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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
In category: Crime & Safety,Gotham City | No Comments »

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A New York Tragedy, A Mayor's Absence
March 9th, 2007

Both the Daily News and the New York Post publish editorials today lamenting the loss of nine lives in a fire in a building in the Bronx.

The New York Post adds a second editorial criticizing Bloomberg for traveling to Miami instead of visiting the fire scene or meeting with survivors:
Time and again over the last five-plus years, Bloomberg has demonstrated an appalling inability to connect with the people of New York in times of crisis.. Last month, it was his refusal to lift alternate side of the street parking after a brutal ice storm. Whether it was last summer’s Con Ed power outage, the Staten Island Ferry tragedy – or even last month’s school-bus fiasco – Mike has come across as aloof and arrogant. Indeed, it took Bloomberg nearly six weeks after taking office to attend his first 9/11 funeral. Yesterday, he jetted off to Miami, leaving an exemplary family to cope with grievous loss all alone. New York noticed.

By on March 9, 2007, 6:04 am
In category: Gotham City | 1 Comment »

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The Citys Most Famous Irish-American Parade Minus The Citys Most Powerful Irish-American Politician
March 9th, 2007

An editorial in the New York Times criticizes the Ancient Order of Hibernians for excluding gay people from the St. Patricks Day Parade (which this year is a week from tomorrow), and points out with some relish how City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, the citys most powerful Irish-American politicianwho is a lesbian, plans to show them up in style. Quinn has accepted an invitation to march in the St. Patricks Day Parade in Dublin. The speaker says she will wear an apple pin in homage to her home city, a pin with American and Irish flags, and a sticker with a pink triangle and a shamrock, a symbol of gay and ethnic pride.

By on March 9, 2007, 5:44 am
In category: Civil Rights,Gotham City | 1 Comment »

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Editorialists Target Teachers Unions
March 6th, 2007

An editorial in the New York Sun attacks the New York State United Teachers for its ad campaign against charter schools: It looks like Governor Spitzer’s next big fight is going to be with the teachers union known as New York State United Teachersthis newspaper is firmly in the governor’s corner The very fact that [teachers] feel threatened by the percentage of students who might end up in charter schools is in and of itself a sign that they have been failing in their monopoly, union-controlled operations, and a recognition that more charter schools would only increase accountability.

Daily News columnist Bill Hammond also criticizes the ad campaign, giving it an A for chutzpah and an F for accuracy.

An editorial in the Daily News attacks the United Federation of Teachers, and especially its president Randi Weingarten (a terrific propagandist), for its vocal, visible campaign that casts Bloomberg’s reforms as the work of inept bureaucrats. The editorial, by contrast, approves of such proposals as putting an end to automatic teacher tenure. It especially praises the new computer system, Achievement Reporting and Innovation System, or ARIS, which when its implemented in the fall should let teachers view, with a mouse click, whether students are learning under their tutelage. Principals should be able to do the same for entire classes. And the chancellor should be able to measure the success of whole schools.

By on March 6, 2007, 9:10 am
In category: Education,Gotham City | No Comments »

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Subway Set-Up
March 6th, 2007

In an editorial entitled Manufacturing Misdemeanors, the New York Times calls for an end to the New York Police Departments subway sting, Operation Lucky Bag, in which unattended bags have been left in subway stations deliberately in order to arrest passersby who take them; 220 New Yorkers have been arrested so far. People wandering off with lost property ranks far down the list of law enforcement priorities, the Times writes, and among its negative effects might be to discourage Good Samaritans who would take the property in order to find its rightful owner.

By on March 6, 2007, 8:35 am
In category: Crime & Safety,Gotham City,Transportation | 1 Comment »

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After The Rats: Overreaction?
March 6th, 2007

Following up on its previous editorial that
mocked and criticized Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden
, the New York Post, in a new editorial entitled Friedens Follies, argues that the health department is shutting down restaurants left and right (though it just mentions Johns Pizzeria in the Village) as reaction to the endlessly repeated video of rats at the Village Taco Bell, which were discovered right after that restaurant got the O.K. from one of the departments inspectors. Fact is, there isn’t a restaurant in New York City – hell, in the world – that could stand up to a rule-book inspection conducted by someone with an embarrassed and angry boss.

