Archive for March, 2009

Quinn on Monserrate
March 24th, 2009

Most officials are staying mum on yesterday’s indictment of former councilmember now State Senator Hiram Monserrate, who has been charged with several counts of assault for allegedly stabbing his girlfriend with a glass.

At today’s pre-stated press conference, Council Speaker Christine Quinn made a brief statement when asked for a reaction.

“When this incident was first reported last December, I said, and that remains my position, that domestic violence is a terrible, terrible thing,” Quinn said. “It’s a cancer in our city. If someone is found to have committed an act of domestic violence, they should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Whatever position they may or may not hold should have no bearing on their being prosecuted to the fullest extent, if the allegations are proven to be true.”

At the time of the alleged incident, Monserrate was still a member of the City Council. When asked whether the council would react (say through censure) on the indictment, Quinn said it was no longer within their jurisdiction.
Read the rest of this entry »

By on March 24, 2009, 12:47 pm
In category: Albany,Crime & Safety,Land Use,Law | Comments Off on Quinn on Monserrate

| More

RSS Feed RSS Feed


Monserrate Loses Committee Chair
March 23rd, 2009

Indicted Sen. Hiram Monserrate will temporarily step down as the chairman of the Consumer Protection Committee. It has yet to be decided who will replace him.

Read the rest of this entry »

By on March 23, 2009, 5:09 pm
In category: Albany,Eye on Albany | Comments Off on Monserrate Loses Committee Chair

| More

RSS Feed RSS Feed


Doomsday Not Deferred
March 23rd, 2009

“I don’t think the agency should delay any action,” said Gov. David Paterson this morning, thereby admitting that the three men in a room will not be able to reach an agreement on a deal to bail out the Metropolitan Transit Authority before the MTA’s March 25 deadline.  On Wednesday, the agency is expected to enact massive fare increases and service cuts to deal with a $1.2 billion operating deficit. “Delaying action, to me, would just ring too true to what’s gone on in Albany too many times,” Paterson said.

The MTA’s finance committee  is meeting today to finalize their plans for the fare hikes and service cuts.

Read the rest of this entry »

By on March 23, 2009, 1:14 pm
In category: Albany,Eye on Albany,Transportation | 1 Comment »

| More

RSS Feed RSS Feed


Hiram Monserrate Indicted
March 23rd, 2009

Sen. Hiram Monserrate was indicted on a felony assault charge this morning. Monserrate allegedly smashed a bottle into his girlfriend’s face in a fit of rage on Dec. 29 of last year. Monserrate has claimed he simply tripped while holding a glass of water.  Police say they have video evidence that proves the event was far less innocent.

By on March 23, 2009, 11:51 am
In category: Albany,Eye on Albany | Comments Off on Hiram Monserrate Indicted

| More

RSS Feed RSS Feed


Senate Does Something Useful
March 20th, 2009

Yesterday, the Senate unanimously passed a bill that provides a 65 percent discount on health insurance through COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) for recently unemployed New Yorkers and today Gov. David Paterson signed it into law.

The program is funded by the federal stimulus bill and was sponsored in the  Senate by Insurance Committee Chairman Senator Neil Breslin from Albany. The bill also extends COBRA coverage to laid off employees of companies of 19 or less. Cobra used to be limited, in New York, to employees of companies of 20 or more.

Read the rest of this entry »

By on March 20, 2009, 4:38 pm
In category: Albany,Eye on Albany,Health | Comments Off on Senate Does Something Useful

