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Mayoralty of Michael Bloomberg

Mayoralty of Michael Bloomberg

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Michael Bloomberg
Michael Bloomberg
Michael Rubens Bloomberg is the current Mayor of New York City. With a net worth of $19.5 billion in 2011, he is also the 12th-richest person in the United States...

has served as the current and 108th Mayor of New York City
Mayor of New York City
The Mayor of the City of New York is head of the executive branch of New York City's government. The mayor's office administers all city services, public property, police and fire protection, most public agencies, and enforces all city and state laws within New York City.The budget overseen by the...

since January 1, 2002. He won reelection in 2005 and 2009.

Governing style and legacy

Bloomberg has said he wants reforming public education
Public education
State schools, also known in the United States and Canada as public schools,In much of the Commonwealth, including Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United Kingdom, the terms 'public education', 'public school' and 'independent school' are used for private schools, that is, schools...

 to be the legacy of his first term and addressing poverty to be the legacy of his second. He is known as a political pragmatist
Pragmatist may refer to:*A person who subscribes to pragmatism, a field of philosophy*A person who subscribes to pragmaticism, Charles Sanders Peirce's post-1905 branch of philosophy...

 and for a managerial style that reflects his experience in the private sector
Private sector
In economics, the private sector is that part of the economy, sometimes referred to as the citizen sector, which is run by private individuals or groups, usually as a means of enterprise for profit, and is not controlled by the state...

. Bloomberg has chosen to apply a statistical, results-based approach to city management, appointing city commissioners based on their expertise and granting them wide autonomy in their decision-making. Breaking with 190 years of tradition, Bloomberg implemented a "bullpen
In baseball, the bullpen is the area where relief pitchers warm-up before entering a game. Depending on the ballpark, it may be situated in foul territory along the baselines or just beyond the outfield fence. Also, a team's roster of relief pitchers is metonymically referred to as "the bullpen"...

" open office plan, reminiscent of a Wall Street
Wall Street
Wall Street refers to the financial district of New York City, named after and centered on the eight-block-long street running from Broadway to South Street on the East River in Lower Manhattan. Over time, the term has become a metonym for the financial markets of the United States as a whole, or...

 trading floor, in which dozens of aides and managerial staff are seated together in a large chamber. The design is intended to promote accountability and accessibility.

Public opinion

Bloomberg had a 49% approval rating in August 2010 compared to 56% in April, according to the New York Post. It also stated in August that
47% of Democratic voters expressed approval compared to 55% of Republican voters. Lee Miringoff, director of Marist College's Institute for Public Opinion, has remarked that governing during a world economic recession coupled with his stance in support of the Islamic complex near Ground Zero dampens Bloomberg's support.

Throughout 2006 and 2007, Bloomberg had approval ratings consistently above 70%, according to Quinnipiac polling
Quinnipiac University Poll
The Quinnipiac University Poll is an opinion poll research operated by the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut...

. Differences between Republican, Democratic and independent voters were small. "An effective, straightforward guy who calls it as it is – that's Mayor Bloomberg's most attractive quality, New Yorkers think. And they like his businessman approach to the job," said Quinnipiac polling
Quinnipiac University Poll
The Quinnipiac University Poll is an opinion poll research operated by the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut...

 director Maurice Carroll.

In November 2010, a Public Policy Polling
Public Policy Polling
Public Policy Polling is an American Democratic Party-affiliated polling firm based in Raleigh, North Carolina. PPP was founded in 2001 by businessman and Democratic pollster Dean Debnam, the firm's current president and chief executive officer...

 survey of American registered voters inside and outside of New York City found that 19% voters expressed a favorable opinion of Bloomberg. A 38% plurality expressed a negative view.


Bloomberg's first mayoralty coincided with a major shift of authority over the city's public school system from the state government to the city government. From 1968 until 2000, New York City's schools were managed by the Board of Education, which had seven members. Only two of the seven were appointed by the mayor, which meant the City had a minority of representatives on the board and the mayor's ability to shape education policy was greatly diminished. In addition to the Board, 25 local school boards also played a part in running the system. In 2000, the local boards and Board of Education were abolished and replaced with a new mayoral agency, the Department of Education
New York City Department of Education
The New York City Department of Education is the branch of municipal government in New York City that manages the city's public school system. It is the largest school system in the United States, with over 1.1 million students taught in more than 1,700 separate schools...


