In Stop-and-Frisk Debate, Mayor Bloomberg and Bill de Blasio Bad-Mouth Each Other

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Sam Levin
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio at an immigration event earlier this year.
The debate over the NYPD's controversial stop-and-frisk policy is in full swing this week with a proposal from the public advocate prompting a badmouthing match between the mayor and the elected official who hopes to replace him in 2013.

Yesterday, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, an expected mayoral candidate, launched a campaign to reform stop-and-frisk, urging Mayor Bloomberg to dramatically reduce the number of unwarranted stops. That led Bloomberg, via a statement from his deputy mayor, to criticize de Blasio and dismiss his ideas as out of touch with the realities of crime in the city. De Blasio kept the momentum going this morning with a conference call with reporters to, well, respond to the mayor's response to him.


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Scott Stringer Tells the MTA to Listen Up On Demands of Elders and Disabled

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Forget NYU2031; the Manhattan Borough President has another bone to pick. And this one involves public transportation, both above and underground.

In an open letter to MTA Chairman and Executive Officer, Joseph L. Lhota, Stringer chastised the agency for its "emotional, physical and financial toll on New Yorkers." In this case, the older and disabled populations riding the railways and buses. These demographics, in his opinion, are being harmed the most by small inefficiencies. 

According to Gothamist, the City official said today that his eyes on are on the subtle obstacles of the MTA we know (and loath, too) all too well, like subway stations that have no MetroCard machines and the long search to find some sort of customer service underground. 
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After Angry Birds Incident, Scott Stringer Writes Letter to Ray Kelly

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via rovio.com
Angry Birds, a central player in this local politics story.
This is a story about Angry Birds and a Manhattan pol who is probably going to run for mayor in 2013.

More specifically, this is a story about an Angry-Birds-inspired police raid that prompted Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer to write a letter to Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.

On November 8th, 2011, the NYPD conducted raids on the Lower East Side and in Chinatown to stop the sale of counterfeit merchandise related to Angry Birds -- you know, the addictive game where you slingshot little birds at little pigs. Well apparently, the NYPD got wind that some vendors in these Manhattan neighborhoods were selling merchandise related to the Angry Birds franchise and responded with a raid.

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Scott Stringer Goes After Stop-and-Frisk, Does Not Criticize Ray Kelly In The Process

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Sam Levin
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer at City Hall today.
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, who is expected to run for mayor, pushed forward his campaign against the NYPD's controversial stop-and-frisk policy with a press event this afternoon featuring Martin Luther King III.

But as he continues his public appearances on the matter, Stringer seems to face the tricky task of criticizing the current practice of police stops without coming down too hard on the leader behind the policy, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly -- who incidentally could end up running for mayor himself.

Stringer, likely looking to appeal to minority and outer borough voters, appears committed to loudly opposing stop-and-frisk in its current form. Stop-and-frisk disproportionately targets communities of color and does very little to actually prevent crime (only nine percent of stops typically result in arrests), critics say.

And Stringer, who praised Kelly when he asked him about rumors of his mayoral bid, has repeatedly said that everyone should be concerned with stop-and-frisk, even people that look like him.

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More Mayoral Hopefuls Weigh in on the Ray Kelly Rumors: He Has a Great Record!

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Sam Levin
City Comptroller John Liu in Staten Island today.
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer said today that if the Ray Kelly running for mayor rumors turn out to be true, the dynamics of the mayoral race would certainly change. And some candidates gearing up for their campaigns are probably afraid of that, Stringer, an expected contender himself, told the Voice today.

In 2013 election news this week, rumors surfaced that Police Commissioner Ray Kelly might be interested in running for mayor to replace Mike Bloomberg. Regardless of whether he's actually considering it, some noteworthy Republican pols and other rich people are encouraging Kelly to throw his name into the mix.

If Kelly were to run as a Republican (and that's a big, big if), it would certainly change the dynamics of the 2013 mayoral race, which thus far is shaping up to be one that would be decided in the Democratic primary.