| More

RSS Feed RSS Feed


Weekly Web Wrap
March 20th, 2009

  • Why Won’t the City Recycle Plastic?
    (Inhabitat)
  • The Politics of an MTA Budget Deal
    (Regional Plan Association)
  • Cartoonist’s Take on MTA Budget Gap
    (Matt Davies)
  • State Ranked Fourth Best in Types of Info Available Free Online
    (Sunshine Week)
  • State’s Health IT Program Good Model for National Effort
    (Healthcare IT News via FierceHealthIT)
  • Profile of Rev. Billy’s Mayoral Campaign
    (The Indypendent)
  • Can Weingarten Satisfy Both Teachers and Reformers?
    (The New Republic)
  • More Kosher Soup Kitchens Planned
    (The Jewish Week)
  • Public Housing Residents and the Census
    (NYCHA Journal)
  • Increasing the Availability of Affordable and Nutritious Food
    (Manhattan Borough President’s Blog)
  • Require Submetering Landlords to Accept Utility Assistance
    (PULP Blog)
  • State’s Exposure Limited if AIG Failed
    (NY Fiscal Watch)
  • Local Farming and Food Policy in New York
    (Brian Lehrer)
  • Cuomo Should Practice Transparency He Preaches
    (Mediashift Idea Lab)
  • Audio of the Staten Island Broadband Hearing
    (Internet Society – New York Chapter)
  • New Meetup for Those Working for Open Government in the City
    (Open Government NYC)
  • By on March 20, 2009, 3:52 pm
    In category: Gotham City | Comments Off on Weekly Web Wrap

    | More

    RSS Feed RSS Feed


    Transit Cut Maps
    March 20th, 2009

    The Regional Plan Association has some very detailed maps of planned MTA service cuts. The maps break the cuts down by legislative district. If your representative has been slow to act on the Ravitch Plan, you can see exactly what their stance will mean to your daily commute.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    By on March 20, 2009, 12:00 pm
    In category: Albany,Eye on Albany,Transportation | Comments Off on Transit Cut Maps

    | More

    RSS Feed RSS Feed


    Agree to Disagree
    March 19th, 2009

    Gov. David Paterson took his fight to pass the Ravitch Plan to the airwaves this morning. Paterson pleaded his case on three stations, charging that the Senate Democrats have “hijacked” the MTA bailout plan, and that the Senate proposal was put together simply to curry public favor. Paterson’s tone has changed significantly comments he made at a press conference on Tuesday, when he said that he thought there had been a “misunderstanding” that lead to the Senate plan.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    By on March 19, 2009, 5:01 pm
    In category: Albany,Eye on Albany,Transportation | Comments Off on Agree to Disagree

    | More

    RSS Feed RSS Feed


    State Dems Took Cash From AIG
    March 19th, 2009

    The AP reported today that American International Group donated $100,000 to the State Democratic Committee two weeks before before Gov. David Paterson’s insurance superintendent began negotiating to help bail out the company. The donation was made on Aug. 29. On Sept. 19, it was announced that New York officials had helped AIG secure an $85 federal loan.

    By on March 19, 2009, 4:14 pm
    In category: Albany,Eye on Albany | Comments Off on State Dems Took Cash From AIG

    | More

    RSS Feed RSS Feed


    Seeking Federal Funds for Transportation
    March 19th, 2009

    To take advantage of federal funds offered through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the New York Transportation Council has listed the projects in its five-year Transportation Improvement Program that they think are eligible. You can view those projects in the city in PDF form or on the handy Google map below. That mass of station projects in Brooklyn is along the West End Line which the D train runs on.


    View Larger Map

    By on March 19, 2009, 2:36 pm
    In category: Transportation | Comments Off on Seeking Federal Funds for Transportation

    | More

    RSS Feed RSS Feed


    Parker: Last Hope for Democracy?
    March 18th, 2009

    “Once again it just goes to show that money can buy justice in America,” said Sen. Kevin Parker in reaction to the Justice Department’s decision to OK the bill that would allow Mayor Michael Bloomberg to run for a third term. Critics said that the extension of term limits would disenfranchise minority candidates, because minority candidates traditionally have great difficulty defeating white incumbents.

    Parker said that he felt the ruling was “not consistent” with other rulings on similar cases. Parker has a bill pending in the Senate that would change state election law to require a voter referendum on the expansion of term limits. Hakeem Jeffries has matching legislation pending in the Assembly. “The Jeffries/Parker referendum bill is now the last best hope to secure democracy for the city,” declared Parker.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    By on March 18, 2009, 7:14 pm
    In category: Albany,Eye on Albany,Gotham City,Governing,Law | Comments Off on Parker: Last Hope for Democracy?

    | More

    RSS Feed RSS Feed


    What the Plan Means
    March 17th, 2009

    Observers say that the Senate’s MTA plan means simply that Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith does not have control of his majority.  The” gang of three,” including Sen. Pedro Espada, Jr., Ruben Diaz, Sr., and Carl Kruger, put their collective foot down against tolling East River bridges–and Smith had to capitulate.

