Another week, another round of updates from our world's mayors. Let's dive in, shall we?
Bloomberg begins goodbyes: With fewer than 30 days to go before he leaves office, Mayor Michael Bloomberg delivered his final speech to the Association for a Better New York on Thursday. Bloomberg expressed his optimism for the future of New York and rattled off data on successes during his term (e.g., murder is down 49% since 2001; the air is cleaner than it's been in over 50 years, with pollution 23% lower than it was before PlaNYC was launched in 2007; 800 acres of new parks have been added since 2001; etc.).
Further, in a rare moment for the mayor, he got choked up while discussing what New York's values are as a city:
New York must always strive to be the most open city in the world... Today, when people are sick or hurting and ask for assistance, we don't ask them for their immigration papers. We help them.
When two people love each other and want to commit their lives to one another, we don't stand in their way because of their gender. We issue them a marriage license.
When a faith community wants to build a house of worship in a particular neighborhood, we don't tell them to look someplace else. We stand up for their religious freedom.
We are one city -- open to all, with equal rights for all. That has been our past -- and it must always be our future.
We couldn't agree more. For the full speech, see the video below (or read the transcript here):
Next NYC mayor starts naming names: As we approach the start of the new year, Mayor-elect of New York, Bill de Blasio, has begun building out his administration. This week, that included the high-profile appointment of William J. Bratton as NYPD police commissioner -- a position Bratton previously held in the mid-90s. Since then, he has served as police commissioner of Los Angeles. A statement on de Blasio's Transition NYC website credits Bratton with the "largest crime reduction in New York City's history" and reducing the crime rate in Los Angeles by 54%. Bratton will replace NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly, who has served since 2002.
DC mayor goes for term 2: Over in Washington, DC, Mayor Vincent Gray has declared his intent to seek a second term. This news comes as a bit of a surprise for some who expected Gray not to run again, due to an ongoing federal investigation into potentially corrupt financing during his 2010 campaign. According to The Washington Post, while Gray has denied having any involvement in it, authorities are investigating an alleged "shadow campaign," set up by DC businessman Jeffrey E. Thompson, which may have resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars going unreported to campaign finance authorities.
Boris fails IQ test on the radio: The thing we quite like about London Mayor Boris Johnson -- that he loves to run his mouth -- is the same thing that often gets him into trouble. That was certainly true this week when, shortly after making an association between IQ and inequality, Johnson then went on to fail an IQ test live on the radio.
"Whatever you may think of the value of IQ tests, it is surely relevant to a conversation about equality that as many as 16% of our species have an IQ below 85, while about 2% have an IQ above 130," he'd said in a speech the week prior.
And then, this happened:
Okay, sure, maybe the mayor was put on the spot, but after all this time he's spent with his foot in his mouth, shouldn't he be prepared for moments like this by now?
We'd love to hear from you on Boris's IQ flubs, and more, on the boards below, so please do weigh in.
Re: Nice roundup Hi PostSandy: Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed it. Regarding Boris, I don't know if you watched the video, but he didn't actually agree to being tested. :) They just kind of fired three questions at him and wouldn't let him get away with not answering them.. ha. I'm sure he would have done better with a real IQ test (I hope!).
And yes, we do tend to take things for granted living in New York, don't we? Immigrants do not have it easy elsewhere in the US, unfortunately.
Re: Bloomberg wins high marks Couldn't agree more, Terry... it's not surprising that Bloomberg (allegedly) tried to get Hillary Clinton to run for mayor. She's obviously someone with the political will to get things done, and the right contacts. I'm sure Bloomberg feels very protective over the changes he's brought to New York and fears what will happen to the city when it's put in less capable hands.
Re: Bloomberg wins high marks I'll join the chorus of praise for Bloomberg. One thing: I do hope we don't have to keep returning to sing his praises in a regretful "good old days" way once the new administration is installed.
Re: Bloomberg wins high marks I salute Bloomberg for his work, for the changes he initiated, and for his legacy. It's definitely going to be tough for his successor but I'm hoping the latter will be able to do better. All for the good of New York.
Bloomberg wins high marks Totally agree in re Bloomberg being a tough act to follow. He was his own master, and led with his own values in a clear, consistent way. By any measure, he was very good for the city and leaves it a better place than when he first took office.
Legacies I have been and am a fan of Bloomberg's and also of the people he brought in and has retained. I think of him as an excellent leader and manager and, more importantly, a visionary who gets things done. He's like a hardscrabble Steve-Jobs-leading-a-city.
That said, there are two legacies that have been tough for broad sections of New York.
For parents of kids in public schools (like ours), his emphasis and that of Cathy Black's during her short tenure on charter schools often went against overwhelming majority sentiment against certain charter schools going in certain cachments. I'm in favor of charter schools, but he/the DOE did not listen to residents. Perhaps history will prove them right. I hope so.
The other is "faith communities." If you are Muslim or Jewish, you are often protected. But I must speak out for poor Christian churches, many of them Pentecostal/non-denominational/small/Hispanic/African-American and in other boroughs than Manhattan, which suffered when the DOE prohibited them from meeting in public school spaces on Sundays. Again, having seen first-hand that the outraged critics had no real case against these churches meeting, it seemed the DOE caved to what was essentially acceptable anti-Christian bias. There's really no other way to put it, and you've read enough comments from me to know that I'm not given to vituperative rants.
Again, big fan here. I think history will prove him right on charter schools, but my faith is not generally welcomed here in the city.
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