A Fixer Or A Bully: New Yorkers Have Opinions On Bloomberg As Mayor
Compiled by Aidan Gardiner
New Yorkers have never been shy about voicing their opinions. So, with Michael R. Bloomberg making preparations for a presidential run, we asked readers who lived through the Bloomberg administration to tell us how that experience shaped their view of him as a potential president. More than 800 responded. We asked our politics reporter Stephanie Saul to reflect on Mr. Bloombergs legacy as we shared a selection of our readers comments, which have been lightly edited.
When Michael R. Bloombergs three-term mayoralty ended in 2013, he left behind a city that had been remarkably transformed during his 12 years in office. He had taken over in 2002, when New York was on its knees economically and spiritually, reeling from the September 11, 2001, World Trade Center attacks. He set about rebuilding the city.
I loved how Bloomberg lowered crime, banned smoking, eliminated trans fats and built green parks. I like his reputation for delegation. And I loved how it wasnt legal to pee in public. Amy Giroux, Manhattan
He brought a C.E.O.s touch to the school system, abolishing the old Board of Education, bringing in outsiders to run things and providing city space to charter schools.
Bloomberg Alumni Are Back In Action And Turning On Their Own
Bloombergs former aides are now back in the mix, shaping the race to choose de Blasios successor.
04/01/2021 07:55 PM EDT
NEW YORK Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg had a knack for attracting top-tier staff and commanding loyalty in the City Hall he ran for more than a decade as well as the campaigns he waged to get there.
But as those staffers take up positions in opposing camps for this years Democratic mayoral primary, the Bloomberg alumni are lobbing grenades at each other, on the trail and online, as the candidates grow more restive by the day referring to their former trenchmates as tone-deaf, disingenuous and one candidates supporters as a clown car.
For 12 years, Bloomberg dominated city politics a billionaire three-term mayor who first ran as a Republican but launched a public health push against tobacco and sugary drinks, and was a prominent gun control and environmental advocate. Since 2014, though, Mayor Bill de Blasio has largely repudiated his legacy and exiled most of his loyalists from City Hall. Bloombergs former aides are now back in the mix, shaping the race to choose de Blasios successor.
Chris Coffey, who spent twelve years in Bloombergs City Hall and mayoral campaigns, is the co-campaign manager for frontrunner Andrew Yang. The firm he works for, Tusk Strategies, is headed by Bradley Tusk, Bloombergs 2009 campaign manager.
Coffey said his fellow operatives are piling on Yang because of his frontrunner status.
A Difficult Transition To Progressivism
In the countrys second critical election, in 1896, the Democrats split disastrously over the free-silver and Populist program of their presidential candidate, William Jennings Bryan. Bryan lost by a wide margin to Republican William McKinley, a conservative who supported high tariffs and money based only on gold. From 1896 to 1932 the Democrats held the presidency only during the two terms of Woodrow Wilson , and even Wilsons presidency was considered somewhat of a fluke. Wilson won in 1912 because the Republican vote was divided between President William Howard Taft and former Republican president Theodore Roosevelt, the candidate of the new Bull Moose Party. Wilson championed various progressive economic reforms, including the breaking up of business monopolies and broader federal regulation of banking and industry. Although he led the United States into World War I to make the world safe for democracy, Wilsons brand of idealism and internationalism proved less attractive to voters during the spectacular prosperity of the 1920s than the Republicans frank embrace of big business. The Democrats lost decisively the presidential elections of 1920, 1924, and 1928.
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Early Years And Education
Bloomberg was born on Feb. 14, 1942, in Boston, and grew up in nearby Medford, Massachusetts. He earned an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from Johns Hopkins University in 1964. He paid his tuition by working as a parking lot attendant and taking out loans. He earned an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1966.
Bloomberg began his career in financial services in 1966 at the now-defunct Wall Street investment bank Salomon Brothers, where his first job was counting bonds and stock certificates in the banks vault. He moved up to bond trading, becoming a partner in 1972 and a general partner in 1976.
In 1979, Salomon Brothers moved him from his position of head of equity trading and sales to run Information Systems. This was apparently a demotion, but it put Bloomberg in charge of the department that implemented computer technology. When the company was acquired by the commodity trading firm Phibro in 1981, Bloomberg received a $10 million severance package.
Why Is New York City Important In The United States
New York City is the largest and most influential American metropolis and the most populous and the most international city in the country. Located where the Hudson and East rivers empty into one of the worlds premier harbors, New York is both the gateway to the North American continent and its preferred exit to the oceans of the globe.
