This afternoon, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly gave a press briefing to update the public on the city’s security efforts in the wake of yesterday’s deadly explosions at the Boston Marathon. And, while stating there are no specific threats connected to the Boston incident, Mr. Bloomberg ominously warned about “special interests” shaping the city’s security policies in a way “that the terrorists are waiting for.”
“The N.Y.P.D … has helped deter and thwart numerous terrorist attacks on our city in the past,” Mr. Bloomberg explained. “But we must remain vigilant for the future. And we are vigilant. The fact is there remain people who want to attack us. The moment we let our guard down, the moment we get complacent, the moment we allow special interests to shape our security strategies is the moment that the terrorists are waiting for.”
Mayor Michael Bloomberg would really prefer if reporters would cease inquiring about which candidate he’ll ultimately endorse in the race to replace him this year. And he conveyed that message again and again at an unrelated press conference earlier this morning.
“I know who I’m going to vote for and I may change my mind between now and then,” Mr. Bloomberg declared at one point. “If I do, you’re not going to know about it.”
“Uh, let me–” Mr. Bloomberg paused.
“Wrap up,” Marc La Vorgna, Mr. Bloomberg’s press secretary, jumped in. The mayor, however, wasn’t about to wrap up.
Republican mayoral candidate John Catsimatidis believes “a robot” could soon end the debate over the police department’s controversial stop-and-frisk tactic, he said last night.
“The stop-and-frisk law is going to go away by itself,” Mr. Catsimatidis, a billionaire business executive, said at the New York Observer-sponsored event. “There’s new technology for the 21st century. It’s going to be a robot or a handgun that identifies if somebody is carrying a concealed weapon. And that’s going to happen, so the stop-and-frisk law over the next year or two will go away by itself.”
In his final State of the City address this afternoon, Mayor Michael Bloomberg unveiled a number of new policies he’ll implement in the last of his twelve years in office. In addition to banning Styrofoam in restaurants and an expansion of electric car parking space, among other initiatives, Mr. Bloomberg notably announced the city will simply ticket and release New Yorkers caught with misdemeanor amounts of marijuana, rather than holding them in custody.
“There’s more we can do to keep New Yorkers, particularly young men, from ending up with a criminal record,” Mr. Bloomberg declared. “Commissioner Kelly and I support Governor Cuomo’s proposal to make possession of small amounts of marijuana a violation, rather than a misdemeanor. And we’ll work to help him pass it this year. But I’ll tell you, we won’t wait for that to happen.”
At a morning press conference announcing new Hurricane Sandy initiatives, Mayor Michael Bloomberg didn’t just wade into the Israel-Palestine dispute, he also defended New York City’s cell phone ban in public schools.
“Kids should be in the classroom listening to the teacher,” he declared after a reporter asked him if Murry Bergtraum High School’s lack of regular phone service might prompt him to rethink the policy. “Not playing games, not Facebooking, Twittering, emailing, texting, or anything else. We’ve made that decision a long time ago. Cell phones are very destructive to the education process.”
Mr. Bloomberg then jokingly chastised a journalist in front of him to embellish his point.
White House Well-Wishes
In 1981, when Ed Koch was mayor, President Barack Obama moved to New York City to study at Columbia University. Today, Mr. Obama joined New Yorkers in mourning Mr. Koch’s death.
“Ed Koch was an extraordinary Mayor, irrepressible character, and quintessential New Yorker,” Mr. Obama said in a statement. “He took office at a time when New York was in fiscal crisis, and helped his city achieve economic renewal, expand affordable housing, and extend opportunity to more of its people.”
According to Fox News’ Megyn Kelly, Bill de Blasio has a special power, and it’s not his son’s afro.
Mr. de Blasio, the city’s public advocate and recently-announced mayoral candidate, faced a barrage of criticism from Ms. Kelly over his position that New York City should divest its pension funds from the gun industry. Needless to say, the host viewed Mr. de Blasio’s advocacy in rather authoritarian terms.
“Why not go out there and say, ‘World, this is how I feel,’” she inquired. “Why go to a law-abiding company that employs thousands of American citizens and say, ‘You’re blacklisted. You’re done, no relation should be had with you because I don’t happen to like the right you’re exercising.”
In the heart of Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s Chelsea base, the boisterous Democratic club named for late gay rights activist Jim Owles met last night for their first meeting of the year where they reiterated their current mission: ensuring Ms. Quinn, who could become the first lesbian to lead New York City, never, ever, ever leads New York City.
“The harshest dictatorship I’ve ever seen has been under Christine Quinn,” said Allen Roskoff, a notorious antagonist of Ms. Quinn’s and president of the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club.
Bloom and Doom
Though he still has over 11 months left in office, term-limited Mayor Michael Bloomberg presented the final budget of his tenure today. In the process, Mr. Bloomberg drew some parting shots from the leading Democratic mayoral candidates hoping to succeed him.
Editor’s Note: Ed Koch, former mayor of New York City, has died. The New York Observer’s interview last week with the three-term mayor was among the last granted by Koch. It’s accompanied by photography that captured the over-sized spirit of a mayor who is credited with delivering New York from some of its darkest days.
Edward Koch, the outspoken 88-year-old ex-mayor, is in the hospital for the third time in the past five months, but he’s also in the place where he’s happiest—back in the spotlight. A new documentary, Koch, which tells the tale of his three terms in City Hall and his life after politics, arrives in theaters on Feb. 1.
Late last week, before swelling flared up in his ankles and fluid was found in his lungs again, Mr. Koch could be found in his Midtown office, surrounded by pictures from his days in city government, photos of his sister’s grandchildren—the closest thing the longtime bachelor has to a brood of his own—and other memorabilia. Though he has spent the past decade staying engaged in the political conversation by penning the occasional editorial, offering up endorsements and making regular appearances on NY1, Mr. Koch seemed well aware that health might soon force him to step back from the main stage. But on this day, he was as voluble as ever.