Archive for April, 2006
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City Hall Station
April 29th, 2006

The ceiling of the City Hall Subway Station.

By on April 29, 2006, 5:37 pm
In category: Gotham City | 2 Comments »

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Bloomberg on Guns
April 28th, 2006

Mayor Michael Bloomberg grabbed international headlines by spearheading a summit to combat illegal guns. E. J. Dionne Jr., columnist for the Washington Post, praises the mayor, as well as Boston Mayor Thomas Menino – who partnered with Bloomberg on the summit – for their initiative given the lack of federal leadership on the issue.

Dionne sees a need to reframe the gun debate to emphasize how guns are used in big cities as opposed to rural areas, noting that “in inner cities, guns — especially handguns — are used almost entirely to threaten or kill other human beings,” while they are used primarily for hunting in rural areas.

While all this great, Daily News columnist Errol Louis writes, “up to now, Bloomberg has been playing footsie with pro-gun politicians.”

In particular, Louis is writing about U.S. Representative Vito Fossellaof Staten Island. Louis accuses Bloomberg of “keeping mum” on Fossella’s pro-gun record during the 2005 mayoral campaign in order to attract conservative Staten Island votes. Fossella also co-chaired Bloomberg’s reelection committee.

The Daily News column also points out that Fossella supports a bill currently before Congress that Bloomberg testified against last month. The bill would limit city and state access to gun trace data, thus barring its use in civil suits and administrative proceedings, such as the revocation of a gun dealer’s license.

In his testimony (pdf format), Bloomberg argued that since 82 percent of the guns used in crimes in the city were purchased outside of the state, the city needs the data to pursue the 1 percent of gun dealers who account for almost 60 percent of all crime guns nationwide.

Yesterday, Brooklyn Federal Judge Jack Weinstein ruled that the city can proceed with a lawsuit against several gun manufacturers using gun crime trace data. He sided with the city because the suit, which was filed by the Giuliani administration in 2000, began before the legislation was included in a federal budgetary measure.

By on April 28, 2006, 12:41 pm
In category: Crime & Safety,Law | Comments Off on Bloomberg on Guns

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Please Leave a Message...
April 27th, 2006

Yesterday, the Department of Education began random security scanning at city schools. Aside from the hassles and the question of whether every school kid should be treated as a criminal the scanners renew the debate over cell phones in the schools.

Department of Education policy bans cell phones, and students at schools with metal detectors — which tend to be poor and largely minority have left their cell phones at home. But the random searches are casting a wider net, including prestigious schools such as Stuyvesant and LaGuardia high schools, where unofficial policy let kids have cell phones as long as they kept them stashed away during school hours.

Thats changed. These scanners are much more inflammatory, wrote Stuycom.net. It’s not just Stuy protesting – it’s actually just about everyone at schools who have already had the scanners installed.

Cell phones are the urban parent’s umbilical cord, the lifeline connecting them to children on buses, emerging from subways, crisscrossing boroughs and traipsing through unknown neighborhood, the Times reports. It goes on to quote Moira Kennedy, a psychiatrist with daughters at the Lab School and at Stuyvesant, who said the policy shows a big lack of awareness of the essential nature of having a way to communicate with your child during the day.”

Schools Chancellor Joel Klein has reportedly said parents concerned about their children can always call the school office, indicating he has probably never tried to do this. Gothamist says, Ha! We’re sure the office workers will love that. If school officials want to keep this ban, they should at least give kids a chance to call or email their parents during the day. Or maybe parents should microchip their kids.

The cell phone furor came as the Department of Education announced that Carmen Faria, the top instructional official in the New York City public schools and a longtime teacher, principal and adminstrator, will retire.. A beloved and at times feared administrator, she seemed to know everybody in the nation’s largest school system, The Times observed. Some educators say she often provided a last defense against impractical ideas.

