Archive for January, 2009

Weekly Web Wrap
January 30th, 2009

  • Metro Area Ranked Least Affordable in Nation for Families
  • Rangel on Environmental Justice
    (The American Prospect)
  • Should Yahoo Buy the New York TImes?
  • Mayor Missing In Action on Veterans’ Affairs
    (Huffington Post)
  • Cooperative Businesses
    (Idealist in NYC)
  • Advice on Surviving Credit Card Debt from NEDAP
    (Brian Lehrer Live)
  • Video Tour of the Brooklyn Navy Yard
    (The City Concealed)
  • Paterson to City: Drop Dead; Appoints Upstate Blue Dog Conservative
    (Mother Jones)
  • State Considers Software Security Policy
    (CNet News via NYConvergence)
  • Labor Should Press Gillibrand On Trade Policy
    (The Nation)
  • Area Stimulus Wish Lists: Reasonable, Disappointing, Secret
    (Tri-State Transportation Campaign)
  • Coalition: Put the Public Back in Public Service Commission
    (PULP Blog)
  • Foreclosed: How Will New Yorks Neighborhoods Recover?
    (Municipal Art Society)
  • Smart Growth Investment Fund Makes First New York City Acquisition
  • Is Outdoor Advertising Suffering from Economic Slowdown?
    (Public Ad Campaign)
  • By on January 30, 2009, 9:06 pm
    In category: Gotham City | 1 Comment »

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    Ugh Indeed. Maybe We Can Call it Bailout Ballfield?
    January 30th, 2009

    An anonymous tipster pointed out that we skipped over a significant bit of news in this morning’s Eye Opener: a bi-partisan committee of two is asking the Mets to vacate Citigroup’s naming rights contract — in 2006 the now-beleaguered bank agreed to pay $400 million for naming rights to the stadium. With taxpayers funneling more than a few dollars into Citigroups gaping maw, some in Washington think that stadium naming is a luxury the bank can ill-afford. No word yet on how far back that would set the otherwise complete stadium financing.

    By on January 30, 2009, 1:31 pm
    In category: Gotham City,Land Use,Public Finance | 3 Comments »

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    Gillibrand's LGBT Position Via Quinn
    January 28th, 2009

    Just before the start of today’s City Council meeting, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn relayed what the state’s newest junior senator said on LGBT rights before she became a senator.

    In a private conversation between Quinn and then-Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand last week before her elevation to the Senate, Gillibrand reportedly echoed all of the speaker’s positions pertaining to gay marriage and other LGBT issues.

    “As it related to LGBT issues, we discussed a number of issues: the Defense of Marriage Act; gay marriage; ‘Don’t ask, Don’t tell; and related issues,” Quinn said. “She took me through her positions on all of those, and they were positions that were the same as mine.” Quinn paused, then quipped: “Which means perfect.”

    As of late, the new senator has received some criticism for supposedly changing her position on a handful of issues close to the heart of the Empire State’s more liberal half (ahem, New York City), like gay marriage.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    By on January 28, 2009, 2:06 pm
    In category: Albany,Civil Rights | Comments Off on Gillibrand's LGBT Position Via Quinn

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    Who is Gillibrand?
    January 27th, 2009

    Critics have tried to paint Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand as a bit of a rube. That perception is quickly being dispelled. Supporters and detractors alike point out that as the granddaughter of Dorothea “Polly” Noona, Gillibrand was raised to be a political creature and has more connections than most of the politicians she beat out for her senate seat.

    Gillibrand boasts close relationships with Sen. Chuck Schumer and former New York Sen. Al DAmato and is seen by many as a protege of the woman she replaced in the Senate, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

    Gillibrand spent a lot of time earning her credentials in the rural 20th district during her run for Congress in 2006. Critics at the time painted her as a Manhattan limousine liberal. Now it looks like she will quickly move to shed her rural image.