By on March 6, 2007, 8:23 am
In category: Gotham City,Health | 1 Comment »

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Time To Settle Ferry Crash Suits
March 1st, 2007

An editorial in the Daily News entitled
Justice Too Long Delayed approves the ruling of a federal judge that City Hall was horribly negligent in the Staten Island ferry crash more than three years ago that killed 11 passengers and injured many more. It urges settlements to move forward. It is unconscionable that so much time has been wasted in legal wrangling. First, ravenous trial lawyers filed grossly excessive damage claims. Then, Corporation Counsel Michael Cardozo fought back by invoking the antique maritime statute, and the matter has dragged on and on.

By on March 1, 2007, 5:25 am
In category: Gotham City,Transportation | No Comments »

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Calorie Consciousness
February 27th, 2007

An editorial in the New York Times, which has supported the effort by the citys health department to compel fast-food restaurants to list calories alongside menu prices, opposes a bill in the City Council, promoted by the restaurant industry, that would gut the new regulations before they took effect.

By on February 27, 2007, 7:40 am
In category: Gotham City,Health | No Comments »

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Starrett City Sale, Bad Idea
February 20th, 2007

An editorial in the New York Times this weekend called the sale for $1.3 billion of the Starrett City housing development a bad idea, chiefly because New York cannot afford to lose any more affordable housing Our hope is that the deal is quashed quickly, and that state and local officials use the reprieve to concentrate on stopping the hemorrhaging of affordable housing.

By on February 20, 2007, 9:27 am
In category: Gotham City,Housing,Land Use | 2 Comments »

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New York City, "Luxury Product" Or "Net Loser"?
February 13th, 2007

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Joel Kotkin (author of “The City: A Global History”) begins an essay by quoting Mayor Michael Bloomberg calling New York City a high-end product, maybe even a luxury product — and then spends the rest of his article arguing why he thinks that New York cannot remain a superstar city without a shift in attention away from the affluent and towards the needs of the middle class.

Economic and demographic trends suggest that the future of American urbanism lies not in the elite cities but in younger, more affordable and less self-regarding places, Kotkin writes. He cites Gotham Gazette demographics columnist Andrew Beveridge as expressing skepticism over Bloombergs projection of a gain in New York Citys population of a million people over the next 25 years, and claims that the city might actually face a decline in population unless it pays attention to basic issues that affect the middle class — high housing costs, taxes, regulation, schools and lack of support for diverse small businesses, particularly in the outer boroughs.

Kotkin says that true progressives like Harry Truman or Fiorella La Guardia understood that great cities become so, in large part, due to the strivings of the upwardly mobile middle class and families, not the elites of any stripe.

By on February 13, 2007, 9:16 am
In category: Community Development,Demographics,Gotham City,Public Finance | 3 Comments »

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Fight The Perfidy, Governor Spitzer
February 9th, 2007

An editorial in the New York Post enthusiastically approves the harsh attacks Governor Eliot Spitzer has been letting loose on the Assembly since Wednesday, when it chose one of their own, Thomas DiNapoli, to succeed Alan Hevesi as comptroller, rather than pick one of the three finalists selected by the screening panel of former comptrollers.

It quotes Spitzer as having said: “There’s nothing like losing a skirmish that leads me to want to win the next round more. The knockout blow is coming very soon.”

“Strong words – but appropriate,” the Post remarks. “For one thing is clear: Spitzer needs to make [Assembly Speaker] Shelly Silver and his partner in perfidy, Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno, pay a price for their double-dealing.”

By on February 9, 2007, 3:31 pm
In category: Albany,Gotham City,Public Finance | No Comments »

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$ From Health System --> $ For Education System = Good Idea
February 3rd, 2007

Editorials in both the Daily Newsand the New York Times approve (with caveats) Governor Eliot Spitzers plan to reform the medical system in New York, slowing down the rate of growth, in order to free up money to beef up the schools.

