Bill Thompson (New York): Wikis

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William C. Thompson Jr.

Democratic Nominee Bill Thompson campaigning on primary day.

In office
January 1, 2002 – December 31, 2009
Preceded by Alan Hevesi
Succeeded by John Liu

Born July 10, 1953 (1953-07-10) (age 56)
Brooklyn, NY
Nationality American
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Elsie McCabe Thompson
Children Jennifer Thompson
Residence Harlem, New York City
Alma mater Tufts University

William Colridge Thompson, Jr. (born July 10, 1953), known as Bill or Billy,[1][2][3] was the 42nd Comptroller of New York City. Sworn into office on January 1, 2002, he was reelected to serve a second term that began on January 1, 2006. He left office on December 31, 2009, having been succeeded by John Liu. Thompson was the nominee of the Democratic and Working Families[4] parties in the 2009 election for Mayor of New York.

Contents

Personal life

Thompson was born and raised in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn.[1] He is the son of Elaine Thompson, a New York City public schoolteacher, and William C. Thompson, Sr., formerly a prominent Brooklyn Democratic Party leader, City Councilman, State Senator and judge on New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division.[5][6] Thompson attended Midwood High School, a public school in Brooklyn, and graduated from Tufts University in 1974.

Thompson has gone through two divorces and is currently married to Elsie McCabe Thompson, President of the Museum for African Art, whom he married in September 2008.[7][8][9] A lifelong Brooklyn resident, Thompson moved to Harlem in September 2008 following his most recent marriage.[10]

Political career

Upon his graduation from Tufts in 1974 until 1982, Thompson served as special assistant and chief of staff to former Brooklyn Democratic Rep. Fred Richmond, who pleaded guilty to income tax evasion, marijuana possession and making an illegal payment to a government employee and who resigned his seat pursuant to a plea agreement in 1982.[2] Later, Thompson became the youngest Brooklyn Deputy Borough President.[11] As Deputy to Borough President Howard Golden, Thompson was Golden's designee to the New York City Board of Estimate.[6] Following the Crown Heights riots, Thompson worked to fix the racial divide that had paralyzed Brooklyn.[12] In 1993, Thompson moved to the private sector for one year, taking a position as senior vice president of the investment firm George K. Baum & Co.[8]

In 1994, Borough President Golden appointed Thompson to be Brooklyn’s representative to the New York City Board of Education.[13] Two years later, with the backing of Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, Thompson was elected President of the Board, ousting the incumbent Carol Gresser.[14] As Board of Education President, he worked for a more centralized management of the public school system that eventually led to mayoral control.[15] Thompson also fought for better after-school programs, improved teacher quality, and an expanded arts curriculum.[15]

While serving on the Board of Education, Thompson also supported himself by working as a political consultant, as a director of Keyspan Energy (now National Grid USA) and as a director of a small financial firm run by Michael. W. Geffrard, a former deputy city comptroller.[3] Thompson resigned from the Board of Education in March 2001 to run for the office of Comptroller.[16]

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New York City Comptroller: 2002–2010

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As the city’s chief financial officer, he managed a staff of more than 700 professionals with a budget of $68 million.[17]

Thompson has worked to diversify the pension portfolio from primarily public equities into private equity, real estate and other asset classes. Since 2003, the funds have grown at a pace of 12.33 percent a year, outperforming its actuarial return assumption of 8 percent. In addition, during Thompson’s tenure, assets managed by minority- and women-owned firms have increased from less than $2 billion to over $6 billion.

Thompson has called on American firms in the pension portfolio – including Halliburton, General Electric and Aon – to document the impact of their businesses on the environment.[18] He has insisted that companies doing business in Northern Ireland embrace the goal of equal opportunity in employment and has supported the effort to prohibit workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Since Thompson took office, these funds have been reinvested back into New York City, leading to the creation and rehabilitation of more than 20,000 units of affordable housing, the development of thousands of square feet of commercial space, and investments related to creating clean and renewable sources of energy.

In 2003, Thompson led the effort that led to the deposit of $200 million in city funds to establish new bank branches in traditionally underserved neighborhoods, enabling more New Yorkers to open checking accounts and apply for business loans and mortgages. Thompson has developed a number of community service and education programs to help New Yorkers deal with the challenges of the economic crisis. These programs include consumer banking days (regular events that take place in every borough and feature workshops addressing savings and credit issues), predatory lending reforms and general investment strategies.

