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Michael Bloomberg's Inauguration as Mayor of New York

Aired January 1, 2002 - 12:02   ET


LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: A city that has been through some of the toughest times imaginable gets ready now to face the future with a new leader. The inauguration of Mayor Michael Bloomberg is happening right now in New York, and our Jason Carroll is standing by, and he joins us now live -- Jason.

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And good morning to you, Leon. The ceremony has already gotten under way. You can hear right now, they're making the announcements of some of those who are here in attendance. Some of the notables, Governor Pataki, Senator Clinton is here as well, former Mayor Ed Koch, former Mayor Dinkins here as well to attend.

Michael Bloomberg arrived not as some might have expected. He did not arrive in a motorcade or a limo. He showed up actually taking public transportation. He showed up by taking by taking the New York City subway down here to his inauguration. It is by invitation only.

Last night, though, everyone was invited to see the ceremonial handing over of the political power here in the city in Times Square. That was done. Our Mayor Rudy Giuliani swore in Michael Bloomberg last night in Times Square in front of thousands of people. It was an emotional moment there in Times Square. It promises to be an emotional moment for some out here -- down here in City Hall as well.

Bette Midler will sing the National Anthem once they have finished making all of the announcements of all of those who have come out here to attend. I heard you say a little earlier that the master of ceremonies is going to be New York Met, Al Leiter. He is going to be down here as well.

A lot of people waiting to hear what Bloomberg is going to have to say, Leon, during his inaugural speech. We are hearing that he'll touch on a number of themes, including the fact that the city is facing a pretty significant deficit -- a $4 billion deficit. We are expecting him to say that the city is going to have to tighten their belts. Also there will be references to September 11, references to themes that Bloomberg has wanted to focus on, namely education reform and a reduction in crime.

Once again, the ceremony has gotten under way. As soon as Mayor Bloomberg -- we're going to have to get used to saying that. We have been saying Mayor Giuliani for eight years, but now we're going to have to get used to saying Mayor Bloomberg. As soon as he takes the podium, we will bring that to you live -- Leon.

HARRIS: Jason, let's sit tight for just a second here, as they now bring out the presentation of the colors you see there on the stage.

CARROLL: Yes, that is happening right now as we see it.

ANNOUNCER: The recitation of the Pledge of the Allegiance, Gregory Persh (ph).

CARROLL: They're going to be giving the Pledge of Allegiance now as well, following (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

CROWD: I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please remain standing. We will now observe a moment of silence for the victims of the World Trade Center.

Thank you. It is my pleasure to introduce a truly extraordinary woman. She is the founder of the New York Restoration Project, and in her spare time has managed to win two Academy Awards nominations, two Emmys, four Grammys, a Tony and four Golden Globes. Ladies and gentlemen, for the singing of our National Anthem, please join me welcoming Bette Midler.


Please remain standing for the retirement of the colors following the completion of the National Anthem.

BETTE MIDLER, SINGER (sings the National Anthem)

HARRIS: What an incredible rendition there. Considering the temperature there, that was quite a rendition there -- Bette Midler, the National Anthem.

Our Jason Carroll is somewhere out there in the pack -- Jason, are you still there?

CARROLL: I'm still with you, Leon.

HARRIS: All right. Good deal. We want to try to see if we can stick with that. Now, you're -- I'm wondering if you heard the story about the significance here of Al Leiter, the Mets pitcher, being the master of ceremonies here.

CARROLL: Well, obviously a number of people out here have been talking about that. But I also want to point one other thing though, Leon. A lot of people out here have also been talking about what type of style...

HARRIS: I'll tell you what, Jason. Let me -- Jason, sorry to cut off, but they're beginning the invocation. Let's just have a moment of silence here. RABBI RONALD SOBEL: ... a world far from homeless and peace, a world waiting yet to be redeemed (UNINTELLIGIBLE) God we pray thee to the leaders and to the citizens of this greatest city in the world the courage to say there is one God in Heaven and upon Earth. And if there is one God, there is only one humanity. And if there is only one humanity, then only justice and love ought to dwell in our homes and walk in our streets. Justice, love amidst security. Enlightened with thy wisdom and sustain with thy power, those whom we the people to this day set in authority.

