Learn more about Michael Bloomberg
|Michael R. Bloomberg|
|Born||February 14, 1942 (age 64)
Michael Rubens "Mike" Bloomberg (born February 14, 1942) is a prominent American businessman, the founder of Bloomberg L.P., and the current Mayor of New York City. Although a moderate Republican in a predominantly liberal city, the Mayor has gained blocs of support from people of various political backgrounds and remains very popular among New Yorkers.
 Personal life and business career
Bloomberg was born in Boston, Massachusetts, to a Jewish family, at St. Elizabeth's Hospital, in a neighborhood known as Brighton, on February 14, 1942. His parents were both immigrants from Poland. He lived at 100 Brainerd Road, in the Boston neighborhood of Allston, until he was two years old, when the family moved to Atherton Road, in Brookline, Massachusetts. When he was four, his family moved to Medford, Massachusetts, a Boston suburb. He lived there until after he graduated college. He is an Eagle Scout. He attended Johns Hopkins University, where he joined Phi Kappa Psi, and graduated in 1964 with a B.S. degree in electrical engineering. Later he received his MBA degree from Harvard Business School.
Bloomberg was a general partner at Salomon Brothers, where he headed equity trading, sales and, later, systems development. He made his fortune with his own company, Bloomberg L.P., selling financial information terminals to Wall Street firms; the company also began a radio network (the flagship station is 1130 WBBR-AM in New York City).
Bloomberg is among the world's richest people. He was ranked 44th by Forbes magazine in its list of 400 Richest Americans in September 2006. He was ranked 94th in the Forbes 500 Forbes List of the 500 Richest People in the World in March 2005.
His daughters by former wife British-born Susan Brown are Georgina Bloomberg (who has been featured on Born Rich, a documentary film about the children of the extremely wealthy) and Emma Bloomberg. His younger sister, Marjorie Tiven, is Commissioner of the New York City Commission for the United Nations, Consular Corps and Protocol. His mother, Charlotte Bloomberg, is still alive, in her nineties, and reported to be in good health. His current girlfriend is state banking superintendent Diana Taylor.
He has written an autobiography, Bloomberg by Bloomberg (1997, ISBN 0-471-15545-4).
Bloomberg does not reside in Gracie Mansion, the official mayor's mansion, but at his own home elsewhere on the Upper East Side (17 E 79th Street between Madison and Fifth Avenues). He maintains his home address in the white pages and is known to ride the subway to City Hall every morning, even during periods of heightened terrorist alert.
Forbes and other sources report his net worth at US$5 billion, which, in addition to aiding his political career, has allowed him to engage in substantial philanthropy, including the donation of over US$300 million to Johns Hopkins University, where he served as the chairman of the board from 1996 to 2002. His charitable contributions were such that he was ranked seventh in the United States in philanthropic endeavors. He has also given to JHU's chapter of Phi Kappa Psi, of which he was president as an undergraduate.
 2001 election
In 2001 the incumbent mayor, Rudy Giuliani, was ineligible for re-election, as New York limits the mayoralty to two terms. Several well-known New York City politicians aspired to succeed him. Bloomberg, a lifelong member of the Democratic Party, decided to run for mayor as a member of the Republican Party.
Voting in the primary began on the morning of September 11. Later that day, however, because of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center, the primary was postponed. In the rescheduled primary, Bloomberg defeated Herman Badillo, a former Congressman, to become the Republican nominee. The Democratic primary did not produce a first-round winner. There was a runoff, in which the nomination went to New York City Public Advocate Mark J. Green.
In the general election, Bloomberg had Giuliani's endorsement. He also enjoyed a huge spending advantage. New York City's campaign finance law restricted the contributions a candidate could accept, but Bloomberg exercised his right to opt out of this law, attracting some criticism. He spent some $73 million of his own money on his campaign, outspending Green by five to one.<ref>Mike's wrong, campaign fixes make sense, New York Daily News, op-ed by Gene Russianoff, December 9, 2003</ref> One of the major themes of his campaign was that, with the city's economy suffering from the effects of the attacks, it needed a mayor with business experience.
In addition to being the Republican nominee, Bloomberg had the ballot line of the controversial Independence Party, in which "Social Therapy" leaders Fred Newman and Lenora Fulani exert strong influence. The latter proved important, as Bloomberg's votes on that line exceeded his margin of victory over Green. (Under New York's fusion rules, a candidate can run on more than one party's line and cumulate all the votes received on all lines. Green, the Democrat, also had the ballot line of the Working Families Party.) Another factor was the vote on Staten Island, which has traditionally been far friendlier to Republicans than the rest of the city. Bloomberg crushed Green in that borough, taking 75% of the vote there. Overall, Bloomberg won 50% to 48%.
