Author Archive

Water Rate Increased Today
May 15th, 2009

The Water Board today voted to raise rates 12.9 percent, a slightly smaller increase than their original proposal of a 14 percent hike. The Department of Environmental Protection said the lower hike was possible because they were able to cut operating costs, more people are paying their bills on time and energy costs have dropped. They also softened the regulations for pursuing suspected water thieves.

For more, see Gotham Gazette’s “Gold from the Faucet.”

By on May 15, 2009, 11:27 am
In category: Community Development,Environment | Comments Off on Water Rate Increased Today

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Employment Discrimination for Blacks with Criminal Records
May 14th, 2009

Finding unskilled employment for recently released inmates can be challenging in itself, but it can be even harder for blacks in that situation. According to a recent article published in the journal the Annals of the American Academy, just getting a call back from prospective employers in New York City can be twice as hard for blacks with a criminal record than for their white counterparts. Only 10 percent of black ex-offenders in the study received a callback after dropping off an application, while 22 percent of their white counterparts got one. The difference in callbacks between those without records was much smaller, where 25 percent of blacks did compared 31 percent for whites.

Just over half of inmates in New York prisons are black.

The report – written by Devah Pager, an associate professor at Princeton, Bruce Western, a professor at Harvard, and Naomi Sugie, a PhD student at Princeton – also stresses the importance of building a personal rapport in getting a job. They found that personal contact with a prospective employer improved the chances by 15 percent of those with criminal records in getting a callback or interview.
Read the rest of this entry »

By on May 14, 2009, 2:02 pm
In category: Crime & Safety | 2 Comments »

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Weekly Web Wrap
May 8th, 2009

  • Stringer Proposes ‘FoodStat’
    (Manhattan Borough President’s Blog)
  • City Budget Up in Down Economy
    (NY Fiscal Watch)
  • ‘Co-housing’ Lands in Brooklyn
    (Brownstoner)
  • MTA Rescue: Spineless
    (DMI Blog)
  • Private Operation of Transit Would be Cheaper
    (New Geography)
  • New York National Guard Fires Gay Soldier
    (Daily Gotham)
  • The Delaware Aqueduct Leak
    (Water Watch NYC)
  • New York Lags Behind Connecticut, Jersey in Spending Stimulus
    (Tri-State Transportation Campaign)
  • New York Times Raises Prices, Again
    (Editor & Publisher)
  • Crimes Rates Drop, Candidates Sound the Alarm Anyway
    (Change.org)
  • Brooklyn Council Candidate’s Positions on Development, Atlantic Yards
    (No Land Grab)
  • City Home Sharing Program Promotes Aging in Place
    (The Brooklyn Rail)
  • Map Graphing Historical Usage of Individual Subway Stations
    (Spark it Up (Frumination))
  • By on May 8, 2009, 7:23 am
    In category: Gotham City | Comments Off on Weekly Web Wrap

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    And The New Senate Web Site Goes Live
    May 7th, 2009

    The new State Senate Web site launched today and offers a number of new features. There is individual pages for committees, senators and issues – all of which offer blogs, calendars, press releases and reports that can be subscribed to with RSS readers. You can even find your representative’s Facebook or Twitter pages.

    (To find out what is being written about senators and Assembly members in the media, visit Gotham Gazette‘s state representatives page.)

    Although there isn’t currently options for commenting on the blogs – including the full Senate blog – there is a new bill mark up page [fixed] where users can comment on legislation that is being debated and vote on other comments throughout.

    There is also an ‘Open Data‘ section that will offer plain language versions of legislation and data from other levels of government. The first bill to offer this feature was the MTA bailout.

    But the site is still a work in progress. They are working on a multilingual site, a mobile version and considering transcription technology for the live video stream. A new legislative search function should be rolled out within the next couple months. [UPDATE: The streaming videos are being archived uncut on the Senate YouTube channel.]

    They are also seeking your input on what else can be done. An ‘unconference’ called Capitol Camp is planned for next month so citizens and civil servants can offer suggestions on how to improve the site and discuss ways technology can be used to make New York better. Although that Web site is not up, you can follow capitol Camp on Twitter for updates, and RSVP for the event, which will be held on June 5.

