Archive for March, 2007
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Paying the Poor
March 30th, 2007

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has finally begun making good on his promises to institute programs to fight poverty in the city, announcing a plan to give poor people financial incentives for getting their kids to school, having kids who do well on standardized tests and going to the doctor.

The idea delighted Brown Dog Democrats, which cheered, “More mayors need to do things like this. And Gina Cobb writes, This program does have the virtue of offering a new approach to the problem of generational poverty. If what we are doing isn’t working, trying fresh solutions makes sense.

But while many others applauded the mayor for doing something about the appalling levels of poverty in the city they questioned this approach.

Quoted on New York City Hunger Blog, Joel Berg, of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, said in its initial stages, the program would reach only 2,500 people or less than two-tenths of one percent of the 1.7 million New Yorkers in poverty. We also need far bolder efforts to create large numbers of living wage jobs and make food, health care, housing, and child care, more affordable for low-income New Yorkers.”

Tina K. Russell thinks the mayor has taken a bad idea and made it worse: “As if bribing teachers to improve their students’ test scores wasn’t bad enough, now we’re bribing parents. In general, she writes, it seems to me like a very cynical and very hurtful idea that poor people don’t care about their children’s survival already. Offering incentives so as long as your children are successful is kind of like offering an incentive to eat food; you want to do it, but if you lack the means than no incentive is going to help.

Unicorn Hat agrees, noting that the income of people eligible for this program is so low — no more than $20,000 for a family of three that it may be next to impossible for them to do the things they need to do to get the cash incentives Do you think the reason people aren’t making routine medical checkups, or parent teacher conferences are because they don’t want to? the blog asks.

Intellectual Arbitrage also dislikes what it calls an extortionist program, though for very different reasons: Why the hell should I give money to the poor for doing something that directly and immediately benefits them? Why the hell should I pay some random person because they went to the doctor when they were sick?

And to New York Magazines Intelligencer the mayors program harks back to the days of Henry Ford whose Sociological Department would determine if employees personal lives and personal habits made them eligible for the full wage. In a similar may, the magazine says Bloomberg is going to itemize instances of good behavior, price them out accordingly, and tabulate the winnings every two months. A kid’s exemplary attendance in elementary school may net the parent $25. Should she ace a test, there’s $300 in it for mom and dad. Presumably, the city dispatches a trained social worker to pat you on the head if you say please and thank you.

By on March 30, 2007, 2:44 pm
In category: Gotham City,Social Services | 2 Comments »

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Bikes In NYC News
March 30th, 2007

This week, Mayor Bloomberg signed a new law that requires bicycle delivery workers to wear helmets and ensure that the bikes are safe. It also requires that bicycle laws are posted in English, Spanish and other languages spoken at businesses.

BikeBlog notes that after several years of legal battles, the New York Police Department has dropped its lawsuit against Times Up, the group that organizes the monthly Critical Mass bike ride.

Still tonights Critical Mass isnt expected to be without arrests. It will be the first under new rules requiring a permit for rides of more than 50 cyclists. The Village Voice blog explains why the new regulations have angered others like the Five Borough Bike Club and City Councilmember Rosie Mendez, who plans to ride along in a pedicab to protest the rules.

In more peaceful news, Streetsblog offers a sneak peak at the Department of Transportations new plan to make 9th Street in Brooklyn bicycle-friendly.

By on March 30, 2007, 7:43 am
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Of Budgets, Battleships and Other Wordplay
March 29th, 2007

State Senator Thomas K. Duane joked that there’s some “theater” involved in the budget process. Judging by their language, inspired reporters writing about the negotiations seem to agree.

The New York Times documents the “darkness” of the process with a little “wiggling” and “lamenting.”

The New York Sun has one article describing Albany’s “confusion,” “groping” and “kicked up dust,” as well as another unsettling article of bruising and braking.

The New York Daily News describes the process’s “striking,” “pounding” and “grabbing,” all in an effort to turn the “ship” that is New York around.

