The NY Times reports that Mayor Bloomberg has funneled "hundreds of thousands of dollars" to two groups in Brooklyn, violating city contracting rules.
According to the Times, the money comes from a mayoral discretionary fund, but can only be distributed at the request of a City Council member. The Mayor's office claims that Council member Simcha Felder requested the money, but he says he never did. Even a spokesperson for one of the groups says he had no idea that CM Felder had anything to do with it.
It's not just "he said, he said;" there is no record of CM Felder asking for anything -- in fact, records concerning the money itself don't seem to exist. The Mayor's office claims that they did an "audit" that consisted of asking mayoral officials what they remember (it sounds to me like they're the same people who ran audits on Enron).
But wait ... there's more! CM Felder isn't completely clean after all. read more »
Yesterday, Councilmember Simcha Felder submitted Intro 1046, a bill to abolish the Public Advocate's office. I personally find it a disgusting, pathetic attack on an office that could do so much good for New York City.
I also find it the natural result of eight years of incompetence and inaction on the part of the current Public Advocate. Four years ago, Betsy Gotbaum actually insisted in a campaign debate that she was doing everything the Public Advocate is supposed to do. The fact is, this was a narrow view of the office. The City Charter provides that the Public Advocate "shall" do things such as receive complaints from individuals and monitor complaints received by agencies around the city, and she has done some of that. read more »
The Governmental Operations committee (Simcha Felder, chair) will hold two hearings on the various term limits bills. The first will be on Thursday, October 16, starting at 3:00 and continuing into the evening. The second will be the next morning, October 17, starting at 10:00. Locations are still undetermined.
Speakers will be allowed two minutes. My guess is that the chairman will enforce that limit pretty strictly, as there will be a lot of speakers. In addition, the committee counsel told me that Chairman Felder will suspend his standard "15-minute rule" for the Oct. 16 hearing. Under that rule, people had to show up and sign up within 15 minutes of the start of the hearing, but in this case many people won't be able to arrive by 3:15 so he's suspending the rule.
There's more... read more »