By on April 27, 2006, 10:58 am
In category: Civil Rights,Education,Gotham City,Tech | 25 Comments »

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Is Wal-Mart Progressive?
April 27th, 2006

Contrary to the rhetoric of local politicians who oppose plans to build a Wal-Mart in the city, New York Observers Niall Stanage argues that the super-store and New Yorkers share common values.

The crux of Stanages case comes from a report by New York University professor Jason Furman entitled Wal-Mart: A Progressive Success Story. ( here in pdf format.)

The study finds that Wal-Marts low prices outweigh low wages, more of its workers have health insurance than the retail industry as a whole, and by offering cheap food, it helps those on low-incomes.

“The city already is home to several big-box brands, including Target, Costco and Kohl’s,” writes Stanage. “There is even a Kmart within spitting distance of the heart of the East Village. The sky has not yet fallen.”

By on April 27, 2006, 6:59 am
In category: Community Development,Gotham City | 2 Comments »

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Boiling on Oil
April 26th, 2006

With George Bush saying relaxed environmental rulescan help bring down the rising price of gasoline and suddenly populist Democrats going after Big Oil, the Oil Drum is taking a different tact. The blog hopes to spur a frank discussion of energy issues devoid of grandstanding (and yes, Senator Schumer, they say they are talking to you).

The solution, the Oil Drum bloggers believe, comes not from suspending the gas tax or bandying about accusations of price gouging and other nefarious actions. Instead, they say, Governments should be focused on helping us cure our addiction to oil by developing alternative energy sources, improving mass transit , encouraging fuel efficiency and increasing conservation. Some of these issues will be discussed Thursday, Friday and Saturday at a conference on Local Solutions to the Energy Dilemma at Cooper Union.

But as high as gas prices are here — were going to be paying a dollar a quart soon, a man filling his Volvo wagon in East Flatbush groused Saturday — New Yorkers have it relatively easy, writes naparstek: Dense urbanization and relatively high per capita income save us from the pain being felt most deeply in poor, rural and southern states.

(Correction: This posting originally implied Bush was advocating more tax breaks for big oil; he actually supports postponing some tax breaks.)

By on April 26, 2006, 9:35 pm
In category: Gotham City | 4 Comments »

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Remembering Jane Jacobs
April 26th, 2006

Jane Jacobs left New York for Toronto decades ago, but many New Yorkers along with lovers of cities elsewhere, mourn her death yesterday at age 89.

The Lone Elm spoke for many: I remember reading her classic book in college and being terrifically inspired by her holistic view of how communities operate — and how terribly we Americans were going about rehabilitating our cities and making our suburbs.

It is rare for a person to have the influence to change entire cities. Jane Jacobs who died yesterday did, writes Jay Currie.

And one of those cities she changed was New York. Jane Jacobs was… one of the few people to have fought Robert Moses and won, notes Urbis Interminatus. The Oil Drum: New York also recalls her battle with Moses: Long after the buildings and highways that Robert Moses built have crumbled, your ideas will still be discussed, talked about and embraced by future generations.

Looking at urban battles now, A Typical Joe writes, We need today a Jane Jacobs-like figure who can inspire and mobilize us in that arena as effectively as Jane did in the urban arena.”

Comments to Curbed pick up this theme. It cannot be a coincidence that this news arrives on the same day as the news that Starbucks will be moving into the West Village, the neighborhood she loved so well…and called the perfect urban neighborhood. That neighborhood is is serious jeapordy and out of respect for her greatness, those of us who live there need to do something. But another writer disagrees: Did Jane Jacobs ever say anything bad about Starbucks? She opposed razing entire blocks in the name of ‘urban renewal,’ but she did not oppose new businesses or new construction so long as older, smaller ones survived nearby.

Whether or not Jacobs talked about Starbucks, she conitnued to visit and think about New York until the end of her life. On a 2004 visit, she told the New Yorkers Adam Gopnik: “New York still has so much pizzazz, because people make it new every day. Like all cities, its self-organizing. People looking for a date on Third Avenue make it into a place full of hope and expectation, and this has nothing to do with architecture. Those are the emotions that draw us to cities, and they depend on things being a bit messy.

