By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The final State of the City Address delivered by Michael Bloomberg did not impress a man who wants to succeed the mayor in his job.
Democrat Sal Albanese, who wages an uphill fight for his party’s nomination for mayor, said the speech showed that the billionaire Bloomberg is “still out of touch with average New Yorkers.”
The mayor delivered the final State of the City speech of his mayoralty Thursday at the Barclays Center.
"Mayor Bloomberg's speech today was a mixed bag, just like his legacy will be,” said Albanese, a former Bay Ridge councilman who spoke out almost immediately after the speech ended. “He entirely ignored the city's middle class families, dismissed people who care about their neighborhoods as obstructionists, avoided the real issues facing our public schools, and glossed over our horrendous rate of income inequality,” Albanese said.
Still, Albanese did have some kind words for the speech. “I'm not going to pretend Bloomberg had nothing good to say. He set the right tone on several issues, from putting New Yorkers to work rebuilding our neighborhoods to equipping citizens of all ages to work in a growing tech sector,” he said.
Albanese also agreed with the mayor on passing the DREAM Act and getting strong gun control laws on the books.
“Most importantly, the mayor hit a home run on the issue of political independence, echoing a message that I've been delivering to my opponents all year: When you depend on every special interest under the sun to get elected, you can't make decisions based on the merits. That is bad for our communities, bad for our schools, and bad for business,” Albanese said.
“Political independence, the kind that I've made a core of my campaign, is the only way to ensure that the next mayor is free to focus on building a safer, smarter, and fairer New York," he said.
Albanese, a lawyer, served as Bay Ridge's councilman for 15 years before leaving public office in 1997. He remained active in politics and served as a delegate for Barack Obama at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. Prior to serving on the City Council, he was a teacher at John Jay High School.
Highlights of the mayor’s State of the City Address included: opening the next phase of BioBAT at the Brooklyn Army Terminal in Sunset Park, a plan that Bloomberg said will ultimately provide 500,000 square feet of commercial biotech space.
Bloomberg also said opening the new Steeplechase Plaza at Coney Island is important. Located in the amusement district between MCU Park and the Boardwalk, this 2.2-acre outdoor oceanfront plaza is envisioned as a site for public performances and art, a water feature and retail space, Bloomberg said.
In his speech, the mayor also talked about creating a new community in Brooklyn called Greenpoint Landing that would have more than 5,000 new homes, 1.5 acres of parkland and up to four acres of waterfront open space, a marina, a public school, commercial space and shops.
“But as far as we’ve come, our work is not done. We have unfinished business – and only 320 days to complete it,” said Bloomberg, who is in his last year in office due to the city’s term limits law.
“As the countdown clock in City Hall says: we are going to make every day count. Our goal is not to spend the year cutting ribbons. It’s much bigger than that: Our goal is to advance projects – and start new ones – that will keep our city on the right course for decades to come. … That’s why 2013 will be our busiest – and most important – year yet,” Bloomberg said.