    In the end, all of this is only useful if legislators, staffers and citizens use the new site. “A tool is only a good tool if people make good use of it,” says Andrew Hoppin, the Senate’s chief information officer and head of its new media effort.

    By on May 7, 2009, 12:10 pm
    In category: Albany,Governing,Measuring UP,Tech | 2 Comments »

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    Weekly Web Wrap
    May 1st, 2009

  • Hungry and Without Options in New York
    (Mother Jones)
  • New York Sun Back from the Dead?
    (Politico via NYConvergence)
  • City Council Candidates Try to Dazzle in the 39th District
    (Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn)
  • New York City’s New Voters
    (Room Eight)
  • A New Measure of Regional Competitiveness Energy Efficiency
    (DMI Blog)
  • Is Landmarking Worth It?
    (Riverdale Ramblings)
  • Recycling? Fuhgeddaboudit
    (Mother Jones)
  • Wylde: City Can’t Afford Not to ‘Go Green’
    (Huffington Post)
  • Donovan: Putting the ‘UD’ Back in HUD
    (The Ground Floor)
  • Paterson to Ease Mandates and Property Taxes
    (Fox 23)
  • Cartoonist’s Take on the Pension Fund Scandal
    (Matt Davies)
  • Another Hole in the Budget Plan
    (IBO Weblog)
  • Opening Week Problems for Yankees
    (Clawback)
  • What Private Sector Workers Earnings Would Match Public Pensions
    (NY Fiscal Watch)
  • By on May 1, 2009, 2:24 pm
    In category: Gotham City | Comments Off on Weekly Web Wrap

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    Live Senate Committee Hearing Embedded
    April 24th, 2009

    Live webcast of today’s State Senate Elections Committee hearing on right now! It started at 10:00 a.m. View it in right here on Wonkster below. This channel is a test at the moment, so there is no schedule for what will be streamed on it. It’s also not clear yet if there will be an archive where footage can be viewed at a later time. A live stream of the legislative floor can be viewed as well from the Senate’s Web site, which will be relaunched shortly.

    By on April 24, 2009, 11:16 am
    In category: Albany | Comments Off on Live Senate Committee Hearing Embedded

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    Weekly Web Wrap
    April 24th, 2009

  • The Confessions of Eliot Spitzer
    (Newsweek)
  • Come Explore ‘Temples’ Built For and By the Financial Sector
    (Where Blog)
  • Increasing Parental Involvement in Schools
    (Manhattan Borough President’s Blog)
  • New York Civil Liberties Union’s Lieberman Discusses Video Evidence
    (Brian Lehrer Live)
  • Can New York Save Broadband?
    (Gigaom)
  • Social Media Hub: New York
    (Mashable)
  • Albanys MTA Fix
    (DMI Blog)
  • City Relaunches GIS Map With New Features
    (GovTech)
  • Times Looking At Paid Online Content Again
    (Editor & Publisher)
  • Another Wrinkle in States Tax Increase on High-Income Taxpayers
    (IBO Weblog)
  • Colorful Map Shows How Long it Takes to Travel Around City
    (I (Heart) Public Space)
  • New York Asks You To Report Energy Scammers
    (The Consumerist)
  • What No One Else is Telling You About Next Years Water Rate
    (Water Watch NYC)
  • In Dribs and Drabs, New York Allocates Stimulus Funds
    (Tri-State Transportation Campaign)
  • Getting Down To Work on Green Buildings Program
    (Sallan Foundation)
  • By on April 24, 2009, 10:47 am
    In category: Gotham City | Comments Off on Weekly Web Wrap

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    Blocking Amendments in Committee
    April 23rd, 2009

    In the name of reform, the State Senate’s draft report by the Temporary Committee on Rules and Administration Reform proposes that authors of legislation retain control over amendments to their bills in committee. But the Brennan Center opposes this, arguing that it stifles debate. Nationally, they point out they couldn’t find a single state legislature that allows this.

    But not everybody thinks the proposal is a bad idea. Susan Lerner, executive director of Common Cause NY, thinks amendments can be used to water down controversial bills. “They allow leadership a club,” she argues. Lerner may not support giving veto power to authors, but control over the bill’s outcome is a good idea to her. “The author put in the sweat equity. It’s their bill.”

    “If somebody wants to introduce a hostile amendment, they can introduce their own bill,” says Blair Horner, legislative director at NYPIRG. “There’s no limit to the amount of legislation that can be introduced.”