    Dont expect to see Gillibrand cling to her guns or her stance on immigration. Many pundits, who have not done their homework, have tried to paint Gillibrand as New Yorks Sarah Palinthey have severely underestimated one of New Yorks most ambitious and well connected politicians. A primary battle against Gillibrand would not likely be an easy task for anyone thanks to Gillibrand’s fund raising ability and connections.

    By on January 27, 2009, 9:16 pm
    In category: Albany | 1 Comment »

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    Tenant Activists Look For Hope in the Senate
    January 27th, 2009

    Allison Tupper gathered with 10 other concerned housing advocates in the lobby of Albany Sen. Neil Breslins large new fifth floor office. Tupper was unsure whether the upstate Democrat who is the head of the Insurance Committee would be responsive to her pro-tenant message. But she was hopeful.

    Tupper and her companions who belong to groups such as the Tenants Public Action Committee, Tenants and Neighbors, and the West Side Neighborhood Alliance as well as various other organizations had attended a press conference earlier in the day with Assembly Majority Leader Sheldon Silver, where he announced 2009 is the year of the tenant. Afterward they headed out to lobby the senators. A meeting with upstate Sen. Darrel Aubertine went well with the Senator expressing support.

    Tupper said it is an exciting time thanks to the new Democratic majority in the Senate. With the Assembly moving forward quickly on a package of tenant friendly bills that would give New York City control over rent control and stop landlords from being able to take vacant high-rent apartments off of rent control roles it will soon be up to the Senate to pass these bills. These issues directly affect Tupper.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    By on January 27, 2009, 7:44 pm
    In category: Gotham City,Housing | Comments Off on Tenant Activists Look For Hope in the Senate

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    Klein vs. the Schools
    January 27th, 2009

    The clock is ticking on mayoral control of schools, which is set to expire in June unless the state legislature votes to extend it. With the Assembly scheduled to hold its first public hearing on the issue Thursday, proponents of current system reportedly want to keep the debate from focusing on School Chancellor Joel Klein.

    If this is a referendum on Joel Klein, that doesnt serve the interests of the school system, Julie Wood, a spokeswoman for Learn NY, the campaign to keep mayoral control, told Gotham Schools.

    Not surprising she would say that. Klein, it seems, wins few popularity contests.

    “Insiders say that legislators largely support the concept of mayoral control but that some might hesitate to renew the law because they are not fans of Bloomberg or his schools chancellor, Joel Klein,” Crain’s Insider reported.

    And earlier this month, the Post said that Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who will have a major role in the legislature’s decision, also does not like Klein — to put it mildly. “Three sources said Silver simply can’t stand the chancellor,” the paper’s David Seifman wrote. “‘You can’t mention Klein’s name in Shelly’s presence,’ one of the sources said. ‘He hates him with a passion.'”

    “Many of Silvers colleagues in the legislature are in the same boat,” according to Gotham School’s Elizabeth Green. “I havent found any lawmakers who dont complain about Klein.”

    Green goes on to say this dislike stems from Klein’s purported disdain for politicians and his claims to have shut politics out of the school system (actually, he has substituted a different kind of politics — and what about his machinations on behalf of Caroline Kenney). In any case, Green said, Klein has enraged “lawmakers, who say the administration has gone beyond abolishing patronage and abolished any consultation whatsoever.”

    It can be difficult to discern where the law of mayoral control stops and this mayor’s control — including Klein’s rule — begins.

    “The law only sets a thin framework. Almost everything that Joel Klein has done is not in the law,” writes Ed in the Apple. “The current iteration has simply substituted the politics of the mayor and the chancellor for the politics of the locality, and, they did it with disdain.”

    For more information on the Assembly hearings, including a schedule, go to NYC Public School Parents. And for more on the issues in the school governance debate and who stands where, see Gotham Gazette’s A Battle Brews Over Who Controls the Schools and Choosing Sides in the Fight Over Schools.

    By on January 27, 2009, 6:32 pm
    In category: Albany,Education,Electoral Politics,Gotham City | 1 Comment »

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    Budget Likely to Shock
    January 27th, 2009

    What can we expect from Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s preliminary budget, scheduled for release on Friday?