Bloomberg appointed Joel Klein
Joel Klein
Joel Irwin Klein was Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education, the largest public school system in the United States, serving more than 1.1 million students in more than 1,600 schools...

 as Schools Chancellor
Chancellor (education)
A chancellor or vice-chancellor is the chief executive of a university. Other titles are sometimes used, such as president or rector....

 to run the new department, which was based at the renovated Tweed Courthouse near City Hall. Under Bloomberg and Chancellor Klein, test scores have risen and the City has obtained a higher percentage of funding from the state budget. Bloomberg opposes social promotion
Social promotion
Social promotion is the practice of promoting a student to the next grade despite their low achievement in order to keep them with social peers...

, and favors after-school and summer-school programs to help schoolchildren catch up, rather than allowing them to advance to the next grade level where they may be unprepared. Despite often tense relations with teachers' unions, he avoided a teacher strike by concluding a contract negotiation in which teachers received an average raise of 15% in exchange for givebacks
Givebacks is a Trade union term for the reduction or elimination of previously won benefits.-History:1978: The first known publication of the term giveback in relation to organized labor negotiations was in the New York Times...

 and productivity increases.

Bloomberg has enforced a strengthened cell-phone ban in city schools that had its roots dating to a 1988 school system ban on pagers. The ban is controversial among some parents, who are concerned with their ability to contact their children. Administration representatives have noted that students are distracted in class by cell phones and often use them inappropriately, in some instances sending and receiving text messages, taking photographs, surfing the Internet, and playing video games, and that cell-phone bans exist in other cities including Detroit and Philadelphia.

On May 27, 2007 Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that the four-year high school graduation rate in New York City has reached 60%, the highest level since the City began calculating the rate in 1986 and an 18% increase since the Mayor assumed control of the public schools in 2002.
On June 30, 2009, the New York State Senate
New York State Senate
The New York State Senate is one of two houses in the New York State Legislature and has members each elected to two-year terms. There are no limits on the number of terms one may serve...

 declined to renew mayoral control. Mayoral control had allowed Mayor Bloomberg to have complete control of the school system.

Social policy

Bloomberg supports the legalization
Legalization is the process of removing a legal prohibition against something which is currently not legal.Legalization is a process often applied to what are regarded, by those working towards legalization, as victimless crimes, of which one example is the consumption of illegal drugs .Those...

 of same-sex marriage in New York
Same-sex marriage in New York
Same-sex marriage in the U.S. state of New York became legal on July 24, 2011, under the Marriage Equality Act, which was passed on June 24, 2011, by the New York State Legislature and signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo on the same day...

. Still, he appealed a decision finding the limiting of same-sex marriage in the state of New York unconstitutional. "My personal opinion is that anybody should be allowed to marry anybody. I don't happen to think we should put restrictions on who you should marry.... What the city doesn't want to have happen is people getting a marriage license and then six months, or one year later, or two years later, finding out it's meaningless," he has said.

Public health

Bloomberg has donated millions of dollars to the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health is part of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, United States...

 and appointed Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, an epidemiologist with a reputation for activism and scientific rigor, to be his Health Commissioner. Under Frieden the city Health Department has made HIV, diabetes and hypertension
Hypertension or high blood pressure is a cardiac chronic medical condition in which the systemic arterial blood pressure is elevated. What that means is that the heart is having to work harder than it should to pump the blood around the body. Blood pressure involves two measurements, systolic and...


Bloomberg extended New York City's smoking ban
Smoking ban
Smoking bans are public policies, including criminal laws and occupational safety and health regulations, which prohibit tobacco smoking in workplaces and/or other public spaces...

 to all commercial establishments, including bars and nightclubs. This reform removed the last indoor public areas in which one could smoke in the city. The smoking ban took effect in March 2003, and remains part of city law today. Bloomberg's smoking ban was considered trend-setting and many municipalities in North America and Europe have subsequently enacted similar bans.

In June 2005 Bloomberg signed the Potty Parity
Potty parity
"Potty parity" is equal or equitable provision of washroom facilities for women and men within a public space.-Gender-neutral toilets:Gender-neutral toilets are common in some contexts, including on aircraft, on trains or buses, portable toilets, and accessible toilets. In parts of Europe they are...

Bill (proposed law)
A bill is a proposed law under consideration by a legislature. A bill does not become law until it is passed by the legislature and, in most cases, approved by the executive. Once a bill has been enacted into law, it is called an act or a statute....

 requiring more women's toilets in newly opened public places such as bars, theaters, stadiums and convention facilities

On December 5, 2006, New York became the first city in the United States to ban trans-fat from all restaurants. This went into effect in July 2008.

In January 2010, the Bloomberg administration unveiled a plan to reduce the amount of salt in packages and food served at restaurants by 25 percent by 2015.


