Author Archive

Times To Hevesi: Resign
December 8th, 2006

An editorial in the New York Times entitled The Comptrollers Glass House makes the case why State Comptroller Alan Hevesi should resign before the beginning of his new term next month. When the comptrollers audits charge officials or agencies of not acting in a timely manner, or not keeping good records, the easy political response would be Who are you to point a finger?

By on December 8, 2006, 6:57 am
In category: Albany,Governing,Public Finance | Comments Off on Times To Hevesi: Resign

| More

RSS Feed RSS Feed


City Council Members: End Current Tax Break For Luxury Building
December 5th, 2006

In the Daily News, three members of the New York City Council called for an end to the so-called 421-a program, which (they explain) allows developers of newly constructed apartment buildings to pay no property taxes for up to 15 years, and then reduced taxes for up to 10 more years. When the program was adopted in the 1970s, residents were fleeing the city, and it was a useful spur to new construction. But in today’s New York City, it’s sheer corporate welfare. With developers gobbling up every square foot of buildable space, the argument that we need tax breaks to encourage development is simply not credible. Councilmembers David Yassky, Annabel Palma and Letitia James say they are introducing a bill in the City Council tomorrow to require developers who want the tax break to build truly affordable housing for low-income and middle-income New Yorkers.

By on December 5, 2006, 8:12 am
In category: Gotham City,Housing,Public Finance | 1 Comment »

| More

RSS Feed RSS Feed


Must City Employees Live In The City?
December 3rd, 2006

A bill before the New York City Council would allow all employees of the city government to live outside the five boroughs of New York. The Daily News has two guest essayists offering opposing views.

Former Mayor Ed Koch, who signed residency requirements into law 20 years ago, argues they are still a good idea, for two reasons city government jobs should be reserved for city residents in a city that’s now more than 50% minority, and people who live in New York know the city better, have a greater investment in the city, and thus do their jobs better.

Lillian Roberts, executive director of District Council 37, the city’s largest municipal employee union, argues that its a matter of fairness — police, fire, correction officers, sanitation workers and teachers are already permitted to do so (because a court said a state law allowing them to overrode the city law) and that there is simply not enough affordable housing to go around with New York City’s borders.

By on December 3, 2006, 8:07 pm
In category: Gotham City,Housing | 1 Comment »

| More

RSS Feed RSS Feed


What To Do With The Surplus?
December 3rd, 2006

An editorial in
the New York Times points to the news that the budget of New York Citys government is on track for another big surplus at least $1.9 billion and almost certainly much more to come, thanks to a robust real estate market and big earnings on Wall Street.
So what should be done with it?
Both the mayor and the City Council will need to resist cries for immediate gratification, especially if the spending could turn into permanent obligations that would burden the city for years to come. Paying down debt and other future commitments should be the citys foremost consideration.

By on December 3, 2006, 7:01 pm
In category: Gotham City,Public Finance | 1 Comment »

| More

RSS Feed RSS Feed


World AIDS Day In NYC
December 1st, 2006

Blogger Eli B. writes the following: “I’m not sure what to write here for World AIDS Day. It’s one of those things for which there is both everything and nothing to say.

“Since 1981, more than 25 million people have died of AIDS. Approximately 40 million people worldwide are infected. 1.1 million Americans are HIV-positive, and 25% of them dont know it. Another 40,000 become infected each year. Here in New York State, 7,600 people were diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in 2004 (the worst nationwide). The bulk comes from New York City, where approximately 1 in 70 has HIV. Obviously, some populations have sufferred from this epidemic more than others. Here are the HIV infection rates, by demographic, from the NYC health department:

* 1 in 40 African Americans.
* 1 in 25 men living in Manhattan.
* 1 in 12 black men age 40-49 years.
* 1 in 10 men who have sex with men.
* 1 in 8 injection drug users.
* 1 in 5 black men age 40-49 in Manhattan.
* 1 in 4 men who have sex with men in Chelsea.

