Mayor Gets Boost On Economy, Schools
Last week, he received the news from the state Department of Labor that the city's unemployment rate had dropped to 4.5 percent in September, the lowest in 18 years. At the same time, the DOL reported that last month, the number of New Yorkers employed rose by 6,700 to 3,570,300, while the unemployed count dropped by 21,100 to 169,000.
Then on Monday, newspapers reported that the mayor and Schools Chancellor Joel Klein had been cited as among the nation's leaders in education by the prestigious Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government.
The mayor and Klein were lauded according to the Daily News, for improving public schools by stamping out "cronyism and entrenched interests and putting the focus back on students since the mayoral takeover of the educational system.
So a bustling city economy and acknowledgement that mayoral control of schools are both doing well is cause for the mayor and his administration to take pride in their accomplishments.
The mayor attributed the impressive employment statistics to his five-borough economic strategy which, he said, is creating jobs and opportunities for New Yorkers across the city-so much so that unemployment has hit an almost 20-year low in the city.
Commenting on the Kennedy School praise, Bloomberg said it was a "great thrill" for him and Klein, "but the real winners are the New York City school kids who are finally getting the first class education they deserve after decades of neglect".
The education honor was based on a study done by the prestigious School of Government for the magazine U.S. News & World Report's "America's Best Leaders" issue.
Bloomberg will need accolades such as these down the road because there's a difference between his position and that of Eliot Spitzer, likely the next governor of New York state, on whether New York City must still pay a share of the billiondollar court-ordered school funding award.
Spitzer said last week the city must pay a share of the huge amount, but the mayor forcefully responded that the city has already contributed its share.
The issue seems certain to come up again if, as expected, Spitzer is elected governor on November 7. Also due to come up further down the road-in June 2009, to be exact-is reapproval of mayoral control of the schools by the state legislature and the governor-presumably Spitzer.
Possibly, Spitzer would use the school control issue against the mayor, so major fireworks could arise between them at that time.
To balance the good tidings, the mayor was on the losing end (along with Governor George Pataki) when Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver cast the deciding vote to block the conversion of the 34th St. post office in Manhattan into a rail station which was to be named after the late U.S. Senator Daniel P. Moynihan.
It was the second time Silver burned the mayor through his position on the Public Authorities Control Board (PACB). The first time was in June 2005 when the mayor's plan to build a football stadium over the West Side rail yards was killed by Silver's vote.
In either case, Pataki and Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno voted yes. However, the PACB requires that all three members agree, so Silver's "no" vote scuttled both plans.
The defeat on the post office project had the mayor wondering whether the PACB was constitutional and why it has so much power.
'WEINER WAGON' DEBUT: The Weiner Wagon, Congressmember Anthony Weiner's mobile community office, hit the road last week, visiting five locations in the lawmaker's 9th Congressional District. The tour is intended to listen to individual concerns, tackle constituents' bureaucratic problems and discuss neighbors' ideas about how to improve the city and country.
Weiner, who made an impressive firsttime run for mayor last year, stopped this past Monday at the Fresh Meadows Associated Supermarket, 195-25 69th Ave., Fresh Meadows and Electchester Met Food, 70-63 Parsons Blvd., Flushing.
Today the bus will visit the Ozone Park Pathmark, 92-10 Atlantic Ave., Ozone Park from 2 to 4 p.m. Tomorrow it will make stops at the Glendale Stop & Shop, 64-65 Myrtle Ave., Glendale from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and at the Middle Village CTown, 75-43 Metropolitan Ave. in Middle Village from 2 to 4 p.m.
DA BROWN LUNCHEON SPEAKER: Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown will be the featured speaker at the JFK Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Thursday, November 16 at the Ramada Plaza/JFK. Cocktails at 11:30 a.m. will precede the 12:30 p.m. luncheon. Tickets are $50 per person; contact Lisa at 718- 656-5690 for ticket and other info.
PADAVAN APPOINTED TO LIQUOR TASK FORCE: State Senator Frank Padavan (R-C, Bellerose), who's been trying to control the spread of bars in order to preserve neighborhood integrity, has been appointed to the new Task Force for the Review of On-Premises Licensure.
The Task Force was formed to take a hard look at the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law, regulations related to bars, nightclubs and cabarets and State Liquor Authority (SLA) licensing policies. The Task Force will make recommendations to Governor George Pataki by December 31.
Padavan sponsored the law, known as the "500-foot law", which limits the number of bars within 500 feet of each other. Several crimes that recently occurred at bars and nightclubs have Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the City Council reviewing laws governing those businesses.
SENIORS BEAUTY PAGEANT: Every grandmother is a beauty, but a special one among them was chosen as "Your Highness Grandmother", in a beauty pageant for grandmothers held last Saturday at the King David Restaurant in Forest Hills.
Several local lawmakers, including City Councilmembers John Liu (D-Flushing) and Melinda Katz (D-Forest Hills) and state Senator John Sabini (D-Jackson Heights), along with Raisa Chermina, president and founder of the Be Proud Foundation, which sponsored the event, were on hand to launch the pageant.