Bloomberg is one of the most active big city mayors on the issue of the environment. On April 22, 2007 he announced PLANYC: an aggressive program to vastly improve New York City's environmental sustainability by 2030. On May 23, 2007 Bloomberg announced that by 2012 all of the city's Yellow Cabs will be hybrid cars.
PLANYC aims to improve the city's sustainability through a multi-pronged approach that includes, among other things, the adoption of traffic congestion pricing
New York congestion pricing
New York congestion pricing was a proposed traffic congestion fee for vehicles traveling into or within the Manhattan central business district of New York City...

 based upon a system currently used in London and Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

. Bloomberg contends this measure will reduce pollution and traffic congestion
Traffic congestion
Traffic congestion is a condition on road networks that occurs as use increases, and is characterized by slower speeds, longer trip times, and increased vehicular queueing. The most common example is the physical use of roads by vehicles. When traffic demand is great enough that the interaction...

 while raising revenue for the city. He has also pledged to plant one million trees in New York City, which will clean the air and boost property values.


Bloomberg is a supporter of immigration
Immigration to the United States
Immigration to the United States has been a major source of population growth and cultural change throughout much of the history of the United States. The economic, social, and political aspects of immigration have caused controversy regarding ethnicity, economic benefits, jobs for non-immigrants,...

 reform to secure the rights of illegal immigrants, who comprise a large part of the population of New York City. He argues that deportation breaks up families and scares illegal immigrants away from cooperating with law enforcement or accessing vital social services; as such, he supports proposals like those put forth by U.S. Senators
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 Ted Kennedy
Ted Kennedy
Edward Moore "Ted" Kennedy was a United States Senator from Massachusetts and a member of the Democratic Party. Serving almost 47 years, he was the second most senior member of the Senate when he died and is the fourth-longest-serving senator in United States history...

 and John McCain
John McCain
John Sidney McCain III is the senior United States Senator from Arizona. He was the Republican nominee for president in the 2008 United States election....

, which would normalize the status of otherwise law-abiding illegal immigrants
Similar to Circular reasoning, A paradox is a seemingly true statement or group of statements that lead to a contradiction or a situation which seems to defy logic or intuition...

 already present. Bloomberg also believes that border enforcement is somewhat futile. He told the US Senate Judiciary Committee Field Hearing on Federal Immigration Legislation on July 5, 2006: "It is as if we expect border control agents to do what a century of communism could not: Defeat the natural forces of supply and demand and defeat the natural human instinct for freedom and opportunity. You might as well sit on the beach and tell the tide not to come in."

He also issued Executive Order 41 on September 17, 2003 which instructs city employees not to ask nor to disclose information about immigration status unless required by law or organizational mission.

Crime and security

During Bloomberg's tenure, the reduction of crime that began during Mayor Rudy Giuliani
Rudy Giuliani
Rudolph William Louis "Rudy" Giuliani KBE is an American lawyer, businessman, and politician from New York. He served as Mayor of New York City from 1994 to 2001....

's tenure http://www.heritage.org/Research/Crime/CDA00-05.cfm has continued. Bloomberg's approach to the issue has been more low-key than that of Giuliani, who was often criticized by advocates for the homeless and civil rights groups. However, there exists some criticism that the reduced-crime statistics are frequently falsified or doctored to exaggerate the reduction. http://www.villagevoice.com/news/0544,moses,69552,5.html http://nypdconfidential.com/columns/2003/030630.html According to Salon.com
Salon.com, part of Salon Media Group , often just called Salon, is an online liberal magazine, with content updated each weekday. Salon was founded by David Talbot and launched on November 20, 1995. It was the internet's first online-only commercial publication. The magazine focuses on U.S...

, "[w]hile Bloomberg has kept aspects of the Giuliani
Giuliani is an Italian family name, which can refer to:* Rudolph Giuliani, former mayor of New York City, and former candidate for United States President in 2008.** Judith Giuliani, his wife...

 management style – like his utterly unaccountable and institutionally racist NYPD – in place, he has seriously dialed back the shouty rhetoric."

Since 2003, Bloomberg has become increasingly assertive in demanding that federal homeland security
Homeland security
Homeland security is an umbrella term for security efforts to protect states against terrorist activity. Specifically, is a concerted national effort to prevent terrorist attacks within the U.S., reduce America’s vulnerability to terrorism, and minimize the damage and recover from attacks that do...

 funds be distributed to municipalities based on risk – such as New York City – and population rather than any other measure. In an appearance before the United States Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 he argued that federal security funds should not be indiscriminately distributed, spread like "peanut butter."