    “This is basically the current practice, and we’re not opposed to it,” he adds.

    By on April 23, 2009, 3:48 pm
    In category: Albany,Governing | Comments Off on Blocking Amendments in Committee

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    Weekly Web Wrap
    April 17th, 2009

  • Rockefeller Reforms Need Rehab
    (The Indypendent)
  • A Skeptical Review of the Highline
    (Archpaper via Curbed)
  • Is the State’s Freeze on Charter School Funding Fair?
    (Edwize)
  • City Solicits Taxicab Tech Ideas
    (CNET News)
  • Guerrilla Gardening
    (21st Century Plowshare)
  • City Looks to Ban Cabbies’ Cell Phones
    (Information Week)
  • Policy Sprint for New York Government
    (Independence Year Foundation)
  • Bill Would Bar Considering Landlord-Provided Electricity as Additional Rent
    (PULP Blog)
  • By on April 17, 2009, 7:59 pm
    In category: Gotham City | 2 Comments »

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    Recycling Looking Good to Frugal Eyes
    April 16th, 2009

    “With the cost of exporting the citys regular rubbish expected to rise by $80 million over the next few years and reach $395 million in 2012,” Doug Turetsky writes on the Independent Budget Office blog, “it may be fiscally prudent to pull the citys recycling rates out of the trash bin.” (Just in time for Earth Day.)

    Although it is currently cheaper to ship our trash to landfills and incinerators, he points out that the rising costs are beginning to make recycling look like a promising alternative.

    Besides, the city has yet to even reach its current target of diverting 25 percent of recyclables from the trash, he adds. But if we were to meet that goal, it could reduce the price of recycling further, the IBO points out. That diversion goal doesn’t include forms of waste the city doesn’t accept for recycling, such as plastic take-out containers.

    Still, the economic downturn is affecting the cost paid for recyclables, which doesn’t help.

    Perhaps another way to divert waste from landfills is dealing with electronic waste, which is also often hazardous. Last year, the City Council passed legislation requiring manufacturers to set up free and accessible recycling centers for their products by 2010. In the meantime, an organization called The 4th Bin has launched a competition for the design of e-waste recycling bins.

    And the new bottle deposit bill passed by the state could also help divert recyclables. Called the “bigger better bottle bill,” it will expand the 5 cent deposit fee to non-carbonated beverages.

    By on April 16, 2009, 7:35 pm
    In category: Albany,Environment,Public Finance | Comments Off on Recycling Looking Good to Frugal Eyes

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    In Cuomo Versus Allegedly Racist Banks, Obama Picks Banks
    April 10th, 2009

    Data suggest that national banks charged higher mortgage interest rates to people of color in New York, and Attorney General Andrew Cuomo wants the authority to investigate whether they broke state anti-discrimination lending laws in doing so. But the Bush Administration joined a lawsuit to thwart the attorney general’s office — at the urging of the Clearing House Association, a coalition of national banks — and the case is now in federal court.

    With the Obama Administration now in charge, advocates had hoped that they would side with New York. But last week the new solicitor general, Elena Kagan, sided with the Bush Administration, arguing the federal Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has jurisdiction in the matter. The agency is the federal plaintiff in the case. “National banks are created by the government to serve federal purposes,” Kagan argued in an amicus brief, “and that oversight of the banks is therefore principally entrusted to the United States.”
    Read the rest of this entry »

    By on April 10, 2009, 3:57 pm
    In category: Civil Rights,Housing,Law | 1 Comment »

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    Weekly Web Wrap
    April 10th, 2009

  • When Watching the Sun Needs a Permit
    (Columbia University Press Blog)
  • The Big (Green) Apple
    (Time Magazine)
  • Another 14 Percent Water Rate Increase — And More!
    (Water Watch NYC)
  • Statewide Wireless Network Revamped as Multi-Regional Program
    (GovTech)
  • Rebranding Gillibrand
    (The American Conservative)
  • Alewife Found in Bronx River for First Time Since 1600s
    (Parks Department)
  • Yankee Stadium and Citi Field Going Green?
    (Idealist in NYC)
  • Should Mayors Run Schools?
    (Education Week via Public Advocate’s Corner)
  • Interview with Robert Morgenthau
    (Charlie Rose via Re-thinking Reentry)
  • Cartoonist’s Take on Paterson’s Approach to the Recession
    (Adam Zyglis)
  • Database Sheds Light on Empire Zone Winners
    (Clawback)
  • Its Time for Albany to Take Responsibility for the MTA
    (DMI Blog)
  • The Shameful Disenfranchisement of the Military in New York
    (National Review)
  • For Cities, Labor Flexibility is More Important Than Ever
    (NY Fiscal Watch)
  • By on April 10, 2009, 2:03 pm
    In category: Gotham City | Comments Off on Weekly Web Wrap