Michael, our 108th elected mayor. Betsy, our advocate, William our comptroller. Be with them, O God, with them, their counselors and advisers, this day and always. And be with us, so that we might be for them in our love of blessing and with our compassion of benediction. Amen.

HARRIS: I'm sorry to have to cut you off, Jason Carroll, but what we have been listening to is the invocation delivered by Rabbi Ronald Sobel, and I'm sure you are aware of this, but it appears they are going to cover almost every spiritual base they can there in New York. We're also going to be hearing from Imam Izak el Mu'eed Pasha and also the Very Reverend John Felice, as well as Archbishop Demetrios.

IMAM IZAK EL MU'EED PASHA: We beg God this day to bless us with words that will encourage all of us and the new day that is dawning. We ask God always to guide our honorable new Mayor Michael Bloomberg and our honorable Public Advocate Mr. Betsy Gotbaum and our honorable Comptroller Mr. William Thompson Jr.

We say from our holy book, our scriptures called the Koran, the Bible of the Muslim community, and we take a prayer from that scripture of revelation, which in its English translation is called "the glorious morning light." And in those words revealed to Prophet Mohammed, the prayers and peace upon him, the mercy to all of humanity.

It says: "The glorious morning light, with God's name, the Merciful Benefactor, the Merciful Redeemer, by the glorious morning light and by the night when it is still, thy guarding Lord has not forsaken thee, nor is he displeased with thee. And the hereafter will be better for thee than the present, and soon will thy guarding Lord give thee that wherewith thou shalt be well pleased. Did he not find thee an often and give thee shelter and care and he found thee wondering and he gave thee guidance, and he found thee in need and made thee independent. Therefore, treat not the orphan with harshness nor repulse him who asks, but the boundary of thy Lord rehearse and proclaim."

These words conclude that chapter, the 93rd Chapter of our Holy Book, and I close by saying in comments besides the petitioners who have asked for help, there is the case of those who do not ask, but are nevertheless poor. Poor but not content in worldly goods, or poor in knowledge or resources, and not even knowing that they are poor. If you are bountiful and bound by God, your duty is to make that bounty spread far and wide, proclaim it and share it as our Holy Prophet, the prayers of peace be upon him, always did.

We all receive God's grace and guidance in some degree or another. We all owe it a duty to our fellow man, to humanity, to be kind and helpful to those less endowed, and in any respect of ourselves. Amen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Very Reverend John Felice, provincial minister of the Franciscan Order of Friars Minor.

VERY REVEREND JOHN FELICE: Lord of light and life, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the father of Jesus of Nazareth, the Allah of Mohammed, give us the eyes of faith to see that we are all brothers and sisters, give us the greatness of heart to care about what happens to even the very least of us. Give us generous hands willing to wash one another's feet out of respect for our common human family.

In this spirit, bless our Brother Michael as he assumes the challenge of mayor of our beloved city in these difficult times. Give him a wise and understanding heart so that he may lead us as a brother. Give him counsel and fortitude so that he may always search for the truth with courage. Fill him with knowledge and reverence for your loving presence in every day of his life, and give him respect and honor for our diversity, which is the very source of our strength as a people.

May he always keep in his heart the simple prayer of my Brother Francis of Assisi: "Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me so love. Where there is injury, pardon. Where there is doubt, faith. Where there is despair, hope. Where there is darkness, light. And where there is sadness, joy."

With this heart and in this spirit, bless Michael, bless Betsy Gotbaum and Bill Thompson, and bless all those who will serve with them in the building up of this great city. We ask all this of the one who loves us more than we will ever understand. Amen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, primate of the Greek Orthodox Church.

ARCHBISHOP DEMETRIOS: O merciful and eternal God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who grants abundant life and lasting peace, we offer our prayers to you on this day and in the days and years to come, for your servant, the new mayor of this city of New York, Michael Bloomberg. We ask you, O Lord, to bestow upon him divine strength and wisdom, so that he may provide noble and inspiring leadership during these challenging times.

May your providential guidance direct the mayor, his associates and his staff in benevolent plans, creative decisions and just actions that will strengthen family and community bonds, thus continuing the vital legacy of New York as the great city of the world, which offers unity and diversity and progress in the midst of adversity.