By on December 1, 2006, 6:01 pm
In category: Civil Rights,Demographics,Gotham City,Health | Comments Off on World AIDS Day In NYC

| More

RSS Feed RSS Feed


"Healthier" Foods? Bah!
December 1st, 2006

Writing in the New York Sun, Andrew Wolf disapproves of the plan by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Christine Quinn to appoint a food policy tsar; of a proposal by Alan Gerson to ban foie gras because it’s inhumane; and of the health departments efforts to put healthier food (the quotation marks are Wolfs) in the citys 200 bodegas.”The administration and the council simply can’t resist the paternalistic agenda of making choices for the poor …”

By on December 1, 2006, 9:24 am
In category: Gotham City,Health | 1 Comment »

| More

RSS Feed RSS Feed


Cops Who Lost Life, Not Cops Who Took Life
December 1st, 2006

Clyde Haberman in the New York Times (for subscribers only) writes of a court case in Brooklyn of defendants accused of shooting to death two undercover police officers, Detectives James V. Nemorin, 36, and Rodney J. Andrews, 34, who had five children between them. This case in Brooklyn may seem unrelated to the far more publicized police shooting in Queens of Sean Bell on what was to be his wedding day over the Thanksgiving holiday. But they are two faces of the same New York story, Haberman writes. Both involve police undercover work that went disastrously wrong, although in different ways.The very nature of this work can lead to nightmarish situations because, by definition, undercover officers are supposed to melt into their surroundings. Snap decisions when to back off, when to make arrests, certainly when to shoot are rarely uncomplicated or without peril.

An editorial in the New York Post, entitled Selective Sympathy, derives other lessons from the contrasting cases, harshly criticizing Al Sharpton and Charles Barron and Jesse Jackson for “comforting the grieving family of Sean Bell – a black man shot dead in Queens by police – for at least as long as the TV cameras lingered” but being absent in Brooklyn Federal Court where the murder trial of the two black detectives is taking place. “Sharpton and Barron and Jackson care only about certain dead black people.”

The New York Police Departments official Web site lists the names of the hundreds of members of the department who have been killed in the line of duty since 1849

By on December 1, 2006, 6:39 am
In category: Crime & Safety,Gotham City | Comments Off on Cops Who Lost Life, Not Cops Who Took Life

| More

RSS Feed RSS Feed


Daily News On Transit Hub: We Told You So
November 30th, 2006

An editorial in the Daily News mocks the glorious vision of the Fulton Street Transit Hub which is growing ever more expensive and ever less ambitious. The hub has been an extravagance from the start, the News says; far better to pay for key rider improvements such as digging a tunnel that would bring the Long Island Rail Road and a connection to Kennedy Airport into downtown.

By on November 30, 2006, 6:46 am
In category: Gotham City,Public Finance,Transportation | 1 Comment »

| More

RSS Feed RSS Feed


Cocaine -- Just For The Distaste Of It
November 29th, 2006

By on November 29, 2006, 5:40 pm
In category: Gotham City,Health | Comments Off on Cocaine -- Just For The Distaste Of It

| More

RSS Feed RSS Feed


School Ruling: Drop Dead Or Good Start?
November 21st, 2006

There is a range of reactions to the ruling by the New York Court Of Appeals in the Campaign For Fiscal Equity lawsuit to provide New York City schoolchildren with enough funds for a sound basic education as evidence in two headlines: School Ruling Is A Real Start (Newsday editorial) and High Court To NYC Kids: Drop Dead (Daily Gotham blog)

The second is closer in tone to most local editorials. In that Daily Gotham post, Daniel Millstone writes that public schools in New York City will continue to be underfunded. Even worse, the Court of Appeals has declined to enforce its decision. No further judicial action is required, as I read it, because, it is beyond the court’s power to enforce its judgment on the Governor and legislature. It is odd to discover that the Court has embraced the idea that our children have rights which it will not enforce.