Bloomberg declined the mayor's salary, accepting remuneration of $1.00 annually. He is considered a liberal Republican, who is pro-choice, in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage and an advocate for stricter gun control laws.
Bloomberg has said he wants reforming public education to be the legacy of his first term and addressing poverty to be the legacy of his second.<ref>"The Mayor's Legacy.", Gotham Gazette, September 2006. </ref> He is known as a political pragmatist and for a managerial style that reflects his experience in the private sector. Bloomberg has chosen to apply a statistical, results-based approach to city management, appointing city commissioners based on their expertise and granting them wide autonomy in their decision-making. Breaking with 190 years of tradition, Bloomberg implemented a "bullpen" open office plan, reminiscent of a Wall Street trading floor, in which dozens of aides and managerial staff are seated together in a large chamber. The design is intended to promote accountability and accessibility.
Bloomberg's first mayoralty coincided with a major shift of authority over the city's public school system from the state government to the city government. From 1968 until 2000, New York City's schools were managed by the Board of Education, which was comprised of seven members. Only two of the seven were appointed by the mayor, which meant the City had a minority of representatives on the board and the mayor's ability to shape education policy was greatly diminished. In addition to the Board, 25 local school boards also played a part in running the system. In 2000, the local boards and Board of Education were abolished and replaced with a new mayoral agency, the Department of Education.
Bloomberg appointed Joel Klein as Schools Chancellor to run the new department, which was based at the renovated Tweed Courthouse near City Hall. Under Bloomberg and Chancellor Klein, test scores have risen and the City has obtained a higher percentage of funding from the state budget. Bloomberg opposes social promotion, and favors after-school and summer-school programs to help schoolchildren catch up, rather than allowing them to advance to the next grade level when they may be unprepared. Despite often tense relations with teachers' unions, he avoided a teacher strike by concluding a contract negotiation in which teachers received an average raise of 15% in exchange for givebacks and productivity increases.No kiss of death: Randi anger is for show with union, say sources, New York Daily News, October 11, 2005</ref>
Bloomberg has enforced a strengthened cell-phone ban in city schools that had its roots dating to a 1988 school system ban on pagers. The ban is controversial among parents, who are more concerned since September 11, 2001 with their ability to contact their children. Administration representatives have noted that students are distracted in class by cell phones and often use them inappropriately, in some instances sending and receiving text messages, taking photographs, surfing the Internet, and playing video games, and that cell-phone bans exist in other cities including Detroit and Philadelphia.
 Social policy
Bloomberg claims to support the legalization of same-sex marriage in New York. However, he appealed a decision finding the limiting of same-sex marriage unconstitutional. "My personal opinion is that anybody should be allowed to marry anybody. I don't happen to think we should put restrictions on who you should marry.... What the city doesn't want to have happen is people getting a marriage license and then six months, or one year later, or two years later, finding out it's meaningless," he has said.
 Public health
Bloomberg extended the city's smoking ban to all commercial establishments, removing the last indoor public areas in which one could smoke in the city: bars and nightclubs. The smoking ban took effect in March 2003. Bloomberg's smoking ban is considered trend-setting as across America and Europe and other regions of the world, smoking bans are now becoming widespread.
Bloomberg is a supporter of immigration reform to secure the rights of illegal aliens, who comprise a large part of the population of New York City. He argues that deportation breaks up families and scares illegal aliens away from cooperating with law enforcement or accessing vital social services; as such, he supports proposals like those put forth by U.S. Senators Ted Kennedy and John McCain, which would normalize the status of otherwise law-abiding illegal aliens already present. Bloomberg also believes that border enforcement is somewhat futile. He told the US Senate Judiciary Committee Field Hearing on Federal Immigration Legislation on July 5, 2006, "It is as if we expect border control agents to do what a century of communism could not: Defeat the natural forces of supply and demand and defeat the natural human instinct for freedom and opportunity. You might as well sit on the beach and tell the tide not to come in." Prepared remarks.
He also issued Executive Order 41 on September 17, 2003 which instructs city employees not to ask nor to disclose information about immigration status unless required by law or organizational mission.