Raymond Kelly, Bloomberg's police commissioner from 2002, in his financial disclosures, "reported six shared plane flights to Florida in 2008 and five more in 2009, provided by Mayor ... Bloomberg at an undetermined cost."

Gun control

Bloomberg is a strong advocate of gun control
Gun control
Gun control is any law, policy, practice, or proposal designed to restrict or limit the possession, production, importation, shipment, sale, and/or use of guns or other firearms by private citizens...

 and made it a major issue of his administration in his second inaugural address.
Most of the beneficiaries of his donations to Congressional candidates, however, have been opponents of gun control. Those incumbent Congressmen have had high ratings ("A" to "B+") from interest groups (e.g., National Rifle Association
National Rifle Association
The National Rifle Association of America is an American non-profit 501 civil rights organization which advocates for the protection of the Second Amendment of the United States Bill of Rights and the promotion of firearm ownership rights as well as marksmanship, firearm safety, and the protection...

, Gun Owners of America
Gun Owners of America
Gun Owners of America is a gun rights organization in the United States with over 300,000 members. They make efforts to differentiate themselves from the larger National Rifle Association , and have publicly criticized the NRA on multiple occasions for what the GOA considers to be the selling out...

) which oppose gun control.

Bloomberg once said, "I don't know why people carry guns. Guns kill people...". Bloomberg is also a co-chair and founder of Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition
Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition
Mayors Against Illegal Guns is a coalition of over 600 mayors who support a number of gun control initiatives that the group calls "commonsense reforms" to fight illegal gun trafficking and gun violence in the United States...

, an organization of 210 mayors whose stated goal is working toward eradicating the use of illegal firearms by criminals.

In 2006, Bloomberg conducted a number of sting operation
Sting operation
In law enforcement, a sting operation is a deceptive operation designed to catch a person committing a crime. A typical sting will have a law-enforcement officer or cooperative member of the public play a role as criminal partner or potential victim and go along with a suspect's actions to gather...

s in gun stores outside his state. In these, city-paid private investigators attempted to illegally purchase handguns for other people (known as a "straw purchase
Straw purchase
A straw purchase is any purchase wherein the purchaser knowingly acquires an item or service for someone who is, for whatever reason, unable to purchase the item or service themselves...

"). Bloomberg then brought civil charges against stores which did not submit to extensive monitoring from representatives of New York City. Reaction to the sting operations was overwhelmingly negative in states where he conducted his sting, prompting an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms to determine whether Bloomberg's "sting" violated any federal gun purchase laws. Many Second Amendment
Second Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution is the part of the United States Bill of Rights that protects the right of the people to keep and bear arms. It was adopted on December 15, 1791, along with the rest of the Bill of Rights.In 2008 and 2010, the Supreme Court issued two Second...

 advocacy groups referred to the mayor's actions as "vigilante." The Virginia Citizen's Defense League held a raffle
A raffle is a competition in which people obtain numbered tickets, each ticket having the chance of winning a prize. At a set time, the winners are drawn from a container holding a copy of every number...

, dubbed the "Bloomberg Gun Giveaway" to help raise sales at affected stores within the commonwealth. This, in turn, was received poorly by many groups, especially after the recent massacre at Virginia Tech. The Commonwealth of Virginia overwhelmingly passed legislation against simulated straw purchases such as this, and communicated such personally to Mr. Bloomberg (Attorney General McDonnell's press release).

Tax and fiscal policies

Facing a severe fiscal crisis after the September 11, 2001 attacks
September 11, 2001 attacks
The September 11 attacks The September 11 attacks The September 11 attacks (also referred to as September 11, September 11th or 9/119/11 is pronounced "nine eleven". The slash is not part of the pronunciation...

, Bloomberg introduced a $3 billion tax increase in the middle of the fiscal 2003 year.
The move is credited with stabilizing the city's finances, which have since recovered.
Some critics, however, opined that he should have instead sought to cut government spending instead of raising taxes.

In 2004 and 2005, the city experienced record surpluses, but financial experts and Bloomberg administration officials warned about unfunded future pension costs owed to city workers. In response, in 2006 Bloomberg unilaterally set aside $2 billion for a city-retirees' health fund. Some critics, however, characterized this move as representing a lack of political courage on Bloomberg's part insofar as he did it to avoid facing the prospect of reducing New York City government payrolls, a move which they argued would have provided a more fiscally responsible long-term solution. Some of these critics claim that bloated government payrolls are one of the main reasons why New York City has one of the highest tax rates in the United States.