The New York Times‘s active prose on the subject also features a “steamroller,” “hardball,” and more sailing.

For Newsday the issue is about “striving,” “bare bones” and “open doors.”

New York 1 covers the need for “ironing,” “huddling” and “conceptualizing” on the negotiations.

The Times Union explains the “wrangling,” “looming” and “softening” going on at the capital.

Another Time Union article on the budget emphasizes the difficulty of the “writing process,” but perhaps Spitzer summarized it best with “you do not turn a battleship inside a bathtub.”

By on March 29, 2007, 11:17 am
In category: Albany,Public Finance | 1 Comment »

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No Wal-Mart? Three Cheers! But Now What?
March 29th, 2007

Wal-Mart is not coming to New York, and the Sun is accusing the City Council of gloating.

Out of towner bloggers are doing their share of rubbing it in, as well. One writes that “hopefully this beautiful city will resist the malling of America for many years more.” Another marvels that “people in New York City may be snobby, but they stand united.”

Some people are unhappy about this. And at least one is a bit confused.

Meanwhile, some New Yorkers are looking ahead.

“Now the unions and politicians that worked so hard to keep Wal-Mart out of Gotham have a moral obligation to help low-income New Yorkers find another way to get low-cost goods,” writes Errol Louis in the Daily News.

Neighborhood Retail Alliance agrees:

“We have been arguing all along that the city needs to have a strategy to promote the development of supermarkets in poor neighborhoods. It needs to work with, and this should be a priority of new food czar Ben Thomases, the food industry-business and labor alike-to device a development strategy. As we have pointed out. before, Pennsylvania and the Food Trust of Philadelphia is pioneering precisely this kind of innovative development effort. NYC needs to emulate this model.”

By on March 29, 2007, 8:03 am
In category: Community Development | 10 Comments »

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Arts Attrition at Ground Zero
March 29th, 2007

After the International Freedom Center and the Drawing Center were chased out of the plans for Ground Zero for being insufficiently patriotic, the Times reported earlier this week that the Signature Theater Company will not be included due to issues surrounding “cost and complicated logistics.”

Today the Times laments the loss of another cultural institution at the site.

“The only momentum for the arts at ground zero is the momentum of attrition, a long downward spiral from a moment of genuine, and perhaps foolish, optimism.”

By on March 29, 2007, 6:37 am
In category: Arts,Gotham City | 3 Comments »

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Buying a Billionaire?
March 28th, 2007

The conventional wisdom has long been that Mayor Michael Bloomberg remains immune to the blandishments of special interests, since he is too rich to be bought. And certainly the mayor has not needed a penny of campaign contributions to finance his $70 million plus election campaigns.

But does that mean money is not one way to this mans heart?

Forest City Ratner, developer of Atlantic Yards, gave between $450,000 and $1 million to a “nonprofit closely associated” with Bloomberg, just as the debate over the controversial megaproject was heating up, Matthew Schuerman reports in todays Observer. The firms Bruce Ratner is a registered lobbyist, and according to Schuerman, The donation came six months after a meeting with Mr. Bloomberg and Deputy Mayor Patricia Harris that Ratner reported was a lobbying contactalthough the parties now dispute that it should have been characterized as such.

Much of the money was earmarked for restoration of the Coney Island carousel It is not the same as a campaign contribution, but it nevertheless is a contribution to a cause that is dear to the mayors heart, said Megan Quattlebaum, the associate director of Common Cause New York, a watchdog organization. Forest City Ratner has used a number of different strategies to advance the Atlantic Yards project. The open question for the public is whether this is part of the larger effort.

The account, writes No Land Grab, a blog that opposes Atlantic Yards, answers a question that puzzled some New Yorkers: How does The Brucester get every top politician on his side, though he’s been telling everyone for years that he no longer contributes to political campaigns? (His relatives do, though.)

