Gotham Gazette http://www.gothamgazette.com/component/tags/tag/1303 Tue, 19 Jun 2018 14:56:43 +0000 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb webmaster@gothamgazette.com (Webmaster) Latino New Yorkers Must Find Common Ground to Move Toward Progress http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7696:latino-new-yorkers-must-find-common-ground-to-move-toward-progress http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7696:latino-new-yorkers-must-find-common-ground-to-move-toward-progress Puerto Rican Day Parade

Puerto Rican Day Parade (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor’s Office)


About 2.5 million New York City residents are Latino, making the community the second largest ethnic group in the city only after non-Latino whites. The majority of the city’s Latino population is U.S. born and nearly 80% say they speak Spanish at home.

But despite strong population growth, Latino New Yorkers face a number of adverse conditions that continue to put constraints on their economic progress. About 26.4% of all Latino families live in poverty. That number jumps to 49.9% among households led by women with children. Immigration status, high unemployment, and displacement are just a few of the pressing contributing factors leaving Latinos behind.

The Latino community must work together to shape its future.

With that in mind, last year three Latino research institutes at CUNY—the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute, Center for Puerto Rican Studies (Hunter College-CUNY) and the Mexican Studies Institute —along with other partners, held the first ever New York City Summit on Latinos (SoL-NYC), to forge advocacy coalitions to develop an action-based agenda of policy priorities that can move the Latino community forward.

As we prepare to hold the second SoL-NYC Summit on Friday, June 1, we released a set of recommendations produced at last year’s conference through the participation of over 40 representatives of Latino or Latino-serving organizations. While it identifies some of the constraints on Latinos in New York City, it also calls for immediate action.

The recommendations include education reforms responsive to the linguistic and cultural needs of our children; increasing civic and political participation of the community; better access to jobs and economic opportunities, as well as strengthening the city’s “sanctuary” status to better protect law-abiding immigrants at risk of deportation.

This year is particularly important given the federal government’s one-sided focus on immigration, the upcoming gubernatorial election, where Latinos could play a crucial role, and the still-painful devastation left in Puerto Rico by Hurricane Maria. The aftermath of Maria in particular is driving a new exodus to the New York area of Puerto Rican families, which could once again bring demographic change.

As academic institutions, we do not engage in direct action or endorse political candidates. However, we recognize the importance such strategies bring to other stakeholders as they see fit.

Latinos are not a homogeneous group. In New York City, Hispanics represent over 20 different countries of origin and national ethnicities, which can pose a challenge to finding a common agenda.

As conveners, our role is to produce data and non-partisan policy analysis as well as an important space for key stakeholders to find common ground, build alliances, and strengthen their organizing power.

Latinos are strong in numbers; we are the youngest New Yorkers, with a median age of 31 and 36% under the age of 18. We now need to come together to wake up our own sleeping giant and create change.

It is encouraging to see Latinas obtaining college degrees at a faster pace now and also represented among new candidates for office and those recently elected.

However, there are deep, ongoing challenges -- the unemployment rate is still very high, for example, at 11%, compared to the overall unemployment rate of 3.9% in New York City (as of December 2017). Who is making sure that every job creation effort at the city and state levels includes Latinos? Without good-paying jobs there is no upward mobility for a group that’s the poorest and whose diversity brings language barriers as well as different educational levels and immigration statuses. Those are the kinds of discussion our annual conference wants to foster.

While the Puerto Rican and Dominican populations have been growing and spreading around the country, New York City remains the place with the most Puerto Ricans and Dominicans anywhere in the United States. New York City is also the seat of Puerto Rican and Dominican political power at the local, state, and federal levels, given both representation and influence. The Mexican population in the city continues to grow as well, leading also to political empowerment at the city level. Overall, Latinos have become nearly one-quarter of the New York City electorate, mirroring the importance of the Latino vote on the national level.

We are calling on neighborhood leaders, organizations, and other stakeholders in the Latino community to use the conference as a powerful tool to help bring the much-needed resources Latinos need.

Latinos are in good position to drive legislative change. Let’s take advantage of that power to make New York City a more livable home for Latinos and everybody else!

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Carlos Vargas-Ramos, Director of Policy, External and Media Relations, Center for Puerto Rican Studies, Hunter College (CUNY).

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Have an op-ed idea or submission for Gotham Gazette? Email opinion@gothamgazette.com

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Latino New Yorkers Must Find Common Ground to Move Toward Progress Mon, 28 May 2018 04:00:00 +0000
The Week That Was in New York Politics, October 12-16 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5936:the-week-that-was-in-new-york-politics-october-12-16 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5936:the-week-that-was-in-new-york-politics-october-12-16 week in review bus readers

photo: Stanley Kubrick via Museum of the City of New York


Gotham Gazette's Week in Review, Friday October 16

PHOTO OF THE WEEK: Mayor de Blasio and former Mayor David Dinkins at the ceremony naming The David N. Dinkins Municipal Building, via The Mayor's Office; Hillary Clinton and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito at a protest rally in Las Vegas before the Democratic presidential debate, via Pedro Julio Serrano

BdB Dinkins via mayors office

HRC MMV

TOP FIVE STORIES OF THE WEEK:

1. MTA Funding Deal: This past Saturday, after months of debate, city and state officials reached a deal over funding for the MTA’s capital plan. New York City will pay an additional $2.5 billion, while the state will contribute $8.3 billion to meet what was the outstanding need of the $26 billion plan to expand and repair the MTA system over the next five years. As part of the deal, the state cannot divert funds from the capital plan, as the state has repeatedly removed money from the MTA budget in the past. Questions remain, however, over how the state and the city plan to pay for their shares - Republican Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan has said his conference won’t support new taxes to pay for the commitment and questioned new borrowing. De Blasio’s team is expected to outline its plans as part of a reworked capital budget in 2016.