    “A shock budget,” said the City Council’s Finance Director Preston Niblack this morning.

    At a breakfast hosted by the New School’s Center for New York City Affairs, the finance director and a number of other panelists, including the Independent Budget Office’s Ronnie Lowenstein, opined on what the administration could do to address the debilitating fiscal crisis gripping the nation and the Big Apple.

    Extracting from a fiscal analysis the budget office put out earlier this month, Lowenstein predicted the city would lose 243,000 in fiscal year 2009, which ends in June, and that we will face a $4.3 billion budget gap for next year’s budget (That’s more than 10 percent of city-funded revenues).
    Read the rest of this entry »

    By on January 27, 2009, 5:48 pm
    In category: Albany,Economy,Gotham City,Governing,nextNY,Public Finance | Comments Off on Budget Likely to Shock

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    Gillibrand and Guns
    January 23rd, 2009

    Mayor Michael Bloomberg has joined a chorus of those concerned with Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand’s stance on gun control. Gillibrand has a grade A rating from the National Rile Association.

    Bloomberg said in a statement, “I have a strong disagreement with one area of her record as a member of Congress: illegal guns. She has actively opposed the efforts of New York City, and cities around the state and nation, to enact common-sense measures that keep illegal guns out of the hands of criminals.” The mayor said that he hopes that, now that Gilbrand represents the whole state, he looks “forward to working with her to help her gain a broader understanding of the problems affecting New York City so she can be an effective advocate for all New Yorkers.”

    Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, whose husband was killed during the Long Island Rail Road massacre, blasted Gillibrand yesterday for her stance on guns and threatened to challenge her in the Democratic primary in 2010.

    During her press conference today Gillibrand tried to mend fences and promised to work with McCarthy on the issue of gun violence.

    My first interview with Gillibrand took place at the Columbia County Fair in Chatham, N.Y., during her 2006 congressional campaign. Gillibrand made it a point to tell constituents about her interest in hunting. When we passed by a carnival game that involved shooting balloons with a toy rifle Gillibrand made sure the photographer got the shot.

    By on January 23, 2009, 5:36 pm
    In category: Albany,Crime & Safety,Electoral Politics,Gotham City | 1 Comment »

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    A Crowded Council Race
    January 23rd, 2009

    Five of the nine candidates vying for Staten Islands 49th district City Council seat took turns pushing their political ambitions to 75 members of the Staten Island Democratic Association Thursday night. All are running in the special election to fill the seat previously held by Mike McMahon, who was elected to Congress.

    The candidates were hoping to earn an endorsement from the Democratic club by the end of Thursday’s late night forum.

    None of them got it.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    By on January 23, 2009, 3:44 pm
    In category: Electoral Politics,Gotham City,Governing | Comments Off on A Crowded Council Race

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    End of Week Web Wrap
    January 23rd, 2009

  • Visualizing the City’s Population Density
    (Digital Urban)
  • Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Kirsten Gillibrand
    (The New Republic)
  • Gillibrand: Who Cares, Stop Whining, Organize!
    (Huffington Post)
  • Calculated Choice of Centrist to Replace Clinton
    (The Nation)
  • New York’s New Senator
    (The Brian Lehrer Show)
  • Study: Rats Prefer Manhattan’s Logical Street Grid
    (Science Daily via Planetizen)
  • New York’s Department of Veterans’ Affairs: Where’s the Outrage?
    (Huffington Post)
  • Out-of-State Amazon Must Pay New York Taxes
  • Fire Department to Use Analytics Combining Several Agency Databases
  • City Ninth Most Broadband-Connected City
    (Forbes via NYConvergence)
  • A Short History of Atlantic Yards Orchestration
    (Atlantic Yards Watch)
  • The Nuances of Growth in the City’s Workforce
    (IBO Weblog)
  • Citys First Net Metered Commercial Solar Array Americas Biggest
  • New York Looses Disproportionate Number of Securities Industry Jobs
    (NY Fiscal Watch)
  • Bad Idea: Second Ave. Streetcar
    (DMI Blog)
  • Tighter Regulations for Distressed Property Consultants
    (New York City Council)
  • The Recession’s Impact on Black New Yorkers
    (Brian Lehrer Live)
  • By on January 23, 2009, 2:43 pm
    In category: Gotham City | Comments Off on End of Week Web Wrap

