Mayor, Vallone In Final Budget Battle;I on
Mayor, Vallone In Final Budget Battle;I on
By John Toscano Bloomy Irks GOP
Repeating a pattern which often emerged at budget time in the past, the City Council is expected to resist the cuts proposed by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani to senior services, libraries, parks and the City University of New York (CUNY).
Overall, the mayor has proposed $766 million worth of reductions in the current budget, which expires at the end of next June. Of the $766 million, about $120 million apply to senior and other programs. That’s only about one-seventh of the total money being slashed, so it doesn’t have a ring of urgency.
City Council Speaker Peter Vallone has always protected cultural agencies and seniors in budget negotiations and he’s expected to do the same this time.
Council Spokesman Jordan Barowitz recalled on Monday that the Council fought to restore these programs to the budget when the mayor lopped them early this year.
"This isn’t political pork," Barowitz said. "These are programs vital to the quality of life of many New Yorkers."
Meanwhile, Vallone put the new City Council and Mayor-elect Michael Bloomberg on notice that they had better steel themselves to make hard choices on the expected $4 billion deficit in the 2002–2003 budget which they will have to deal with very soon.
Vallone dispensed the advice by way of warning the new players that if they cannot handle the pressure of the grant deficit, the state Financial Control Board is ready to step in and do it for them.
BLOOMY LOADS UP ON DEMS: Republican rank-and-filers who were out on the front lines to help get Michael Bloomberg elected mayor must be scratching their heads. So far, Bloomberg has picked only Democrats so far in building his administration.
It should come as no surprise since the mayor-elect switched from the Democratic to the Republican Party when he decided to run for mayor.
While most GOP’ers are withholding their complaints, the always outspoken Guy Molinari broke the ice last week to voice an objection.
"Since I was the first one to stand with Mike Bloomberg, I thought it was my obligation to do so," Molinari stated.
"The issue really is: where do the Republicans go in the future" Molinari mused. "When they support somebody, they expect that their party support translates into other things."
RUDY BACKS BEEPS: After initially opposing the idea, Giuliani has come out in favor of borough presidents appointing themselves as representatives of their boroughs on the central Board of Education.
The three who say they will make the move are Queens Borough President-elect Helen Marshall, Bronx Borough President-elect Adolpho Carrion Jr., and Manhattan incumbent Borough President Virginia Fields.
Marshall said that by sitting on the BOE she would be able to enunciate her positions more forcefully and bring the prestige of her office directly to the effort to get more education improvements for her borough. Carrion and Fields made similar comments.
Giuliani said he agreed with them. "It makes more sense for them to be on the Board of Education," he said. "It would remove the middle man, in essence, and a few times in my administration, and I know in David Dinkins’ administration, that problem existed."
The mayor’s first assistant corporation counsel, Jeffrey D. Friedlander, has said that the borough president’s appointing themselves would violate common law principles and create conflicts of interest.
Giuliani said only a waiver from the mayor would be required to appoint the borough presidents. Chances are a more formal legal opinion will be needed before the question is settled.
CUOMO– McCALL TICKET: Reports out of Albany say that there’s an effort underway to form a ticket of state Comptroller H. Carl McCall and Andrew Cuomo to oppose Governor George Pataki and Lieutenant Governor Mary Donohue next year, but the big question, of course, is which Dem tops the ticket.
Determining the gubernatorial candidate appears hard to accomplish. Both are presently running for the top spot and it’s shaping up as a pretty contentious primary. The "Dream Ticket" idea seems to good to be true and too much of an easy way to settle things. Meanwhile, the two would-be governors are actively engaged in a fund-raising race, drumming up the big bucks to fuel their campaigns.
POVMAN HONORED: The Jamaica Hills Civic Association recently honored City Councilmember Morton Povman (D–Flushing) for 30 years of service to their neighborhood and his district and borough. Povman, forced out by term limits, had the most seniority of the 14 Councilmembers from Queens who will be out of office on Dec. 31. Among those who turned out for the occasion were Povman’s successor, Councilmember-elect James Gennaro, and Councilmember-elect David Weprin from the adjacent district.
GENNARO PARTY: Gennaro drew a huge crowd of 400 people for a victory celebration last week. The event had the look of a City Council caucus to select the Council Speaker. Among the candidates seeking that office who attended Gennaro’s bash were Queens candidates Melinda Katz (Forest Hills) and Weprin (Bayside/Queens Village), frontrunners Angel Rodriquez (Brooklyn) and Gifford Miller (Manhattan) and Bill Perkins, also Manhattan. All are Democrats.
The heavy attendance of Speaker hopefuls chasing Gennaro’s support is an indication of how close the race is. The speakership will be decided on January 9, the first day the new council is scheduled to meet.