    Smith’s plan would enact four percent fare increases and a tax of 25 cents on every 100 dollars of payroll in counties served by the MTA. It does nothing for the MTA’s capital budget. Smith’s plan is a far cry from the Ravitch plan, which would have imposed $5 tolls on bridges over the East River, created a .33 percent payroll tax, and increased fares by about eight percent.  The Senate plan also does far less to address the MTA’s financial problems than the $2-toll compromise plan presented by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver earlier this year.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    By on March 17, 2009, 5:48 pm
    In category: Albany,Eye on Albany,Transportation | 2 Comments »

    | More

    RSS Feed RSS Feed


    The MTA, in Pie Charts
    March 17th, 2009

    Albany’s new Senate CIO wasn’t kidding when he said he was going to be trying new things. The State Senate CIO’s office announced a couple of new web initiatives in coordination with the MTA. (Wonkster got this announcement by Twitter — we invite you to follow Gotham Gazette on Twitter.) One, they’ve put a few piles of numbers on a site, Swivel, that lets you review and visualize large data sets. They’re taking your ideas for a rescue of the MTA on NYMTAideas.org and they’ve published the Senate’s MTA Proposal on NYMTAsolutions.org. The MTA regularly comes under fire for keeping their books under wraps, but is this the transparency you’re looking for?

    What are your MTA ideas?

    By on March 17, 2009, 2:30 pm
    In category: Albany,nextNY,Public Finance,Tech | 1 Comment »

    | More

    RSS Feed RSS Feed


    A Shameless Plug
    March 17th, 2009

    Woe is the media industry.

    But last night’s PBS NewsHour tried to cast light on these dire straits with a discussion with a handful of newspaper veterans, including John S. and James L. Knight Foundation President and Chief Executive Officer Alberto Ibarguen.

    (Full disclosure: the Knight Foundation funded our latest bout of news games. For our most recent budget game, check out Balance.)

    Now here comes the shameless plug: Watch the video and pay close attention to the seven-minute mark when Gotham Gazette gets a shout out.

    By on March 17, 2009, 2:21 pm
    In category: Gotham City | Comments Off on A Shameless Plug

    | More

    RSS Feed RSS Feed


    The Gallery Chimes In
    March 17th, 2009

    Though some are satisfied with the State Senate’s proposal to bailout the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, others think it’s more like treading water.

    Here is a sampling of statements:

    From the Carol Kellermann, President of the Citizens Budget Commission:

    “The MTA is a critical component of the economic engine of the New York metropolitan area. It must be shored up financially, not just one year at a time, but on a permanent, more rational basis. Partial year-to-year solutions such as the one put forward today by the Senate Majority do not address the problem and are no substitute for the more comprehensive and long-lasting reforms that are needed.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    By on March 17, 2009, 1:33 pm
    In category: Albany,Economy,Gotham City,Governing,nextNY,Public Finance,Transportation | 3 Comments »

    | More

    RSS Feed RSS Feed


    Hitching a Ride
    March 13th, 2009

    The city’s ethics police said today that certain public officials can use their city-funded vehicles gratis even if it’s to run personal errands.

    The city’s Conflicts of Interest Board was responding to a request from Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the borough presidents, the City Council speaker and minority leader, the comptroller, public advocate and district attorneys. The board said officials with security details could use their city-funded vehicles for personal use without reimbursement. For those without a detail, as long as they are constantly on call, they too can use their ride free of charge.

    The caveat for both is that the use cannot create another conflict of interest.

    According to the opinion, the board said it would be “unfair” for officials to reimburse the city since they are subject to “security determinations” from the police department. The opinion also states that any parsing of what is or what is not official business, incidentally or otherwise, would be “limitless.”

    Though the board said officials could pretty much cruise around town, it is likely the same argument will not hold when it comes to campaigning.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    By on March 13, 2009, 4:52 pm
    In category: Gotham City | Comments Off on Hitching a Ride

    | More

    RSS Feed RSS Feed


    Silver Pushes on MTA Bailout
    March 13th, 2009

    Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver just released a statement calling for quick action on an Metropolitan Transit Authority bailout plan. “It is essential to recognize that we are facing a difficult decision that must be made without delay,” said Silver.