(For more of Jacobs in her own words, go to Curbed.)

By on April 26, 2006, 9:42 am
In category: Gotham City,Land Use | 1 Comment »

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The Ground Zero Deal
April 26th, 2006

Larry Silverstein, and the governments of the city, the state and New Jersey may have reached common ground on moving ahead at Ground Zero, but many observers predict that the feuding isn’t over.

The News can barely contain itself over what it sees as a setback for Silverstein, headlining a news story on the deal: Larry blinks & WTC’s a go. But given what it sees as the developers twists and turns, the paper counsels Mayor Bloomberg, Governor Pataki and other officials to remain united, fulfill all their commitments and be prepared for the hard bargaining that is sure to come.

The Post, though, sees Silverstein as the wronged party. Yesterday’s deal is not a great one for the developer, the paper says, as he called Patakis bluff and accepted an agreement the Post sees as an attempt to strip Silverstein of his legal rights and force him from the project. So now, the paper asks, Will Bloomberg, Pataki and [New Jersey Governor] Corzine move forward in good faith – or will they once more move the goal posts?

And in a column in the paper, Nicole Gelinas of the Manhattan Institute shares that skepticism. Silverstein has legitimate concerns about the arrangement, she says. Will the Port Authority accept Silverstein’s concerns in good faith, she asks. Or will the agency bureaucrats, accompanied by Bloomberg and Pataki, start railing again for the media’s benefit about how unreasonable Silverstein is?

Bloomberg also expressed doubts — though his were aimed at Silverstein, the Real Estate reports. Silverstein “apparently gave a speech today saying that that’s what he would do and that’s great,” the mayor said, adding, The one thing we cannot do, and will not allow to have happen, is you agree in concept and then try to nickel and dime and go on forever.”

But whatever happens next, Gothamist says, Silverstein must now be relieved that now he will be less vilified and that Pataki can be left to take the fall for any mess-ups.

By on April 26, 2006, 8:02 am
In category: Gotham City,Land Use,Public Finance | 1 Comment »

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“One person, one vote”?
April 25th, 2006

One of the bedrocks of representative democracy is the concept of one person, one vote. The one person one vote principle traces to a 1962 US Supreme Court decision. At the time, legislative districts had wildly unequal numbers of people, and representatives from underpopulated rural districts controlled many state legislatures.


In the 1962 decision, Tennessee voters challenged their state’s unequal legislative districts, and the Court ordered Tennessee’s lines redrawn.


Two years later, the Court struck down Alabama’s legislative districts. The Court held that the constitution required that “as nearly as is practicable one man’s vote” must “be worth as much as another’s.”


And that is the basic point every vote should have the same weight as anyone elses.


In New York State, Congressional districts contain almost exactly the same populations. Yet when it comes to legislative districts, the situation is completely different.


State Senate districts have populations that range from as few as 290,000 citizens to districts with as many as 320,000! Assembly districts range in population from 121,000 to 133,000.


Why do Congressional districts have to contain equivalent populations while legislative districts do not? The Supreme Courts ruling allowed a range due to state constitutional issues that impact on legislative mapmaking, but do not have the same effect on Congressional lines.


As a result, New York mapmakers in 2002 maximized the allowable population range to further incumbency protection and to strengthen the Senate Republican majoritys and the Assembly Democratic majoritys control over their respective houses.


So the wide range in population is legal, but is it right? No.


Why should the concerns for incumbency protection and majority party rule trump the one person, one vote principle? They should not, and reformers are working to advance legislation (Assembly bill 6287, by Assemblyman Gianaris) to replace New Yorks system with one that empowers an independent redistricting commission to be the mapmaker instead of politicians.


Will legislators agree to this change? After all, they are the winners in the current system, changing it could put their political careers at peril.