In a recent lengthy analysis of Thompson's use of the Comptroller's power to audit city government, the on-line journal City Limits opined that "Thompson has not been a ferocious antagonist to Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Instead, he has mostly praised the mayor's budgets, smiled on his economic policies and hailed Bloomberg's accomplishments with the city's schools."[19] Nonetheless, City Limits found, the Comptroller's office and the Bloomberg administration have in fact engaged in hundreds of "low-level skirmishes" over the Comptroller's audits of city agencies and programs, but Thompson has not audited the mayor's office and mayoral agencies as often as his predecessor, Alan Hevesi, did under Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.[19] City Limits concluded that "the jury is still out on what impact Thompson's audits have had on city services —- and whether his record as an auditor will matter in the comptroller's current run for mayor."[19]

2009 Mayoral Campaign

BillThompson2009campaignendorsement.jpg

Thompson was opposed by Tony Avella, a New York City Councilman from Queens, for the Democratic nomination to run in November 2009 against incumbent mayor Michael Bloomberg. On September 15, 2009, Thompson overwhelmingly won the Democratic nomination, defeating Avella by 70 points.[20]

On July 9, 2009, Thompson was endorsed by the Working Families Party.[21]

In recent weeks the mayoral race has been heating up.[22][23] His campaign was discussed at length in an interview on WBGO's Conversations with Allan Wolper.

On July 21, 2009, the Comptroller's office released a report suggesting that the Bloomberg administration had falsely inflated graduation rates in city schools.[24] Thompson's report did not demonstrate any conclusive evidence of manipulation, "saying only that a lack of oversight, coupled with intense pressure to push up the graduation rate, created the potential for abuse."[25] Thompson also criticized Bloomberg's managerial style as creating incentives for schools to graduate unqualified students.[22][25] The New York City Department of Education released a 38-page rebuttal to Thompson's allegations.[25] In addition on July 21, 2009, Thompson said on NY1 that School's Chancellor Joel Klein should be fired, referring to his Department of Education as "The Enron of American education. Showing the gains and hiding the losses."[26]. It was reported that on October 29,2009 the principal of Lehman High School was being investigated for granting students credits inappropriately and graduating students without them having completed the required course work. Thompson reiterated once again that the mayoral control of schools breeds abuse. [27]

On July 28, 2009, Quinnipiac University released a poll showing that Thompson has cut Bloomberg's lead from June in half, now only trailing Bloomberg by 10 percentage points, 47% to 37%. The poll also found that Thompson made significant gains among black voters: Thompson now leads Bloomberg 56% to 30% (up 25 points from June); Democrats: Thompson now leads Bloomberg 45% to 42% (up 12 points from June); and Independents: Bloomberg leads Thompson 49% to 27% (70% to 14% in June).[28] Subsequent Quinipiac polls, however, have shown Bloomberg's lead increase to as much as 16 percentage points, 56%-36%. [29] [30]

As of October 6, 2009, Mayor Bloomberg's lead over Thompson had shrunk to 8%. [31]

On November 3, 2009, Thompson was defeated in his campaign for mayor, losing only narrowly to Mayor Bloomberg, who will now be serving his 3rd consecutive term as Mayor of New York City.[32]

Endorsements

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Thompson's mayoral candidacy has been endorsed by President Barack Obama, Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, Andrew Cuomo, Congressmen Anthony Weiner and Charlie Rangel, John Liu, Bill de Blasio, David Yassky, Reverend Al Sharpton, Fernando Ferrer, Ruben Diaz, Jr., former mayor David Dinkins, and several others.[33][34][35]

