Blog Posts by Holly Bailey, Yahoo News

  • Mayor Bloomberg focused on his legacy as he prepares to leave office

    NEW YORK — Mayor Michael Bloomberg was trailed by a small army of reporters as he showed up Tuesday morning at a public school on the Upper East Side of Manhattan to cast his vote in an election to determine his successor.

    “Mommy, why are all those cameras here?” a boy asked, as the mayor and his entourage passed him on his way inside the polling room.

    “That man is probably on the ballot,” his mother replied, not immediately recognizing the outspoken billionaire mayor who will leave office next month after three terms at City Hall.

    But she wasn’t the only one. Moments later, as Bloomberg picked up his ballot, a poll worker looking to cross his name off the voter roll apologetically asked the mayor to remind her of his first name.

    “Michael,” he politely said.

    If Bloomberg was bothered by his sudden lack of celebrity, he didn’t show it. But it was a notable oversight in a city where Bloomberg is likely to go down in history as a transformative leader — thanks to his efforts behind

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  • What will New York look like under Mayor Bill de Blasio?

    Bill de Blasio has waged his campaign to be the next mayor of New York City by casting himself as a progressive antithesis to incumbent Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

    But with the Democratic hopeful on the cusp of what appears to be a win by a historically large margin next Tuesday, the focus is turning to what kind of mayor de Blasio will be and how he plans to deliver the sweeping changes he’s promised.

    De Blasio, a former City Council member who is now the public advocate, has repeatedly described himself as a “Democrat with a capital D” who will bring liberal values to a mayor’s office that has been effectively under Republican rule for more than two decades.

    It’s a tricky balance. Polls show voters are ready to turn the page on Bloomberg — a data-driven billionaire criticized for cosseting the wealthy while turning a tin ear to the needs of New York’s poorer neighborhoods. But his three terms in office, following Republican Rudy Giuliani's eight years as mayor from 1993 to 2001, have

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  • 2 politicians, 2 responses to Sandy anniversary

    New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg marked the one-year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy Tuesday by revisiting three of the city's hardest hit neighborhoods to call attention to a proposed long-term resiliency project he says could protect the city from another dangerous storm.

    In New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie marked the anniversary by appearing on three national TV morning shows, speaking at a statewide memorial service and making quick stops at affected cities all over the state, where he met with storm survivors, volunteers and rescue workers.

    It was two different approaches from a pair of high-profile political leaders who were both widely praised for their handling of Sandy and its aftermath. But each had vastly different goals as they marked the deadly storm’s anniversary.

    For Bloomberg, an independent who has dodged questions about his post-mayoral political future, it was about his legacy. With just over two months left in office, he’s trying to implement as many resiliency

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  • Chelsea Clinton makes sure Sandy’s devastation is remembered

    Chelsea Clinton in Far Rockaway, Queens, NY. Click image for SLIDESHOW. (Photo by Gordon Donovan/Yahoo News)

    FAR ROCKAWAY, N.Y. — Chelsea Clinton knew from a young age how damaging severe weather could be. Growing up in Arkansas on the cusp of the nation’s tornado alley, Clinton had experienced firsthand the fury of bad storms and seen the severe damage left in their wake.

    But she never expected to see that kind of devastation in her new hometown of New York City, where coastal areas were wrecked by Superstorm Sandy one year ago this week. Visiting the Rockaways only days after the storm, Clinton was stunned by the damage.

    “So much of what I saw here was eerily reminiscent of what I had seen throughout Arkansas as a kid,” recalled Clinton, who had multiple friends whose parents lost their homes to Sandy.

    Clinton returned to the Rockaways on Saturday, as she led several hundred volunteers in a “day of action” aimed at helping parts of the area that are still struggling. The event was modeled after a volunteer effort she had organized last year with her father, former President Bill Clinton.

    The

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  • Burned and flooded Breezy Point still trying to rebuild after Sandy

     

    A bench sits in front of the construction of homes a year after Hurricane Sandy devastated by fire in the Breezy Point section of the Queens borough of New York October 10, 2013. (Gordon Donovan/Yahoo News)

    NEW YORK — Superstorm Sandy caused one of the worst residential fires in New York City history, a blaze that burned unchecked for hours because floodwaters spurred by Sandy's 13-foot storm surge blocked firefighters from responding. Strengthened by wind gusts upward of 80 mph, the fire ultimately consumed nearly 130 homes in the heart of this tiny oceanfront neighborhood in Queens.

    It was a horror story that resulted in some of the most memorable images of Sandy’s wrath, including an iconic photo of a singed Virgin Mary statue that stood amid the ashes of homes that once were standing.

    What the fire didn’t destroy, the water tried to — and in many cases, did. Of Breezy Point’s 2,800 homes, roughly 200 were destroyed by the flood and more than 1,500 were severely damaged.

    That includes Peggy Smith’s home along Atlantic Walk, where the entire first floor was washed away by Sandy. But she knows it could have been worse.

