Jun 30th - 11:35 am
The state Court of Appeals on Monday upheld the conviction of political consultant John Haggerty for siphoning $750,000 from the 2009 re-election campaign of then-New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
The 6-0 decision tossed Haggerty’s appeal after he was convicted in 2011 and sentenced to 1-1/3 to 4 years in state prison.
Haggerty, a well-known operative in Republican circles, had received a $1.2 million from the mayor earmarked for the Independence Party to help with security for ballots on Election Day.
It was later revealed Haggerty only spent a fraction of that money for poll watchers, and his lawyers later said he used the money to purchase his childhood home in Queens.
Haggerty’s effort for a new trial centered on whether it was improper for a lower court judge to allow testimony from an official from the trust who had provided Bloomberg’s $1.2 million payment.
But the state’s highest court determined in its ruling the official didn’t impact the lower court jury’s decision.
Mar 13th - 1:52 pm
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is again providing a professional home for former Bloomberg administration aides and an ex-NYC Councilman who was term limited out of office last year and lost his bid for another elected post.
The governor announced four new hires this afternoon, one of which is his fellow Queens native Peter Vallone Jr., who served as on the NYC Council from 2002 to 2013 and chaired the Public Safety Committee. Vallone, a member of a dynastic political family, lost the Democratic primary for Queens borough president last fall to his one-time Council colleague, Melinda Katz.
In his new post with the Cuomo administration, Vallone will serve as a special assistant assigned to the Commissioner of the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision. It’s not clear how long this new gig will last for Vallone, who has made no secret of his desire to one day return to public office – preferably to the Queens DA’s job.
Cuomo also hired two former Bloombeg administration staffers: Kevin Kelly, who had served as deputy commissioner of NYC Business under the former mayor, will be COO of New York State Homes and Community Renewal; and Jamal Othman, who was chief of staff in the New York City Mayor’s Office of Veterans Affairs will now be deputy director of the state Division of Veterans’ Affairs.
Also, Nora Yates, who was an Empire State Fellow in the executive chamber, has been hired as deputy director of the Community, Opportunity & Reinvestment (“CORe”) initiative, which Cuomo launched in his 2013 State of the State address.
Salaries for these new hires were not immediately available.
This is hardly the first time Cuomo has hired former NYC Council members or former Bloomberg staffers. The most recent addition came in January, when Cuomo named former Councilman Jim Gennaro, also of Queens, to a new position at the DEC.
Mar 4th - 3:52 pm
Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg is once again teaming up with President Obama.
The two met for lunch at the White House Tuesday, on the same day the President unveiled his budget, which includes policies aimed at targeting income inequality. Just last week, Bloomberg was at the White House to help the President unveil a new initiative aimed at helping black and Latino boys.
During the lunch, the Mayor expressed his support for Obama’s budget proposal to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit, which helps decrease the tax burden on low-income Americans.
Here’s Bloomberg’s statement on his meeting with the President:
“Today, I joined President Obama at the White House for lunch where we discussed his budget proposal, the state of our economy, and his initiative to help young black and Latino men realize their potential, among other critical issues. It was a thoughtful, honest dialogue – the kind we need more of in Washington.
“In his budget submission, the President has smartly included an expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit for childless adults – a program that both the right and the left acknowledge as one of the most effective anti-poverty programs ever created, and one we launched on the local level in New York City.
“Last year, in New York City, we created a pilot program to increase the value of the Federal Earned Income Tax Credit for individuals without children, a first by an American city. Constantly pursuing new and innovative antipoverty initiatives like an expanded EITC is an important reason why New York was the only major American city not to experience an increase in its poverty rate compared to the 2000 Census, and the President is right to see an expanded EITC as a critical element in the fight against poverty, particularly for young men.
“Members of both parties should support expanding the EITC, a program that rewards work, lifts people out of poverty, and reduces dependence on government services. Leadership in both houses of Congress should seize the opportunity for bipartisanship, and pass the President’s EITC proposal this year.”
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.”