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    The Visitors Documentary
    April 9th, 2009

    The Visitors” is a new documentary that follows the trips made by New York City residents to visit incarcerated family upstate. Although the Albany-based Prison Action Network has had some screenings of the film around the state, its world premier was earlier this week in North Carolina at a film festival called Full Frame. Melis Birder, the documentary’s director and producer, was inspired by her personal experiences making the trip upstate to visit an incarcerated family member.

    By on April 9, 2009, 3:23 pm
    In category: Civil Rights,Crime & Safety | 6 Comments »

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    Correction
    April 9th, 2009

    In today’s Eye Opener about the gay marriage bill, we mistakenly wrote that Ruben Diaz Jr. is opposed. It is his father, Ruben Diaz Sr. that is opposed to the bill.

    By on April 9, 2009, 9:29 am
    In category: Gotham City | Comments Off on Correction

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    Weekly Web Wrap
    April 3rd, 2009

  • AIDS-Babies-as-Guinea-Pigs Story Is Finally Over — Right?
    (Village Voice)
  • A Reasonable Budget for Hard Times
    (DMI Blog)
  • New Tax Bracket a Progressive Victory
    (The Nation)
  • Cartoonist’s Take on the Budget
    (Matt Davies)
  • New Yorks Murky Budget Numbers
    (NY Fiscal Watch)
  • Transparency in the Budget and Rules Reform
    (ReformNY)
  • Read the rest of this entry »

    By on April 3, 2009, 12:51 pm
    In category: Gotham City | Comments Off on Weekly Web Wrap

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    Coming Soon: Another Water Rate Hike?
    April 2nd, 2009

    Tomorrow, water rake hikes could be on the agenda yet again, and Comptroller William Thompson is blaming the Bloomberg Administration for failing to act on an issue they knew was coming.

    Its been a year since the Department of Environmental Protection commissioner stood before the New York City Water Board and vowed to conduct a million-dollar study to devise a better way to calculate water and sewer charges, Thompson said earlier this week. “That review has not been completed in time to inform this years rate-setting process and yet the Water Board is about to announce yet another hefty hike.”

    Last year, on the eve of that increase, a number of issues were raised with the way the water system is financed. But Mayor Michael Bloomberg wrote critics off as ambitious politicians seeking higher office, even though his ally Council Speaker Christine Quinn had problems with the system. Indeed, Thompson is now challenging the mayor for his seat. But even the Water Board needed assurance that the administration would review the rate structure before they approved it.

    Emily Lloyd, the Department of Environmental Protection commissioner who promised the review, has since departed. But the city has continued working on the review, and mentioned it in a recent report on upgrading the city’s sewer systems. Just not fast enough, apparently.

    By on April 2, 2009, 11:11 am
    In category: Environment,Governing,Public Finance | Comments Off on Coming Soon: Another Water Rate Hike?

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    Weekly Web Wrap
    March 27th, 2009

  • New York Library Looks To Business Intelligence Software For Help
    (Information Week)
  • The MTA: Finally, Someone Mentions Pensions
    (NY Fiscal Watch)
  • Will MTA Rescue Morph Into Statewide Repair Plan?
    (Tri-State Transportation Campaign)
  • MTA Fare Hikes Dont Even Solve the Budget Crisis
    (DMI Blog)
  • 56 New York City Nonprofits to Follow on Twitter
    (Idealist in NYC)
  • Meet Your Neighborhood Parole Officer
    (Re-Thinking Reentry)
  • Details on Applying for Green Infrastructure Stimulus Funds
    (S.W.I.M.)
  • How To Use Privately Owned Public Space
    (Design Trust for Public Space)
  • Obama’s Urban Opportunity
    (Mother Jones)
  • Jim Crow Laws of the 21st Century: New York Drug Laws
    (Huffington Post)
  • New Verizon Local Cable Channel Coming to City
    (Wall Street Journal via NYConvergence)
  • Gotbaum: End Costly, Temporary Homeless Shelter Program
    (Public Advocate’s Corner)
  • New York’s ‘Slaughtered Neighborhoods’
    (TomDispatch via Planetizen)
  • Inside New York’s Underground Poker Scene
    (Salon)
  • By on March 27, 2009, 4:01 pm
    In category: Gotham City | Comments Off on Weekly Web Wrap