This is not the first time the issue of contributions has arisen. When Bloomberg and his Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff were still fantasizing about New York as the site of the 2012 Olympics, businesses gave millions to NYC 2012. Although WNYC could not find a quid pro quo, its Andrea Bernstein reported at the time, Some donors told us they felt they HAD to give, but they didn’t want their names used for fear of souring city business deals. One businessman said Doctoroff told him after a city hall meeting on a non-Olympics-related matter, that he’d hear from Jay Kriegal, executive director of NYC2012. He did, and he gave a six figure contribution.

More recently, in his capacity as chair of the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation, Bloomberg has not been shy about hitting up developers developers who have business with the city for big bucks. And as one told the Observer earlier this year, When the mayor of the city in which you are doing business asks you for money, it is almost impossible for you to say no.

By on March 28, 2007, 9:18 am
In category: Electoral Politics,Gotham City,Land Use | 1 Comment »

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Surveillance Pro and Con, in Surround Sound
March 27th, 2007

The Politicker is exploring the possibilities with a new toy that allows it to bring the dulcet tones of Oliver Kopppell and Charles Barron to our desktops. Yesterday afternoon it ran short videos of each man weighing in on the NYPD infiltrated groups protesting the Republican National Convention.

Vigorous advocacy can turn into violent acts,” said Koppell, and the police must “avoid violence and terrorism”. He added that it is possible he has been under government surveillance himself.

Barron, who was cited among those under surveillance in 2004, said that Police Commissioner Ray Kelly should resign. “This is absurd,” Barron said several times. “If he wants to put someone under surveillance, it should be his police officers, who are out of control.”

By on March 27, 2007, 10:34 am
In category: Civil Rights,Gotham City | 3 Comments »

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Happy Election Day
March 27th, 2007

As voters in Staten Island go to the polls today to fill two vacancies in the State Assembly, an op-ed in the New York Sun raises questions about whether special elections are as democratic as they might seem. The way that such elections work has the paradoxical effect of disenfranchising voters, write Richard Davis and Richard Dadey of Citizens Union (the sister organization of Citizens Union Foundation, which publishes Gotham Gazette). They cite the selection of candidates for state legislature by party leaders behind closed doors and low turnout in the special elections. And while New Yorkers get to vote to fill empty seats in the legislature, they have no say at all when a vacancy occurs in the statewide offices of attorney general and comptroller.

In their op-ed, Davis and Dadey urge a number of reforms, including creating primaries to allow voters to choose the candidates in special elections and changes in the process for filling vacancies in City Council.

For more on special elections, including information on how they work and todays contests on Staten Island, see Gotham Gazettes Voting, Yes. Democracy Maybe.

By on March 27, 2007, 9:03 am
In category: Albany,Electoral Politics,Gotham City,Governing | 1 Comment »

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Spying or Cop-Bashing?
March 27th, 2007

The New York Times editorial page, which has been generally supportive of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s leadership style and policies in recent years,offers a rare dose of criticism for the businessman-turned-mayor.

News that the police department spyed on average New Yorkersduring theRepublican National Convention shows, the Times argues, that Bloomberg “does not quite seem to have made the transition from running a privately owned company, in which his word was law, to leading a major city, in which the voters serve as both board of directors and major shareholders.”

Other papers, however, aren’t impressed or convinced.

“Actually, the NYPD appears to have acted with admirable vigilance, employing tactics that amount to unlawful spying only in the fevered imaginings of the New York Civil Liberties Union,” the Daily News writes.

“It’s about time The New York Times went to a bank and borrowed a clue,” writes Steve Dunleavyin the New York Post, arguing that the articles are nothing more than cop-bashing. “The fading old, liberal gray mare ain’t what she used to be.”

By on March 27, 2007, 8:06 am
In category: Gotham City | 1 Comment »

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Coney Island Not Amused
March 27th, 2007

Last fall Coney Islands Astroland amusement park was sold to developer Thor Equities, who plans to build a massive Las Vegas complex. Now some city officials say they believe that the developer may sell off the property if the city doesn’t allow him to construct 700 luxury condos on the beach.