The editorial in the Daily News (scroll down past O.J. editorial) also had little positive to say about the ruling : After 13 years of litigation, after declaring that New York must provide a “sound basic education” to children, after concluding that the state had failed miserably to do so, the state’s highest court, lacking the courage of its convictions, yesterday issued the legal equivalent of “never mind.” But some good has come out of this case: as a direct result of this litigation, Gov.-elect Eliot Spitzer campaigned on a promise to increase funding for the city schools by $4 billion to $6 billion a year – a commitment that he must now keep, court order or no court order.

The editorial in El Diario, entitled Short of Full Justice, concludes: We cant go from cheating poor children to offering the bare minimum. Our children deserve a full, not half, measure of justice. Its up to Spitzer and the legislature, with our nudging, to deliver.

But the New York Post praises the court ruling: “At last: Judicial restraint in a New York court.”

And The New York Sun uses the court ruling to argue, as the paper has in the past, that the money wont do anything to improve the schools, and that parents should be given tax credits to apply towards private-school tuition.

By on November 21, 2006, 4:56 am
In category: Albany,Education,Gotham City,Public Finance | 2 Comments »

| More

RSS Feed RSS Feed


Times To Public Officials: Take The Subway
November 20th, 2006

An editorial in the New York Times entitled
The Taxpayers Chauffeurs argues that public officials could take public transportation as a matter of public policy.

New York State Comptroller Alan Hevesi is not the only one who should not expect the taxpayers to pay for a car and a driver. Gov. George Patakis use of airplanes and limousines has always been hard to track, since his schedule, like much of his administration, is top secret. He should follow the lead of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who not only commutes by subway; he also took away the lights and sirens from New York City administrators accustomed to turning every routine trip across town into a mock emergency.

By on November 20, 2006, 3:05 pm
In category: Albany,Gotham City,Transportation | 3 Comments »

| More

RSS Feed RSS Feed


Trucks --> Soot --> Asthma
November 19th, 2006

An editorial in the New York Times calls for a war on poisonous diesel fumes in New York City, where scientific studies have made clear the connection between the use of trucks and the high incidents of asthma. The solution lies in reducing the citys dependence on trucks — such as using boats in place of the 12,000 daily trucks at the Hunts Point wholesale markets, and reconnecting the city to the national rail freight system.

By on November 19, 2006, 1:03 pm
In category: Environment,Gotham City,Transportation | Comments Off on Trucks --> Soot --> Asthma

| More

RSS Feed RSS Feed


Students Have Rights Too
November 18th, 2006


Darlene Marshall, a recent graduate of Flushing High School, and Alexandra Parrilla, sixth grader at I.S. 291, were two of the hundreds of people who attended the Urban Youth Collaborative Student Rights Convention, to promote a New York City Students’ Bill of Rights, ten statements that include a call for small classes, and teachers “certified in their licensed subjects.”

Of particular interest is number 8: “All students have the right to attend school in a safe, secure, non-threatening and respectful learning environment in which they are free from verbal and physical harassment, as well as from intrusions into their bodily space and belongings by school safety agents, police officers, administrators and teachers.”

City Councilmember Robert Jackson told the conference that he would seek support for the Students’ Bill of Rights from his colleagues on the New York City Council and from Mayor Michael Bloomberg. “When I walk into schools, it feels like prison,” he told the crowd.

By on November 18, 2006, 5:04 pm
In category: Civil Rights,Education,Gotham City | Comments Off on Students Have Rights Too

| More

RSS Feed RSS Feed


Reviving Republicans
November 14th, 2006

How the Republican Party of New York can come back after the first Democratic sweep of statewide offices since 1938 remains a hot topic.

A few days ago, the NY Times offered its prescription. Today:

A Newsday editorial focuses on advice for Joseph Mondello, who is being considered for the next state Republican party chairman, but also says the party’s best hope is to refurbish itself as a fiscally conservative but socially moderate alternative to the Democrats.

Former City Councilmember Charles Millard writes in the Post that new leadership is needed, and a plan.

The Daily News is happy that Rudy Giuliani is running for president.

