WASHINGTON — Yesterday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg sounded quite skeptical the city would get the billions of dollars in federal aid he is requesting after Hurricane Sandy when he sarcastically joked that he was as “optimistic” about the prospect of getting the funds as he had been about getting the West Side stadium he unsuccessfully pushed for. At the press conference after his series of meetings with lawmakers and officials in Washington today he sounded far more confident, so Politicker asked whether he was now more genuinely optimistic his request for aid would be fulfilled
“I’m always genuinely optimistic, although I will say we’re unlikely to get the stadium on the West Side,” Mr. Bloomberg said with a laugh. “I walked away this morning as optimistic as you could be. Nothing is ever done until it’s done. There is always a possibility of other things occurring during the process…but from both Republicans and Democrats in both houses, we got very optimistic buzz, if you will.”
Today was a big day for Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro. Two weeks after he was on NBC complaining his borough was being ignored in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Mr. Molinaro spent a substantial amount of time talking with President Barack Obama as the commander in chief toured areas of Staten Island that were devastated by the storm. Mr. Molinaro also encountered a man who is apparently a very, very big fan of his work.
President Obama’s trip to Staten Island today was filled with thanks from local elected officials and residents who praised him for showing up and for the government’s response to Hurricane Sandy. However, there were also signs some Staten Islanders were dissatisfied with the aid they’ve received since the storm.
Mayor Bloomberg has announced the decision to cancel the New York City Marathon this year in light of the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy. The mayor’s office announced the decision in a statement a few minutes ago.
“The Marathon has been an integral part of New York City’s life for 40 years and is an event tens of thousands of New Yorkers participate in and millions more watch. While holding the race would not require diverting resources from the recovery effort, it is clear that it has become the source of controversy and division,” the statement said. “The marathon has always brought our city together and inspired us with stories of courage and determination. We would not want a cloud to hang over the race or its participants, and so we have decided to cancel it.”
Mayor Michael Bloomberg made a splash by endorsing President Barack Obama this afternoon, however the billionaire’s backing won’t come with any campaign cash from the mayor’s new super PAC. Sources familiar with Mayor Bloomberg’s plans told Politicker “his PAC is not going to be contributing to the president’s campaign.”
Caught off Guard
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney talked to reporters about Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s endorsement of President Barack Obama before Air Force One landed in Las Vegas this afternoon. However, Mr. Carney didn’t have much to say about the announcement, because the president has yet to communicate with his newest high-profile backer.
With Hurricane Sandy hitting New York, flooding has already occurred along the heavily polluted Gowanus Canal. Though the worst floods are expected to occur this evening when high tide combines with the strongest part of the storm surge, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his deputies don’t expect the toxic waters to do serious damage. Politicker asked the mayor whether he expected heavy flooding on the Gowanus tonight and what environmental or health risks the waters might pose for residents at his press conference at the Office of Emergency Management in Downtown Brooklyn early this evening.
“Tomorrow morning, it will be all over,” Mayor Bloomberg said. “It will be all over late tonight. Actually, the Gowanus Canal flooding should be going down in a couple hours.”
This morning, the New York Post floated the idea of former Mayor Rudy Giuliani making yet another bid for Gracie Mansion, which few politicos in New York City took seriously. Well, you can count current Mayor Michael Bloomberg among the skeptics.
“Knowing Rudy, I think at this point in his life, I’d be shocked if he wanted to come back, but you can ask him,” Mr. Bloomberg told us during a press conference announcing a new media center in Dumbo, Brooklyn.
Mr. Bloomberg also said, while he thinks it would be too late for Mr. Giuliani to run in next year’s race, he’d welcome Mr. Giuliani into the 2017 mayoral campaign.
Last night, Mayor Michael Bloomberg appeared at the NYC Connects 2012 reception in Gracie Mansion wearing glasses designed by eyewear startup Warby Parker, which sells chunky hipster frames online. The brand, understandably excited to have Mr. Bloomberg don their “Waldo” glasses and shared a photo of the event on Facebook. Seeing the picture of Hizzoner in the trendy frames instantly reminded Politicker of the popular internet meme “Hipster Mermaid” and we decided to make a new version of the meme starring Mayor Bloomberg.
Though the bluster of the Chicago teacher strike calmed down last week, the tensions between teacher’s unions and prominent mayors have not ceased. For his part, Mayor Michael Bloomberg is siding with his Second City counterpart, Rahm Emanuel, who pushed for changes to Chicago’s public school system despite opposition from the local teacher’s unions. Mr. Bloomberg discussed the situation this morning at NBC’s third annual Education Nation Summit at the Bartos Forum of the New York Public Library.
“I think Rahm Emanuel, the mayor of Chicago, was quite right to move towards a longer school day,” he said. “I also think Rahm was right in pushing towards evaluations as a reform that the Obama administration made as part of Race to the Top.”