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The Million Dollar Question

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November 2, 2009 @ 6:04 pm

Bloomberg Report Card on Education

November 2, 2009 @ 2:36 pm

Michael Bloomberg and The New York Times—Partners in Deception

Some folks have suggested that we stay in business to monitor Bloomberg’s third term. We don’t have any plans to continue Bloomberg Watch after today. New Yorkers won’t have to surf the web to understand the consequences of Bloomberg’s reelection—they’ll be plain to see. We suspect, too, that the mayor won’t bother quite as much with the bogus explanations and deceptive politics that have characterized his first eight years. (Those of you who have read Joyce Purnick’s semi-authorized biography will recall Bloomberg’s modus operandi – “Make the customer think he’s getting laid when he’s getting fucked,” New Yorkers, especially tenants, should know the deal by now.

Bill Thompson is the only alternative to four more years of Marvin “Markup” Marcus rent hikes. We think it’s likely that Bloomberg will back a move in Albany to end rent regulation. Whatever draconian policies are awaiting their post-election announcements, rent-stabilized tenants who don’t go out to vote for Bill Thompson tomorrow will deserve what they get—and get it they will. Those who do vote will get it right along with them.

We thought we’d end with a story of why we began. Readers already know that I was the president of a Mitchell-Lama tenant association at Independence Plaza, a 3,000-3,500-person rental complex in Tribeca.

November 2, 2009 @ 2:25 pm

Reading List: Thompson Trailing by 12 Points, One Final Push

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* A Quinnipiac Poll released this morning has Thompson trailing Bloomberg 38 to 50 — 12 percentage points. Last week, Thompson was trailing by 18 percentage points.

* The City Room has Thompson and Bloomberg gearing up for election day. The Daily News says they’re both pulling out all stops.

* New York magazine, which thinks that Bloomberg’s third term is all-but-official, says that Bloomberg will have a hard time working with the UFT.

* Michael Barbaro writes about the usual truth-stretching that seeps into campaign ads every election.

* City Hall News reports that the Bloomberg campaign believes it has neutralized the Working Families Party as a factor in the mayor’s race.

* The Daily News reports that there are still a significant amount of New Yorkers who don’t know who Bill Thompson is.

November 2, 2009 @ 12:26 pm

Rupert Murdoch in Drag: The Old Gray Lady Covers the Mayoral Election and Bloomberg the Bloodless Gets Ready to Take the Throne

With the leaves turning and the mayoral race down to its final paces, William C. Thompson Jr., the Democratic candidate, sketched out a liberal policy agenda Friday, saying he would fight to repeal laws that allow landlords to charge market rents for regulated apartments.

He promised to appoint pro-tenant members to the Rent Guidelines Board to oppose higher rents and pro-rider members to the board of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to oppose raising fares. He said he would keep subway station agents on the job, and try to place all rent-regulated middle-class apartments that are part of the Mitchell-Lama program since 1973 under rent stabilization laws.

He also said he would give the homeless priority for Section 8 rental vouchers and allow homeless families who now are required to pay for shelter to instead put that money into escrow to be used for a permanent apartment.

Michael Powell, New York Times, October 30.

November 1, 2009 @ 4:37 pm

Jon Stewart on Bloomberg and Term Limits

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November 1, 2009 @ 3:49 pm

Halloween Night with Truly Great Jazz Performances

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October 31, 2009 @ 4:25 pm

Reading List: The Marist Poll, Bloomberg – The Education Mayor?

* Bloomberg asked Lance Armstrong to ask Daily News reporter Celeste Katz if she will vote for him on Tuesday:

* A Marist Poll released today shows Bloomberg leading Thompson by 15 percentage points. An internal poll the Thompson campaign released last night showed Bloomberg leading by only 3 to 7 percentage points.

* Meredith Kolodner reports that a study by the Dept. of Education shows charter schools performing worse than public schools, and is doing a poor job of reaching out to special-education children and English language learners. Mayor Bloomberg has called for the state to lift its cap of 200 charter schools.

* Yoav Gonen reports in the Post that the National Center for Education Statistics, which compared state testing standards between 2005 and 2007, found that New York has set its benchmarks for student proficiency in math and reading well below of a gold-standard national test. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said states are setting the bar too low and are “lying to our children when we tell them they’re proficient but they’re not achieving at a level that will prepare them for success once they graduate.”

* Elizabeth Benjamin reports that SEIU 1199 is officially staying neutral in the mayor’s race, despite opposing Bloomberg’s term limits extension and voting in favor of giving Bill Thompson the WFP nod this summer. Another union staying neutral? The UFT — just when the teachers’ contract is set to end.

* David Chen: “A Mayor Thompson would be likely to focus on quality of life concerns, like water rates or parking tickets. Major decisions on schools, housing and other issues would probably be an exercise in consensus, with more participation by advocates and citizens.”

* Suzannah B. Troy is capturing some of the protests today, and interviews Brenda Stokely:

October 30, 2009 @ 6:37 pm

The New York Times on Bloomberg’s “Stalled Vision”

For people who worry about the collapse of the mainstream media and its impact on Democracy, the silver lining is the collapse of the mainstream media and its impact on Democracy. We speak, of course, of the New York Times and how it has conspired with Michael Bloomberg to further corrupt our political system, Bloomberg by bribing and bullying his way onto the ballot, and the paper not only for failing to hold him accountable but for rooting him on.

The front-page piece on Bloomberg’s golf game and the front-page photo op of “Mike,” standing alongside Colin Powell at the counter of a hot dog joint, gloved hand clutching a few dollar bills, treating Powell to a hot dog could have been prepared by Howard Wolfson. Digging out from under the mountain of rubbish that the old gray lady spews forth daily has become too tedious and our shovel too small to do much more than scrape away at the surface.

This past Thursday, the paper offered a more serious account of Bloomberg’s “stalled vision.” His massive rezoning and multibillion development schemes, the report says, have yielded “uneven results,” an observation that might be likened to “Bush did a pretty good job but left behind a few problems for Obama to clean up.”

October 30, 2009 @ 3:32 pm

New Taxi Tax Hits the City on Sunday

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Via Heather Haddon AM New York:

Taxis will soon have a new tax.

Starting Sunday, cab passengers will be forced to pay a 50-cent fee on top of the base fare of $2.50.

“It was already out of control. Now it’s even worse,” said Kim Dae, 23, of the West Village, a frequent taxi rider.

Apparently, about 4,000 riders already paid the fee without knowing it, as two taxi meter companies had started including the surcharge in its devices, the Taxi and Limousine Commission said Thursday. Passengers in 292 cabs were charged 50 cents extra on Oct. 22, 25 and 26. Riders with a receipt or credit card can submit a claim for a refund by calling 311.

The tax, part of the MTA bailout passed earlier this year, is expected to raise $85 million annually for the agency.

October 30, 2009 @ 11:50 am

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