In this trying time following the tragedy of September 11, we ask you Lord to use and enhance the gifts and abilities of our mayor and those assisting him so that the very vital healing process of lives and communities will continue in a true and proper way.

We are deeply grateful to you, O God, for listening favorably to our petitions. We express to you our wholehearted thanks and praises for your enduring blessing for the protection that can only come from you, and for the abundance of life you have granted to us. May Your name be blessed forever. Amen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The inauguration of the mayor will now follow. Honorable Judith S. Kaye, chief judge of the New York State Court of Appeals will now administer the oath of office to Michael R. Bloomberg.

HON. JUDITH S. KAYE, CHIEF JUDGE, NEW YORK STATE COURT OF APPEALS: Raise your right hand and repeat after me. I, Michael R. Bloomberg, do solemnly swear.

MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, MAYOR OF NEW YORK: I, Michael R. Bloomberg, do solemnly swear.

KAYE: That I will support the constitution of the United States.

BLOOMBERG: That I will support the constitution of the United States.

KAYE: And the constitution of the state of New York.

BLOOMBERG: And the constitution of the state of New York.

KAYE: And that I will faithfully discharge.

BLOOMBERG: And that I will faithfully discharge.

KAYE: The duties of the office of.

BLOOMBERG: The duties of the office of.

KAYE: Mayor of the city of New York.

BLOOMBERG: Mayor of the city of New York.

KAYE: According to the best of my ability.

BLOOMBERG: According to the best of my ability.

KAYE: So help me God.

BLOOMBERG: So help me God.

Thank you. Thank you.


BLOOMBERG: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, reverend clergy, elected officials, honored guests, my fellow citizens. I am honored and humble to serve as the 108th mayor of the city of New York.

Let me begin by saluting the leadership that Rudy Giuliani has provided over the last eight years.


BLOOMBERG: In our darkest hour, he was a ray of hope, a voice of reassurance to millions. He made us all proud, and he reminded the world that New Yorkers don't quit.

Everyone, please stand again and honor me -- and join me in honoring Rudy Giuliani.


BLOOMBERG: I just want you to know that last night in Times Square, when Rudy swore me in, he said to me, "don't fail our people." Rudy, I will not.

I also want to recognize former mayors Ed Koch and David Dinkins, who have devoted their lives to serving the city of New York. Everything we do is built on your service in the past, gentlemen. Thank you both.

Today, we celebrate the orderly transfer of power through a democratic process. Here in New York, we understand all too well the price of our liberty. Just half a mile from these steps we lost 3,000 of our friends, families, neighbors, co-workers, including more than 400 heroes who gave their lives to save others. On the worst day in our city's history, we were at our best. We saw the spirit of New York in our unity of purpose. Our police, firefighters, emergency service workers exemplified the highest ideal of our national character.

That sacrifice continues today. Americans are fighting terrorism around the world, and here at home our uniformed services continue the task of ensuring our safety. I pledge that my administration will strive in everything we do to honor the memory of those we have lost and honor those now fighting for our freedoms. We will rebuild, renew and remain the capital of the free world.


BLOOMBERG: To meet the challenges facing our city we must work together to draw upon the energy, entrepreneurship and talents of all New Yorkers. We are the toughest, most resilient and most determined people on the planet. Throughout our history, New Yorkers have always made the sacrifices necessary to achieve a better tomorrow, and there will be a better tomorrow.


BLOOMBERG: In the fiscal crisis of the mid-1970s, Governor Hugh Carey brought together the city, the state, labor and business. He went to Washington to deliver our message, and he prevailed.

This time Washington came to New York. Within days of the tragedy, President George W. Bush stood at ground zero and pledged that America stands with our city. Thank you, Mr. President, for all you have done, and all that you will do to have fulfilled that explicit pledge.


BLOOMBERG: We are also indebted to the leadership of United States Senators Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton, and to the dean of our congressional delegation, Charlie Rangel. They and their colleagues are the ones who represent us so ably in Washington. And together, we pledge to the president and to the Congress, we will justify America's support. In Albany, we are fortunate to have a governor, George Pataki.