 Crime and security
During Bloomberg's tenure, the reduction of crime that began under Mayor Rudy Giuliani has continued. Bloomberg's approach to the issue has been more low-key than that of Giuliani, who was often criticized by advocates for the homeless and civil rights groups. However, there exists some criticism that the reduced-crime statistics are frequently falsified or doctored to exaggerate the reduction.
Since 2003, Bloomberg has become increasingly assertive in demanding that federal homeland security funds be distributed to municipalities based on risk and population rather than any other measure.
 Gun control
Bloomberg is a strong advocate of gun control and made it a major issue of his administration in his second inaugural address. Most of the beneficiaries of his donations to Congressional candidates have been opponents of gun control. Those incumbent Congressmen have had high ratings ("A" to "B+") from interest groups (e.g., National Rifle Association, GOA) which oppose gun control. <ref>Gail Cardwell, "New York Times", 14 May 2006</ref>
Bloomberg once indicated, "I don't know why people carry guns. Guns kill people..."
Facing a severe fiscal crisis after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Bloomberg introduced a $3 billion tax increase in the middle of the fiscal 2003 year. This move is credited with stabilizing the city's finances, which have since recovered. In 2004 and 2005, the city experienced record surpluses, but financial experts and Bloomberg administration officials warn about significant unfunded future pension costs owed to city workers. To address this concern, Bloomberg unilaterally set aside $2 billion for a city-retirees' health fund in 2006.
Under Bloomberg, the city has also given large subsidies to sports owners and real estate developers to spur new economic development. His attempt to develop the West Side Stadium in the west side of midtown Manhattan failed, following public opposition.
 Atlantic Yards
Bloomberg is spearheading the development of the Atlantic Yards, which is centered above Long Island Railroad tracks in downtown Brooklyn. Eminent domain will be used to take 68 properties of homes and properties near the railroad yards. <ref>Joseph Goldstein, "Atlantic Yards Project Abuses Uses of Eminent Domain, Suit Says," "The New York Sun," October 27, 2001 or http://www.nysun.com/article/42433</ref>
Bloomberg wishes poverty reduction to be the central focus of his second term. In 2006 he appointed a Commission on Economic Opportunity to come up with innovative ideas to address poverty in the city. The commission's initial report was released in September 2006.
According to the United States Census Bureau the city's poverty rate of 19 percent in 2004 has not changed since 2001, while in Manhattan the earnings of the top fifth of earners ($330,244 on average) are 41 times the earnings of the bottom fifth ($8,019 on average). Bronx County is the second poorest urban county in the United States, with a per capita income of $13,595 (after El Paso County, Texas); Kings County, which is coterminous with Brooklyn, has a per capita of $16,775, which is lower than the 2000 per capita income of New Orleans. In 2004, the Census' American Community Survey reported, Latinos had the highest poverty rate in the city (29 percent), compared to Blacks (21 percent), Asians (18 percent) and non-Latino Whites (11 percent). Although in 2005 Latinos made up 28 percent of the New York City's total population, they made up 42 percent of its poverty population. <ref>wikipedia articles</ref> <ref>http://factfinder.census.gov</ref> The Mayor's Commission, however, has been criticized by advocacy groups like the National Institute for Latino Policy, for not addressing the problem of high and persistent poverty in the Latino community, pointing to the underrepresentation of Latinos on the Commission (only 4 out of 32 commissioners are Latino) and its leadership (no Latinos).
The Mayor's Commission issued a 52-page report on September 18, 2006 entitled, Increasing Opportunity and Reducing Poverty in New York City. <ref>http://www.nyc.gov/html/om/pdf/ceo_report2006.pdf</ref> It outlines a strategy that will not be providing aid to the elderly, the unemployed, the homeless, and those returning from prison. Arguing that it cannot address everyone's problems adequately, the commission's focus reportedly is on three groups: very young children, young adults, and the working poor. The New York Times reported that little new city money is likely to be invested to fight poverty; management reform will be the main source of improvements. For example, the Times noted that food stamp administration will be important for all three of the groups targeted by the commission. Food stamps are fully funded by the federal government, so any expansion of their use is a cost-free reform for the city. The Mayor also announced that he plans to explore the use of cash incentives to poor parents to get them to keep their children in school and promote other constructive behaviors, but that he will be seeking financial support for these incentives from the private sector.