The Daily News: The $120.6 billion budget he proposed this week was an assault on Albany’s misplaced priorities. Schools in places that need help most, such as the city, would go to the top of the list, while hospitals and nursing homes accustomed to consuming ever more money would get smaller increases in funding

The Times: The heart of the governors plan is to drive New Yorks health care system, now heavily reliant on high-cost care in hospitals and nursing homes, toward greater use of outpatient clinics, home care and primary care in the community. Virtually all health experts agree that is the way to go

By on February 3, 2007, 5:17 pm
In category: Albany,Education,Gotham City,Health,Public Finance | No Comments »

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Risk Your Life For $25,100 A Year
February 3rd, 2007

An editorial in the New York Times finds the new starting salary of $25,100 for new police hires to be jarring, unreasonable, a paupers sum and a good explanation for why the New York Police Department has been unable to recruit enough new police officers. The future recruits had their salaries lowered by 27 percent in exchange for an increase for current police officers in the last contract negotiations between the police department and the police union. Both sides have bemoaned the low pay for recruits; now they need to get to the table with ideas to raise it, so New York can get the quality of new officers it needs and deserves.

By on February 3, 2007, 12:49 pm
In category: Crime & Safety,Gotham City,Public Finance | 1 Comment »

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Asian and Latina Suicide
February 2nd, 2007

An editorial in El Diario/La Prensa praises the City Council hearing this week about the high rate of attempted suicide among Latina teenagers and elderly Asian women, and endorses two crucial approaches to intervention: the need to de-stigmatize mental health problems and tackle the shortage of culturally and linguistically competent professionals. For the Latina teenagers, both detection and intervention, El Diario said, should be concentrated in the schools.

By on February 2, 2007, 5:58 pm
In category: Demographics,Education,Gotham City,Health,Social Services | 6 Comments »

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Spitzer On Education
January 30th, 2007

Governor Eliot Spitzer delivered a policy speech on education yesterday that generally won the approval of editorial writers and educators and even heads of teachers unions. It called for greater funding, an expansion of prekindergarten, a reduction in class sizes, a longer school day and school year, and streamlining education funding formulas. Its focus was on accountability, such as a contract for excellence” that will reward schools with more funding if they adopt suggested reforms. Spitzer also formally announced the appointment of Rochester Schools Superintendent Manuel Rivera as the states education czar, a new position.

United Federation of Teachers Union President Randi Weingarten reacted in a statement on the UFT blog that took a swipe at New York City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein: While some details are unknown, Weingarten wrote, the differences between the governors approach to pay differentials, tenure, accountability and school funding and that of Chancellor Klein are revealing and refreshing. The governors approach builds a strong school community while the chancellors foster divisiveness

By on January 30, 2007, 9:49 am
In category: Albany,Education,Gotham City | No Comments »

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Wall Street Is Not Doomed
January 30th, 2007

When last week, a report commissioned by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, Sustaining New Yorks And The U.S.s Global Financial Services Leadership ,
warned that New York Citys position as the worlds financial capital was threatened, editorial response generally endorsed the view expressed by financial services executives interviewed for the report that part of the problem is a regulatory approach overly punitive and public” (explicitly referring to the Sarbanes Oxley Act, a law that cracked down on lax accounting practices in the wake of scandals like the Enron debacle.)

For example, Newsday ran an editorial arguing that excessively burdensome regulations that threaten its financial muscle should be addressed quickly, without undercutting necessary safeguards, to help New York City preserve its role as financial capital of the world.

