Michael Bloomberg: History Of New York City Mayors

Michael Bloomberg History

Photo: TechCrunch, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

It’s hard to turn on the news nowadays and not hear something about Michael Bloomberg. Some people may know him because of his business pursuits. Others may remember his name because of his charitable efforts. Many New York residents associate him with his time spent as mayor of New York City.

Michael Bloomberg was born at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts on February 14, 1942. He lived with his parents Charlotte and William in the Boston neighborhood of Allston until he was two years old. They moved to Brookline, Massachusetts and resided there for two more years until they relocated to nearby Medford. Michael Bloomberg graduated from Medford High School in 1960. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland four years later. In 1966, Michael graduated from the Masters of Business Administration program at Harvard Business School in Boston.

Michael Bloomberg was hired by the Wall Street investment firm Salomon Brothers in 1973. He started out as a general partner, and would later head the company’s equity trading and systems development departments. Salomon Brothers was purchased by the international trading organization Phibro Corporation in 1981. Phibro terminated Michael Bloomberg’s employment, but awarded him $10 million for his share of equity in the company.

Michael Bloomberg put that money toward creating his own company, Innovative Market Systems (IMS). It was a financial systems business developed to create computers that could provide analytic data, financial information and other market-related data to Wall Street companies as updates were happening. His first product, the Market Master terminal, was introduced in December 1982.

Michael Bloomberg’s company took off and continued to grow. It was renamed Bloomberg L.P. in 1986. Bloomberg Tradebook, Bloomberg Radio and Bloomberg News were some of its most popular offerings. Michael’s company is now a multi-billion dollar organization, with over 20,000 employees and more than 300,000 subscribers worldwide.

Michael Bloomberg ran for Mayor of New York City in 2001 after incumbent mayor Rudolph Guiliani was unable to run again after having been in office for the city’s maximum of two terms. Prior to his candidacy, Bloomberg had been a Democrat. He switched to the Republican party and won the election against Democratic candidate Herman Badillo.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg took a Wall Street approach to city government. His management style was based on metric data and statistics. He was later praised for his open office floor plan that allowed city staff and assistants to be seated together in the same meeting room.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed property tax increases that would eventually help transform the New York city budget from a $6 billion deficit into a $3 billion surplus. He called for a smoking ban in 2003 at restaurants, bars and other indoor work areas. This program was very successful, and was implemented in other nearby cities and states. Mayor Michael Bloomberg also kept more than 150,000 homes in the city because of the affordable housing program that he developed and was able to secure funding for.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg is known for being health conscious. He introduced legislation that mandated calorie count information be made available in chain restaurants. Michael also added more pedestrian zones in Times Square and prohibited trans fats in all New York city restaurants during his time in office. He also banned e-cigarette and artificially flavored tobacco products in the city.

Not everything that Mayor Michael Bloomberg accomplished as mayor was met with praise. His attempts to prevent the sale of 16 ounce sodas in New York City were seen by critics as an attempt to impose “nanny state” government on citizens. Bloomberg’s expansion of the city police department’s stop question and frisk program caught the attention of the U.S. Federal Court. The court would eventually rule that the program allowed racial profiling and breached the rights of citizens for protection against unlawful searches and seizures under the Fourth Amendment. Opponents were also irked when Michael supported Park51, a proposed Islamic center that would be only a couple of blocks from the site of the September 11, 2001 World Trade Center attacks.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg was frequently viewed as being conservative in terms of pre-college education choices, law enforcement and regulating companies. He also supported several progressive causes. Michael fought for public health options that would allow all city residents to seek Medicare and other related health care choices. He fought to minimize pollution and greenhouse gases. Bloomberg also supported citizenship for illegal immigrants, same-sex marriages, abortion rights and gun control.

Michael Bloomberg remained in the mayor’s office until December 31, 2013. He would be mentioned as a possible candidate for New York governor, U.S. vice-president and president, but largely decided not to run for office again. The one exception to that rule was his presidential campaign in 2020. Bloomberg sought the Democratic nomination for president in November 2019, after having returned to the party the previous year. He funded his campaign entirely on his own, and refused to accept any campaign contributions.

Michael Bloomberg entered the race late and fought an uphill battle. Opponents attacked him for his former affiliation with the Republican Party and because of his personal wealth and the money that was spent on his campaign. It was also discovered during his first presidential debate that three women claimed that they had been sexually harassed during their employment at Michael’s company, and had since signed non-disclosure agreements. Elizabeth Warren asked Bloomberg to set those women free from the agreements. Michael agreed to do so if the women made that request. Those factors and disappointing poll ratings by the Super Tuesday primary election day led Michael to end his campaign. He would later donate money to the Democratic National Committee and support Democratic candidate Joe Biden in the presidential race.

Michael has always been a philanthropist. He signed the Giving Pledge in 2010, which encourages the wealthy to donate significant portions of their income to charitable causes. To date, he has given away more than $9 billion. His company created the Bloomberg Philanthropies foundation, which is devoted to supporting education, the environment, the arts, government innovation and public health.

Michael Bloomberg and his organization have been involved in helping various organizations during the current pandemic. They spearheaded New York’s work at contact tracing and worked with the National League of Cities to develop a network for providing and sharing updated information. His foundation donated more than $70 million to New York City non-profits affected by the Coronavirus and aligned with Harvard College to gather mayors from across the state to talk about and find ways to improve their pandemic response efforts.

Michael Bloomberg married British citizen Susan Elizabeth Barbara Brown in 1975. The couple had two daughters, Emma and Georgina. Susan and Michael divorced in 1993, but remain friendly. Michael has lived with Diana Taylor, a former banking superintendent for the state of New York, since 2000.

Michael Bloomberg is frequently in the public eye. He’s made himself accessible for decades, ever since he first started riding the New York City subway lines during his time as mayor. Michael has been a guest lecture at several universities and has appeared as himself on television shows such as Law and Order, Curb Your Enthusiasm and 30 Rock. He has also written his own biography, as well as the nonfiction Climate of Hope: How Cities, Businesses and Citizens Can Save The Planet and dozens of op-ed articles throughout the decades.

Whether you love him or hate him, it’s hard to ignore the impact that Michael Bloomberg has made on New York City, his adopted home state and the nation. He’s not afraid to cross party lines and stand for what he believes in. He ran city offices like a business while he was mayor, which isn’t all that surprising when you consider his professional background. Bloomberg has tried to make the world a better place and improve the living conditions for the inhabitants of the city that he has devoted many years of his life to.

 

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