While there is considerable legislative support for the Gianaris bill, it will take a supportive Governor to make the system change. And there is hope. Gubernatorial candidates Spitzer and Weld have publicly stated their support for creation of an independent redistricting commission.


The next Governor has to take a firm stand. He has to unequivocally state that he will not agree to new district lines unless an independent commission draws them a commission whose standards include requirements that district populations be of similar size and that redistricting is not used to protect incumbents or majority power.


On May 9th, this issue and others will be discussed at an Albany Reform NY Lobby Day, which will feature gubernatorial wannabes speaking about their reform proposals. People interested in attending the event can contact Common Cause at 1-800-300-8707 or www.commoncause.org/reformnyday.

By on April 25, 2006, 4:37 pm
In category: Eye on Albany | Comments Off on “One person, one vote”?

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$166 Billion Of Debt!
April 25th, 2006

In The New York Post, Diana Fortuna and Charles Brecher of the Citizens Budget Commission blast New Yorks booming debt crisis — brought on, they say, because the states public authorities have racked up $166 billion in debt. They explain the three different types of excessive debt these quasi-independent government organizations incur, and suggest ways to reign them in reforms that will result in more effective and efficient services.

By on April 25, 2006, 12:50 pm
In category: Public Finance | 2 Comments »

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Mayor Wrong on Food Stamps: Times
April 24th, 2006

An article on the front page of the New York Times last Monday said that Mayor Bloomberg was applying for a federal waiver that would make it easier for people who aren’t working to get food stamps. Many other cities already use the waiver. But the next day the newspaper ran another story: Bloomberg actually opposed the idea.

Now the Times says that the mayor has made the wrong choice. Bloomberg, the paper writes in an editorial, is mistakenly “resisting an opportunity to ease one of his predecessor’s crueler legacies,” adding that “it is hard to imagine what goal is achieved” by doing so.

Bloomberg justified not pursuing the waiver (which allows cities to continue issuing federally-funded food stamps to childless adults who haven’t worked at least 80 hours over a three month period) by saying that he’s a “firm believer that people should have to work for a living.” The Times responds by arguing that the city is in fact taking away a program that poor people have been able to use to ease poverty for people who are working towards self-sufficiency.

“The mayor should think and act bigger,” it writes.

By on April 24, 2006, 4:32 pm
In category: Gotham City,Social Services | 2 Comments »

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Happy Birthday, Empire State Building
April 24th, 2006

The New York Times devotes its City Section this week to the Empire State Building, which celebrates its 75th birthday on May 1:

Canadian philosophy professor Mark Kingwell compares the building to “our idea of God“, and praises its “tough masculine beauty”.

Thomas Kelly describes the “controlled mayhem” of the building’s construction. (Last fall, Kelly discussed his novel about the Empire State Building with the Gotham Gazette Book Club), and Jim Rasenberg writes about Lewis Wickes Hine, the man who photographed the ironworkers during construction.

The section also has slide shows, videos, and articles everything from popular culture’s obsession with fictionally destroying the building to several writers’ speculation about how it will be viewed when it turns 100.

By on April 24, 2006, 8:36 am
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Education on the Ropes
April 24th, 2006

Governor George Pataki’srecent budget vetoes include hundreds of millions of dollars that would have been appropriated to a variety of statewide education initiatives.

The list of education-related budget vetoes is highlighted by a $119 million cut in the states Tuition Assistance Program, or TAP. In addition to funding cuts, the governors plan would raise credit-load requirements for receiving assistance, thus putting the financial aid and career of many college students in jeopardy. The vetoes also slash over $400 million from City University of New York a significant amount of which was directed towards hiring of full time faculty and disability services and equipment and over $500 million from State Univerity of New York. Intended cuts were slated to establish computer training center programs, create teacher mentor intern programs, expand enrollment, alter and improve various facilities associated with state and city Universities, and fund the Liberty Partnerships Program.

Patakis repeated jabs at the Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit and its mandates to better fund New York City schools should have served to telegraph his latest haymaker to education.