Gothamist provides an overview of the latest news.

Curbed has a helpful rundown of the fight between the various parties.

Gowanus Lounge summarizes a recent story from the Brooklyn Eagle about talks between the developer and The Coney Island Development Corp.

And this Friday, the freaks and side-show acts will stage a protest at City Hall, which promises to be more lively than the routine press conferences held on the steps.

By on March 27, 2007, 7:44 am
In category: Gotham City | 3 Comments »

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Fixing the Flaws in Homeless Policy
March 26th, 2007

Despite the Bloomberg administration’s effort to combat homelessness, the number of homeless families in the city is rising. Over the weekend, the Times looked at the issue in an editorial entitled “Homeless Maze.”

While the number of homeless single men and women has decreased, the number of homeless families reached 9,250 this month–a record high since the city began keeping records.The article cites the flaws in mayor’s five year plan, specificallythe Housing Stability Plus program, as themain cause. This program limitedhousing assistance to those on welfare, but when welfare benefits experience interruptions, so do families and landlords depending those linked housing subsidies. The Times suggests shifting some families to Section 8, a federal program, which points to the larger question of how thecity can bestdistribute the 22,000 such subsidies recently allocated to the city when thehomeless and theworking familiesare both in need.

Bloomberg’s management expertise is being increasingly questioned in his second term , but a recentNew York Observer editorial is optimistic that Bloomberg will respond well to the challenge.

By on March 26, 2007, 3:41 pm
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Cutting Class Siize
March 26th, 2007

In the continuing debate over whether the state should require its school districts, including New York Citys, to reduce class size, Leonie Haimson of Class Size Matters weighs in in todays Daily News with a resounding yes. We will never improve our stagnant middle school scores or lower our huge dropout rates without reducing class size. And as research shows, poor and minority students benefit the most from class-size reduction, as they need the greatest instructional support, she writes.

Haimson rejects arguments that, by requiring the city to hire additional teachers, reducing class size could actually decrease the quality of teaching in city public school classrooms. The major problem we have is not a lack of applicants, Haimson says. But we suffer from extremely high attrition rates as a result of our large classes, which rob teachers of any chance of success.” Smaller class size must be phased in slowly and carefully, Haimson, writes, but it is essential to improve education in a city that, over the next five years, plans to create only half as many seats in new schools as new seats in sports stadiums.

By on March 26, 2007, 11:29 am
In category: Education,Gotham City | Comments Off on Cutting Class Siize

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A Shaky Second Term
March 26th, 2007

While talk of presidential possibilities for Mayor Michael Bloomberg continue unabated, Chris Smith of New York Magazine writes about the mayor’s trouble here at home:

“For a mayor with such astronomical approval ratings, Bloomberg has had a surprisingly tough time of it lately. His clinical initial responses to the Con Ed blackout in Queens, the fiasco of school-bus reroutings, and the Bronx fire that killed ten members of two immigrant African families have been strung together to bash the mayor as a heartless technocrat. Bloomberg is plenty empathetic, just not in public, and anyone expecting him to reveal an inner Bill Clinton hasnt been paying attention for the past six years.

But professional naysayers arent the mayors real problem, or the reason political momentum has started to shift away from him. Whats truly worrisome is that the mayors recent troubles are rooted in substance, not style. Management expertise is at the core of why he was hired in the first place, and why he was resoundingly reelected in 2005. And it is managerial stumbles that are threatening to turn his second term into a dud.”

By on March 26, 2007, 9:54 am
In category: Gotham City | 2 Comments »

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Cops, Communists, Sharks and Pigs
March 22nd, 2007

What they’re saying on the editorial pages this morning:

Michael Goodwin says critics of the police should stop using the word “murder” when talking about the Sean Bell case.

Errol Louis argues that mortgage lenders who target low income communities for high-risk loans are sharks “whose greed has crippled millions of American families and triggered a national economic catastrophe.”

