The Observer couldn't resist. We already have Rachel Figueroa-Levin's email, she of the brilliant El Bloombito Twitter feed. Since the mayor took the time out of his busy day to remark on her schtick, we thought we'd see what she had to say to him on the subject. Predictably, it was pretty funny. Read More
Affordable Housing or Lack Thereof
Better days are ahead for the Randolph Houses on West 114th Street—not that the 36 tenement buildings in Central Harlem have ever truly known good days.
Built in the 1890s, along with thousands and thousands of other substandard cold water flats serving the booming population of European immigrants, the buildings were abandoned amidst white flight. Like so many other unwanted apartments of that generation, they were taken over in the 1970s by the city and turned into public housing. Attempts at upkeep have been made over the years, but the upkeep never was really, well, kept up. The buildings have deteriorated to such a state that only 109 of their 452 units are occupied, but the city cannot afford to fix them.
To finally fix the Randolph Houses, the city’s Housing Authority and Department of Housing Preservation and Development are partnering with a private developer to retrofit the properties into modern, low-income housing. A request for proposals was released last week, and the winning developer will be charged with transforming the buildings into a mix of 140 public housing units and at least 155 affordable housing units. Read More
The Bob Turner campaign is continuing to have a little fun at the expense of David Weprin’s debate cancellation, sending a campaign volunteer out to drive from the Weprin campaign office to the location where the debate was supposed to be held.
As proof that the route between Mr. Weprin’s office and Bel Mondo Restaurant in Middle Village is clear, a Turner volunteer easily drove the route this afternoon:
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is shelling out more than $2 million per month on three interest rate swaps tied to bonds that either never were issued or have long since been refunded.
In all, the agency has paid Wall Street banks more than $37 million since 2007 to cover the three swaps, which currently have a market value of approximately negative $145 million. When combined with other swaps the agency has paid to terminate over the past two years, the total swaps payout crests $70 million since 2007.
The swaps are basically an exchange of a fixed payment by the PA for a variable one from a counterparty tied to a short term interest rate. The derivatives, which are essentially a bet with another company on which way interest rates will move, are meant to protect the PA in the event that interest rates soar. When used as a hedge, a swap is designed to lock in a low fixed rate payment to offset the long term risk of a variable rate bond. The variable rate payment paid by the counter party is designed to track the rate paid by the PA on the bonds, offsetting each other and mitigating the risk of soaring rates.
Earlier today Bob Turner sent out a statement calling for an independent federal damage assessment of New York’s Ninth Congressional District because it does not currently have congressional representation.
According to David Weprin, Turner’s Democratic opponent, this sudden interest in getting the federal government involved in disaster relief stands in stark relief to Turner’s previous Read More
COME ON IRENE
Mayor Michael Bloomberg made a visit to Engine 166/Ladder 86 Fire Company on Staten Island today, to thank the firefighters there for their work and hold his second post-Irene press conference.
With clear skies and the city back to work, the mood was light enough for a daring reporter to ask the mayor about El Bloombito, the parodic Twitter account created this weekend by soap-making stay-at-home mom Rachel Figueroa-Levin. Good humored as always, the administration even posted the clip to its YouTube page, titled "El Alcalde Bloomberg habla sobre su esfuerzo por aprender español." Read More
Senator Charles Schumer is casting doubt on reports that Lockerbie bomber Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi is on his death bed in a Libyan compound.
Schumer has long called for the extradition of al-Megrahi, after the convicted terrorists was issued a compassionate release from a Scottish prison in 2009, on the premise that he only had a few months to live. Earlier this year, Schumer suggested extraditing al-Megrahi would be a good way for the rebels to prove their goodwill to the rest of the world — a call he reiterated last week, as rebels were just beginning to take control of Tripoli.
David Weprin has pulled out of a civic association debate tonight against Bob Turner.
According to Bob Holden, the head of the Juniper Park Civic Association, Weprin, a Democrat running for the Brooklyn-Queens congressional seat vacated by Anthony Weiner, told the organizers that due to the storm, half of his campaign workers couldn’t make it to the office today.
Holder was not pleased with this response.
Bob Turner is knocking David Weprin for not knowing the size of the federal deficit during an interview with The Daily News’ editorial board.
According to a Sunday editorial in the DN:
[Weprin] touted “a unique background and something to contribute, having a 20-year private-sector career in public finance as well as being the City Council chairman of the Finance Committee for eight years.”
Soon after, the following exchange took place:
Daily News: “Right now, how big is the debt?”
Weprin: (Pause) “Trillions.”
News: “But how many?”
Weprin: (Deer in headlights look.) “I got caught up on this once before,” referring to his inability while running unsuccessfully for city controller in 2009 to state that office’s budget.
News: “This is central to what is going on in Washington.”
Weprin: “About 4 trillion.”
News: “Four trillion is the debt?”
Well, he was off only by a $10 trillion order of magnitude. As has been reported far, wide and ad nauseam, the U.S. is burdened by a debt of roughly $14 trillion.
Race to the Right
National primaries have a way of bringing out the darndest things from the mouths of politicians.
Gov. Rick Perry has begun taking aim at Social Security, Read More