Thursday, May 19, 2011

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio Slams Mayor At Forest Hills Meeting by Rob MacKay - Forest Hills, NY Patch

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Sounding a lot like a candidate for Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s job, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio blasted Hizzoner during a visit to Forest Hills Wednesday night, criticizing City Hall’s handling of everything from the budget to taxi cab contracts.
Citing “moral reasons,” de Blasio ripped the Bloomberg Administration’s threat to eliminate roughly 6,000 teacher positions throughout the New York City public school system. Not only would this plan reduce some school’s staffs by five percent, but it is completely unnecessary, according to the public advocate.
Addressing a joint meeting of local Democratic Party clubs, de Blasio calculated that the purported teacher layoffs would slash only $300 million from the school system’s $22 billion-plus annual budget. He suggested investigating other expenditures, such as some teacher training programs, that could be eliminated with less impact on students.
“There’s a lot of other things you can cut,” de Blasio said.
He also expressed opposition to the Bloomberg Administration’s threat to disregard LIFO (Last In, First Out), a policy of applying seniority preferences to teacher employment issues. “Seniority should be respected,” de Blasio said.
The other hot topic was the Taxi & Limousine Commission’s contest to award an exclusive contract to sell and service city cabs for the next decade. The TLC chose Nissan, whose proposal had no guarantee to create jobs in the five boroughs, even though runner-up Ford had pledged to build the taxis in Brooklyn in its application.
“The TLC asked for nothing in terms of jobs in New York City,” he said. “We want the maintenance done in the city.”
The public advocate also promised to step up efforts to eradicate illegal boarding houses. He said that the city is filled with two-family houses with 20 or more residents.
“It’s a huge fire hazard,” de Blasio said. “The Department of Buildings has not done a good job in my opinion.”