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    Gillibrand the Hunter and the Wonk
    January 23rd, 2009

    Reporters who asked questions about soon-to-be Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s “no” votes on both economic bailout bills were treated to her breadth of knowledge and wonkish nature. They also got a taste of her love for hunting.

    Gov. David Paterson responded to questions about Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s absence from the announcement proceedings by insisting that Cuomo had never asked to be named senator from New York. Paterson said he told Cuomo he was concerned about having another vacancy in state government.

    Also, former Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno was indicted on 8 counts of public corruption.

    Can things get any busier in Albany?

    By on January 23, 2009, 1:46 pm
    In category: Albany,Eye on Albany,Gotham City | 1 Comment »

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    How She Voted
    January 23rd, 2009

    For your perusing pleasure, here is Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand’s voting record, courtesy of Project Vote Smart.

    Let us know if you see anything interesting.

    By on January 23, 2009, 1:24 pm
    In category: Gotham City | Comments Off on How She Voted

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    Gillibrand It Is
    January 23rd, 2009

    The Times reports that Gov. David Paterson will select Albany-based U.S. Representative Kirsten Gillibrand. She is serving her second term in Congress.

    More details to come later. The governor is expected to make his announcement at noon today.

    By on January 23, 2009, 10:39 am
    In category: Gotham City | Comments Off on Gillibrand It Is

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    Paterson to Announce his Senate Pick
    January 22nd, 2009

    Gov. David Paterson will announce his choice to fill the Senate seat vacated by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at noon tomorrow. Those in the know are calling it for 20th District Representative Kirsten Gillibrand.

    The Times Union is reporting that local politicians who are friendly with Gillibrand have been invited to the event.

    Rejected candidates have reportedly confirmed to the TU that that they have been told Gillibrand is the choice.

    The Village Voice points out that Gillibrand comes from a family with significant Republican ties.

    Pundits say having a Senator from upstate New York on the ballot will be a boon to Patersons re-election campaign.

    Gillibrand is decidedly conservative compared to other candidates for the position.

    If Gillibrand is Paterson’s pick she will have been chosen over her former boss, Andrew Cuomo.

    By on January 22, 2009, 11:32 pm
    In category: Albany,Electoral Politics,Eye on Albany | Comments Off on Paterson to Announce his Senate Pick

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    The Next Senator from New York?
    January 22nd, 2009

    With Caroline Kennedy out of the running U.S. Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand from the upstate New Yorks 21st district seems to have taken the lead in the race to fill Hillary Clintons seat.

    Who is Gillibrand and where did she come from?

    Gillibrand, now a mother of two, served as a special counsel to the secretary of Housing and Urban Development during the Clinton Administration.

    In 2006 Gillibrand ran for Congress against four-term Republican incumbent John Sweeney, who was called Congressman Kick Ass by President Bush for helping to shut down the third recount in Florida in the 2000 presidential election. On a number of occasions, Hillary Clinton joined Gillibrand on the campaign trail, and one Gillibrand campaign event feated both Clintons.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    By on January 22, 2009, 5:39 pm
    In category: Albany | Comments Off on The Next Senator from New York?

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    Gov.'s Office Releases Statement on Kennedy
    January 22nd, 2009

    Here it is:

    Last night Caroline Kennedy informed the Governor that she was withdrawing her name from consideration for an appointment to the United States Senate for personal reasons. This decision was hers alone.