The Post and the Sun think New York University is coddling Communists.

The Post also says that John Liu’s idea to force the city’s Department of
Transportation to post all parking regulations online is a rare good idea from the council “proving that even a blind pig can find an acorn at least once.”

By on March 22, 2007, 7:59 am
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Save Our (Big) Schools
March 21st, 2007

Maybe its part of the growing skepticism about some of the Bloomberg administrations education policies, covered in this week’s Observer. But now the move to shut large high schools and replace them with small schools is meeting increased opposition.

The battleground is Samuel Tilden High School in East Flatbush. The education department plans to close Tilden and replace it with small schools, including one run by Outward Bound.

No one promotes Tilden as a model of academic excellence Inside Schools said students characterized the school as chaotic, and it had a high dropout rate but the according to one account, advocates say that a new principal and a sense of enthusiasm among the staff and students have begun to turn the school around. Supporters have launched a Web site in their effort to save Tilden

A key concern is the fate of students in Tildens bilingual Creole-language program, one of the few such programs in the city, and one unlikely to be replkcated n the small schools. Such small schools take few English language learners in their first two years.

“We take all kinds of students, some who don’t speak English, whether they are low-functioning academically or high-functioning, said Tilden art teacher Nancy Miller. What’s going to happen to all the kids in this neighborhood?”

And an English as a second language teacher at Tilden, John Lawhead, told City Council the move toward small schools has placed an unreasonable burden on schools such as Tilden. The larger schools, he said, have been burdened with overcrowding, split scheduling, oversized classes, inadequate facilities and budget cuts. They are assigned students with long-term absences, learning disabilities, emotional impairment, borderline intelligence and low English proficiency. In exchange for their effort to educate a broader population these school face official disparagement of their progress.

Small school have it easy by comparison, says Edwize, a blog put out by the teachers union. They may get higher performing students to begin with and at the same time receive extra support and money.

And the issue goes beyond Tilden. “My biggest concern,” City Councilmember Melinda Katz has said , “is that we are creating these new schools and leaving the rest of the kids out to triage.”

But there is an extra bit of irony at Tilden: Public School Parents says the decision to close flies in the face of a positive quality review of the school made only a few months ago. The review, the blog said pointed out how the principal’s efforts and leadership have received enthusiastic support from students, teachers, parents and her administrative staff’ and that English language learners achieved a passing rate on their Regents exams 25.3 percent above similar schools.

What are these quality reviews? They are key to Schools Chancellor Joel Klein school accountability plan an education change he advocates just about as fervidly as small schools.

By on March 21, 2007, 10:15 am
In category: Education,Gotham City | 1 Comment »

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Its Getting Hot in Here
March 21st, 2007

Rising global temperatures seem to be of little concern to Deputy Mayor Daniel Doctoroff, writes Wayne Barrett in the Village Voice. And that Barrett says poses a problem because Mayor Michael Bloomberg has put the Doctoroff in charge of PlaNYC2030, which is supposed to make this a sustainable, more environmentally friendly city. In theory, writes Barrett, the plan is Bloomberg’s response to climate change’s mounting challenges sea level and others to an especially vulnerable New York, but with Doctoroff in charge, it is predictably more about growth than threat, more upbeat than upsetting.It has yet to suggest how we will adapt to extreme and deadly heat, or to the specter of storm surges and hurricanes, or to the siege on our compromised infrastructure that has alarmed climatologists for years.

While Doctoroff offers few clues about what he might do to have the city reduce the carbon dioxide emissions that play a key role in global warming everyone involved in the 2030 plan is apparently sworn to secrecy the deputy mayor is gung ho on building along New Yorks waterfront real estate that might not exist if the climate continue to get warmer. And so, says Barrett, Doctoroff is approaching the question of changing the way we do business, and safeguarding us from Katrina and less, as if he’s more concerned about rocking the boat than winding up in one.