The following details Pataki’s vetoes in education:

Veto # Agency Purpose Approp Amount
82 CUNY Contract courses and workforce development 1,000,000
83 CUNY Additional operating assistance 49,470,000
84 CUNY Financial assistance to community colleges 99,680,000
85 CUNY Alterations and improvements 264,049,000
86 SED Grants in aid to certain school districts, 81,456,250
public libraries and not-for-profit institutions
87 SED NYS historical association 180,000
88 SED College of St. Rose lab renovations 500,000
89 SED Liberty Partnerships program 1,092,500
109 SUNY Expansion of high need programs 2,000,000
110 SUNY SUNY operating assistance 56,667,000
111 SUNY Contract courses and workforce development 1,000,000
112 SUNY Expansion of high need programs 1,800,000
113 SUNY Alterations and improvements to various facilities 415,826,000
114 SUNY Alterations and improvements to community college facilities 22,561,000
115 Misc. School Tax Star Rebate program 805,000,000
116 CUNY Additional operating assistance 20,260,000
117 CUNY Services and equipment for students with 250,000
136 DOH School based health centers 3,393,000
By on April 24, 2006, 7:00 am
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The End of the Tram?
April 21st, 2006

The Roosevelt Island tram is remaining on the ground for the time being, and Davidson Goldin of the New York Sun thinks that’s where it should stay.

“The money-losing tourist attraction,” he writes, “is obsolete and unsafe.”

As a good final resting place for the tram cars, he suggests “a museum. Or a trash heap. Anywhere but in the air.”

By on April 21, 2006, 2:12 pm
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A Stadium Deal That Paid Off
April 21st, 2006

As the city looks at a new stadium in Queens for the Mets, a project that will reportedly cost $266 million in public money, the New York Post brings attention to a Queens stadium that has worked: Arthur Ashe Stadium, where the US Open is played. The stadium was championed by former mayor David Dinkins, who got the stadium built through a deal that his successor, Rudolph Giuliani, would complain about. Today, the Post writes, Dinkins has been vindicated. The US Open has a greater economic impact of any sporting event, adding $420 million to the tri-state economy, and allowing the city to strike lucrative deals with deep-pocketed corporations like Lexus or IBM.

This isn’t the first time that Ashe stadium has been praised — the New York Sun once referred to the tennis stadium as “a jewel in the city’s economic crown.” (To be fair, Slate has also called it the “worst stadium in America“, the “dump that’s hosting the US Open”, and so on). But it may be the first time you’ll read a statement like this about David Dinkins in the New York Post:

“On this one, he has been proven more correct than his successor, Rudy Giuliani: The city is plainly a winner thanks to Dinkins’ leadership.”

By on April 21, 2006, 7:08 am
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School Funding Politics
April 20th, 2006

Advocates of more aid from education have gotten more money for school construction projects in New York City, but at a forum this morning they vowed the battle over school funding is not over.

For one, as Gotham Gazette notes, the Campaign for Fiscal Equity, which co-sponsored the event, has gone to court again — to get city schools the billions more in operating funds that the courts say they need. And it hopes Mayor Michael Bloomberg will turn up the heat on legislators. Bloombergs hardball tactics helped persuade the legislators to come up with the capital funds, but says CFE litigator Michael Rebell, the mayor has remained silent on the funds for teachers, books, supplies and the like. Why? Rebell theorizes that Bloomberg does not like the accountability procedures that would accompany the money. And the city would have to supply some of the additional operating funds, an idea Bloomberg has strongly rejected. That attitude, Rebell said, is tragic.

The advocates also are seeking to transform the way Albany determines how much money it gives each of the states many school districts. Their efforts have encountered resistance Republicans in the State Senate, including the four from New York City. “It’s pitiful that there are four senators from New York City,” who voted against a measure that would change the formula and help city schools, said Billy Easton of the Alliance for Quality Education. “When Joe Bruno says it’s lunacy to fund New York City school, they’re silent.”

