Blast From The Past
In a room filled with the grieving families of fallen cops, Mayor Michael Bloomberg once again lashed out against his wannabe successors who’ve been critical of the department–albeit less dramatically than his fire-and-brimstone speech last week.
During a memorial ceremony for six officers at One Police Plaza, Mr. Bloomberg said the NYPD should be celebrated–not attacked–and repeated his threat that future administrations may leave both officers and the public less safe.
Earlier this week, after Mayor Michael Bloomberg breathed fire and brimstone at a plethora of politicians for failing to support his law-and-order agenda, some police reform advocates reacted harshly and said Mr. Bloomberg was deflecting from the real issues.
But not Joe Lhota. In fact, Mr. Lhota, a Republican vying to replace the term-limited Mr. Bloomberg, thought the speech was better than anything he’s ever heard from a mayor.
“Bravo! Bravo to Mayor Bloomberg for that speech,” Mr. Lhota exclaimed in a radio interview with Brian Lehrer this morning. “It was probably the best speech I’ve ever heard a mayor of the City of New York give in the 59 years I’ve been a resident of this city.”
The Fourth Estate
Yesterday afternoon, Mayor Michael Bloomberg fiercely condemned The New York Times for its lackluster coverage of the shooting death of 17-year-old Alphonza Bryant and its editorials critical of the NYPD’s controversial stop-and-frisk policy. “Do you think that if a white, 17-year-old prep student from Manhattan had been murdered, The Times would have ignored it?” Mr. Bloomberg sarcastically asked himself. “Me neither.”
Several of The Times competitors took notice.
“Take that, New York Times!” New York Post columnist Michael Goodwin declared in an op-ed piece prominently featuring The Times‘ logo. “And thank you, Bloomy.”
Mayor Michael Bloomberg has always been critical of media outlets and politicians pushing policies that he argues will weaken the New York City’s police department, but he took his case to the next level this afternoon when he blasted both the City Council and the press writ-large for undermining the city’s security.
He used the recent murder of a Bronx teenager to make his most forceful plea for proactive safety strategies.
During his press conference announcing that Boston Marathon bombers intended to target Times Square, Mayor Michael Bloomberg slamed “special interests” he accused of trying to block the city from installing crime-fighting surveillance cameras.
“The role that surveillance cameras played in identifying the suspects was absolutely essential to saving lives, both in Boston, and now we know here in New York City as well,” Mr. Bloomberg told reporters at City Hall.
“We’ve made major investments in camera technology–not withstanding the objections of some special interests,” he continued. “And the attacks in Boston, I think, demonstrate just how valuable those cameras can be.”
City Council Speaker and mayoral hopeful Christine Quinn came out against a bill Wednesday that would prohibit the Police Department from profiling on the basis of race, religion and gender—but for the very first time in her tenure, said she would nonetheless allow the controversial plan to go to vote.
During a speech outlining her public safety agenda on the Upper East Side, Ms. Quinn said she could not support the bill because of a provision that would allow individuals to sue the department if they believed they were wrongly targeted.
“I believe this presents a real risk,” said Ms. Quinn, who described a worst-case situation in which multiple state court judges issued confusing, overlapping rulings, wresting policy decisions away from the mayor and Police Commissioner.
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.”
eye in the sky
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he has concerns about controversial drones watching the city’s population, but he simply sees them as an inevitability.
“We’re just going into a different world, uncharted,” he said during his weekly WOR radio program, pointing to ubiquitous cameras on the outside of buildings. “Like it or not, what people can do–or governments can do–is different and you can to some extent control [it], but you can’t keep the tides from coming in. We’re going to have more visibility and less privacy. I don’t see how you stop that. It’s not a question whether I think it’s good or bad, I just don’t see how you can stop that because we’re going to have them.”
City Council Republicans and mayoral candidate Joe Lhota were mostly in sync with Mayor Michael Bloomberg today, denouncing a bill that would create an inspector general’s office for the NYPD.
“There’s no reason to have an inspector general office for the NYPD,” Mr. Lhota said at City Hall this morning. “It already has oversight by the five district attorneys, by the two U.S. attorneys, by various other organizations. Its just another level of bureaucracy that is being put upon the City of New York and it’s absolutely unnecessary.”
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.”