Bloomberg: Mosque Funding Not Gov't Business

Mayor discusses mosque, state budget, FDNY tests, WTC on radio show

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Mayor Bloomberg may have gotten a little choked up on Tuesday when speaking about the September 11th attacks during a speech on the proposed "Ground Zero" mosque. (Published Tuesday, Aug 17, 2010)

    Mayor Bloomberg dismissed concerns about the funding sources for the planned mosque and Islamic cultural center two blocks from Ground Zero on his weekly radio show this morning.

    "Do you really want every time they pass the basket in your church and you throw a buck in they run over and say 'okay where do you come from, who are your parents, where did you get this money?' No!" said Bloomberg.

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    "It's a shame that we even have to talk about this."

    He also defended the Landmark Preservation Commission's decision to deny landmark status to the building slated to be demolished to make room for the center.

    "There was no redeeming value [about the building]," he said.  "Nobody pressured them; they just asked 'Is there anything redeeming that we have to save'...and they said no, nothing.  People want to use the Landmarks to accomplish their goal.  That's not what Landmarks is there for."

    "I just don't think the government should tell people where they can pray and where they can build houses of worship...The more religious you are, the more you should want to keep the government out of religion, because some day, it's not going to be your religion."

    Bloomberg also criticized a recent ruling that the FDNY's application tests are discriminatory on the show. 

    "No test is perfect," said Bloomberg, adding an FDNY exam should test for two things -- intelligence and physical strength.   

    "You take the test, you start at the top, you work your way down the list; [that] seems  to me to be the most democratic and fairest way to do it.  It also will get the kind of person that you most want to have come through the door when your life is in danger."

    He also discussed the World Trade Center: "People said 'Oh, nobody's going to want to be there.' Wrong.  The real estate market is heating up around the city."

    Bloomberg mentioned his lunch with Joe Biden, calling him "one of the nicer guys you'll ever want to meet" but ribbing him for taking a two-week vacation when "I haven't had a vacation in nine years," and discussed the announcement he and 39 other billionaires made pleding to give away half their fortunes.