The Commission is expecting reports and plans by city agencies on how they each plan to address the issues raised in the Commission's report by November 2006, and will need to get City Council and State Legislative authorization for parts of its plan. The planning and implementation of the Commission's recommendations are under the leadership of Deputy Mayor Linda Gibb, who is credited with being the person in the Administration who convinced Mayor Bloomberg to make poverty reduction a major theme of his second and final term.
New York City's population declined by 50,000 from 8,008,278 in 2000 to 7,956,113 in 2005.  Researchers found economic costs (principally, housing costs) as factors behind the out-migration. A large component of the out-migration is the emigration of African-Americans. This is the first emigration of this group from New York City since the Civil War Draft Riots.
 Housing costs
Over the three years prior to June 2006, housing rents in New York City rose faster than inflation; inflation-adjusted incomes have fallen. These data were announced by New York University on June 16, 2006 on the release of the annual publication called the State of New York City's Housing and Neighborhoodsreport from the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy, which is part of New York University's Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and New York University School of Law.
The report indicated that New Yorkers with low or moderate incomes spent increasing proportions of their wages and salaries on housing costs. The quantity of units available at rents affordable to city households earning 42 percent or less fell by 205,000 units in three years prior to the report. Lower-income residents had greater difficulty with the housing cost changes. During the period from 2002 to 2005, low-income families (in private-market housing) spent 43.9 percent of their incomes on rent, on average. 
 Support for Republicans beyond New York area
Since 2000 he gave $29,200 in donations to eleven Congressional candidates. Nine of these candidates were Republicans: John E. Stevens, Harold Rogers, John McCain, Richard C. Shelby, Lynette Boggs McDonald, Vito J. Fossella, Peter T. King, James T. Walsh, Michael Oxley. Their voting records on social and economic issues are characteristic of conservative Republicans. <ref>New York Times, Patrick D. Healy, October 5, 2005</ref>
 World Trade Center responder death benefits
On 14 August, 2006, Governor George Pataki signed legislation ordering the city to pay increased amounts in death benefits for rescue workers or "first responders", such as FDNY and NYPD members who later died from illnesses such as cancer after working at the World Trade Center site. Workers became sick after exposure to toxic substances during the cleaning efforts.
The mayor objected to this, arguing that the increased cost of $5 million to $10 million a year would be unduly burdensome for the city. <ref>http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/15/nyregion/15benefits.html?_r=1&oref=slogin</ref> The responders and the city additionally conflicted with each other over the issue of payments for health costs of the living among the first responders. On 17 October, 2006, federal judge Alvin K. Hellerstein rejected New York City's motion to dismiss lawsuits that requested health payments to the first responders. <ref>Anthony DePalma, "Ruling Opens a Door for Thousands of Ground Zero Lawsuits," "New York Times," October 18, 2006, B1,</ref>
 2004 Republican National Convention
While Bloomberg was mayor, New York City hosted the 2004 Republican National Convention, to the opposition of many locals who felt it was inappropriate during the Iraq War. The Parks Department denied a permit for an anti-Republican march to terminate at Central Park's Great Lawn, and also denied a permit for a rally there. Critics cited this as abridging First Amendment rights. In actuality, the decision was due to the fact that the Central Park Conservancy had spent tens of millions of dollars during the 1990's on redoing the lawn to make it pristine and on a new drainage system. A march and/or rally would have virtually destroyed the lawn and taken several months to repair before New Yorkers could again use it. In fact, new rules prohibit any large organized gatherings on the lawn except for the annual free concerts by the New York Philharmonic and the Metropolitan Opera.
He was particularly criticized for his handling of protest activity. Hundreds of protesters or political dissidents were detained at a former bus garage on Pier 57 characterized by opponents as a "Guantanamo on the Hudson." New York City Police took unprecedented measures in forbidding the attempts of photographers to stand and take photographs during the protests.
The National Council of Arab Americans and the ANSWER Coalition, the two groups sponsoring the planned march and rally, have sued the city in federal court for the denial of the Great Lawn permits. The city claims that a large gathering would have damaged the newly renovated Great Lawn. It also claimed it could not provide adequate police protection, and that the protesters failed to provide a rain date for the gathering. The July 31, 2006 edition of the The New York Times reported that court documents appeared to indicate the Parks Department turned down the permits in order to shield Republican visitors from the protests. The documents include several emails and legal memoranda from city officials.<ref>Diane Cardwell, "New York Times," July 31, 2006</ref>
Bloomberg gave a sworn statement in which he claimed to have "no unique personal knowledge" about the permit denials. However, several of the documents in question indicate that Bloomberg received regular updates regarding the status of the permits. For example, an email from Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe informed Bloomberg that "following your call," he received assurance that the denial letter would go out on July 11. Benepe also went to the Great Lawn himself to see if there was any activity and personally emailed the mayor to let him know there was no demonstration there.<ref>Diane Cardwell, "New York Times," July 31, 2006</ref>
 2005 election
Bloomberg had spent over $66 million on his campaign by late October 2005, and was projected to exceed the record of $74 million he spent on the previous election. He chose not to use public campaign funds and therefore his campaign was not subject to the restrictions imposed on candidates who accept such funding.
