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.


Donald Trump no fan of ‘Borat’ creator Sacha Baron Cohen

Updated 24 October 2020

Donald Trump no fan of ‘Borat’ creator Sacha Baron Cohen

  • Word of Baron Cohen’s latest outrageous ambushes on unsuspecting participants had spread like wildfire

ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE: Donald Trump said Friday he has not been a fan of Sacha Baron Cohen – even before a clip from the British comedian’s new Borat movie forced the US president’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani into an awkward explanation.
Asked about the clip – which shows Giuliani in a faked “interview” with an attractive and flirtatious young woman – while speaking to journalists aboard Air Force One, Trump said: “I don’t know what happened.”
“But years ago, you know, he tried to scam me. And I was the only one who said no way. That’s a phony guy. And I don’t find him funny.”
Trump said the incident happened about 15 years ago.
“To me, he was a creep,” Trump said.
The president did not provide further details about that encounter, but in a 2003 interview, Baron Cohen – playing the wannabe gangster Ali G – pitched a business venture to Trump: special gloves for eating ice cream.
Before the new Borat film’s release, word of Baron Cohen’s latest outrageous ambushes on unsuspecting participants had spread like wildfire.
On Wednesday, Giuliani issued an angry denial over the fake interview.
In the film, the encounter appears to leave the 76-year-old former New York mayor in a compromising situation, caught with his hands down his pants in the bedroom.
Giuliani said the scene was “a complete fabrication.”
“I was tucking in my shirt after taking off the recording equipment. At no time before, during, or after the interview was I ever inappropriate,” he tweeted.
“If Sacha Baron Cohen implies otherwise, he is a stone-cold liar.”
The comedian continued to poke fun at Giuliani.
In a video posted on social media, Borat himself leapt to his defense and accused the “fake news media” – a term often used by Trump and his supporters – of turning an “innocent” encounter into “something disgusting.”