    The Governor had a private conversation with Ms. Kennedy yesterday afternoon. Out of respect for her decision making process, the Governors Office did not respond to any inquiries in order to allow her time to deliberate. The Governor considers Caroline a friend and knows she will continue to serve New York well inside or outside of government. We wish her well in all her future endeavors.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    By on January 22, 2009, 5:04 pm
    In category: Gotham City | 1 Comment »

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    If Not Kennedy, Who?
    January 22nd, 2009

    For the two months since Caroline Kennedy announced that she wanted to be appointed to fill Hillary Clinton’s Senate seat, the betting has come down to Caroline or not Caroline. Now it almost certainly (though given the last year in New York politics, who knows?) will be not Caroline, so who will the “un-Caroline” be?
    Read the rest of this entry »

    By on January 22, 2009, 12:28 pm
    In category: Albany,Electoral Politics,Eye on Albany | 1 Comment »

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    Kennedy's Personal Reasons
    January 22nd, 2009

    Less than 12 hours after Caroline Kennedy withdrew from consideration for New York’s Senate seat, speculation runs rampant about what exactly happened last night and why. Clearly there were a round of on-again, off-again rumors, sparked by a New York Post report early in the evening saying she would end her bid for appointment to Hillary Clinton’s seat. That, in turn, sparked another round of denials and skepticism, which Kennedy ended shortly after midnight with her statement she was withdrawing for “personal reasons.”

    Despite the collapse of her uncle, Sen. Edward Kennedy at a post-inauguration lunch Tuesday, many doubted his precarious health had sparked Caroline’s decision.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    By on January 22, 2009, 12:00 pm
    In category: Albany,Electoral Politics,Gotham City | 1 Comment »

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    Bloomberg Gives Albany An Earful
    January 22nd, 2009

    You get what you pay for, and in the psyche of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, New York City should get a lot more.

    Bloomberg headed a couple hours north this morning to testify at the state Assembly Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee on Gov. David Paterson’s proposed budget. The mayor ticked off a number of grumblings (nearly 4,000 words worth), which included a call for rescinding a cut to New York City’s municipal aid.

    The city was the only municipality in the state that would have its state revenue sharing eliminated entirely. The mayor also lamented on education cuts to the city, which he estimated would cost $770 million.

    This from Bloomberg’s prepared remarks:
    Read the rest of this entry »

    By on January 22, 2009, 11:15 am
    In category: Albany,Economy,Gotham City,Governing,nextNY,Public Finance | 1 Comment »

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    Reforming the Water Board's Capital Budget
    January 21st, 2009

    In 2006 the Water Board projected that expanding and improving the city’s water system would cost $1.6 billion. By 2007 they had raised that estimate to $3.5 billion. In the end, they spent nearly $3.8 billion.

    Improving such projections and the oversight of that spending is but one of the reforms needed to improve the Board’s capital budget, according to a new article by Harold Shultz of the Citizens Housing and Planning Council. (The piece was published in The Stamford Review, an annual journal.)

    But the city should also spread out those infrastructure investments in order to avoid accumulating debt, he argues. And the funding for the investments should be born equally among New Yorkers, he continues, rather than solely on the backs of property owners, as it currently is.

    Many of the arguments laid out in the article gained publicity during last year’s water rate hike debate.

    To help pay for those investments, Gail Shaffer, former New York secretary of state, writes in the same journal that the state should update the bottle deposit law. It should include non-carbonated beverages and redirect unclaimed deposits towards water quality projects, she says. Shaffer also calls for generating hydroelectric power at some of the city’s dams and using the money generated from that for maintenance of the dams.

    Now that the Democratic Party has the majority in the State Senate, passage of a new deposit law seems likely. Antonie Thompson, the new chair of the Senate’s Environmental Conservation Committee, told that expanding the law “is just a step we need to take.”

    On Jan. 29, a panel sponsored by the Women’s City Club of New York and Housing First! will also discuss the Board’s finances and recommend reforms.

    By on January 21, 2009, 7:10 pm
    In category: Albany,Environment,Health,Housing,Public Finance | Comments Off on Reforming the Water Board's Capital Budget

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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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