Bloomberg isn't ready to release an emergency-response report, or let go of a dreamed-of 7 train to New Jersey
In the face of mounting curiosity about a report his administration commissioned on 911 response times, Mayor Michael Bloomberg defended keeping it private for now.
“No," he said responding to a reporter's question on whether he would release the report, known as the Call Processing Review. "It’s a preliminary report and we’ll put it in when we get a final report that pulls together all of the relevant data. As you know, we always release those and we’ll do that."
According to the New York Post, the report concludes that a new $2 billion emergency-response system is significantly overbudget and has actually slowed police and fire response times.
"I think people have to understand, you can get tired of this," Bloomberg said. "These agencies are run for the public, not for the people that work there. And temporary reports that we’ve asked to look at things are working documents and you have to get those and get ‘em together and when everything’s clear on what we’ve done and what we have, we’ll be happy to release them.”
Bloomberg said that emergency-response times in the city are still the lowest on record.
“Obviously, things are working," the mayor said. "Can we always do it better? Sure. We’ll look at everything and anybody that’s got suggestions, we’ll be happy to take them in. But you just don’t take the working papers from agency and put them out there.”
Bloomberg had just finished a tour of a Flushing senior center run by Selfhelp Community Services, one of the city’s eight “Innovative Senior Centers,” offering robust programming, health kiosks and access to communication technology like webcams.
Walking through the center, Bloomberg greeted 40 residents in a dining room, observed a tai chi class and walked into a Skype sing-a-long of “Fools Rush In” between some residents. There, he joked with one of the participants that he got more interested in senior programs as he got older.
Later, speaking to reporters, Bloomberg praised the senior center for adding access to programs and technology.
"It also means connecting older New Yorkers to technology and the advances that are transforming our society in ways that were unimaginable only a decade ago," he said.
"Today, Snipe is something that lots of seniors all around the country use, not just here in New York," he continued, referring to Skype. "Who would have thought that people have mobile phones that are intelligent, people have tablets, people have desktop computers at home and they actually are using them. We all think that technology is just for the young people, that’s not true and clearly we can demonstrate here that that is not true.”
After lauding the success of the $3.5 million outsourcing effort over eight centers, he announced plans to open two more in Brooklyn.
“We’re not just making an investment and walking away, you should know,” he said. "We’re taking the same approach we apply to other challenges, whether it’s reducing crime or fighting poverty: plan for the long term, focus on innovation, demand accountability and measure the results and consistently improve.”
Before the mayor took questions, Selfhelp C.E.O. Stuart Kaplan gave him a certificate as "honorary professor of current events for Selfhelp's virtual senior center" and invited Bloomberg to teach a class.
Afterward, the mayor took a question from a WNYC reporter about earlier remarks by M.T.A. chairman Joe Lhota claiming the 7-train extension to New Jersey was “not going to happen in anybody’s lifetime.”
Bloomberg kept it laudatory.
“Hopefully it happens in somebody’s lifetime," Bloomberg said. "Those people may not have been born yet. You know, Joe’s—listen, I have great respect for Joe Lhota and he’s a realist. I don’t know, we can keep trying. It would be great if it happened. I think having more tunnels over to New Jersey will help both New Jersey and New York City, if people are going to go back and forth.”
Bloomberg extolled some of the tunnel’s benefits including less traffic and pollution.
“Getting the ways that people come in and out of the city with mass transit is obviously the way to go, and I’m sure what Joe is referring to is it’s very hard to see the funding for that come right now," he said. "If somebody could provide the funding, I can tell you, Joe Lhota can build it.”
In response to another question, Bloomberg reacted to a recent court decision to deny a challenge to the Census count of New York's population, which many local leaders have said is far too low.
“I was disappointed," Bloomberg said. "I think they just made a mistake, honestly.”