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Who Are Prominent Democrats
Notable Democrats include Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was the only president to be elected to the White House four times, and Barack Obama, who was the first African American president . Other Democratic presidents include John F. Kennedy, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Joe Biden. Hillary Clinton made history in 2016 as the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party, though she ultimately lost the election. In 1968 Shirley Chisholm won a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, becoming the first African American woman elected to Congress, and in 2007 Nancy Pelosi became the first woman to serve as speaker of the House.
Bloomberg Changes Story On Why He Switched Political Parties
2020 Democrat Michael Bloomberg altered his story about why he decided to become a Republican when he first ran for mayor of New York City in 2001.
During a Fox News town hall on Monday night, host Bret Baier asked about a perception from Democratic voters and opponents, such as former Vice President Joe Biden, who said Bloomberg is not really a Democrat, given his switch to the Republican Party in 2001 prior to his mayoral campaign.
I came to New York City. There are no Republicans, and I was a Democrat for a long time, Bloomberg said. When I wanted to run for mayor, the Democrats wouldnât let me on their ballot, but the Republicans said, âWe donât have a candidate. Would you like to run?â And I said, âSure, why not?â And I won twice as a Republican and once as an independent.
Over the years, Bloomberg has routinely told the public that New York state Republican Party officials first approached him to run for mayor of New York, but Republican sources close to former Republican Gov. George Pataki told the Washington Examiner it was the other way around.
Additionally, Bloomberg gave a different reason as to why he switched parties back in 2001 when he first ran for mayor. During his mayoral debate against Democratic city public advocate Mark Green, he said the Democratic primary was already too crowded for him to jump in at the time.
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Mayor Bloombergs Legacy: The Good The Bad And The Ugly
Michael Bloombergs extraordinary 12-year term as mayor of New york has just ended. This is an opportune time to review the billionaire mayors mixed-bag legacy the good, the bad, and the ugly.
For the sake of civility, lets start with the good.
My only government job began with Bloombergs first term, in January 2002. Lower Manhattans newly elected City Council Member Alan Gerson asked me to set aside my media work to serve as the policy director for his newly-commissioned Committee on Lower Manhattan Redevelopment. I also advised the council member on budgetary issues, and in reviewing the new mayors unexpected plan to immediately raise real estate taxes by 18 percent.
In the wake of the September 11 attacks only months earlier, New York Citys finances had headed into dire straits. Simultaneous to Bush-Cheneys infamous tax cuts for the rich and exploding deficits a mayor who had come to power on the Republican ticket had initiated the largest city tax increase in modern history. Our City Council voted 41 to 6 to raise billions of dollars to retain essential city services. Mayor Bloomberg was a phenomenal fiscal manager, and as a result, Mayor Bill de Blasio will inherit a $2 billion budget surplus this year.
It also has its drawbacks, when that same king is imperious, arrogant, disregards criticism, and is out of touch with the lives of ordinary New Yorkers. But more on this when I get to the bad and ugly.
Mayor Of New York City
While at the helm of his company, Bloomberg served on the boards of leading cultural institutions, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the Central Park Conservancy, and the Jewish Museum, and he donated $100 million to Johns Hopkins University. Yet he was known for tyrannical outbursts in the Bloomberg offices, browbeating employees and turning against anyone who left his firm. Intensely competitive, Bloomberg, a lifelong Democrat, entered the 2001 race for mayor of New York City as a Republican. Bloomberg funded much of his mayoral campaign himself, spending more than $68 million from his personal fortune .
Bloombergs campaign themes focused on issues of great concern to New Yorkers: improvements in traffic and transit, housing, and education. What helped him most, however, was the endorsement of outgoing New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, whose leadership following the was universally praised. After trailing badly in the polls just weeks before the November 6 election, Bloomberg won the mayors race. He immediately led redevelopment efforts, pushed for the passage of a controversial citywide smoking ban , revitalized tourism, and erased the citys budget deficit.
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Early Life And Bloomberg Lp
Bloombergs father, a Polish immigrant, was a bookkeeper and his mother a secretary. After studying engineering at Johns Hopkins University , he attended Harvard University and took an entry-level position with Salomon Brothers investment bank. Within 15 years he had achieved the level of partner and was leading the firms block trading operations. When Salomons acquisition by another firm in 1981 left him without a job, Bloombergs $10 million partnership buyout provided the funding he needed to create Innovative Market Systems, a financial data-services firm, in 1982. Twenty years later the renamed Bloomberg LP had become a global leader in financial data services. Central to the companys success was the Bloomberg computer terminal, a comprehensive financial news and information source. The companys other holdings included the Bloomberg Business News wire service, news radio station WBBR in New York City, and Bloomberg Television.