    “I am one of the lucky ones,” said Smith, whose family roots in Breezy

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  • After Sandy and fire, Seaside Heights looks to rise again

    People take photographs of the charred rubble in Seaside Park, N.J., Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013, after a fire last Thursday that started near a frozen custard stand in Seaside Park, quickly spread north into neighboring Seaside Heights. More than 50 businesses in the two towns were destroyed. The massive boardwalk fire in New Jersey began accidentally, the result of an electrical problem, an official briefed on the investigation said Tuesday. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

    SEASIDE HEIGHTS, N.J.—Steve Whalen’s family has owned Lucky Leo’s arcade along the boardwalk here for 60 years. Back then, his father, Leo, would temporarily close when police officers were looking to crack down on games of chance.

    But Leo was lucky and never got caught, partly inspiring the arcade's name. Since then, three generations of the Whalen family have worked to keep it going, but they've never faced anything as challenging as last year.

    Superstorm Sandy made a direct hit on this tiny oceanfront town last October, destroying dozens of businesses and famously sending a roller coaster into the sea — an image that quickly became a symbol of the wrath of the storm.

     And last month, the city was devastated again when a freak fire, likely caused by electrical wiring compromised by Sandy’s storm surge, burned down several blocks of buildings along the newly rebuilt boardwalk.

    Click image for more Yahoo News Sandy Anniversary coverage.It was a huge blow to the famed Jersey shore enclave, which had moved quickly after Sandy to rebuild as much as

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  • Bloomberg wins inaugural 'Jewish Nobel Prize'

    New Yorkers have mixed feelings about Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s legacy as his days at city hall wind down, but amid questions about what's next for the billionaire mayor, he is winning high praises on the international stage for his long record of philanthropy and stewardship of the Big Apple.

    Bloomberg on Monday was named the first-ever recipient of the $1 million Genesis Prize, which the award’s organizers have described as the “Jewish Nobel Prize.” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will formally present the award to Bloomberg next May in Jerusalem.

    The Genesis Philanthropy Group, a charity founded by Russian Jewish billionaires, set up the award earlier this year to honor “exceptional human beings” committed to the “betterment of mankind” who will inspire the next generation of Jews.

    In a statement, Bloomberg said he was “deeply honored” to receive the prize. He’ll donate the $1 million prize to a philanthropic cause that he’ll announce next year.

    “Many years ago, my

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  • Christie's re-election bid in New Jersey tests themes for a 2016 presidential run

    With less than three weeks to go before New Jersey's gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie  has been furiously campaigning — but not just against his Democratic opponent, Barbara Buono.

    The famously outspoken Christie, already looking ahead to a possible 2016 presidential bid, has turned his re-election campaign into a road show lambasting lawmakers in Washington. He's blasting everyone — notably other Republicans, some of whom could be Christie's primary opponents — for their role in the “political brinkmanship” and recklessness that led to the government shutdown.

    “With what we see going on in Washington, D.C., right now, they could use a dose of some New Jersey common sense,” Christie said at a recent campaign rally in Palmyra, N.J. “Notice I said New Jersey common sense, not Republican common sense or Democrat common sense.”

    Christie has been unsparing in his critique of Washington, accusing lawmakers of both parties of being “irresponsible” and “monkeying around” with

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  • Cory Booker wins New Jersey's Senate race, but what does it mean for rising Dem star's future?

    Cory Booker won his bid for New Jersey’s U.S. Senate seat on Wednesday, defeating Republican Steve Lonegan in a whirlwind special election race that gave the ambitious Newark mayor an official entry to the national political stage.

    Booker, a rising star in the Democratic Party, had been the heavy favorite to replace Sen. Frank Lautenberg, who died in June. He’s expected to be sworn in to the Senate as early as Thursday — giving Democrats an extra vote in what has been a tumultuous political period in Washington.

    But it’s still unknown what kind of lawmaker Booker will be in the nation’s capital — or what damage, if any, his Senate campaign did to his stratospheric rise within the Democratic Party.

    As mayor of Newark, Booker has been a larger-than-life political presence, a man as famous for rushing into a burning building to save a neighbor as he is for his savvy embrace of Twitter to communicate directly with his constituents. But the Senate is a different, stuffier place — where

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  • Rielle Hunter apologizes for affair with John Edwards

    John Edwards’ former mistress offered a public apology Tuesday for her role in the extramarital affair that effectively ended his marriage to his late wife, Elizabeth, and killed his political career.

    Rielle Hunter, a videographer for Edwards' 2008 campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination,  offered her amends in an essay for the Huffington Post, conceding she “behaved badly” by cheating with the former North Carolina senator. Hunter gave birth to the couple's daughter, Frances, in February 2008.

    “That may seem obvious to you but it's taken me a long time to admit that, even to myself,” Hunter wrote. “For years I was so viciously attacked by the media and the world that I felt like a victim. I now realize that the attacks are actually beside the point. The point is: I behaved badly.”

    Hunter’s apology is timely. It comes on the same day as a rerelease of the memoir she wrote about her relationship with Edwards — one she says has been revised to reflect the mistakes she made

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