TIME cities

Bloomberg Defends Legacy as New York Mayor

Michael Bloomberg
In this Dec. 18, 2013 file photo, then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks in New York. The Republican National Committee began running ads in 40 media markets Tuesday, mostly targeting incumbent senators who supported President Barack Obama’s health care program. Bebeto Matthews—AP

The former Big Apple mayor is pushing back against critics in his first major interview since leaving

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is defending his record on a host of controversial issues from charter schools and gun control to his attempt to ban big sugary drinks.

“Charter schools are public schools. That’s what everybody forgets,” Bloomberg, who oversaw a big expansion in charter schools, said in a new interview with Yahoo News published Friday. “Charter schools have delivered superior educational results to a group of people who desperately need them and have been left out for far too long by the traditional methods.”

Bloomberg’s successor as mayor, Bill de Blasio, has promised to slow the growth of charter schools in the city, which many of his supporters feel undermine the broader effort to deliver quality public education.

Bloomberg criticized the Obama administration’s effort to see the minimum wage raised to $10.10 per hour, calling it “one of the most misguided things we can do.”

“You’re gonna hurt the poor” he said, “because when an employer has to pay more, not doing business or technology as a replacement for people is an attractive thing.”

Bloomberg said he believes his controversial push to limit the size of sugary drinks like sodas available for purchase in New York, which is currently tied up in court, will eventually be adopted nationally. “We’ll win that battle,” he said.

And when asked if he could outspend the National Rifle Association in his efforts to advance gun control legislation across the country, he said, “Oh sure. I mean there’s a lot of people. I’m not the only funder of this.”

[Yahoo]

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