the loopholes that include exempting businesses that are under regulated by the city’s Department of Health. Chain stores like 7-Eleven outlets are regulated by the state. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has shown no desire to wade in on the soda warns or issue a concurrent ban.
In a statement issued after the ruling, corporation counsel Michael Cardozo said the city planned to appeal to the state Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court.
“We firmly disagree with the court’s reasoning and will seek to appeal to the Court of Appeals as quickly as possible. There is broad precedent for the Board of Health to adopt significant measures to protect New Yorkers’ public health,” he said.
Bloomberg in a statement reiterated the ban, which was due to take effect in March before court intervention, is aimed at fighting obesity and improving health.
“Since New York City’s ground-breaking limit on the portion size of sugary beverages was prevented from going into effect on March 12th, more than 2,000 New Yorkers have died from the effects of diabetes,” Bloomberg said. “Also during that time, the American Medical Association determined that obesity is a disease and the New England Journal of Medicine released a study showing the deadly, and irreversible, health impacts of obesity and Type 2 diabetes – both of which are disproportionately linked to sugary drink consumption. Today’s decision is a temporary setback, and we plan to appeal this decision as we continue the fight against the obesity epidemic.”
Jul 19th - 2:09 pm
Thanks to New York’s chief judge, Jonathan Lippman, the state’s highest court will hear the appeal of a veteran GOP consultant convicted of stealing $750,000 worth of Mayor Bloomberg’s money contributed to the state Independence Party during the 2009 New York City mayor’s race and intended to be used for an Election Day voting security program.
Lippman granted John Haggerty leave to appeal on July 16. Last year, according to Court of Appeals spokesman Gary Spencer, it took – on average – 11 months between leave granted and oral arguments, plus another month before the justices rendered a decision.
Haggerty was convicted of second-degree grand larceny and second-degree money laundering in October 2011 and sentenced two months later to 1 1/3 to 4 years in prison. He fought that conviction for 17 months, but this past March was ordered to start serving his sentence after a midlevel appellate court denied his last appeal in February.
According to one of his attorneys, former state Attorney General Dennis Vacco, Haggerty is serving his sentence at Dannemora Prison (formally known as the Clinton Correctional Facility). By the time the court makes a decision in his case, Haggerty will have served the bulk of his sentence, so it’s likely his legal team will make a motion for his release pending that ruling – if they haven’t already done so.
UPDATE: One of Haggerty’s attorney’s Paul Shechtman, emailed to say he hopes to file that motion Monday.
I did reach Vacco, who said he was very happy to learn Lippman had granted the appeal – especially since the lower court’s rejection of Haggerty’s motion had been unanimous. It’s very unusual for the high court to agree to take a case when a lower court decision is so uniform. There must be something here that really piqued the chief judge’s interest. But the paperwork that appears below is pretty boilerplate and doesn’t offer any insight into his thinking.
If the Court of Appeals vacates Haggerty’s conviction, his indictment will still stand, Vacco said. That means Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance Jr., who brought this case, will have to decide whether to retry it at a time when Bloomberg will be long gone from City Hall and probably not eager to dredge this whole mess up again.
The case in a nutshell: Bloomberg contributed $1.2 million to the state Independence Party during his campaign for a third term in 2009 after he successfully lobbied the NYC Council to overturn term limits, enabling him to seek another four years in office.
The party, in turn, hired Haggerty to run an Election Day voter protection operation, but later maintained he had never delivered that service, instead stealing some $750,000 worth of the billionaire mayor’s money and using it to purchase the Queens home in which he grew up.
Vacco said Shechtman, had argued (apparently successfully) that the jury in this case was never adequately instructed as to who victim was – the Independence Party, as Haggerty’s defense team mantained – or Bloomberg himself.
“If it wasn’t for the fact that Michael Bloomberg was at the center of all of this, none of this would have happened,” Vacco told me.
Bloomberg testified against Haggerty during his trial.
After the trial, the NYC Campaign Finance Board reviewed Bloomberg’s contribution to the Independence Party’s housekeeping account (remember: no contribution limits apply here). At the time that the mayor gave the party that hefty check, the board had declared that personal contributions to political committees would soon have to be disclosed, but the new rule had not yet gone into effect.
Last October, the CFB decided the mayor’s campaign had not violated the campaign finance law outright, but had “contravened the spirit of disclosure” by moving “deliberately to avoid” his contribution from being made public.