Easton and others, including City Council education committee chairman Robert Jackson who originally brought the CFE suit, said they hope to use this years state election to change that.

By on April 20, 2006, 4:14 pm
In category: Albany,Education,Gotham City,Public Finance | 1 Comment »

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Housing Subsidy For Teachers
April 20th, 2006

The New York Times editorial praised the citys latest effort to lure experienced math, science and special education teachers to work in some of the city’s toughest schools. The plan would give teachers with two years of experience $5,000 up front and $400 a month for two years to be used for housing – in exchange for a three-year commitment to a city middle or high school.

The subsidy sends the important signal that the city is dedicated to attracting the best teachers and improving its schools, writes the Times. But it doesnt address the real issue: public universities are turning out too few math and science teachers.

In a New York Post article, Richard Ianuzzi, president of New York State United Teachers, said that this plan is definitely a positive step for the city. “Clearly, though, it’s not going to be enough to lure someone out of a suburban school because it’s not enough to close the [pay] gap,” he said.

By on April 20, 2006, 2:04 pm
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Hillary, Rudy and the "Social Issues"
April 19th, 2006

In her continuing effort to find a middle ground on abortion, Senator Hillary Clinton has co-authored an op-ed piece with Harry Reid, the anti-abortion Senate minority leader. The article, which originally ran in the Albany Times Union but now appears prominently on Clinton’s re-election web site, says the two disagree on abortion and will continue to disagree. But, it goes on, we can work together to find common ground.

That common ground is the Prevention First Act, which seeks to reduce unwanted pregnancies by making family planning services more accessible to low-income people, providing better information about contraceptives and requiring insurance companies that cover Viagra for men to also pay for contraceptives for women.

In another drive for common ground, Clinton has been actively supporting Pennsylvania Senate candidate Bob Casey, Jr. Casey is against abortion but is trying to oust one of the Senates more vitriolic social conservatives, Rick Santorum. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Clinton gave more money to Casey in 2005 than to any other candidate. Her political action committee, HILLPac, donated the maximum allowed by law, $10,000. She also played host at a Chicago fundraiser for him.

And if some of Caseys stands dont faze Clinton, Santorums positions dont seem to bother another prominent New York politician, Rudolph Giuliani. The New York Times reports that Giuliani, generally considered moderate to liberal on social issues, appeared at a fundraiser for Santorum, praising his leadership. Santorum was quoted in 2003 as equating gay marriage with man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be. “You never have a political leader in which you have total agreement, ” Giuliani reportedly said, explaining his support for the senator.

By on April 19, 2006, 2:19 pm
In category: Civil Rights,Electoral Politics,Gotham City | Comments Off on Hillary, Rudy and the "Social Issues"

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The Transit Contract
April 19th, 2006

It is time to end the long battle over the transit workers contract, the New York Times says today. The paper praises the union members for reversing their earlier vote and approving the agreement negotiated last winter. Now, it says, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority must do its part and accept the unions latest decision. Noting the many penalties levied against the union for its strike last December, the paper concludes, The message was sent and received: the union messed up, big time, and it is paying the price. It makes no sense to deny workers a contract they want, one that management agreed to so recently.

By on April 19, 2006, 7:09 am
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Bare knuckled budget battles
April 18th, 2006

The Governor dropped the bomb on state lawmakers when he issued large-scale vetoes of the state budget approved last month. The Governor justified his vetoes that total $2.9 billion since the budget approved by legislators spent too much and reformed too little.


Not only did he veto those measures, the Governor argued that even if lawmakers voted to override, he would ignore their actions in most cases. The Governor stated that $1.6 billion of the $2.9 billion he vetoed were due to unconstitutional actions by the legislature and as a result he would be justified in ignoring any new actions by the legislature.