Former Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer won the Democratic nomination to oppose Bloomberg in the general election; there was no opposition in the Republican primary, as Bloomberg's campaign successfully sued to keep Thomas Ognibene off the ballot. Ognibene, who ultimately ran on the Conservative Party ticket, accused Bloomberg of betraying Republican Party ideals.
Bloomberg was the most prominent Republican to oppose the confirmation of John Roberts as Chief Justice of the United States. Though a Republican, Bloomberg is a staunch supporter of abortion rights and did not believe that Roberts was committed to maintaining Roe v. Wade.
In addition to receiving Republican support, Bloomberg has obtained the endorsements of several prominent Democrats: former Democratic Mayor Ed Koch, former Democratic governor Hugh Carey, former Democratic City Council Speaker Peter Vallone, his son, Councilman Peter Vallone, Jr., former Democratic Congressman Floyd Flake (who had previously endorsed Bloomberg in 2001), and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz.
Bloomberg's term as mayor ends on December 31, 2009. He is banned by term limits from running again. The election means that the Republicans have held onto the mayor's office for four consecutive elections, or sixteen years. Bloomberg joins Rudy Giuliani and Fiorello LaGuardia as re-elected Republican mayors in this mostly Democratic city. (John Lindsay was also elected mayor of New York twice while a registered Republican; however, Lindsay did not receive the Republican Party nomination during his campaign for re-election, and he switched to the Democratic Party during his second term.)
One of Bloomberg's top aides, Kevin Sheekey, has indicated that he is trying to convince Bloomberg to run for President in 2008 as an Independent or a Democrat. Bloomberg has often expressed in public his lack of interest in running for president. Were he to do so, he would likely draw primarily from his own funds to finance his presidential run, just as has been the case with his mayoral campaigns.
Bloomberg has pledged his support to the LGBT community to support marriage equality.
Bloomberg is heard every Friday on the John Gambling Show 770 WABC Radio 10:00-11:00 a.m., and accepts callers.
 Post-Mayoral plans
Mayor Bloomberg has repeatedly stated his intention to return to a life of philanthropy once his eight-year tenure in office expires.
In August of 2006, Bloomberg donated $125 million to a worldwide anti-smoking initiative designed to curb smoking and introduce anti-smoking measures throughout the globe.
The donation will defray the cost of the first two years of a "Worldwide Stop Smoking Initiative," and the recipients will chiefly be pre-existing anti-smoking lobbying groups.
Rumors abound that Mayor Bloomberg is also considering a White House run in 2008. He has met with officials from both the Republican Party and Democratic Party to assess his chances as an independent. He purportedly stated on the weekend of September 16, however, "How likely is a 5' 6" Jew-from-New-York billionaire, who's divorced, and running as an independent, to become President of the United States?"  The question was apparently rhetorical.
According to reporter Kent Cooper of Political Moneyline, on Thursday November 30, 2006 two leading Virginia conservative Independent state leaders Carey Campbell, and Joseph Oddo filed papers for a Draft Michael Bloomberg for President Committee. Formal announcement of the organization was expected Monday December 4th. Cooper quotes Oddo as saying, " Thru the web site www.DraftMichael.com and media interviews we hope to attract new chairmen in every state, and congressional district. We're calling on folks to contribute $10 dollars each. With $10 each from 100,000 Americans, we can show Michael Bloomberg there's grassroots support for an Independent run for President."
 See also
 External links
- Mike Bloomberg for NYC webpage
- Gotham Gazette 2005 webpage
- CityMayors.com profile
- Campaign contributions made by Michael Bloomberg
- New York Times Endorsement
- Mike Bloomberg for President
- The Mayor And His Money
- Primal Fear Short piece supporting a Badillo-Bloomberg Republican primary.
- Ferrer, Ognibene Take Shots At Absent Mayor In First Debate
Rudolph W. Giuliani
|Mayor of New York City|
2002 – present
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