District Council 37, the city's largest union, endorsed Thompson on August 13, 2009, giving Thompson "crucial labor support" according to the New York Times.[36] The union, representing 125,000 workers and 50,000 retirees, endorsed Bloomberg in 2005. Other unions that have endorsed Thompson include the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union #3, FDNY-EMS Emergency Medical Technicians, Paramedics and Fire Inspectors Union Local 2507[37], the FDNY-EMS Officers Union Local 3621[38], the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU, UFCW), Allied International Union, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1056, Local 891, International Union of Operating Engineers, Civil Service Employees Association Local 1000, Communications Workers of America (CWA) District 1, International Association of Machinists District 15, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local 808, Local 94 of the International Union of Operating Engineers, The Associated Musicians of Greater New York, Local 802 AFM, and Transport Workers Union (TWU) Local 100.[39]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b "William Thompson's Challenges", The Brooklyn Rail, Apr-May 2003
  2. ^ a b "Rudy Choice Called a Can-Do Politician", Daily News, July 9, 1996
  3. ^ a b "Race for Bookkeeper in Chief: Dull but Significant", New York Times, Aug. 25, 2001
  4. ^ "Emboldened, Thompson Presses His Mayoral Bid", New York Times, May 27, 2009
  5. ^ "A Historic Moment, Through One Prominent Brooklyn Family’s Perspective", New York Times, Jan. 17, 2009
  6. ^ a b "Battle at the Board of Education: The Challenger", New York Times, July 9, 1996
  7. ^ "Controller's Attorney Bashes Both Sides While in Court for Divorce Spat", Daily News, May 1, 2008
  8. ^ a b Cityfile
  9. ^ "Thompson: Not Taking 'Cheap Shots' At Bloomberg", Daily News, March 26, 2009
  10. ^ "The Closing: William C. Thompson Jr.", The Real Deal, Dec. 30, 2008
  11. ^ "For Comptroller: William Thompson," New York Post, Aug. 31, 2001.
  12. ^ "By the Book," Euromoney, Jan. 2006.
  13. ^ "School Board Is Undergoing a Reshaping", New York Times, May 25. 1994
  14. ^ "School Board Set to Oust President at Mayor's Urging", New York Times, July 9, 1996
  15. ^ a b "William C. Thompson, Jr.: A First-Class Leader on His Second Term", Education Update Online, Feb. 2006
  16. ^ "Mayoral Politics May Decide Board of Education Presidency", New York Times, Apr. 4, 2001
  17. ^ "William C. Thompson Jr. News". The New York Times. June 17, 2009. http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/t/william_c_jr_thompson/index.html. Retrieved 2009-07-08.  
  18. ^ "Comptroller Demands Companies Examine Impact on Climate Change,” The New York City Comptroller’s Office, December 26, 2008.
  19. ^ a b c "Auditor-In-Chief: Has Thompson Effected Change?", City Limits WEEKLY, No. 693, July 13, 2009
  20. ^ http://ny1.com/content/news_beats/politics/105747/thompson-trumps-democratic-rivals-in-primary/Default.aspx
  21. ^ www.thompson2009.com/endorsements
  22. ^ a b http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/Its-On-Thompson-SlBloomberg-on-Education.html
  23. ^ http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2009/07/28/poll-democrat-narrows-gap-with-bloomberg-to-ten-points/
  24. ^ "Comptroller Audit Questions City Graduation Rates", NY1, July 21, 2009
  25. ^ a b c "Comptroller Questions Graduation Rate", New York Times, July 21, 2009
  26. ^ http://ny1.com/Default.aspx?ArID=102637
  27. ^ http://gothamschools.org/2009/10/29/thompson-grade-tampering-shows-bloomberg-oversells-success
  28. ^ http://www.quinnipiac.edu/x1302.xml?ReleaseID=1354
  29. ^ http://www.quinnipiac.edu/x1302.xml?ReleaseID=1368
  30. ^ http://www.quinnipiac.edu/x1302.xml?ReleaseID=1376
  31. ^ http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/brawlforthehall/2009/10/new-poll-has-thompson-trailing.html#ixzz0TBYkEGSO
  32. ^ http://www.1010wins.com/Bloomberg-Wins-Third-Term/5586145
  33. ^ Thompson2009 Endorsements
  34. ^ NY1, "Sharpton Endorses Thompson for Mayor", 7/19/09
  35. ^ http://www.nydailynews.com/news/election_2009/2009/10/09/2009-10-09_president_obama_endorses_bill_thompson_for_new_york_mayor__while_praising_michae.html
  36. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/13/nyregion/13union.html?_r=1&hp
  37. ^ http://www.fdnystation22.com/Billthompsonformayor.htm
  38. ^ http://www.uemso.com/
  39. ^ http://www.thompson2009.com/index.php/endorsements#endorse-unions

External links

Party political offices
Preceded by
Fernando Ferrer
Democratic Nominee for Mayor of New York
2009
Succeeded by
Most Recent
Preceded by
Fernando Ferrer
Working Families Party Nominee for
Mayor of New York City

2009
Succeeded by
Incumbent
Political offices
Preceded by
Alan Hevesi
New York City Comptroller
2002 – 2010
Succeeded by
John Liu

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