Michael Bloomberg, the mayor who transformed NY York

Updated 03 November 2013

Michael Bloomberg, the mayor who transformed NY York

Billionaire Michael Bloomberg will go down as one of New York’s most transformative mayors but he has divided an electorate set to elect his polar opposite. The 71-year-old tycoon, who founded the successful news and financial data company Bloomberg PLC, steps down on Jan. 1 after a record 12 years.
Thanks to a vast wealth that beholds him to no one, he won respect — if not love — for driving forward an agenda and avoiding some of the shabby compromises of office.
According to a recent Wall Street Journal/NBC poll, only 18 percent of registered voters believe he has performed poorly. But incredibly, two-thirds want New York to take a different direction and Bill de Blasio, the candidate who has done the most to exploit anti-Bloomberg sentiment, is set to be elected the city’s 109th mayor on Tuesday.
“What the Bloomberg reign most profoundly demonstrated is the power of an extremely wealthy man who is beholden to no special interests,” according to Forbes. “Bloomberg effectively created his own special interests and used the government to turn a city into a data-driven, health-conscious image... of himself.” Bloomberg loves reeling off statistics as testament to his success: The lowest murder rate in 50 years; at 52 million, a record number of tourists; life expectancy up by 2.5 years in the last 12 years.
Even detractors acknowledge the achievements. Violent crime, the great scourge of New York until the 1990s, continues to drop.
From an average of six murders a day in 1990, the city of 8.4 million now sees less than one homicide a day.
Bloomberg’s aggressive public health policies,like banning smoking in bars and restaurants, have contributed to a 50 percent decline in teen smoking and been copied in many cities. He overhauled the city waterfront, widened green spaces, launched the popular city-bike program and restored business optimism after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
He has won plaudits as a campaigner for tighter gun laws, particularly after the Newtown school massacre that left 20 children and six adults dead in neighboring Connecticut last December. Interviewed for the Nov. 18 issue of Forbes, Bloomberg was triumphant about his legacy.
“Our problems here now are all problems of success. You say people can’t afford to live here, except that there are no vacancies,” he was quoted as saying by the business magazine. “Our problem now is that everyone wants to go to our public schools. Traffic? If you don’t want traffic, go to Detroit.”
But the criticisms also stack up. And there is another, less savory record: A homeless population of 50,900 — 21,300 of them children. Public advocate de Blasio has campaigned heavily on the widening gap between the city’s richest and poorest, and the middle class struggle to make ends meet. The method seen as bringing down violence — stop-and-frisk — has been criticized as racist and a violation of rights enshrined in the US constitution.


Singapore baggage handler jailed for swapping luggage tags

Updated 12 November 2019

Singapore baggage handler jailed for swapping luggage tags

  • Bags belonged to passengers transiting through Changi and using Singapore Airlines and its regional wing SilkAir
  • Changi handled nearly 65.6 million passengers last year

SINGAPORE: A Singaporean baggage handler has been jailed for 20 days for swapping tags on nearly 300 suitcases at the city-state’s airport, causing them to end up at wrong destinations around the world.
Tay Boon Keh, 66, had pleaded guilty to charges of swapping the tags on 286 bags at Changi Airport, one of the world’s busiest hubs.
He made the swaps between November 2016 and February 2017 out of “frustration and anger” after his request for additional staff at his work section was ignored, a district court heard.
Suitcases originally bound for various parts of the world, including Perth, Manila, Frankfurt, London and San Francisco, were affected, according to court documents.
The bags belonged to passengers transiting through Changi and using Singapore Airlines and its regional wing SilkAir.
Tay was suffering from major depressive disorder when he committed the offenses, the court heard.
But state prosecutors said evidence presented at a hearing showed his condition “did not contribute significantly to his commission of the offenses” as he continued to have control over his actions.
Prosecutor Thiam Jia Min said the swapping could have caused “potentially, even serious or fatal, consequences” as some passengers could have been left without medications.
Changi handled nearly 65.6 million passengers last year.