NEW YORK—Mayor Michael Bloomberg joined John Gambling on 710AM on a snowy Friday morning to discuss the hot topics of the week. Here are the highlights:
In conjunction with Daylight Savings time, The mayor reminded New Yorkers to change the batteries in their smoke detectors this weekend. He said there are locations to get free smoke detectors all over the city.
Fire deaths were at an all time low in 2012, but 80 percent of the deaths did not have working smoke detectors available.
On Wednesday, the FDNY testified at City Council against the mayor’s budget proposal which will close 20 firehouses. Bloomberg defended the move saying better FDNY training and a less dense population means not so many firehouses are needed.
The FDNY testified the closures would decrease safety.
Teen Pregnancy Ads
Mayor Bloomberg answered Planned Parenthood criticism of the city’s new anti-teen pregnancy ads. “In the day and age of so much media, you have to stand out and do something dramatic,” Bloomberg said. “You have to get through the clutter.”
Osama bin Laden’s Son-in-Law in Court
Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law in court, and a member of his inner circle, will appear in federal court on Friday in Manhattan.
Bloomberg said he did not want to second-guess President Barack Obama on the decision to hold the trial in New York City, but did say the city would be safe.
“No streets will be closed because of this,” Bloomberg said.
Homeless Population Increase
A report earlier in the week showed an increase in the homeless population, something that concerned advocates.
Bloomberg said the city is required by state law to provide shelter to anyone without a home. He said the problem is not more homeless people but the fact that they are staying in the shelters longer. He pointed to the elimination of the Advantage program which used to aid people in finding more permanent housing.
“City taxpayers cannot subsidize everyone’s rent,” Bloomberg said.
The mayor said living on $7.25 or even $9 per hour would be difficult and suggested a tax credit to help bridge the gap. Bloomberg said the tax approach would be more targeted and provide aid to lower wage workers as well as those on minimum wage.
When asked about the unemployment rate Bloomberg said, the number is “relatively meaningless.”
He said the number is determined by calling a low percentage of people (18,000 in New York State). If the person is unemployed but not looking, they are not counted, according to the Mayor.
Bloomberg said the number of people who are working provides a “real number.”
With the soda ban expected to begin next week, the mayor once again defended the new law.
“The nice thing about the soda thing is, it really is just a suggestion,” Bloomberg said. “If you want to buy 32 ounces, you just have to carry back to your seat in two cups. Maybe that would convince you to only take one.”
A caller, Dave from New Jersey, asked Bloomberg if he would consider mandating a gym membership or exercising to further protect public health.
“You have to be practical about what you can do legally,” the mayor said.