2. De Blasio’s First Town Hall: Mayor de Blasio held the first town hall of his mayoralty in Washington Heights on Wednesday evening. The mayor took questions from a crowd of about 250 during the two-hour town hall with a focus on rent security and tenant protection. The town hall seems to be part of a shifting strategy for public interaction that began in late August, when Mayor de Blasio began making more appearances on TV and radio shows, as well as more formal in-person outreach to New Yorkers.

3. Cuomo Team Returns to Puerto Rico: A delegation of New York State officials led by Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul returned to Puerto Rico this week in an attempt to help the territory deal with its debt and health care crises. The delegation included Health Commissioner Howard Zucker, Medicaid Director Jason Helgerson, and Assemblymembers Marco Crespo and Richard Gottfried. Cuomo led the first delegation to Puerto Rico about a month ago.

4. De Blasio to Israel: The mayor headed to Israel late Thursday to deliver a keynote address at the annual Conference of Mayors, where he will speak on the topic “Anti-Semitism in the West: How Cities Must Lead.” During the three-day trip, Mayor de Blasio will meet with Palestinians at a bilingual school in Jerusalem, a break from his predecessors, who only met with Israelis while visiting Israel in the past - though mayor won’t be meeting with official representatives of the Palestinian government. Questions remain around the private funding of de Blasio’s trip.

5. Cuomo’s Common Core Task Force: Governor Cuomo's "Common Core Task Force" met for the first time Friday. The panel, made up of 15 educators, lawmakers, and business leaders, could suggest overhauling the Common Core standards in New York. Governor Cuomo announced a ‘total reboot’ of Common Core was necessary after roughly 20 percent of state students opted not to take standardized tests aligned with the tougher standards. On a related note, earlier in the week, the State Assembly education committee held a meeting on the state's most struggling schools. After Friday's meeting the Common Core Task Force announced plans for at least a dozen public forums and that it had appointed its first "student ambassador." [From September 29 when the task force had just been announced: Absent from Cuomo's New Education Task Force: A Student]

THIS WEEK'S NUMBERS:

  • $1.67 million in unclaimed funds have been returned to the city after Public Advocate Letitia James led a push for the city to recover money from New York’s unclaimed funds registry, which found that the city had more than 2,000 accounts with unclaimed funds.
  • $174,000is outgoing Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson’s new judicial salary, which he intends to collect in addition to his pension, which is estimated could be as much as $142,000 per year, according to The New York Post.
  • 41 months in federal prison for former Rikers correction officer Austin Romain for accepting over $11,000 in bribes as part of a scheme to distribute marijuana to Rikers inmates.
  • 3 states, 8 people, and over $100,000 in illegal weapons were involved in a gun-running ring busted by Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson. 112 guns were sold to an undercover police officer during the year-long investigation into the gun-smuggling ring.
  • 11-year difference between the life expectancy of residents of Brooklyn’s impoverished Brownsville neighborhood and the residents of Manhattan’s more affluent financial district.

THE GLORY AND THE GOAT:

  • It was a good week for former New York City Mayor David Dinkins, who this week had the Manhattan Municipal Building renamed in his honor.
  • It was a bad week for Wendell Walters, former assistant commissioner of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, who was sentenced to three years in prison on Wednesday for accepting $2.5 million in bribes.

THE FLASH:

  • Around this time 103 years ago, on October 14, 1912, then-presidential candidate Teddy Roosevelt was shot in the chest by a Manhattan man while campaigning in Milwaukee. He went on with a scheduled speech despite his wound.
  • Around this time three years ago, on October 16, 2012, the FBI arrested Mohammed Nafis for plotting to detonate a 1,000 pound car bomb in front of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  • Around this time last year, on October 14, 2014, Mayor de Blasio kicked off two Hurricane Sandy-related employment programs in Queens as a means to better connect residents with jobs and training programs in the storm-ravaged Rockaways.

GOTHAM GAZETTE HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK:

The Mayor's Media Blitz, by Ben Max

Reform Proposals Fly as Panel Evaluates Ethics Watchdog, by Samar Khurshid

Measuring the Mayor’s Education Agenda, by Kaela Sanborn-Hum

Albany Transparency and the MTA Funding Deal: Show Us Our Money, by John Kaehny (opinion)

MORE FOR THE WEEKEND:

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NOTE TO READERS: we hope you enjoy this new Gotham Gazette weekly feature - please share it if you do; on Twitter, use our handle @GothamGazette.

If you have feedback on this feature for us, you can email editor Ben Max: bmax@gothamgazette.com

Watch Sunday evening for our latest Week Ahead in New York Politics, which gives you a preview of key issues and events to be aware of for the week about to start. In the meantime, catch up on the latest original reporting from Gotham Gazette here. And have a great weekend!

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by Meg O'Connor and Ben Max

Note: this article has been updated

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The Week That Was in New York Politics, October 12-16 Fri, 16 Oct 2015 15:31:18 +0000