By on November 14, 2006, 7:33 am
In category: Electoral Politics,Governing | Comments Off on Reviving Republicans

| More

RSS Feed RSS Feed


Shea Stadium --> Citi Field? Ugh
November 14th, 2006

An editorial in the New York Post takes exception to the announcement that the new Mets stadium will be named Citi Field, after the bank that is giving them $20 million a year. That’s barely enough to pay a year’s salary for Carlos Beltran alone. The Post wanted the stadium to be named after Jackie Robinson.

An editorial in the Daily News (scroll to the bottom) also regrets the new name, because it will no longer honor William Shea, who brought National League ball back to the city after the Dodgers and the Giants skipped town.

Planned within the new stadium, however, are a William Shea Memorial and a Jackie Robinson Rotunda.

By on November 14, 2006, 7:07 am
In category: Gotham City,Land Use | 3 Comments »

| More

RSS Feed RSS Feed


Investigategate
November 13th, 2006

An editorial in the Daily News has another suggestion for change in Albany beefing up the State Investigation Commission, turning it from a sleepwalking, see-no-evil, assisted-living community for aging pols into an anti-corruption gangbuster as it once was.

By on November 13, 2006, 9:25 am
In category: Albany,Crime & Safety | Comments Off on Investigategate

| More

RSS Feed RSS Feed


Actually, People DO Prefer Mississippi To New York, Congressman Rangel
November 13th, 2006

New Yorkers hope they will gain substantially from the Democratic sweep in Congress the subject of essays by a range of New Yorkers in this weeks Gotham Gazette. (See After The Election — What Will Be Different Now)

How the rest of the country may react to any ascendancy of New York can be glimpsed by the hubbub following a comment by Congressman Charles Rangel in an article in the New York Times last Thursday entitled After Years On The Outs, New York Comes Back In.
Rangel, who will assume the chairmanship of the powerful tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, was complaining about the uneven flow of dollars from the federal government, and chose to put it this way: Mississippi gets more than their fair share back in federal money, but who the hell wants to live in Mississippi?”

Reaction was swift and widespread:
Please Come Visit Our State, Mr. Rangel wrote the Delta Democrat-Times of Greenville, Mississippi.

The other question Rangel might have asked is why people from Mississippi aren’t flooding into his politically corrupt, crime-ridden city, James W. Bailey wrote in The Clarion-Ledger, a Mississippi newspaper (though Bailey himself apparently lives in Reston, Virginia).

Mississippi Republican Congressman Chip Pickering demanded an apology: I hope his remarks are not the kind of insults, slander, and defamation that Mississippians will come to expect from the Democrat leadership in Washington, D.C. Pickering added: “I have friends and colleagues from New York that are fine people, and I’ve visited their state and think it is a wonderful place. But I love Mississippi. I would rather live in Mississippi, raise my family in Mississippi and serve Mississippi — and there are millions of Mississippians who agree with me.”

And they are not alone. An editorial today in the New York Sun compares the two states: From 2000 to 2005, Mississippi experienced a population growth of 2.7 percent, compared to 1.5 percent for New York. A larger absolute number of people may opt to live here, but Mississippi is growing faster. No doubt that has at least something to do with the business climate — a business group ranked Mississippi as the seventh best state to do business, while New York was put at 45th, apparently based mostly on various taxes.

And Steve Malanga in City Journal finds fault not only with Rangels uniquely obnoxious way of expressing himself but with the context of his remarks. Malanga argues that the predictions will prove false about New York legislators asserting unprecedented influence in Washington, and receiving unparalleled goodies for their constituents. There is no major pot of gold waiting for New York, only perhaps a few more scraps of pork sent our way, he writes. The reasons he cites for New York receiving less money in federal funding than it gives in federal taxes are manifold — a lack of defense contracts and of retirees, for example. But the reason why he thinks this will not change boils down to the New York delegation being too far to the left to have much clout nor effect. By voting against tax cuts, for example, Malanga says the delegation undermines the interests of their constituents, whose incomes are on average higher than those of taxpayers in most other states, [and who therefore] pay disproportionately more in federal taxes.

