Mike Bloomberg made a promise. The construction of a new police precinct on Staten Island would be completed in four years. But this was election season, and some were skeptical. “We don’t play politics with public safety,” his spokesman said at the time.
That was in 2005 when Bloomberg was vying for his second, and possibly last, term as mayor.
Fast forward to 09. Term limits were extended, Bloomy started throwing millions into the race, William Thompson gave a lackluster effort to dethrone him, and Staten Island was key to victory.
The Staten Island Advance weighed in:
Four full years after Mayor Michael Bloomberg promised Staten Islanders they would have a fourth police precinct, not a single brick has been laid on the Graniteville stationhouse, and City Hall is still nowhere near scheduling a ground breaking, in the latest in a string of delays.
- Sept 21, 2009
The borough is Bloomberg’s turf. He can not afford to lose it. So on Oct 22 Bloomy along with Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and a host of Staten Island pols lined up with shovels on an abandoned lot at next to a cemetery on Richmond Avenue and officially “broke ground” on the construction of a new precinct.
Election day came four weeks later. Bloomberg, a heavy favorite, wins by only 5 percentage points. Staten Island puts him over the top. The mayor takes mid-island by a margin of 40 percentage points – 40! And on the south shore the difference is mind-boggling: Bloomberg took 74 percent of the vote to Bill Tompson’s 20 percent in that district.
So the election is over. How’s that precinct coming along? Mid-Island Councilman James Oddo was too busy to talk. The borough president’s press secretary was loath to respond: “The borough president is on vacation,” she said.
Republican Councilman Vincent Ignizio from the south shore was optimistic:
Over the past couple of decades the population of Staten Island has grown and elected officials wanted a fourth precinct to address the needs in our community. It’s a great thing that Mayor Bloomberg broke ground on this facility.
Fourth precinct crusader Victoria Fagan was certain the precinct would be built:
It will get done. It’s a good thing that it’s being built. It’s long overdue. It will be built successfully on time and on budget.
I went down to the site 28 days after groundbreaking to see how the project was coming along.