In August 2010, Bloomberg made controversial comments on a radio show, referring to uncollected taxes on cigarettes sold on Indian reservations in New York State. Bloomberg commented facetiously that the governor should, "you know, get yourself a cowboy hat and a shotgun. If there’s ever a great video, it’s you standing in the middle of the New York State Thruway saying, you know, 'Read my lips: The law of the land is this, and we’re going to enforce the law.'" His statement was criticized by the Seneca Nation of Indians, as well as the National Congress of American Indians
National Congress of American Indians
The National Congress of American Indians is a American Indian and Alaska Native indigenous rights organization. It was founded in 1944 in response to termination and assimilation policies that the U.S. government forced upon the tribal governments in contradiction of their treaty rights and...

. Members of the Oneida Nation also protested in front of New York City Hall
New York City Hall
New York City Hall is located at the center of City Hall Park in the Civic Center area of Lower Manhattan, New York City, USA, between Broadway, Park Row, and Chambers Street. The building is the oldest City Hall in the United States that still houses its original governmental functions, such as...

. Bloomberg's office later said that the Indian tribes should "follow the law" and that he would not apologize for his comments.


Mayor Bloomberg and his Deputy Mayor for Economic Development & Rebuilding Daniel L. Doctoroff have overseen one of New York City's most dramatic economic resurgences, spearheading the effort to reverse New York's fiscal crisis after the attacks of 9/11 through a five-borough economic development strategy. By focusing on making New York's economy more diverse, its business climate more hospitable, and its communities more livable, they have helped lead New York to its strongest economic position in decades. In 2005, the city achieved record levels of jobs, visitors, population, and the greatest number of housing starts since the 1960s.


Bloomberg plans to make poverty reduction the central focus of his second term. In 2006 he appointed a Commission on Economic Opportunity to come up with innovative ideas to address poverty in the city. The commission's initial report was released in September 2006.

According to the United States Census Bureau the city's poverty rate of 19 percent in 2004 had not changed since 2001, while in Manhattan the earnings of the top fifth of earners ($330,244 on average) were 41 times the earnings of the bottom fifth ($8,019 on average). Bronx County is the second poorest urban county in the United States, with a per capita income of $13,595 (after El Paso County, Texas); Kings County, which is coterminous with Brooklyn
Brooklyn is the most populous of New York City's five boroughs, with nearly 2.6 million residents, and the second-largest in area. Since 1896, Brooklyn has had the same boundaries as Kings County, which is now the most populous county in New York State and the second-most densely populated...

, has a per capita of $16,775, which is lower than the 2000 per capita income of New Orleans. In 2004, the Census' American Community Survey reported, Latinos had the highest poverty rate in the city (29 percent), compared to Blacks (21 percent), Asians (18 percent) and non-Latino Whites (11 percent). Although in 2005 Latinos made up 28 percent of the New York City's total population, they made up 42 percent of its poverty population. The Mayor's Commission, however, has been criticized by advocacy groups like the National Institute for Latino Policy
National Institute for Latino Policy
The National Institute for Latino Policy was established in 1982 as the Institute for Puerto Rican Policy in New York City, United States as a non-profit and nonpartisan policy center focusing on critical Latino policy issues....

, for not addressing the problem of high and persistent poverty in the Latino community, pointing to the underrepresentation of Latinos on the Commission (only 4 out of 32 commissioners are Latino) and its leadership (no Latinos).

The Mayor's Commission issued a 52-page report on September 18, 2006 entitled, Increasing Opportunity and Reducing Poverty in New York City. arguing that it would be counterproductive to try to focus on everyone's problems, and instead would concentrate on three groups: very young children, young adults, and the working poor. By targeting these critical groups, the Commission believes it can best combat poverty overall. However, the focus has been criticized by those who would like a focus on other groups—including the elderly, the unemployed, the homeless, and those recently released from prison. The New York Times reported that little new city money is likely to be invested to fight poverty; management reform will be the main source of improvements. For example, the Times noted that food stamp administration will be important for all three of the groups targeted by the commission. Food stamps are fully funded by the federal government, so any expansion of their use is a cost-free reform for the city.

The Commission is expecting reports and plans by city agencies on how they each plan to address the issues raised in the Commission's report by November 2006, and will need to get City Council and State Legislative authorization for parts of its plan. The planning and implementation of the Commission's recommendations are under the leadership of Deputy Mayor Linda Gibbs, who is credited with being the person in the Administration who convinced Mayor Bloomberg to make poverty reduction a major theme of his second and final term.

