A Look Back at Michael Bloomberg's Tremendously Awkward First Campaign

Video still via New York City Campaign Finance Board
A 2001 Bloomberg, being gestured at by Democratic opponent Mark Green.
After twelve years, it is, at long last, almost the end of Michael Bloomberg's time as mayor. Bill de Blasio will be inaugurated at noon on January 1, in a ceremony he's promised will be "one of the most open and accessible swearing-in events in New York City history," with tickets available to the general public and tours of Gracie Mansion on January 5.

On an icy January morning in 2002, Michael Bloomberg stood on the same City Hall steps de Blasio will occupy next month and made a series of more modest promises. Four months after the September 11 attacks, he paid tribute to those who died on that day, promised to cut the size of government and asked businesses to please, please not leave town.

It was a quiet, modest start to what would become, like it or not, one of the most influential mayoral tenures in the city's history. But as we look back at Bloomberg's ascent to the mayor's office, it's still a bit surprising he made it to those steps at all, given that his first campaign was so uphill it was basically a vertical climb up a glacier with the aid of a pickaxe. To review:

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Check out the Gorgeous Golf Course Mayor Bloomberg Was Playing Instead of Responding to the Metro-North Train Wreck

Categories: Bloomberg

Beautiful, isn't it?
Michael Bloomberg, who is still the mayor of New York City until December 30, made his first public appearance since Sunday's horrific Metro North train wreck at the St. Barnabus Hospital in the Bronx, where he arrived in the evening to visit survivors of the crash.

Asked by reporters where he had been all day, Bloomberg responded: "What can I do? I'm not a professional firefighter or police officer. Nothing I can do. All I can do is make sure that the right people from New York City, our police commissioner, our fire commissioner and emergency management commissioner are there."

Still the questions persisted. Monday morning, an answer seems to have surfaced -- according to a Wall Street Journal report, Bloomberg was on a golf course in Bermuda during the wreck itself and the critical hours that followed.

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Bloomberg's Favorite Developer Slated to Get Another Huge Hudson Yards Tax Break--Taxpayers Pay the Penalty

Hudson Yards Plan
The Bloomberg administration is preparing to hand another $328 million in tax breaks to its favored developer, The Related Companies, for ... get this ... a fancy shopping mall and a high-end office skyscraper in the Hudson Yards project on the west side of Manhattan. [A early mockup of the finished site is at right.]

The board of the city's Industrial Development Agency, an off-shoot of the Economic Development Corp., is slated to hold a public hearing on the whopping proposed tax breaks on Oct. 10.

James Parrott, deputy director and chief economist of the Fiscal Policy Institute sharply criticized the giveaway. "It is the height of fiscal irresponsibility for the NYC IDA to provide massive taxpayer subsidies to a Manhattan luxury mall," he tells the Voice.

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Bloomberg vs. Liu: Mayor Sues Comptroller Over Shelter Contracts

John Liu is in dead last in the race for New York City mayor, and it might be because he is spending a lot of energy battling Mayor Bloomberg. Maybe no one's told him Bloomberg isn't running this time?

Liu, the city comptroller, picked a fight with the mayor earlier this month when he rejected a pair of contracts the administration wanted to award to a company run by the mayor's former commissioner of homeless services.

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Bloomberg Hates Eric Holder's NYPD Federal Monitor, Calls It a "Terrible Idea"

Chad Griffith
It comes as no surprise that controversy would ride the coattails of the news yesterday that Attorney General Eric Holder may suggest a federal monitor over the NYPD should stop-and-frisk be deemed unconstitutional in Floyd v. New York. Bloomberg and NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly freaked out in a teleconference with Holder the other day when they heard about the Justice Department's proposal. And yesterday, at an unrelated press conference, the m ayor made his opposition to the proposal absolutely, 100 percent clear.

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The Green Cab Invasion: Court Upholds Outer Borough Hail Plan

Wikimedia Commons
It's two o'clock in the morning on a Saturday night in Astoria. You've just left the bar with your friends and, because of the way the world works, the N/R/Q trains are running every hour and you just missed it. You try to hail a cab back to East Williamsburg, but to no avail, since, you know, you're in Queens, where cabs are an endangered species. This is the plight of thousands every night in the outer boroughs and, as of yesterday, it will end very soon.

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The Next Educator-in-Chief: What Will the New Mayor Do With a $25 Billion Budget?

Wikimedia Commons
The numbers for the Education budget are in and, once again, they're groundbreaking: In fiscal year 2014, City Hall will spend $25 billion--the most in New York City history--on a line item that takes up about a third of the overall city budget. But, with an election coming up, determining Bloomberg's legacy--which here includes doubling the Education budget--will be permanently out of his hands. Naturally, this has spawned speculation of the next mayor's move for the largest public school system (and budget) in the country. And, because of how this election is shaping up, the teachers' union will be sitting at the table this time around.

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"Legacy Costs" Are Eating Up A Quarter of New York City's Budget

In late January, Mayor Bloomberg released plans for his twelfth and final budget. In it, we see an attempt on behalf of the Mayor to leave the City in a fiscally solvent manner when he leaves next year, including a culmination of spending preferences (higher city agency budgets) and an unfortunate reality of cutback measures (layoffs, attrition, etc.). We're left with a budget totaling about $70.1 billion to close a $1.1 billion deficit shortfall.

On a larger scale, City Council is exactly like most ordinary Americans (read: us). New York City's budget racks up bills that eventually have to be paid off one way or another, all of which are promises made in the past by politicians to give this amount money to so and so. Following this trend, the IOUs gradually take up a larger portion of the budget. And this time around, it looks like these "legacy costs" will suck up nearly 25 percent of all of our government's funds in the next two years.

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Oprah, Ivanka, and More in City's Newly Released Cathie Black Emails

Categories: Bloomberg, Secrets

Even Oprah couldn't save this terrible idea.
As we reported yesterday, the Bloomberg administration lost its lengthy and expensive legal battle against a Freedom of Information Law request by Sergio Hernandez, then a Village Voice intern, requesting the administration's emails concerning the ill-fated hiring of former Schools Chancelor Cathie Black in 2010.

Well, now the emails have been released. And while it's hard to see what was so damning in the emails that the City saw fit to spend tens of thousands of dollars fighting to keep them secret, there's still plenty of interesting material inside. The emails, between Black and various administration aids and officials, illuminate the public relations campaign City Hall orchestrated to help smooth the way for its unpopular and inexplicable nomination of Black, who had no previous educational experience.

The strategy is best summed up by an email from Micah Lasher, at the time the mayor's legislative director: "All our focus needs to be on getting allies to come out in support."

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Bloomberg Loses Final Appeal to Keep Emails Secret

Thumbnail image for r-BLOOMBERG-CATHIE-BLACK-large570.jpg
All legal avenues exahusted, Bloomberg must make public emails concerning the hiring of Cathie Black.
Mayor Bloomberg's fight to keep emails concerning the hiring Cathie Black, whose catastrophic career as school chancellor lasted all of 100 days, has finally ended, and Bloomberg has lost.

The story stretches back to 2010, when Sergio Hernandez, then a Village Voice intern, filed a Freedom of Information Law request for emails related to Black's hiring. The city first delayed, then refused. Hernandez appealed, and the city refused again. So he sued, represented pro bono by Schlam Stone & Dolan, and he won.

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