It was smiles and praise as the 108th and 109th mayors of New York City appeared together this morning in the Bronx. Michael Bloomberg and Bill de Blasio spoke at a ceremony marking the planting of more than 1 million trees in the City under the “MillionTreesNYC initiative.” The program was launched during the Bloomberg administration, with inspiration and significant involvement by Bette Midler.
Bloomberg and de Blasio have rarely appeared together since de Blasio took office. They recently crossed paths at the Al Smith Dinner, where Bloomberg delivered a funny, but stinging, “tribute” to the current mayor. They previously shared a stage at de Blasio’s inauguration, which featured some biting critiques of the Bloomberg years. Among those critiques was a speaker who referred to Bloomberg-era New York City as a “plantation.” Today, however, they spoke of plantings, not plantations.
Bette Midler, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., Council Member Mark Levine, Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver and Executive Director of New York Restoration Project Deborah Marton also joined the ceremony, held at Joyce Kilmer Park in the Bronx.
Here’s a segment with George McDonald and Joe Lhota discussing bike lanes and the Citi Bike program. The audience was most animated and engaged on this topic, and clearly not fully in sync with either McDonald or Lhota. The question was narrowly posed: “Are bike lanes dangerous?”
McDonald began by holding out his Citi Bike membership card, drawing a few mild boos. He then unequivocally stated that he’s in favor of bike lanes, pivoted to a critique of “anybody [read: Democratic mayoral candidates] who criticizes the New York City Police Department for political gain” and concluded.
Lhota began with a lengthy critique of bike lanes, noting the importance of vigorous enforcement of bike safety laws and that “bike lanes do impede commerce” before stating that he’s “not opposed to the Citi Bikes program.” (He doesn’t state whether he supports or opposes bike lanes.) Lhota then conflated the Citi Bikes program with the death of a bicyclist unrelated to the Citi Bikes program, stirring consternation in his audience. Lhota closed by criticizing a lack of coordination among city agencies in implementing the Citi Bikes, without mentioning or directly criticizing Michael Bloomberg.
(John Catsimatidis attended part of this forum, but left before this discussion.)
At a candidate forum hosted by the Republican National Lawyers Association, Joe Lhota gave a pointed criticism of the Office of Emergency Management under Mayor Bloomberg. OEM was created during the Giuliani administration and was the focus of significant energy and attention during that administration.
While Lhota has generally spoken highly of Mayor Bloomberg, he has nonetheless offered sharp comments on a number of specific actions and agency management issues under the Bloomberg administration.
Being surveilled is not a nice feeling. New York State legislators know it, John Liu knows it, the New York City Muslim community knows it and now a broad swath of the Wall Street elite knows it.
In a curious twist, Bloomberg looms large in two* of these episodes: Bloomberg the mayor in the police department’s surveillance of the Muslim community and Bloomberg the company in the surveillance of Goldman Sachs and other financial industry players. Whether it’s a meaningful connection, or just coincidence remains to be seen.
“Bloomberg News, the journalism arm of Bloomberg L.P., had for years used the company’s terminals to monitor when subscribers had logged onto the service and to find out what types of functions, like the news wire, corporate bond trades or an equities index, they had looked at.”
In this report we visit Arverne East, 80 empty oceanfront acres in the Arverne section of Rockaway. Sitting in a flood zone adjacent to the Atlantic Ocean and vacant for nearly 40 years with little infrastructure, it has many challenges as well as remarkable potential.
In his widely reported speech today on public safety, Mayor Bloomberg castigated the New York Times, with the implication that he has little influence over it. Last week, John Liu appeared to have a different view of the mayor’s relationship with the Times.