The Mayor also announced that he plans to explore the use of cash incentives to poor parents to get them to keep their children in school and promote other constructive behaviors. On June 18, 2007, city officials released details of an experimental two-year Conditional Cash Transfer
Conditional Cash Transfer
Conditional cash transfer programs aim to reduce poverty by making welfare programs conditional upon the receivers' actions. The government only transfers the money to persons who meet certain criteria...

 (CCT) program, known as Opportunity NYC
Opportunity NYC
Opportunity NYC was an experimental Conditional Cash Transfer program being launched in New York City by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Announced in April 2007, it is the first CCT program to be launched in the United States or any other developed nation...

, which will make "healthy lifestyle payments" to recipients who exhibit behaviors that are deemed conducive to self-sufficiency . Bloomberg cited successes with similar programs in Brazil
Bolsa Família
Bolsa Família is a social welfare program of the Brazilian government, part of the Fome Zero network of federal assistance programs. Bolsa Família provides financial aid to poor Brazilian families; if they have children, families must ensure that the infants attend school and are vaccinated...

 and Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

. The pilot program is expected to have approximately 14,000 participants and will be funded by the private sector, rather than city tax dollars.

In late May of 2011, he was criticized for a budget proposal which would close 110 day care centers in the city, according to the public advocate's office.


Bloomberg came into office with a view that technology could not only make New York City government more efficient and responsive, but more transparent as well. His first major technology initiative was the consolidation of the City of New York's thousands of individual agency phone numbers into one three-digit number, 3–1–1. Bloomberg felt that a single phone number would be easy for New Yorkers to remember. The 311 deployment was of such importance that he assigned his daughter, Emma Bloomberg, to work closely with Commissioner Gino P. Menchini of the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) to ensure that the project moved along swiftly. With his daughter on board, he felt many of the typical institutional obstacles that hinder rapid progress in a large bureaucracy like New York City would be removed. Although the project was greeted with skepticism, in 2003, 311 went live and it has since become one of the hallmark achievements of the Bloomberg Administration. In June 2007, 311 received its 50 millionth call.

Another of Bloomberg's technology initiatives was the creation of NYC TV. By virtue of the franchise agreements with the cable TV operators, New York City had always had access to valuable spectrum on local cable providers Cablevision and Time Warner Cable
Time Warner Cable
Time Warner Cable is an American cable television company that operates in 28 states and has 31 operating divisions...

, but had made little use of the channels. Upon taking office in 2002, Bloomberg tapped two trusted campaign aides, Seth Unger
Seth Unger
Seth Unger is a co-founder of NYC TV, the network he and Arick Wierson launched in 2003 while working for Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Among Unger's most notable accomplishments at the network is the creation of "Blueprint | NYC", a documentary series that highlights local architectural and historical...

 and Arick Wierson
Arick Wierson
Arick Wierson is an American-born media executive and entrepreneur. His has business interests that span television and film production, political consultancy, and a variety of business interests in the Middle East, Latin America, Europe and Africa...

, to revamp the City's cable channels. In 2003, Bloomberg unveiled their creation, a network called NYC TV. Unlike typical Government-access television (GATV) run local channels, NYC TV would be focused on local lifestyle and events, parks, history and culture. Some members of the New York City Council initially criticized the network for being overly preoccupied with ratings. Nonetheless, the network gained early traction, most notably for its coverage of the local fashion industry and local arts and music scene. Since its inception, NYC TV has gone on to absorb local broadcaster WNYE-TV
WNYE-TV, channel 25 is an non-commercial educational, independent television station located in New York City, USA. WNYE-TV is part of the NYC Media Group and has its studios located in Brooklyn and Manhattan, and transmitter at the Conde Nast Building....

 and has emerged as the largest local broadcast network in the New York region with one full power broadcast station, five cable stations, and one FM Radio station, collectively now known as NYC Media Group
NYC Media Group
NYC Media is the radio, television, and online media network of the City of New York. It oversees four public television channels, two public radio services, and an Internet video on demand service....

. By many regards, Bloomberg's belief that NYC TV could reinvent the local television landscape has largely held true. In 2006, WNBC
WNBC, virtual channel 4 , is the flagship station of the NBC television network, located in New York City. WNBC's studios are co-located with NBC corporate headquarters at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in midtown Manhattan...

 entered into a large syndication agreement to air over 100 hours of NYC TV's original shows. The network has won 48 New York Emmys
Emmy Award
An Emmy Award, often referred to simply as the Emmy, is a television production award, similar in nature to the Peabody Awards but more focused on entertainment, and is considered the television equivalent to the Academy Awards and the Grammy Awards .A majority of Emmys are presented in various...

 since its inception, and series such as "Secrets of New York
Secrets of New York
Secrets of New York is the all-time most recognized television program in the history of the New York Tri-State television market, having won 16 Emmy Awards since 2006 on top of over 50 Emmy nominations...

