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Experts can tick off a long list of accomplishments. The 10-year-old anti-smoking campaign is credited with some 10,000 fewer deaths and served as a blueprint for other cities; more than 850 acres of land was added to city parks; and the decade-old 311 call center has grown to handle millions of non-emergency requests each year.
Crime is down, a success that Bloomberg credits in part to the New York Police Department’s stop-and-frisk strategy. But a judge earlier this year ruled that the controversial tactic, seen as targeting young minorities, amounted to “indirect racial profiling.”
Overall crime rates fell by a third during Bloomberg’s three terms, a decrease reflected in once-blighted neighborhoods that are now blossoming, and tourism rates setting record highs.
“That’s a fundamentally positive aspect of life that’s had very far-reaching effect,” said John Mollenkopf, director of the Center for Urban Research at the City of New York Graduate Center.
STEERING THROUGH DISASTER, RECESSION
Bloomberg guided New York through the years after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, amid fears that the shaken city’s economy could be devastated.
“It is easy to imagine ways that a less strategic mayor could have gotten in the way of that recovery,” said Birdsell.
Bloomberg is credited as well with helping steer the city through the recession that began in 2007. Yet, his effort to capitalize on that success by arguing he was uniquely suited to remain mayor despite term limits rankled some people.
He engineered a change in the voter-approved term limits law in 2009 so he could run for a third term, but voters gave him a remarkably slim margin of victory.