Tag Archives: Anthony Crowell

Technical Difficulties

NYC Charter Revision: We missed portions of Monday’s webcast NYC charter revision commission hearing when our Internet access crashed. Here’s what we managed to see and hear: Continue reading

Scissura: Practice What You Preach

2010 NYC Charter Revision Commission

The 2010 NYC Charter Revision Commission spent much of its July 12 meeting agonizing over ways to restore the public’s faith in government and increase voter participation. It did not acknowledge that voter apathy may stem from the public’s resignation that billionaires will continue to control the Mayor’s office, and that selection of City Council members may make little difference in shaping City Hall’s major decisions.

The webcast meeting had been convened to discuss the commission staff’s July 9 preliminary report. But as quickly as the staff’s proposal for instant run-off voting — IRV — appeared on the pages of that report, it got jettisoned when chairman Matthew Goldstein’s colleagues complained that they never had discussed it. Continue reading

Matthew Goldstein: NYC Needs Real Estate Development

Matthew Goldstein

Chairman Matthew Goldstein used a discussion about community benefits agreements (CBAs) at the charter revision commission’s June 24 Land Use forum in Queens to voice his conviction that real estate development and growth are essential to New York City’s economic future. He did not use the session to reveal which issues his commission will place on November’s ballot.

CBAs are “side deals” by which a real estate developer may agree to provide a public benefit to a community group, e.g., jobs, loans, unrelated contracts, in return for its support of a project. They are unregulated private agreements, negotiated by private parties outside of the ULURP framework, and can substantially increase a project’s cost. Continue reading

Charter Revision Commission Executive Director to be Named (Updated 4/7/10)

Francis Barry, Charter Commission Executive Director Candidate. Photo courtesy Staten Island Advance

Once again, the Staten Island Advance provides early coverage of events at the NYC Charter Revision Commission. This time, it’s who is likely to be appointed to direct the commission’s staff: Francis S. Barry, a close mayoral aide.

As we’ve commented before, the commission’s executive director is the key person in shaping the commission’s agenda, triaging what information gets in to the 15 part-time commission members, and, perhaps most crucially, determining what information gets out from the commission to the press and the public. Continue reading

NYC’s Forgotten Borough

To most Manhattanites, Staten Island may as well be New Jersey (geographers and Staten Islanders feel the same way). Once you step off the ferry at St. George Terminal, you’re in a different world: a revolutionary war fort, mile after mile of low-rise garden apartments, Victorian frame houses on winding streets, and wooded hillsides studded with stone and brick mansions.

New Yorkers who view Staten Island only from the S.I. Expressway and the West Shore Expressway don’t see the island’s vast industrial tracts on one shore, its beautiful public beach on another, the endless strip mall that is Hylan Boulevard, and the island’s golf courses, forests, and pre-Verrazano enclaves, which still hint at their rural origins. It just ain’t the same city as high-rise Manhattan.

That’s the message that Tom Wrobleski, political editor for the Staten Island Advance, sends to the 2010 NYC Charter Revision Commission. With just one Islander on the 15-member commission, Wrobelski doubts that Staten Island’s small-town distinctiveness can be adequately considered when the commission revises NYC’s government this year. To Wrobleski, the city’s rules in Manhattan and Staten Island need to be different. And many community leaders from Brooklyn and Queens feel the same way about their own boroughs. Continue reading

Charter Commission Kick-off: Cheesecake and Undercurrents

First came the cheesecake: Brooklyn BP Marty Markowitz greeted the 2010 NYC Charter Revision Commission members at their first public meeting, at the NYC College of Technology in downtown Brooklyn, and gifted each one with Junior’s cheesecake.

Then commission chair Matthew Goldstein explained the purpose of the meeting to an audience of about 75, and invited his colleagues to introduce themselves. When the intros progressed across the crowded stage to commission member Carlo Scissura, Scissura leaned back and deferred to colleague Hope Cohen, who had been forced to sit behind him when the dais got too crowded for all 15 commission members. Goldstein, a mathematician by training, joked about this as being an example of “a packing problem.” It was not his last mathematical allusion. Our take: The commission’s March 3rd appointment date didn’t leave enough time to hire the staff members who could prepare for a public meeting scheduled only two weeks later. Continue reading

In Staten Island, Hope Stays Alive

Tom Wrobleski reports on Staten Island’s push for full representation on Mayor Bloomberg’s anticipated 2010 charter revision commission.  Wrobleski’s piece in the Advance features leaders who focus on whether Staten Island will get enough seats on the commission to ensure that it will “look at shifting some decision-making away from City Hall and giving the borough more local control, especially over land-use and traffic issues.” Continue reading