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    Weekly Web Wrap
    March 20th, 2009

  • Why Won’t the City Recycle Plastic?
    (Inhabitat)
  • The Politics of an MTA Budget Deal
    (Regional Plan Association)
  • Cartoonist’s Take on MTA Budget Gap
    (Matt Davies)
  • State Ranked Fourth Best in Types of Info Available Free Online
    (Sunshine Week)
  • State’s Health IT Program Good Model for National Effort
    (Healthcare IT News via FierceHealthIT)
  • Profile of Rev. Billy’s Mayoral Campaign
    (The Indypendent)
  • Can Weingarten Satisfy Both Teachers and Reformers?
    (The New Republic)
  • More Kosher Soup Kitchens Planned
    (The Jewish Week)
  • Public Housing Residents and the Census
    (NYCHA Journal)
  • Increasing the Availability of Affordable and Nutritious Food
    (Manhattan Borough President’s Blog)
  • Require Submetering Landlords to Accept Utility Assistance
    (PULP Blog)
  • States Exposure Limited if AIG Failed
    (NY Fiscal Watch)
  • Local Farming and Food Policy in New York
    (Brian Lehrer)
  • Cuomo Should Practice Transparency He Preaches
    (Mediashift Idea Lab)
  • Audio of the Staten Island Broadband Hearing
    (Internet Society – New York Chapter)
  • New Meetup for Those Working for Open Government in the City
    (Open Government NYC)
  • By on March 20, 2009, 3:52 pm
    In category: Gotham City | Comments Off on Weekly Web Wrap

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    Seeking Federal Funds for Transportation
    March 19th, 2009

    To take advantage of federal funds offered through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the New York Transportation Council has listed the projects in its five-year Transportation Improvement Program that they think are eligible. You can view those projects in the city in PDF form or on the handy Google map below. That mass of station projects in Brooklyn is along the West End Line which the D train runs on.


    View Larger Map

    By on March 19, 2009, 2:36 pm
    In category: Transportation | Comments Off on Seeking Federal Funds for Transportation

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    Weekly Web Wrap
    March 13th, 2009

  • Not Enough Welfare Recipients in College or Employment Training
    (DMI Blog)
  • High Density Living is Green Living
    (Economix Blog)
  • Parks are an Important Part of that Density
    (City Parks Blog)
  • Russell Simmons: Drop the Rock
    (Huffington Post)
  • Plucking the Citys Golden Geese
    (CityEconomist)
  • Despite Stimulus, Schools Budget Still Drops
    (New York Teacher)
  • Bad Albany Idea of the Month
    (NY Fiscal Watch)
  • Another Interactive Map of Transit Cuts
    (Regional Plan Association)
  • Governors Budget Would Allow Further Utility Deregulation
    (PULP Blog)
  • City Nears Launch of Programs to Boost Supermarket Development
    (The Real Estate)
  • New York and D.C. are Magnets for Tech Jobs
    (eWeek via FierceCIO)
  • New York City: A Nice Place to Be Unemployed?
    (Brooklyn Rail)
  • Chinatowns Transformation Hard on Low-Income Residents
    (World Journal)
  • Urging the Buildings Department To Re-Evaluate New Rule
    (Municipal Art Society)
  • City Joins Earth Hour 2009
    (Earth Hour U.S.)
  • How Bloomberg Could Finally Build Moynihan Station
    (New York Magazine)
  • The Secret Lives of Beekeepers in New York
    (The New Republic)
  • By on March 13, 2009, 10:37 am
    In category: Gotham City | Comments Off on Weekly Web Wrap

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    Gotham Gazette the Place for Politics and Policy

    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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