Maybe the administration will take heart from a recent study offering an upbeat solution to the problem. It says New York could significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions and reduce traffic congestion if we got out of our cars and got on motor scooters instead. As an avid cyclist Doctoroff might find this appealing, whatever his stand on global warming.

By on March 21, 2007, 7:33 am
In category: Education,Gotham City,Land Use,Transportation | 1 Comment »

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Small Isnt Always Beautiful
March 21st, 2007

Contrary to popular wisdom simply, cutting class size will not necessarily improve education, Raymond Domanico writes in todays Daily News. While research shows that – all things being equal – smaller classes are good for student achievement,” Domanico says, reducing class size would require the Department of Education to hire more teachers, not necessarily an easy task in a labor pool that is already stretched thin. And so he says, If New York City were to reduce class size across the board, many parents would see their children placed with less-qualified teachers.

Instead Domanico, the senior education adviser to the Industrial Areas Foundation of Metro NY, advises advocates to try to get more resources for the citys lowest performing schools and then let those schools decide if class-size reduction is the best way to use the money.

By on March 21, 2007, 7:30 am
In category: Education,Gotham City | 6 Comments »

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Graduation Games
March 20th, 2007

In a more perfect world, no school system would think that having 42 percent of students drop out of high school is something to brag about. But no one ever said the New York City school system is perfect.

For a while, the city and state have been fighting over how many city public school students receive a high school diploma. The state says only 43 percent do. The city Department of Education says 58 percent do and points to this an achievement of Mayor Michael Bloombergs school changes.

Now Public School Parents says sources report that the city has won the battle which is over numbers, not improving education and the state will soon report graduation rates for NYC that are above 50 percent. But according to the Sun, the state is only willing to go so far: A spokesman for the state Education Department, said the state would not negotiate the definition for the graduation rate, although it would make some changes, such as letting kids who graduate in August be included with June graduates.

The other issues could prove dicier. The city includes people who get a GED degree; the state, like the federal government, does not. The benefit of earning a GED, according to national research, is just a slight improvement over dropping out,” Daniel J. Losen of Harvard Law School’s Civil Rights Project has written. “There is a tremendous difference between earning a GED and earning a bona fide high school diploma.

But the biggest rift may be over special education. The city thinks kids in special ed should not be included in computing the dropout rate; the state says they should. Given that less than one in five special education students in the city graduates, this has a big effect on the number. Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott has defended the citys exclusion of special education kids, telling the Politicker, Those are students who have severe issues and so the ability to obtain a degree in a four-year period of time for them and qualify for regents tests is really extremely difficult.

Sound reasonable? Not according to some experts. First the city does far worse on this than the state as a whole. Only 37 percent of all special education high school students in the state graduate, but less than 17 percent of those in the city do.

And while the term special education may summon images of students with severe mental retardation or autism, most special education students have emotional and behavioral” problems, according to Thomas Hehir, a professor of education at Harvard who reviewed city special ed programs. ”If [students] receive what they need and the school accommodates their disabilities and gives them access to challenging curricula, these kids should be able to get diplomas,” he has said.

However one adds up the numbers, the rates remain particularly dismal for black and Latino students less than half of whom graduate. Thats the big issue, of course. And so Public School Parents writes, Why graduation rates should be a matter of negotiation at all rather than a result of careful objective analysis is something of a scandal in itself.

By on March 20, 2007, 11:43 am
In category: Education,Gotham City | 7 Comments »

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The Death Of Sean Bell: Editorial Reaction To Cops' Indictments
March 20th, 2007

The Daily News:
“The charges, appropriately severe, seem designed to allow Queens District Attorney Richard Brown to proceed with the widest reasonable latitude without overreaching.”

The New York Post:
“The fact is, sometimes police officers must fire their guns. And when that happens, the consequences can be tragic.
But criminalizing tragic outcomes serves only to embolden criminals and to hamstring the police.”