The legislators from New York, Malanga claims, really just want an increase in funding for social programs - and that, he argues, is not going to happen, because New York already ranks number one in per capita spending on many such programs. By contrast, he adds, Mississippi (to take Rangels example) received about 25 percent less per capita in social program spending than New York, though Mississippi has a higher poverty rate.

Update: Rangel has issued several, albeit oddly-worded, apologies. For a clue as to how Mississippians have reacted, see an account of the contretemps on the Web site of Station WDAM in Laurel-Hattiesburg, Mississippi which depicts Rangel literally as a horse’s ass. “In talking about wanting to bring more federal money to New York, he said he used Mississippi as an example because it gets back $1.77 for every $1 it sends to the federal government, and New York gets back 79 cents on the dollar.”

By on November 13, 2006, 6:55 am
In category: Gotham City,Public Finance | 12 Comments »

| More

RSS Feed RSS Feed


Should Somebody Born Male Be Able To Alter His(Her) Birth Certificate To Female, And Vice-Versa?
November 12th, 2006

The Daily News publishes opposing views of the proposal by the New York City Board of Health to allow transgendered New Yorkers to change their gender on their birth certificates, whether or not they have had a sex-change operation.

The Yes essay is by Michael Silverman of the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund , who argues that such a move will help make life a little easier for what he calls one of the most discriminated-against communities in the city: When they apply for jobs, they will no longer need to fear rejection because their ID doesn’t match the way they look; it now will. When they enter office buildings, they will no longer have to explain to security guards why the gender on their ID doesn’t match their appearance; it now will. When police officers stop them from using the bathroom that matches their gender presentation, they’ll have identification that says they have the right to be
there.

The No essay is by James Kirchick, who writes for the Independent Gay Forum. He argues the proposal amounts to falsifying government documents and eliminating a physical standard for determining gender, and says that it would cause a raft of complicated situations (What if a man who, despite never having had his gender surgically changed, asserts he is a woman then wants to marry another man, despite gay marriage not being legal in New York State?). More generally, tacking on transgender issues to gay rights, Kirchick writes, is partly responsible for the fact that it remains legal to fire people – just because they are gay – in 36 states.

By on November 12, 2006, 3:21 pm
In category: Civil Rights,Demographics,Gotham City,Health | 7 Comments »

| More

RSS Feed RSS Feed


The Good News For Republicans
November 12th, 2006

An editorial in The New York Times, after recounting how completely New Yorks Republican Party was defeated in last weeks elections, says that it could remake itself, independent both of Albany politics and Washington ideology, embracing pragmatic issues like lowering taxes and crime rates and protecting the environment, grooming future candidates to reconnect with a distinguished lineage that includes Teddy Roosevelt, Thomas Dewey, Jacob Javits, Nelson Rockefeller, and Louis Lefkowitz, but looking to Mayor Michael Bloomberg as its guiding star.

Comments on the Room Eight blog
Barry Popik: “NY’s GOP has always had Rockefeller Republicans and has never been far-right.)”
628: “[Republicans] could probably be eliminated if the Democrats and Republicans hadn’t divided the state up into a group of patronage fiefdoms, and if the Democrats provided better government.”
Larry Littlefield: “The Republicans have essentially waged war on New York City at the state level for 25 years or more.”

By on November 12, 2006, 2:50 pm
In category: Electoral Politics,Governing | 1 Comment »

| More

RSS Feed RSS Feed


A Day For Silence
November 11th, 2006

Today is Veterans Day, which began as Armistice Day in noisy celebration of the end of World War I on November 11, 1918, but soon was made a national holiday to commemorate all veterans. An editorial in the Daily News (second one) points out that New Yorkers used to observe a moment of silence on this day, something the British still do. An editorial in The New York Post calls the Veterans Day parade up Fifth Avenue, one of the most moving of the year. El Diario offers a special tribute to Latino veterans. The News reprints a poem by Laurence Binyon:

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

By on November 11, 2006, 2:05 pm
In category: Gotham City | Comments Off on A Day For Silence

| More

RSS Feed RSS Feed


RSS Feed