    Silver has been pushing a compromise plan that would enact a $2 toll on East River bridges. Silver says he has enough votes in his conference to pass a plan. Meanwhile, dissension in the Senate has prevented any movement on the bailout. Transit advocates have stepped up pressure on legislators.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    By on March 13, 2009, 2:17 pm
    In category: Albany,Eye on Albany,Transportation | Comments Off on Silver Pushes on MTA Bailout

    | More

    RSS Feed RSS Feed


    For Whom the Bell Tolls
    March 13th, 2009

    State Senators have spent the week trying to discredit and dismiss the idea that they need to take action on an Metropolitan Transit Authority bailout before March 25. On that date the MTA says it will have to enact drastic fare increases and cuts to service.  In view of the Senate’s inaction, the MTA is holding an emergency meeting today to deal with the impending fiscal crisis. But a number of Senators still say they won’t be “held hostage” by the MTA’s deadline.

    Sen. Kevin Parker of Brooklyn says that the deadline represents a “false dichotomy.” “They are going to raise tolls no matter what we do. It is just a question of how much. They want a bailout, and I want reform,” said Parker.

    Advocates of the bailout say the MTA has been open and forthcoming with financial information and that New Yorkers should not be burdened with fare hikes and service cuts because of how Senators feel about the transit authority.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    By on March 13, 2009, 12:12 pm
    In category: Albany,Eye on Albany,Transportation | Comments Off on For Whom the Bell Tolls

    | More

    RSS Feed RSS Feed


    WFP Goes for De Blasio
    March 13th, 2009

    <em/>De Blasio last year at term limits press conference” title=”blasio2″ width=”175″ height=”288″ class=”size-full wp-image-3091″ /><p class=De Blasio last year at term limits press conference

    Though it’s not the first endorsement, it could be the most weighty so far.

    The Working Families Party is putting their bets on Councilmember Bill de Blasio for public advocate giving him the magnitude of manpower that comes with the party line. Working families also endorsed Brad Lander for de Blasio’s seat.

    Other public advocate candidates have started racking up endorsements as well. Councilmember Eric Gioia has gotten nods from several unions, including the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union , and Norman Siegel has snagged support from Democracy for New York City.

    Mark Green, the former advocate, has an obvious advantage when it comes to name recognition. With John Liu out of the race, this cast of characters will likely be the ones duking it out for the rest of the Democratic groups’ support.

    Here is the release from the party sent out last night:
    Read the rest of this entry »

    By on March 13, 2009, 10:49 am
    In category: Gotham City | Comments Off on WFP Goes for De Blasio

    | More

    RSS Feed RSS Feed


    Weekly Web Wrap
    March 13th, 2009

  • Not Enough Welfare Recipients in College or Employment Training
    (DMI Blog)
  • High Density Living is Green Living
    (Economix Blog)
  • Parks are an Important Part of that Density
    (City Parks Blog)
  • Russell Simmons: Drop the Rock
    (Huffington Post)
  • Plucking the City’s Golden Geese
    (CityEconomist)
  • Despite Stimulus, Schools Budget Still Drops
    (New York Teacher)
  • Bad Albany Idea of the Month
    (NY Fiscal Watch)
  • Another Interactive Map of Transit Cuts
    (Regional Plan Association)
  • Governor’s Budget Would Allow Further Utility Deregulation
    (PULP Blog)
  • City Nears Launch of Programs to Boost Supermarket Development
    (The Real Estate)
  • New York and D.C. are Magnets for Tech Jobs
    (eWeek via FierceCIO)
  • New York City: A Nice Place to Be Unemployed?
    (Brooklyn Rail)
  • Chinatown’s Transformation Hard on Low-Income Residents
    (World Journal)
  • Urging the Buildings Department To Re-Evaluate New Rule
    (Municipal Art Society)
  • City Joins Earth Hour 2009
    (Earth Hour U.S.)
  • How Bloomberg Could Finally Build Moynihan Station
    (New York Magazine)
  • The Secret Lives of Beekeepers in New York
    (The New Republic)
  • By on March 13, 2009, 10:37 am
    In category: Gotham City | Comments Off on Weekly Web Wrap

    | More

    RSS Feed RSS Feed


    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.

    RSS Feed