BLOOMBERG: Who understands and appreciates the importance of our city. I look forward to working closely with the governor, and with our state legislative leaders, Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who have been so supportive.

As mayor, I will form a new partnership with Washington, with Albany, with our City Council, with our borough presidents, with out community boards, with our municipal unions, with business and with all New Yorkers. The people have asked us to set aside partisan differences, to overcome traditional barriers and to cooperate in this new partnership. This is an historic moment. We cannot afford to fight with each other. We must work together.


BLOOMBERG: I am especially pleased that my good friend for 30 years, John Whitehead, has assumed the chairmanship of the Lower Manhattan Redevelopment Corporation. John and his committee have been charged by Governor Pataki and Mayor Giuliani with coordinating all the proposals for rebuilding the World Trade Center site, and we know he and his committee will arrive at a consensus we all can support.

And as we must rebuild lower Manhattan, so we must also invest time and effort throughout our entire city. As Tony Morrison has said, "New York is the last true city." And it is the vitality of our neighborhoods that define us -- those streets where we work, we raise our children, form friendships and learn the values that we carry through life.

New York has been and will continue to be a magnet for people from all over the world. This is where the arts, business, research and technology converge to create the world's foremost urban economy. Based on my experience building a business here in New York, I can guarantee that New York is the best place in the world to do business. No city can match New York for its intellectual capital, financial know-how and cultural vibrancy. To our corporate -- thank you.


BLOOMBERG: To our corporate leaders, I urge you to strengthen your commitment to New York. This is no time to leave the Big Apple. Your future is New York. And New York is better than ever.


BLOOMBERG: I have said it before and I want to say it again: New York is safe, strong, open for business and ready to lead the world in the 21st century.


BLOOMBERG: We will continue to improve our quality of life, and attract visitors, tourists and businesses in record numbers. We will focus on public safety. We will work tirelessly to provide safe streets and homes for all New Yorkers. We will go forward. We will never go back.


BLOOMBERG: We will focus on adding and retraining -- and retaining jobs for all of our people. The ability for everyone to have the skills and opportunity to feed one's family is the basis for a free, healthy democratic society, and we must ensure all have it.

We will improve our public schools. Parents know that their children are safe and receiving an education that prepares them for the future is what they demand. We will test our educators. We will test our students. But the real test is that of political resolve, the test of ourselves. The need is real. The time is now. And without authority, there is no accountability. The public, through the mayor, must control the school system. To do this, I will build a partnership with the governor, our state legislators, the city council, the borough presidents, the teacher's union and parents. Together, we will create a school system that works for all our children.

Rebuilding our city and restoring our infrastructure, continuing the fight against crime and reforming our schools will not be easy in the current economic climate. It will require tough decisions and hard choices by all of us, in government, the nonprofit sector, business and labor. I will be asking all parts of my city government to do more with less. I will ask for their help, and I will seek their advice. But the facts are clear: We will not be able to afford all that we want. We will not even be able to afford everything we currently have.

And since leadership means setting an example, and in my book the search for efficiency always begins at the top, I pledge to reduce staffing in the office of the mayor by 20 percent, and I hereby challenge the controller, public advocate, borough presidents and the city council to do the same. We cannot ask of others what we are not willing to do ourselves.

I will do my part to balance the budget, as I am sure every city employee will do in turn. Let me say once more, though, we cannot repeat the mistakes of the past. We cannot drive people and business out of New York. We cannot raise taxes. We will find another way. And even though we must sacrifice now, let us not forget we are still a city of big dreams, of big ideas, big projects and a big heart. We must plan and develop for the long term. We can never abandon our future. We will bring new life to our waterfront and stimulate new investment in housing, schools, and when we can afford them, the world's best cultural and athletic facilities. These, along with our parks and transportation infrastructure in all five boroughs, cannot be ignored. We will plan now and build as funds become available. We will emerge from short-term pain to long-term gain.

This is a city -- this is a city where 140 languages are spoken. Since the days of the Dutch, wave after wave of immigrants have transformed this city. They have flourished because of the culture of tolerance and acceptance that characterizes New York. Our challenge is to strengthen that culture and fight bigotry in any form, wherever it may happen. I will not allow any form of bias to drain our energy or divide our communities.

