Politicos across the city are abuzz with excitement over The New York Times‘ front-page profile of Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s “surprisingly volatile” temperament, but one of her top rivals in the mayoral race, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, isn’t piling on. Indeed, when asked about the article today, Mr. de Blasio simply urged Ms. Quinn to put her forceful personality behind paid sick day legislation in the City Council.
“I dont worry so much about the fact that she raises her voice and gets angry at people,” Mr. de Blasio said at a City Hall press conference on the paid sick day bill. “I worry that she doesn’t speak up for average New Yorkers. I think it’s one thing to say in a private conversation, she gets angry and upset with people, but I’d like to see her speak up when it matters on issues like this and we haven’t seen that. Repeatedly, we’ve seen her look the other way on issues like paid sick days and living wage. That’s what the public will ultimately judge, the substance, whether someone is on their side or not.”
Back to the Future
The first act of last weekend’s annual Inner Circle show featured a spoof of Back To The Future with Mayor Michael Bloomberg traveling back in time in an attempt to find a famous historical figure worthy of serving as his successor. At his press conference this afternoon announcing the LINK initiative to connect low-income New Yorkers with job opportunities, Politicker asked Mayor Bloomberg which historical figure he would choose if he could indeed travel back in time to pick someone to follow him in City Hall. Mayor Bloomberg declined to answer the question.
“No matter what I say there is no good answer to that without you making fun of me,” said the mayor. “I may be dumb, but I’m not stupid, even though that’s a stupid question.”
At his press conference this afternoon, Mayor Michael Bloomberg was asked about his thoughts on the “Twitter universe” in light of a recent scandal involving an EMS lieutenant who was suspended after the New York Post revealed a series of racist statements he made on the social media site. Mayor Bloomberg described it as evidence people need to be far more careful about what they post online and suggested he’d even warned one of his fellow media moguls, Rupert Murdoch, to stay away from Twitter.
“Everything you send out is going to be retweeted, re-Facebooked, re this, re that and … if you write it down, some day somebody’s going to FOIL it or get it based on a judge’s order,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “You should write down, number one, only things you believe and, number two, then think about how it would look if somebody else sees it.”
Over the weekend Mayor Michael Bloomberg unveiled a $12 million ad campaign dedicated to pushing senators to back legislation that would expand background checks against gun buyers. This ad blitz was the latest salvo in the expensive attack on illegal guns the billionaire mayor has focused on in recent months and it prompted National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre to accuse him of trying to “buy America.” At a press conference this afternoon where he was announcing a new program to help connect low-income city residents with job opportunities, many of the questions Mayor Bloomberg fielded from reporters were about his war of words with the NRA. Mayor Bloomberg first addressed the response he’s received after announcing the ad campaign and said an “enormous number” of people have thanked him for the commercials.
“Nobody’s going to walk up to me and say bad things, so I’m not so sure that I can actually represent, but I’ve just had lots and lots of phone calls, text messages, emails, people in the street … that are just so thankful that somebody’s willing to stand up and to counter the NRA,” he said.
As the U.S. Congress debates gun control legislation, two of the countries’ leading advocates on the issue–Vice President Joe Biden and Mayor Michael Bloomberg–held a City Hall press conference today to pressure federal lawmakers to have enough “courage” to vote in favor of the bill when it hits the floor. Standing behind victims’ family members from last year’s massacre at a Newtown, Connecticut elementary school, Mr. Biden and Mr. Bloomberg argued the measures being proposed are neither controversial or unconstitutional.
“There’s not one single thing being proposed–not one, not one , not one, not one–that infringes on anyone’s Second Amendment constitutional right. Not one,” Mr. Biden said. “Three months ago, a deranged man walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School with a weapon of war. That’s what he walked in with–a weapon of war. That weapon of war has no place on American streets and taking it off American streets has no impact on one’s constitutional right to own a weapon.”
After traveling to Albany last month to support State Senator Jeff Klein’s push to ban the nutritional supplement DMAA, baseball great, reality television star, MMA fighter, admitted steroid user, author and social media enthusiast Jose Canseco’s latest cause seems to be the number of deaths linked to sugary drinks. After Mr. Canseco took to Twitter this evening to urge the president to “declare war on sugar,” Politicker asked whether he’d be interested in teaming up with a man who is perhaps the nation’s most high-profile anti-sugar crusader–Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Comptroller John Liu officially kicked off his campaign for mayor at a raucous rally on the steps of City Hall attended by several hundred people where he vowed to “be a mayor not of the one percent, but of the 100 percent.” Along with promising to enact populist reforms on housing, education, law enforcement and the business community, Mr. Liu dismissed the ongoing corruption case against two of his associates as a politically motivated “witch hunt” that would not stop him from winning the election.
“When you go after powerful people and rich corporations, they’re going to come after you,” Mr. Liu declared in a fiery speech. “They certainly have made my life challenging, but let me be clear, we are not backing down!”
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn launched her campaign yesterday with a nod to her roots by kicking off a five borough “walk and talk” tour at the intersection of Broadway and Isham Street in Inwood a stone’s throw from a church with ties to her family. Ms. Quinn used the tale of her grandparents’ journey from New York to Ireland to emphasize the main theme of her campaign–fighting for the middle class. Along with articulating her message, the five borough tour allowed Ms. Quinn to directly address the central questions and controversies surrounding her campaign, namely, her seemingly close ties to the current occupant of City Hall, Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
“It’s very exciting to get to be here right across the street from the church where my parents were married, and my sister was baptized and my grandfather was buried, from right near where my mother grew up to announce that today I am officially running to be the mayor of the great City of New York,” declared Ms. Quinn in the first of the day’s five speeches. “This is a city where, 100 years ago, all four of my grandparents, really just kids basically, got on ships and went across oceans … They had heard that magical things could happen here, that if you came here you could get work, you could get decent housing, you could be free and you could get out of poverty. And that’s what this city did for them and for my family it gave us a gateway into the middle class. … That’s the ultimate truth about New York, that it needs to remain and become even more that place of opportunity, a place that’s a beacon for the middle class and people who are fighting so hard to get into that middle class.”
Pushing the Limit
Mayor Michael Bloomberg may be one of the world’s biggest proponents of government action to promote public health, but Hizzoner has his limits. In his weekly radio appearance on John Gambling’s radio show, the mayor was asked whether he would consider ordering mandatory gym memberships and he admitted that’s taking things too far.
“Well, you have to be practical about what legally you can do and what people will do,” said Mr. Bloomberg. “The nice thing about the soda thing is it’s really just a suggestion. So, if you want to buy 32 ounces, you just have to carry it back to your seat in two cups. And maybe that would convince you to only take one, but if you want two you can do it. I think government’s job … is to give you advice, not to force you do things.”
If their administrations could be summed by Instagram alone, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Governor Andrew Cuomo would be a fascinating study in contrasts. And one of the two top Empire State politicians is clearly much more at home on the popular photo sharing site.