Its a complicated situation, but essentially under the state constitution the Governor has unparalleled powers far beyond the powers of other Governors in the nation and the legislature is extremely limited in its ability to change the Governors proposed budget. In this case the Governor charged that the legislature illegally made changes and therefore even if lawmakers override his vetoes, he can ignore them.


The Governor has battled the legislature since his first days in office. Apparently hes going to finish his last term in the way he began by playing political hardball.


Unfortunately, as the gamesmanship over the budget plays out, real people get hurt. There is no budget agreement on spending hundreds of millions of dollars on programs to help the poor, hundreds of millions of dollars for the environment are in limbo, and property tax relief has been derailed.


College students could take a big hit too. Donald Navarro, for example, is a 28-year-old student at Queens College in New York City. Donald can afford to go to college by combining college financial aid and a job. But the Governors vetoes put his college career in jeopardy. Under the Governors plan, students attending college full-time would now have to get 15 credits per semester if they wanted to receive full financial aid. Donald cannot both work and attend school if he has to take 5 classes instead of the 4 he takes now. Donald says that if the Governor has his way, he will have to quit his job and take out more loans to make it through school.


Another potential victim of the Governors struggle with the legislature is Chris Johnson. Chris is a student at the State University School of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse. Chris is nearly finished with his undergraduate degree. All he needs is 13 credits in the Fall semester and hes done. But if the Governors plan stays in place, Chris will either have to take an additional class that he doesnt need (and take time to do well in that class), or take a reduction in financial aid.


While both Donald and Chris could be affected by the budget battle, their fates are in relatively good shape since the legislature can override the Governors cuts in these areas without fear that the Governor will ignore them. In the case of his cuts to college aid, the Governor is not arguing that these are constitutional issues. Consequently, if the legislature overrides the Governor, in this case he will comply with that action.


We hope.


You see sometimes the Governor has refused to follow the law if it suits him even when there is no constitutional question. For example, in the last two budgets the legislature approved with the Governors consent that the state collect taxes on sales to non-Indians making purchases on Indian reservations.


But the Governor told his Tax Department to ignore that law and thus it has not been enforced.


So you never know.


Obviously there has to be a better way. For whatever reason, the Governors hardball political tactics have made negotiating extremely difficult. And despite investing the Governor with vast budgetary powers that no other state Chief Executive has, New Yorks finances are a mess.


Change is coming this November. Hopefully, having a new player on the scene will lead to better fiscal results for the state. But until then, policymakers should act to ensure that people like Donald Navarro and Chris Johnson are not the casualties of Albanys bare-knuckled budget battles.

By on April 18, 2006, 7:32 pm
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Back to the Courts
April 18th, 2006

The Campaign for Fiscal Equity the group fighting for billions more for city schools announced today it has gone back to the courts again to get the schools the courts have repeatedly ruled they need. Several rulings in CFEs favor over the years have said city schools need an additional $4.7 billion to $5.6 billion in operating funds to provide all 1.1 million public school kids with a sound, basic education. As the Wonkster has noted, in the latest round of budget contortions, the legislature agreed to the capital funding called for in the CFE suit, but upped operating funds by only $400 million.

In an audio press conference, CFE said it wanted the Court of Appeals to rule quickly so the schools could begin seeing the additional money next school year. It asks the courts to direct the state in no uncertain terms that it has to comply with the suit and to impose penalties if the legislature and governor continue to dawdle.

If the latest legal maneuver proves successful and the governor has no more tricks in mind this could spell the end of the CFE suit, said Michael Rebbell who has litigated it since the beginning, 13 years ago. And then? Policy and education wonks could move on to the next fight how exactly to spend all that money.

By on April 18, 2006, 3:14 pm
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Gotham Gazette the Place for Politics and Policy

Gotham Gazette is published by Citizens Union Foundation and is made possible by support from the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Altman Foundation,the Fund for the City of New York and donors to Citizens Union Foundation. Please consider supporting Citizens Union Foundation's public education programs. Critical early support to Gotham Gazette was provided by the Charles H. Revson Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

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