But in the New Yorker Magazine, James Surowiecki calls the effect of regulation on Wall Streets pre-eminence as represented in the report a radically oversimplified explanation of whats been happening and maintains there is no evidence that Americas attractiveness to investors has diminished
“Theres no doubt that Sarbanes-Oxley is an imperfect piece of legislation, but it is not a harbinger of doom for Americas capital markets, and we should be skeptical of any analysis that says it is. Wall Street, after all, has greeted practically every important market regulation introduced in this century with howls of dismay and predictions of disaster. In 1934, the head of the New York Stock Exchange told Congress that if the Securities Exchange Act, which became the foundation of market regulation in the U.S., was made law there was a chance that stock trading in the U.S. would be entirely destroyed. Needless to say, it wasnt.

By on January 30, 2007, 9:15 am
In category: Gotham City,Public Finance | 1 Comment »

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Unfit For Comptroller
January 30th, 2007

With the replacement for Alan Hevesi as New York State comptroller expected soon (or at least requested right away) , many editorial writers have made clear their view that the new comptroller should be one of the three finalists chosen by the special panel of former comptrollers; they disagree with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silvers attempts to assure a member of the legislation gets the post. Today, an editorial in
the New York Post goes one step further: No assemblyman is qualified for the job – simply by virtue of the fact that he is an assemblyman. That’s partly because the Legislature, as a whole, is criminally tainted. In the past few years alone, no fewer than 10 lawmakers have been convicted, indicted or probed for malfeasance. Not coincidentally, Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno is the subject of an extensive federal criminal investigation. But it’s also because many of the body’s legal shenanigans – while largely unindictable – demonstrate a stunning lack of rectitude. The Post then lists a half dozen examples, three of them making what the Post considers financially imprudent moves in order to appease various unions.

By on January 30, 2007, 8:30 am
In category: Albany,Public Finance | No Comments »

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Education Reform -- Again??!!
January 28th, 2007

An editorial in the New York Times criticizes Mayor Michael Bloombergs latest education reforms the third in five years: [T]his one radically alters funding formulas and guts the existing management structure roiling a system already struggling to digest earlier changesThe Bloomberg plan expresses some noble ideals. But reforms that affect the lives of more than a million schoolchildren should not be made in haste or on the basis of consultants hunches. Given the mayors habit of ignoring reasonable criticism, the City Council, the Legislature and the Regents should use what leverage they have to ensure that the reforms are closely scrutinized and modified where necessary to produce the best possible result.

By on January 28, 2007, 9:33 pm
In category: Education,Gotham City | No Comments »

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Weighing In On The Comptroller's Race
January 28th, 2007

As we reported earlier, the panel of three former comptrollers has picked three finalists to replace Alan Hevesi, who resigned last month after pleading guilty to a felony. The candidates selected are city finance commissioner Martha Stark, investment banker and Spitzer ally William Mulrow and Nassau County comptroller Howard Weitzman. None of the state legislators vying for the post made the cut, which has led to reports that Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver would ignore the panel’s recommendations.

An editorial in the Times says that the legislature should stick to selecting from among the three finalists — and suggests that Nassau County comptroller Howard Weitzman is the best fit for the job.

An editorial in the Daily News begins: “Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and his Democratic colleagues face a fateful test when they gather this week to vote into office a new state controller. Will they choose competence or cronyism?”

An editorial in Newsday ends: “In a perfect political world, Spitzer shouldn’t have gotten so involved in picking his own fiscal overseer. Silver shouldn’t have said he preferred an Assembly member. Now public confidence will be best served by the legislature choosing one of three candidates vetted by the panel.”

By on January 28, 2007, 6:39 am
In category: Albany,Public Finance | 1 Comment »

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Confronting Bush On 9/11 Health
January 23rd, 2007

An editorial in the Daily News explains that 21-year-old Ceasar Borja will be attending President Bushs State Of the Union address this evening, representing his father, a 52-year-old police officer who served at Ground Zero, and is now at Mount Sinai Medical Center hovering beneath consciousness. His son might just be the person who prompts the President, finally, to understand that the federal government has a long-term responsibility to pay for health care for thousands of sickened rescue and recovery workers.

By on January 23, 2007, 8:08 am
In category: Environment,Health,Public Finance | No Comments »

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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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