Nactos Publications Provide A Vital Resource For Practitioners Policy
Michael R. Bloomberg is the 108th Mayor of the City of New York. He was first elected in November 2001, two months after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, a time when many believed that crime would return, businesses would flee, and New York might take decades to recover. Instead, through hundreds of innovative new policies and initiatives, Mayor Bloomberg has made New York City safer, stronger, and greener than ever.
Today, compared to 2001, crime is down by 35 percent. The welfare rolls are down nearly 25 percent. High school graduation rates are up 40 percent since 2005. Ambulance response times are at record lows. Teen smoking is down more than 50 percent. More than 725 acres of new parkland have been added. The Mayors economic policies have helped New York City avoid the level of job losses that many other cities experienced during the national recession. And since October 2009, New York added twice as many private sector jobs as the next ten largest U.S. cities combined.
Born on February 14, 1942 in Boston and raised in a middle class home in Medford, Massachusetts, Michael Bloomberg attended Johns Hopkins University, where he paid his tuition by taking loans and working as a parking lot attendant. After college, he went on to receive an MBA from Harvard Business School. In 1966 he was hired by a Wall Street firm, Salomon Brothers, for an entry-level job.
Mayor Bloomberg is the father of two daughters, Emma and Georgina.
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Michael Bloombergs 12 Years At The Helm Of New York City Come To An End
Over the course of three elections and 12 years, Michael Bloomberg spent more than $260m of his own money on first winning, and then holding tightly on to, New York citys mayoralty.
On New Years Day though, his three terms in office end and he is handing power over without a fight.
Bloomberg leaves office having in many ways defined the New York city of the early 21st century, and having ensured that for the near future at least the city will be shaped in his own image.
Once a Republican, eventually accused in some quarters of attempting to create a nanny state, Bloomberg left his fingerprints on New Yorks public health, policing, education system and skyline.
Whole neighbourhoods, entire sections of the city, changed in fundamental ways over the 12 years disused Brooklyn waterfronts became sparkling high-rise apartments and districts once dominated by warehouses and blue-collar jobs were reimagined as parks for families and tourists to enjoy.
Bloombergs administration poured money into redeveloping Manhattans far west side, backing a $2.4bn extension of a subway line to carry passengers to projects such as Hudson Yards and Manhattan West, which will take years to complete but will eventually see once-neglected areas turned into developments for businesses and luxury apartments.
The change has been striking, and many areas have undoubtedly been cleaned up and made more desirable. But that has not always been good news for people living in the city.
Later Activities And Presidential Run
After leaving office, Bloomberg returned to managing his namesake financial data and media company, Bloomberg LP. He continued to be involved in environmental causes, and in 2017 he published Climate of Hope: How Cities, Businesses, and Citizens Can Save the Planet . In 2018 Bloomberg launched the American Cities Climate Challenge, a $70 million program to help 20 cities fight climate change. The initiative came a year after Republican Pres. Donald Trump announced that he was withdrawing the United States from the Paris Agreement on climate change. A vocal opponent of Trump, Bloomberg pledged to spend at least $80 million to defeat Republicans in the 2018 midterm elections. That year he reregistered as a Democrat, raising speculation that he would run for president in 2020. Although Bloomberg announced in March 2019 that he would not seek the presidency, in November he officially entered the race. Despite spending more than $500 million, he struggled to gain support, especially after poor performances in two debates. In March 2020 he ended his campaign and announced his support for Joe Biden.
Bloomberg was the recipient of numerous honours, including the 2009 Mary Woodard Lasker Award for Public Service. In 2014 he was made an honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire .
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Influence In Business Journalism
Bloomberg News was known for having an intense, editor-driven culture, and employees who left the news service for other media organizations typically were not hired back. Business journalists who joined Bloomberg were trained to write stories in a specific manner based on the internal stylebook, The Bloomberg Way: A Guide for Reporters and Editors . The book, which has been updated multiple times, explained to reporters how to cover specific stories, such as company earnings and the daily stock market performance. Basic Bloomberg News stories were known for their four-paragraph lead structure, which included the nut paragraph and a quote, often in the fourth paragraph.
The Bloomberg terminal was a useful reporting tool for many business journalists. The terminal provided access to information about millions of company executives, Wall Street analysts and investors, and industry consultants, including phone numbers and e-mail addresses. It also provided Securities and Exchange Commission documents for all public companies and information on lawsuits and legal rulings.
Bloomberg And The United Nations
As of February 2021, Michael Bloomberg serves as Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Climate Ambition and Solutions. This is his third Special Envoy role, and within it, Bloomberg supports the Secretary-General of the United Nations by helping to strengthen and grow the coalition of companies, government officials on a local and national level, plus global financial institutions that are committing to net-zero before the year 2050.
Bloomberg works alongside the private sector, civil society workers, and government officials worldwide to help create a global clean energy economy.
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