" are being distributed nationally on PBS, DiSH Network, airlines and overseas. In the Spring of 2009, the Mayor announced that NYC Media Group President Arick Wierson was returning to the private sector, and that Katherine Oliver
Katherine Oliver
Katherine Oliver, is an American media and entertainment executive based in New York City. She was appointed by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg as the Commissioner of The New York City Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting on August 1, 2002. In 2009 she added NYC media Group - the...

, the current Film Commissioner and another longtime friend and colleague of the Mayor, would be stepping into Wierson´s former role as the top executive at the NYC TV stations.


Over the three years prior to June 2006, housing rents
Housing tenure
Housing tenure refers to the financial arrangements under which someone has the right to live in a house or apartment. The most frequent forms are tenancy, in which rent is paid to a landlord, and owner occupancy. Mixed forms of tenure are also possible....

 in New York City rose faster than inflation while inflation-adjusted incomes fell, according to a report by New York University.

The report indicated that New Yorkers with low or moderate incomes spent increasing proportions of their wages and salaries on housing costs. The quantity of units available at rents affordable to city households earning 42 percent or less fell by 205,000 units in three years prior to the report. Lower-income residents had greater difficulty with the housing cost changes. During the period from 2002 to 2005, low-income families (in private-market housing) spent 43.9 percent of their incomes on rent, on average. http://www.nyu.edu/public.affairs/releases/detail/1124

Bloomberg has increased city funding for the new development of affordable housing
Affordable housing
Affordable housing is a term used to describe dwelling units whose total housing costs are deemed "affordable" to those that have a median income. Although the term is often applied to rental housing that is within the financial means of those in the lower income ranges of a geographical area, the...


Support for Republicans in and out of the New York area

Since 2000, Bloomberg has given $29,200 in donations to eleven candidates for the United States Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

. Nine of these candidates were Republicans: John E. Stevens, Harold Rogers
Hal Rogers
Harold Dallas "Hal" Rogers is the U.S. Representative for , serving since 1981. He is a member of the Republican Party.-Early life, education, and early career:...

, John McCain
John McCain
John Sidney McCain III is the senior United States Senator from Arizona. He was the Republican nominee for president in the 2008 United States election....

, Richard C. Shelby, Lynette Boggs McDonald, Vito Fossella
Vito Fossella
Vito John Fossella, Jr. is a U.S. Republican politician from the state of New York who formerly represented the state's 13th Congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives for six terms, from 1997 to 2009 serving as the lone Republican from New York City. Fossella, a Staten Island...

, Peter T. King
Peter T. King
Peter T. "Pete" King is the U.S. Representative for , serving since 1993. He is a member of the Republican Party. King's central Long Island district includes parts of Nassau and Suffolk counties....

, James T. Walsh
James T. Walsh
James Thomas "Jim" Walsh is an American Republican politician from Syracuse, New York. In 2009, he retired after representing a portion of Central New York, that is now known as the state's 25th Congressional District, in the United States House of Representatives for twenty years.-Early...

, Michael Oxley. However, their voting records on social and economic issues are not characteristic of conservative Republicans.

World Trade Center responder death benefits

On August 14, 2006, Governor George Pataki
George Pataki
George Elmer Pataki is an American politician who was the 53rd Governor of New York. A member of the Republican Party, Pataki served three consecutive four-year terms from January 1, 1995 until December 31, 2006.- Early life :...

 signed legislation ordering the city to pay increased amounts in death benefits for rescue workers or "first responders", such as fire department and police department members who later died from illnesses such as cancer after working at the World Trade Center
World Trade Center
The original World Trade Center was a complex with seven buildings featuring landmark twin towers in Lower Manhattan, New York City, United States. The complex opened on April 4, 1973, and was destroyed in 2001 during the September 11 attacks. The site is currently being rebuilt with five new...


The mayor objected to this, arguing that the increased cost of $5 million to $10 million a year would be unduly burdensome for the city.
The responders and the city additionally conflicted with each other over the issue of payments for health costs of the living among the first responders. On October 17, 2006, federal judge Alvin K. Hellerstein rejected New York City's motion to dismiss lawsuits that requested health payments to the first responders.