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Bloomberg Unveils Plan for New Schools, Mum On Education Ideas of Mayoral Hopefuls

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Sam Levin
Mayor Mike Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott with a map of new schools opened under Bloomberg.
Yesterday afternoon, Mayor Mike Bloomberg joined Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott to unveil the city's plan to open 54 new schools this fall -- which the mayor touted as an important step in the reform efforts he began when he took control of the school system at the start of his administration.

But hours earlier at a separate event, a handful of pols who hope to replace Bloomberg in 2013 criticized some of the mayor's education policies, specifically targeting Bloomberg's controversial practice of closing failing schools.

These comments from the expected mayoral candidates, along with news earlier this week that state lawmakers want to eliminate mayoral control of the city's school system, have put pressure on Bloomberg to defend some key aspects of his education agenda. Under the system of mayoral control -- as opposed to a traditional structure with an elected board -- Bloomberg says that test scores have improved, graduation rates have increased, and that minority students are performing better.

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Christine Quinn, Next Mayoral Candidate Who Will Impact NYU Expansion, Not Weighing in Yet

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via NYU 2031
As the 2013 mayoral elections near, the expected candidates are looking to build platforms through the work in their current jobs. For Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn -- who will likely go up against each other in the race to replace Mayor Mike Bloomberg -- the controversial expansion of New York University in the Village is one opportunity to influence a development issue that will impact the city for decades and beyond.

But Quinn's not quite ready to talk about it yet.

This week, Scott Stringer, standing beside NYU President John Sexton, announced his support of a scaled-back version of NYU's two-decade expansion in Greenwich Village, pushing the project one step forward in the lengthy review process mandated by the city.

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Solar Energy Agreement Leads To More Bickering Between Scott Stringer and Mike Bloomberg

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Sam Levin
Mayor Bloomberg at the new offices of start-up company called Efficiency 2.0.
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer did not miss an opportunity to criticize the mayor's office this afternoon -- but not before the mayor preemptively brushed aside negative comments from Stringer, who hopes to replace Mike Bloomberg as mayor in 2013.

The back and forth between the two elected officials -- who clash on a fairly regular basis -- was about solar energy.

Bloomberg, standing in the new offices of a tech start-up called Efficiency 2.0, announced today that the city has tripled its production of solar power with new panels on ten buildings. These projects throughout the five boroughs, Bloomberg said, increase the city's total solar production to 648 kilowatts, which is enough to power 143 households and will cut 205 metric tons of carbon emissions as well as save money on annual energy costs. The efforts are part of the city's larger sustainability initiatives under the umbrella of its PlaNYC agenda.

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Mike Bloomberg Says He's Not Going to Release 9-1-1 Response Time Report Until it's Complete -- And People Are Pissed

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Sam Levin
Mike Bloomberg at press conference this morning.
In today's edition of Mike Bloomberg brushing off criticisms relating to the New York Police Department, the mayor dismissed allegations that his office is purposely hiding a damaging report on 9-1-1 response times.

Yesterday, the New York Post reported that Bloomberg's office is waging an "all-out battle" to suppress a scathing report called "911 CPR" -- which has apparently determined that the city's emergency-dispatch system is on life support. The tabloid, which references a source that calls the report "nuclear," said that the document, originally called the 911 Call Processing Review, charges that response times to emergencies have slowed, despite more than $2 billion shoveled at the problems.

The 216-page report, written by a consulting firm, was actually commissioned by Bloomberg after the city struggled to respond effectively to the 2010 blizzard -- but because it's damaging to the NYPD, the mayor is making efforts to hide the report, the Post said. No matter what's in the report, his refusal to release it has certainly raised some suspicions and offered some fuel to loud critics of the mayor and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.

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NYU2031, the Expansion Plan of the Century, is a Mayoral Game


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It was a given that NYU's expansion plan would create a commotion -- any proposal cramming 2.4 million square feet, which is about equal to the size the Empire State Building, into a six-block radius will have that effect. The Manhattan Community Board, a collection of citizens from the neighborhoods that make up NYU's core, has already made its opposition to the proposed towers clear ("Flowers Not Towers," for example, is a key slogan). But the decision to construct four high-rises, underground space and an array of "superblocks" below Washington Square Park might be out of their hands.


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