Mayor Michael Bloomberg has emerged as one of the nation’s loudest gun control advocates in recent months. Unsurprisingly, in his response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address last night, the mayor focused on the Commander in Chief’s push for stronger gun control laws including background checks and a ban on high-capacity magazines.
“Tonight, President Obama made a clarion call to fix the nation’s broken gun laws,” Mayor Bloomberg said in a statement. “In a chamber filled with both survivors of gun violence and the men and women of the United States Congress who have the power to improve our gun laws, President Obama implored both parties to come together on an issue that has the support of the vast majority of Americans: keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous people.”
The Land of Ice & Snow
Mayor Michael Bloomberg says today’s snowstorm won’t be as bad as the epic “Snowpocalypse” of 2010.
“We don’t think that people are going to be that inconvenienced,” the mayor said in a radio interview with John Gambling this morning.
Though he didn’t give any dire warnings about the storm, Mayor Bloomberg did have some advice about helping your neighbors survive the wintry weather.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg delivered one of the eulogies at former Mayor Ed Koch’s funeral in Manhattan this morning and he praised his predecessor for an attitude “full of humor and chutzpah” that ”embodied the spirit of New York City” and made him “our City’s quintessential Mayor.” In his speech, Mayor Bloomberg also credited Koch with laying the foundation that allowed subsequent mayor’s to make the five boroughs “great again.” In a nod to the setting of the funeral, the Jewish Temple Emanu-El, Mr. Bloomberg compared Koch’s achievements to the story of Moses.
“I’ve been doing my biblical research, and I think it’s only fitting that this week’s Torah portion is about Moses leading the Jews out of bondage in Egypt. Now, Ed, in his own way, was our Moses. Just with a little less hair,” Mayor Bloomberg said. “He led us out of darkness and he gave us hope. And while he may not have parted the Red Sea, he did break a subway strike by standing on a bridge and shouting words of encouragement.”
Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch died earlier this morning at the age of 88 after being hospitalized for congestive heart disease. Mr. Koch served as the 105th Mayor of New York City for three terms from 1978 until 1989. With a larger-than-life personality, Mr. Koch relished a position that allowed him to become something of a national ambassador for New York City.
Though critics accused Mr. Koch of worsening racial tensions in the city and not doing enough to fight the AIDS crisis that was particularly devastating to the gay community, Mr. Koch was fiercely proud of his legacy, specifically, what he saw as his efforts to save New York from the financial crisis of the late 1970′s, his vast expansion of public housing and programs and efforts he saw as bringing a more meritocratic approach to local government. Politicker conducted one of the final interviews with Mr. Koch on January 17, just two weeks before his death, and he characterized his administration as paving the way for his successors.
“I’m proud of what I did,” he said. “I also believe that both Giuliani and, particularly, Mike Bloomberg have made tremendous contributions to this city. … And I look upon what I did as laying the groundwork and the foundation on which they could build, and without what I did, they couldn’t have done what they did. So, I’m proud of my contributions.”
Back That Thing Up
On Monday, New York Magazine published a profile of Council Speaker and likely mayoral candidate Christine Quinn that contained a quote from Mayor Michael Bloomberg that got a great deal off attention. According to Jonathan Van Meter, who wrote the story, while at a Christmas party, Mayor Bloomberg “gestured toward a woman in a very tight floor-length gown” and said, ”Look at the ass on her.” Politicker asked the mayor about the comment at a press conference this morning announcing new measures to eliminate a backlog of maintenance claims in New York City’s public housing system.
“I never said it and I don’t know where it came from, next question,” the mayor replied tersely.
Earlier today, President Barack Obama unveiled a broad set of gun control proposals prompted by the wave of anti-gun sentiment generated by last month’s massacre in Newtown, Connecticut. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a prominent gun control advocate, scheduled a press conference this afternoon to praise the White House for what he described as “a bold and comprehensive plan to tackle gun violence” that matches much of his own vision.
“Today it’s clear that the president and the vice president heard us and they heard the American people,” Mayor Bloomberg said. “The vast majority of Americans support common-sense gun regulations, and clearly, the White House was listening.”
After Governor Andrew Cuomo issued his annual State of the State address today, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn both released statements reacting to the remarks. Mayor Bloomberg was understandably pleased with the governor’s focus on strengthening gun control laws, which has been a pet issue for hizzoner.
“Governor Cuomo laid out a strong agenda in many areas for the year ahead, which will build on the progress he has led over the past two years. I was particularly struck by his passionate leadership on gun violence,” the mayor said. “New York State has led the nation with strong, common-sense gun laws, and the Governor’s new proposals will build on that tradition. They will help law enforcement keep guns out of the hands of criminals and other dangerous people and save lives. We strongly support his proposals to close loopholes and strengthen existing laws, and we look forward to working with him and the State Legislature to adopt them.”
Ms. Quinn gave a thumb’s up to the governor’s gun control plans as well as a whole host of his other proposals.
“Today’s proposals are smart, forward thinking ideas and I applaud Governor Cuomo for his tireless advocacy on behalf of all New Yorkers,” she said.
Desperately Seeking Schumer
Council Speaker Christine Quinn appeared at a Greenwich Village library this morning to unveil a 9/11 tile memorial, but the question that was clearly on everyone’s mind was a New York Times story about Mayor Michael Bloomberg trying to recruit a host of political heavyweights to enter this year’s mayoral race. Ms. Quinn, who has all-but-officially announced her campaign and has enjoyed a close relationship with the mayor, deemed the reports he has tried to woo other potential successors as “just silly.”
“I’m not going to comment on silly political parlor games, it’s just silly,” Ms. Quinn said. “When the mayor’s race starts, what New Yorkers are going to be focused on in is who has the best record…trust me I’m happy to put my record up against anybody.”
Mayoral candidate and former comptroller Bill Thompson had harsh words for Mayor Michael Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn after a report from the Independent Budget Office highlighted issues with the city budget. The report noted “while projected budget gaps may currently appear modest—certainly when compared with gaps faced in some recent years—the next Mayor and City Council are likely to face significant budget challenges,” a situation Mr. Thompson described as Mr. Bloomberg and Ms. Quinn rather literally passing the buck.
“Today’s Independent Budget Office report once again confirms that Mayor Bloomberg and his partner in the budget, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, continue to kick the fiscal can down the road and push tough economic decisions into the next mayor’s term,” said Mr. Thompson in his statement.
In the wake of the killings in Newtown, Hollywood superagent Ari Emanuel is making a donation to Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the initiative co-founded by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Mr. Emanuel, one of the CEO’s of the massive talent agency William Morris Endeavor and the real-life inspiration for Entourage character Ari Gold, announced his support for Mr. Bloomberg’s anti-gun violence crusade in a blog post on his Linkedin page yesterday.
“There is no way to ignore the tragedy that took place in Newtown. It weighs on us as a country. As a parent it is unfathomable, and compels me to question how this could have happened,” wrote Mr. Emanuel. “I am the first to acknowledge that the issue of gun control is complicated and has many sides. I am not here to educate anyone on the matter. But just because something is complicated doesn’t mean that we should just throw our hands up. It actually means that it matters and that we need to come to the table and figure this out.”