2011 Mayor's Year In Review: Bloomberg's Policy Wins Counter City Hall Woes
While 2011 got off to a rough start for Mayor Michael Bloomberg, as the Christmas blizzard and a unpopular new schools chancellor sparked talk of third-term malaise, the mayor did eventually regain his footing. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
At the start of 2011, City Hall was still getting pummeled over the Christmas blizzard. Mayor Michael Bloomberg never did say where he was when the storm hit, but he did accept some blame.
"I would give our grade as unacceptable, I've said that," said Bloomberg.
Winter brought more headaches, from the mounting CityTime scandal to besieged Schools Chancellor Cathie Black, whom Bloomberg removed just 95 days after she started.
"I will say I take full responsibility for the fact that this has not worked out as either of us had hoped and expected," said Bloomberg.
Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott replaced Black.
Meanwhile, the mayor’s push to eliminate the "last in, first out" seniority policy for teachers went nowhere, but a budget deal ultimately averted layoffs.
Bloomberg also lobbied hard for gay marriage.
"In our democracy, near equality is no equality. Government either treats everyone the same or it doesn't. And right now, it doesn't," said the mayor.
After Albany legalized same-sex marriage, Bloomberg officiated at the wedding of two top aides.
Another aide, Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith, abruptly resigned in August, and the mayor neglected to mention it was because Goldsmith was arrested in a domestic dispute.
Bloomberg did win praise for his handling of Hurricane Irene and his role in getting the September 11th Memorial open.
But the Occupy Wall Street movement posed a new conundrum. Though he defended protesters’ right to free speech, Bloomberg eventually cleared Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan in a nighttime raid.
"The First Amendment protects speech. It does not protect the use of tents and sleeping bags to take over a public space," said Bloomberg.
The mayor also testified in the trial of his former consultant, John Haggerty, who was convicted of stealing money from the mayor’s 2009 re-election campaign.
Bloomberg closed the year on a high note, winning passage of a bill that will allow the hail of livery cabs and announcing Cornell University will build a new campus on Roosevelt Island. The latter is a project the mayor sees as a signature to his legacy.