2004 Republican National Convention

While Bloomberg was mayor, New York City hosted the 2004 Republican National Convention
2004 Republican National Convention
The 2004 Republican National Convention, the presidential nominating convention of the Republican Party of the United States, took place from August 30 to September 2, 2004 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York...

, to the opposition of thousands of residents of the heavily Democratic city.

At the convention, Mayor Bloomberg endorsed George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 for President.

The mayor was particularly criticized for his handling of protest activity
2004 Republican National Convention protest activity
2004 Republican National Convention protest activity includes the broad range of marches, rallies, performances, demonstrations, exhibits, and acts of civil disobedience in New York City to protest the 2004 Republican National Convention and the nomination of President George W. Bush for the 2004 U.S...

 http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A34245-2004Sep19.html. Almost 2000 protesters were detained at a former bus garage on Pier 57 characterized by opponents as a "Guantanamo
Guantanamo Bay detainment camp
The Guantanamo Bay detention camp is a detainment and interrogation facility of the United States located within Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba. The facility was established in 2002 by the Bush Administration to hold detainees from the war in Afghanistan and later Iraq...

 on the Hudson
Hudson River
The Hudson is a river that flows from north to south through eastern New York. The highest official source is at Lake Tear of the Clouds, on the slopes of Mount Marcy in the Adirondack Mountains. The river itself officially begins in Henderson Lake in Newcomb, New York...

." http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/13/nyregion/13convention.html

The Parks Department denied a permit for an anti-war march organized by United for Peace and Justice
United for Peace and Justice
United for Peace and Justice is a coalition of more than 1,300 international and U.S.-based organizations opposed to "our government's policy of permanent warfare and empire-building."...

 to terminate at Central Park
Central Park
Central Park is a public park in the center of Manhattan in New York City, United States. The park initially opened in 1857, on of city-owned land. In 1858, Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux won a design competition to improve and expand the park with a plan they entitled the Greensward Plan...

's Great Lawn, and also denied a permit for the group's rally there. Critics cited this as abridging First Amendment
First Amendment to the United States Constitution
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights. The amendment prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering...

 rights. Defenders claim the decision was due to the fact that the Central Park Conservancy had spent tens of millions of dollars during the 1990s on redoing the lawn and on adding a new drainage system, and a march and/or rally would have virtually destroyed the lawn and taken several months to repair before it could be again used, and thus any large organized gatherings on the lawn are prohibited, except for the annual free concerts by the New York Philharmonic and the Metropolitan Opera.

The National Council of Arab Americans and the ANSWER Coalition, two groups sponsoring a planned march and rally, have sued the city in federal court for the denial of the Great Lawn permits. In addition to claiming that a large gathering would have damaged the newly renovated Great Lawn, the city also claimed it could not provide adequate police protection, and that the protesters failed to provide a rain date for the gathering. The July 31, 2006 edition of The New York Times reported that court documents appeared to indicate the Parks Department turned down the permits in order to shield Republican visitors from the protests. The documents include several emails and legal memoranda from city officials.

Bloomberg gave a sworn statement in which he claimed to have "no unique personal knowledge" about the permit denials. However, several of the documents in question indicate that Bloomberg received regular updates regarding the status of the permits. For example, an email from Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe informed Bloomberg that "following your call," he received assurance that the denial letter would go out on July 11. Benepe also went to the Great Lawn himself to see if there was any activity and personally emailed the mayor to let him know there was no demonstration there.

Statements concerning the Iraq war

In 2004, during a joint news conference with first lady Laura Bush in lower Manhattan, he came to her support on the topic of Iraq, saying, "Don't forget that the war started not very many blocks from here."

In March, 2007, during a news conference in Staten Island, Bloomberg declared his strong opposition to legislation proposed in Congress calling for a clear timetable for troop withdrawal. He said, "We ask our young men and women to go over and to fight, and if you have a deadline knowing they're pulling out, how can you expect them to defend this country? How can you expect them to go out and put their lives at risk? I just think that's untenable and that this is not a responsible piece of legislation. It is totally separate of how we're conducting the war. It's totally separate of whether we should have been there. The issue that you asked about is plain and simple: Should the Congress pass a law forcing the president to withdraw troops at a given point in time? I think that is not something that is in the country's interest or in the military's interest."

Occupy Wall St

On March 14 Bloomberg ordered the eviction of Liberty Square (Zuccotti Park), home of Occupy Wall Street for the since September, two months, and the birthplace of the 99% movement that has spread across the country and around the world, is presently being evicted by a large police force in full riot gear. Subsequently protesters rallied on November 17th in the largest rally to date with estimates up to 30,000 people.