Michael Rubens Bloomberg is an American businessman and politician, born on February 14, 1942, at Medford, Massachusetts. He founded the Bloomberg L.P., a financial data-services firm, and the Bloomberg Philanthropies, that supports climate change and human rights. Bloomberg took up a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University and finished a Master in Business Administration at Harvard University. After college, he used to work at Wall Street’s Salomon Brothers investment bank for 15 years before he went out of a job. With his buyout fund, he established Innovative Market Systems later renamed to Bloomberg L.P.
While he was Bloomberg’s CEO, he also served as the mayor of New York City in 2002 as a Republican.
During the 2002 mayoral campaign, Bloomberg spent more than $68 million from his finances. He took the office just months after the 9/11 terrorist attack while being uncertain of the city’s social, economic, and financial future. Bloomberg started the redevelopments, including the city-wide smoking ban, enhanced tourism, and better local government funding. He also focused on improving traffic enforcement, housing, and education.
His administration rezoned 40% of New York, to construct new residential and commercial areas. This is through the PlaNYC, a sustainability plan aimed to prepare the city for one million more residents and enhance the quality of life of New Yorkers. He renovated and established commercial districts including the High Line Park and the Hudson Yards real-estate development. When NYC’s subway system struggled to fund its subway extension, he maneuverer the city to pay for itself.
Under his watch, Bloomberg leads the fight to climate change, sustainable strategies, and waterfront industries. He envisioned to reduce 30% of NYC’s carbon footprint by 2030. After Hurricane Sandy hit the country, he created the Special Initiative for Rebuilding and Resiliency (SIRR) focusing on preparing and protecting against the effects of climate change. Bloomberg also created the NYC Solar Map was also to prepare for a shift to solar energy. He marked out Solar Empowerment Zones, where solar energy systems were installed.
His leadership reformed the city’s educational system. In 2013, NYC modeled the incorporation of comprehensive progress reports for every school, injecting accountability to all levels of the system. In the same year, high school graduation rates reportedly rose to over 42% compared to the year 2005. He also started programs focused on expanding access to internships and teaching computer skills among disconnected youth and young adults. Project Rise was then launched, an initiative that offers educational opportunities, paid internships, and case management services for out-of-school youth. Over 600 new schools, 173 charter schools, and 126,000 classrooms were also built.
City services have become more accessible through implementing the 311 telephone line. This hotline allowed callers to report crimes, public facilities problems, or anything else. Bloomberg also started the NYC Service, a volunteering guild which raised more than $2.7 million for non-profit organizations. This initiative supports local neighbourhoods, veterans, and environmental groups among others. Over 9 million volunteers took part in this service that led to the beautification of the city, assisted people who needed legal services, sponsored free fitness programs, and planted over 800,000 trees.
Bloomberg led the campaign against illegal guns in the country. He co-founded ‘Mayors Against Illegal Guns,’ US’ largest gun-violence prevention coalition, backed by 1000 mayors and 1.5 million supporters. He also successfully launched undercover investigations to smoke out illegal gun owners and sellers. Meanwhile, he passed a tougher state gun law that limits the purchases of a handgun, banned illegal toy guns, documented a gun offender registry, and regulated the gun inventory checks.
He stayed on the position for two more terms as an independent and championed the creation of bike lanes, a trans-fat ban on food and calorie count on the menu of every restaurant. Along with this, he attempted to ban soda products yet failed big time. On his last term, his “stop-and-frisk” crime-prevention strategy grew controversy. This strategy allowed police officers to detain, question, or search suspected individuals without a valid reason. This angered many New Yorkers as it unfairly targets blacks, Latinos, and teenage boys.
When he first sat on the position, NYC suffered a major budget deficit yet came out stronger in the later years. The 9/11 attacks caused a national recession, but NYC gained back 327% of the lost jobs. After the three terms, he transformed the city and left a $2.4 billion budget surplus.
In 2018, Bloomberg pledged $4.5 million to cover the Paris Agreement on climate change when Republican President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the commitment. Following that, he offered an $18 million campaign support to defeat Republicans during the midterm elections. In the same year, he re-registered as a Democrat which rose speculations about him running on the presidency. He announced that he is not interested in becoming a president in March 2019 but officially entered the race six months later. He poured out over $500 million for his political ads and campaign staff’s salary, yet struggled to get the citizen’s support. It was only until March 2020 when he gave up the run and announced his support for Joe Biden.
Political Stance on these issues:
Bloomberg currently employs over 20,000 people in his various companies. On one of his campaigns, he forwarded job creation, strengthened middle working-class, and generated good-paying working systems. As a mayor, he started the Small Business Solutions Center to offer free services to businesses all over NYC.
He pledged $500 million to the Beyond Carbon projects which aimed to eliminate coal-fired power plants, stop the expansion of natural gas, and move the country to renewable energy sources. In 2011, he founded Beyond Coal and the Sierra Club, responsible for the shutdown of half of US coal plants.
Bloomberg has been supporting same-sex marriage since 2009 and had made efforts for it to be legal in NYC in 2011. The Human Rights Campaign once named Bloomberg LP as one of the best working places with LGBTQ equality. He also spoke out against Trump regarding the ban of trans-genders serving the military.
He supports citizenship for illegal immigrants who are currently in the US. When Texas refused to accept any more refugees, he responded this by tweeting “As president, I will end Trump’s attempts to demonize and scapegoat refugees and immigrants.” He believed that Trump is playing with the US Visa so he can temporarily hire immigrants at meager wages. Additionally, he implemented a confidentiality policy of people’s immigration status so they would not be afraid to use the city’s services.
Aside from being a businessman and a politician, Bloomberg is a frat leader, a boy scout, a self-made billionaire, a pilot, and a fluent Spanish-speaker. Bloomberg was the first openly Jewish member of the fraternity Phi Kappa Psi – Hopkins chapter. He also became the president of the fraternity and the Inter-Fraternity Council. As a young boy, he was an Eagle Scout, the highest-ranking position one can attain in the Boy Scouts organization. His scouting service includes escorting elderly residents to polls.
Bloomberg was not born rich. His father was a bookkeeper at a dairy company and never earned a salary of more than $6000 a year. His first job after college was at Salomon Brothers, where he counted securities by hand. He was laid off from his job after serving for 15 years following the Salomon’s merged with Phibro Corporation. In 2018, he was America’s second-most generous billionaire next to Jeff Bezos. His staff said that he had given away almost $10 billion of his fortune. As of December 2019, Forbes published Bloomberg’s annual revenue at $10 billion.
Aside from this, Bloomberg can also fly a plane and speak the Spanish language. He holds a commercial pilot license and flies his own Agusta A109s helicopter. In January 1976, he piloted an aircraft caught on fire. He said that all pilots had to make a commitment and stick to it for those who refused to do so, don’t survive. Meanwhile, on his presidential campaign, he once released a Spanish ad. His Spanish speech and accent is a frequent internet meme. Someone even made a Bloomberg Twitter parody account which gained millions of followers. Read more to discover how Michael Bloomberg’s Policies re-shape NYC.