Those of us in government must remember that we are here to work with and serve all eight million New Yorkers. When I launched my campaign in Queens, I said my only regret was that my father did not live to see my dreams come true. I want New Yorkers to have the same opportunity my father wanted for my sister and me, the opportunity to pursue one's dreams.

In the next four years, I will devote myself to building a better New York. I promise that I will govern, free from partisanship and prejudice. I promise that I will listen. And whether you ultimately agree with my decisions, you will know that your voice has been heard.

On election night, I vowed to build the best government this city has ever seen, an inclusive, diverse, energetic and innovative government, the right team to lead our city through difficult times. I am very proud of the administration we're assembling, but government alone can't find the solutions to all of our problems. It is not in City Hall, but in the Rockaways, Bay Ridge, Washington Heights, Newdorf (ph) and Belmont. There, and in the hundreds of neighborhoods throughout this great city, are many of our answers. Together, we will make the hard choices. We will forge a new partnership that binds all New Yorkers to meet our challenges head on, and we will prevail.

Thank you, and God bless New York.


HARRIS: And with that, it is official now. Mike Bloomberg is now the mayor of New York and with this inauguration speech, our Jason Carroll is there in the crowd. He has been listening there. Jason, we had a few expectations about what we might hear in this speech, and it seems to me like we got that and a little bit more.

CARROLL: We definitely did, Leon. He definitely touched on a point -- several points that many people out here expected him to touch one. Namely, he mentioned some references to September 11. Specifically, he said it was the worst day in the city's history. He said, "We, though, were at our desk." That definitely went over well with this crowd out here. He also said he pledged to honor those who lost their lives by rebuilding, renewing the economic -- rebuilding, renewing here in New York City. Also a reference to the troubled economic times that the city faces. The city is facing a $4 billion deficit, Leon. And Mayor Bloomberg talked about that in some way. We had said earlier that he said that New York was -- New Yorkers were going to have to tighten their belts. Well, he said specifically he is going to be asking all parts of the city to do more with less. But he said he wouldn't be asking anyone to do anything that he wouldn't do himself.

He also said that he would do all of this with a promise, Leon. He said that he would promise to do it all without raising taxes. He said, "We will find another way."

He also touched on a number of other themes that are close to his heart, namely public safety. He mentioned education, schools, quality of life. And he also had a reference to how diverse the city of New York City is. He also said that he would do everything in his power to fight bigotry. That definitely went over well with this diverse crowd. I mean, you could hear -- you heard when his speech was over, he got a healthy round of applause as the city celebrates a New Year and a new mayor -- Leon.

HARRIS: I just want to draw on one other distinction here, Jason. And specifically here now, I was listening personally to hear what he was going to say about the schools, because all of the heads up that we have gotten about the issues that were close to Mike Bloomberg's heart and issues that the city definitely needed to have addressed, one of the things that Mayor Giuliani was not able to do was to improve the public school system. And he did say that he was going to do that, and he mentioned that they can't afford all that -- he says here, "We can't afford all that we want or even all that we have right now."

And when he went on to talk about some of these -- the belt tightening that has to happen there, it was quite a substantial figure. He says 20 percent staff reductions is what he is calling on there for his staff there at City Hall, and he's calling the City Council and the boroughs to also do the same. And you heard that reaction there in the crowd. It didn't sound to be a rather favorable one when they heard that from him.

CARROLL: Well, when you're facing a $4 billion deficits, cuts are going to have to made all across the board. Cuts are going to have to be made at City Hall. They're going to have to be made all across -- even throughout education, throughout other arms of the city as well. But even though New York City did well under Giuliani in terms of reducing crime, there was criticism from many people across the city that not enough was done in terms of education, in terms of bringing up to standard the schools, and in terms of schools', teachers' and students' performance. Not enough was being done.

And so, Bloomberg had made a point during his campaign that he said that he was going to try to do all that he can to improve that. And I think everyone here welcomed what he had to say in that front. HARRIS: All right. Thank you very much, Jason Carroll, joining us live there from New York as the Mike Bloomberg era there in the city has began. An era, which is going to begin with a message of short-term pain being a long-term pain in that city, but (UNINTELLIGIBLE) note there is a positive one.




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