Newsday:
[T]he indictment of three New York City detectives in the death of bridegroom Sean Bell outside a Queens strip club won’t satisfy the extremists on either side. What it will do is give the public the opportunity to hear what happened and why
Some people, many of them black, will be disappointed that all five cops on the scene that night weren’t charged, and that the charge isn’t murder. That view is fed by frustration and a history of racial injustice..Other people will be aghast that any of the detectives in the Bell shooting were charged at all. The view from that side of the divide is that police work is dangerous [and shouldnt be second-guessed] There’s truth on both sides of that argument. But a uniform and a badge can’t be a shield against accountability


Author and former police detective Robert Leuci writing in the New York Times
:
“Someone once said that a society that makes unwarranted war with its police had better make friends with its criminals…
You had to be there, but ask yourself, what would you have done? Certainly there were mistakes made, terrible life-threatening mistakes. But it was the occupants of that car who made them….
Now we will have the trials the police critics have been calling for. I hope but have little faith that they will stop the angry rhetoric and let the juries make their decisions in peace. As for those three men, they can take solace from an ancient cop saying: ‘Ill always rather be judged by 12 of my fellow citizens than carried by six of my brother officers.'”

By on March 20, 2007, 5:43 am
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After the Indictments
March 19th, 2007

Now that three police detectives have been indicted in the shooting death of Sean Bell and the wounding of two of his friends, experts are cautioning that this is just the first step. I guess you could say the indictment was a prologue and the announcement is the beginning of the first act , Eli Silverman, a professor of police practices at John Jay College, told the Sun. In his written statement, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown cautioned, I remind you that the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. And Michael Palladino, head of the http://www.gothamgazette.com/iotw/diallo/ Detective Endowment Association, complained, “They say you can indict a ham sandwich, or even a rock.”

While Palladino probably is not often so quick to express sympathy for those indicted on felony charges, he may have a point. A survey of recent cases where police killed people, finds more indictments than convictions.

Here is a rundown of some key cases in the last 10 years:

Amadou Diallo: Four police officer were indicted for firing 41 shots at the unarmed African immigrant as he emerged from his Bronx apartment building on the night of Feb, 4 1999. But the trial moved to Albany after a state appeals court ruled that the public clamor over the case had created an atmosphere in which jurors would be under enormous pressure to reach the verdict demanded by public opinion.” Whether this made a difference or not and many observers believe it did all four officers were acquitted. One even wants his job, and his gun, back.

History could repeat itself.. There is already talk that lawyers for the three police indicted in the Bell shooting could try to move the case out of the city, an effort Brown said he would fight. And the Reverend Al Sharpton, who has been advising the Bell family, said any attempt to move the trial would be “insulting” and added, “We will not participate, attend or cooperate” with a trial outside of Queens County.

Gideon Busch: The mentally disturbed man was killed by police in Borough Park, Brooklyn, on Aug. 30, 1999. Police said he had attacked a sergeant with a hammer and refused to drop the tool. No criminal charges were brought in the case, and the family abandoned its efforts to win a civil trial against the city.

Patrick Dorismond: The security guard was killed by police in March 2000 when he was caught up in a drug sweep. Dorismond reportedly became irate when a police officer approached him for drugs and, in the dispute that followed, Office Richard Vasquez killed him. A Manhattan grand jury declined to indict Vasquez.

Ousmone Zongo: A 43-year-old immigrant from Burkina-Faso, Zongo was shot and killed by Police Officer Bryan Conroy during a May, 2003, raid on a Chelsea warehouse police suspected of harboring various pirate CD and DD operations. A judge it was not a jury trial convicted Conroy of criminally negligent homicide and sentenced him to five years probation.

Timothy Stansbury: The 19-year-old was taking a short cut across the roof of his BedfordStuyvesant apartment building on January 24, 2004, when police officer Richard Neri shot and killed him. Both Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commission Ray Kelly condemned the shooting of the teenager, but the grand jury did not indict Neri, who reportedly has a desk job with the police

By on March 19, 2007, 3:46 pm
In category: Civil Rights,Crime & Safety,Gotham City | 1 Comment »

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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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