Gotham Gazette

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Gotham Gazette - Measuring Up

A new approach to government accountability -- officially called "performance assessment" but more colloquially, compstatmania -- compiles, analyzes and interprets statistics in order to spot trends, gaps and overlaps in city services. It's not magic -- it's hard work, and requires lots of attention to detail and follow-up. On this page, Gotham Gazette looks at this approach to improving city services.
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Who's Rating City Services
A guide to government agencies and private groups that measure New York's performance in heath, education, crime fighting and more.

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Stories from Gotham Gazette

Stated Meeting: Kingsbridge Armory Defeated by the Council
In a rare move against a major project, the City Council rejected a proposal to redevelop the Kingsbridge Armory in the Bronx, putting the debate over paying living wages under a citywide spotlight. (Published:2009-12-15)

Republicans, A Call to Arms
When City Council returns next month, it will have five Republicans -- up from three. That's still less than 10 percent of members but Minority Leader James Oddo thinks they could wield influence that far exceeds their numbers. (Published:2009-12-14)

The City Grades Itself on Schools, Homelessness
Glenn Pasanen checks out the Mayor's Management Report and tells us what it says -- and does not say -- about the Bloomberg administration's performance in education and homelessness. (Published:2009-10-07)

The Mayor's High Stakes Test
After all the reports and rhetoric on mayoral control of city schools, it soon will come down to the only grade that matters -- the one from the state legislature. (Published:2009-04-27)

City Faces a Rising Demand for Food Stamps
With more and more New Yorkers needing help to buy food, many residents who would qualify for food stamps do not get them. The city says it is working to get the word out, but some experts say it could do more. (Published:2009-04-06)

A City Council Scorecard: Who's Engaged and Who's Not?
Which City Council member skips a third of all meetings, and who never misses one? Who is the chamber's top naysayer? And which committee chair held just six meetings in three years? (Published:2009-03-09)

A Budget Expert Looks at the Numbers

Meet the Independent Budget Office
Have any questions about the administrations new preliminary budget? Ronnie Lowenstein of the Independent Budget Office will join Gotham Gazette City Hall reporter Courtney Gross to answer your questions live. Check back here at 2 p.m. to participate. (Published:2009-02-10)

The Budget Outlook Goes from Bad to Worse
The city's November budget projections now read like ancient history as the deepening recession has already led to major job losses and plummeting revenues. (Published:2009-01-15)

New Yorkers Rate Their Government
As the mayor and City Council fight over budget, they might want to turn to a new public survey on what New Yorkers think of how their government spends their money. (Published:2008-12-18)

Choosing Sides in the Fight Over Schools
Another term for Mayor Bloomberg would let him run city schools for four more years-- if the legislature extends mayoral control. Look for a tough fight with warring statistics, rival reports and lots of spin. (Published:2008-11-17)

A City's New Poverty Guidelines
The administration has a new way of calculating who is poor in New York. What effect will that have on the millions of New Yorkers struggling to make ends meet? (Published:2008-10-14)

Looking at the Record: Taxes and Homelessness
Three recent reports examine key tax issues and the city's record on homelessness and provide one way to measure the Bloomberg administration's performance. (Published:2008-09-29)

The Three C's: Condos, Classrooms and Crowding
Young affluent families are moving to the city and putting their kids in public schools. It may be too much of a good thing. (Published:2008-09-02)

Lost in the PDFs: Getting City Data
Mayor Michael Bloomberg has said government data should be available with a few clicks of the mouse. But a review of agencies indicates the city's information sharing could be due for an upgrade. (Published:2008-08-05)

Language Barrier Begins to Fall at City Hospitals
New regulations require hospitals to provide translations and other language services to their patients who do not speak English. The rules appear to be working -- at least for Spanish speakers. (Published:2008-07-22)

New York's Best and Worst Beaches

Measuring Constituent Complaints: Round One

How the City Has Reduced Soot
A series of measures have reduced soot in the city, so much so that the metropolitan area may soon meet federal standards for this type of air pollution for the first time ever. Rich Kassel reports on what's happened -- and what still needs to be done. (Published:2008-07-03)

The Past and Future of Sustainability
Will be mayor's long-term plan for a greener city survive and help create a sustainable city? Hunter College professor Tom Angotti discusses how the mayor can improve the odds. (Published:2008-06-09)

Puffing Up Marijuana Charges
Marijuana arrests in New York have gone up sharply in the past decade -- landing tens of thousands of young back and Latino men in jail for the night and with arrest records for life. (Published:2008-06-06)

Rating Health Care Behind Bars
The city recently renewed its contract with the company that provides health care on Riker's Island -- even though the provider has repeatedly failed to meet the city's own standards. (Published:2008-06-02)

Tracking Crime in the Parks
New York City parks today have far less crime than they once did, but police have not complied with a requirement that would tell all New Yorkers just how safe -- or dangerous -- their parks are. (Published:2008-04-02)

Time Out for Phys Ed
The Department of Education has implemented a FitnessGRAM so parents can help their kids shape up. But in an era when standardized tests influence so much of the school day, traditional phys ed classes often fall victim to a lack of time and space. (Published:2008-03-05)

Fighting the Obesity Epidemic
As obesity and diabetes rates soar, how is the Bloomberg administration faring in its drive to have us slim down and shape up? (Published:2008-03-03)

Opening the City's Greenmarkets
City and state efforts seek to make the bounty of city farmers markets available to low-income New Yorkers. (Published:2008-03-03)

Creating Healthy Bodegas
The city would like small grocery stores to stock apples and lettuce, along with beer and chips. While everyone agrees on it's good to eat fresh produce, not everyone has embraced the health department's efforts. (Published:2008-03-03)

Making Fast Food A Little Healthier
Calories mount up quickly at fast food restaurants, and the Bloomberg administration hopes people will scale back--once they know just how fattening their favorites burgers are. But restaurant owners are fighting back. (Published:2008-03-03)

Setting Standards for Green Neighborhoods
Efforts to encourage a more environmentally friendly city have gone beyond individual buildings to setting standards for entire neighborhoods. Is this a marketing play by developers or a genuine effort to create sustainable communities? (Published:2008-01-09)

Who's Stopped? Who's Frisked?
A recent report was seen as having cleared the police of racial bias in who they stop on the street. But much has been ignored in the coverage of this volatile issue. (Published:2007-12-17)

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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.