Newsday from New York, New York on June 18, 2002 · 16
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Newsday from New York, New York · 16

New York, New York
Issue Date:
Tuesday, June 18, 2002
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IY TUESDAY JUNE 18 2002 No Party Line ° For Bloomberg Seeks nonpartisan elections By Dan Janison STAFF WRITER Elected from a party that enrolls fewer than one of every six city voters Republican Mayor Michael Bloomberg said yesterday he’d seek to make municipal elections "nonpartisan” — prompting instant criticism from civic groups and Democrats Bloomberg said he’d push for a November ballot referendum to make that change and to alter the City Charter so his appointed first deputy would succeed him if he leaves office before his term ends The charter now calls for the elected public advocate to succeed the mayor Democrat Betsy Gotbaum a friend and ally of Bloomberg who holds that office said she opposed such a change “I don’t agree with that at all” Gotbaum said Bloomberg’s surprise call for nonpartisan balloting — a move even aides likened in style to his GOP predecessor Rudolph Giuliani — was seen by insiders as his boldest foray yet into partisan politics City Republicans who labor under a 5-1 enrollment disadvantage against Democrats would likely benefit from the change Bloomberg himself has acknowledged joining the GOP in 2000 to sidestep a Democratic primary Then he spent an unheard-of $ 7 5-million-plus to edge Mark Green the Democratic nominee in November Echoing past statements from Giuliani Bloomberg argued in July in a Newsday opinion piece that other mqjor cities have elections without party labels Parties “limit who can run for city office” he argued Bloomberg added yesterday that since primary elections often with low turnout shape the ballot “it’s not as democratic as you’d want" But ip a joint statement the City Club New York Public Interest Research Times’ HQ Could The proposed new headquarters of the New York Times could cost era about $79 million thanks to a tate deal worked out by city and state officials the Village Voice reported in this week’s edition Citing a city official’s affidavit and court documents in a lawsuit the Voice said the Times is slated to acquire through condemnation the Times Square property for the 52-story building at tens of millions of dollars below market value The Times and its development partner Forest City Ratner Companies are to obtain the Eighth Avenue site between 40th and 41st streets under a long-term lease for $856 million If the court sets a higher condemnation price than $656 million the developers will be allowed to deduct the extra costs as a credit against payments they make in lieu of property taxes j - j - - - sa ! I j : I '( 1 ' i Group and Common Cause condemned the “truncated and closed process” to change the charter that Giuliani exercised three times In one case Giuliani floated a change in succession but didn't press it after a Dacklash Gifford Miller Democratic 1 of a City Council made up of 47 Democrats and four Republicans criticized the mayor’s proposal 1 am not a fan of nonpartisan elections I think people ought to say who they are and what they stand for said Miller Deputy Council Majority Leader William Perkins (D-Manhattan) went a step further saying he considered the timing of the proposal “inappropriate” with talks on the city’s $42 billion budget and severe spending cuts still incomplete The budget which was due June 5 and has a projected $5 billion deficit has yet to be agreed on A city lawyer with Democratic ties warned that the proposed change would need federal Justice Department approval under the Voting Rights Act Racial minorities have gained clout in thee jority party and not among 1 noted the lawyer The state Democratic chairman Assemb Homan Farrell of 1 said “Mayor Bloomberg life at the top with $76 million to spend But the rest of us have climbed the political ladder and succeeded because of the organizatianalresourcesonlythe parties can provide” Bloomberg wnmiirncaHnn director William Cunningham a former Democrat state executive director said the goal is to get “more people involved in the The mayor plans to form a charteMwi-sian commission that would put proposals on the November ballot fanning speculation that Bloomberg is preparing to quit in mid-term — which aides deny Albany Bureau Chief Jordan Bau and staff writers William Murphy and Curtis L Taylor contributed to this story Cost Taxpayers In a court affidavit Raffaela Pe-trasek senior vice president of the city’s Economic Development Corp said the Times could receive years of subsidies from the city treasury Lawyers for the property owners say the break could be worth at least $79 million The Times denied that the state-controlled Empire State Development Corp which is using its power to condemn the land was giving the company an unfair benefit “We believe that the deal is a fair one for both sides in light of the benefits the city will receive and the risks the company is taking” Catherine Mathis a Times’ spokeswoman told the Voice She also rejected a statement from a journalism professor quoted in the story as saying the deal “gives the ap-s of impropriety" i — j - i — - ( iiijiu - vTo 'i’t '‘'Tvn-r s' Matthew Propp pushes Judith Smiley In her wheelchair as they arrive at Queens courthouse where she and husband Barry Smiley right face kidnapping charges " Possible Plea Deal In Kidnap Trial By Herbert Lowe STAFF WRITER Queens prosecutors and defense attorneys seemed on the verge of a plea deal yesterday as jury selection be in the trial of a couple accused of napping a baby b 1980 so they could raise him as their own in jJew Mexico Attorneys in the case declined to discuss specifics after they met for two hours after lunch in the Queens district attorney’s office while potential jurors waited to return to the courtroom in State Supreme Court in Kew Gardens Still Assistant District Attorney Eric Rosenbaum and attorneys representing Barry and Judith Smiley told Justice Roger Rosengarten that a deal could be agreed to this morning “I think it’s sc something for everybody to sleep on” Raymond Colon the attorney for Barry Smiley 56 said while pushing Judith Smiley 55 in her wheelchair toward an elevator “We’re having discussions and Tin hoping to put some closure to it” The Smileys fled from Jamaica Estates on June 5 1980 with the 15-month-old child they had tried to adopt despite a Queens Family Court order to return him to his biological parents They took the names Bennett and Mary Propp and named the boy Matthew Tti a madia Witr beginning last Thun day from their home in and television : l i j : cb J':! : ? - i -V'L'ijl I5 ts H l iT-id !-v' f:J -a ff : r11 l'l'i-t" Nowaday Photo Alan I couple said they took the child to protect him from others who could not take care ofhis dire medical needs Matthew Propp now 23 and an emergency medical technician steadfastly supports the Smileys as his parents and would likely be a character witness for them at trial Colon said Anthony Russini Propp’s biological father said outside the courthouse that he remained adamant that the Smileys go to prison for taking his son The district attorney’s office is going to decide what to do — that’s their job” said Russini 42 of Westbury “I just i prospective jurors entered his courtroom Rosengarten told defense lawyers they could not refer to the Smileys as Propp’s relatives during the expected monthlong trial The judge said however he would reserve judgment on whether the Smileys could argue they had no choice but to flee with the child The Smileys arrived at the courthouse with Propp pushing the wheelchair of the woman who raised him The prospect of losing your parents isn't something that’s easy to wake up to” Prtpp said Judith Smiley said she too was nervous “It’s very hard to be here it’s very hard to see Matt being put through thfr stress of this” she said "What we’ve always wanted is to protect him and this trial is real hard”-

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