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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Interview with Michael Bloomberg

Aired September 11, 2002 - 07:43   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


AARON BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: As we said, Mayor Bloomberg, Michael Bloomberg, became mayor in a odd sort of way that the election took place.
And the mayor joins us now.

Mayor, it's nice to see you. We'll get to the difficult questions of money and the situation. Just tell me what your first relevant thought was this morning when you got out of bed.

MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, NEW YORK: Well, I thought about the four people that I knew personally that died. In the end, I think grieving is something that's internal, and you want to personalize things. There is nothing I can do to bring those four back, but I do remember all four of them. And my thoughts are with their families today, and maybe a little bit with my own family. You sort of hug your kids one extra time when something like this comes into your mind.

BROWN: The city is confronting a number of serious and complicated economic issues that have arisen out of September 11 a year ago. Tell me where the city's finances are. Can the city, without significantly more help than was first imagined, can the city get through this without federal -- more federal money?

BLOOMBERG: Well, we would obviously like as much help as we can get from the federal government and from the state government. But in the end, the federal government and the state government here have both been very generous so far. I think we have to make sure that we spend their monies wisely and give them a good accounting, and say thank you, if we're going to get any more.

To some extent, though, we're going to be dependent on our own devices. We're going to have to find ways to do more with less. We're going to have to find ways to enhance our revenues. It's a balancing act.

But New York is still the world's greatest city, as far as I'm concerned. There's a reason why people come here, live here, raise their families here. And those things have not gone away. If anything, maybe they are strengthened by the terrible tragedy of a year ago.

BROWN: When we talk about the economic issues that face the city, what is it specifically we're talking about? Where does the -- where is the help needed? Where does the money need to be spent? What needs to be done? BLOOMBERG: Well, we have to provide the world's best schools. We certainly don't have them, but that's our objective. We have to make the streets totally safe. We are the safest large city in America, but any crime rate is too high. We have a lot of great housing, but we certainly don't have enough. We have lots of jobs, but not enough for everybody that wants to have a good-paying, satisfying job.

So, we have to focus on those things. And that means that getting tax revenues in and providing services where the public feels that they are getting what they want, and we are doing it as efficiently as we can.

At the moment, we are facing a $5 billion budget gap for next year, but we had a $5 billion budget gap for this year, and we, I think, have worked our ways through it, and are planning for the future. We are taking the appropriate steps now to face those fiscal issues.

Today is the day, however, for remembrance of the 2,800 souls we lost, and a reason to -- a chance to explain to the world why those lives were taken. What it was about our society and our freedoms that some other people found so threatening they had to do this dastardly act.

And we've got to make sure that we tell the terrorists, look at us, you have not won, you will not win by terrorism. We will come out of this stronger than ever before.

BROWN: Mayor Bloomberg, it is always good to talk with you -- Mayor Mike Bloomberg, the mayor of New York.

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