Tag Archives: Eric Lane

Who is Brad Hoylman?

Brad Hoylman

The strongest push to hobble NYC’s community boards by forcing them to hire dedicated planners and revert to a narrower “planning board” role (an idea we strongly oppose) came not from Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, but from the former chairman of Manhattan Community Board 2, Brad Hoylman, who was one of five invited “experts” who spoke at the Charter Revision Commission’s June 10 session on Government Structure in Staten Island. Why the commission chose Hoylman as a featured guest became evident upon examination of his credentials. Continue reading

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Charter Revision Alumni Weigh In

F. A. O. Schwarz, Jr. photo courtesy praxagora.com

You wouldn’t expect that a panel discussion by former charter revision commission chairs would be enlightening or amusing, but it was both. Monday’s webcast panel at Baruch College featured former commission chairs Richard Ravitch (1986-88), F.A.O. Schwarz, Jr. (1989), Randy Mastro ( 1999, 2001), Frank Macchiarola (2003), and Ester Fuchs (2005). Current commission chair Matthew Goldstein moderated; several of his colleagues participated in the questioning.

The senior panelists agreed that Mayor Bloomberg’s 2010 commission has no choice but to address term limits (although they couldn’t agree on how), that New York’s strong mayoralty must continue, and that the borough presidents’ offices should be strengthened. What they didn’t agree on — term limits, their impact on minority voting, the fate of the public advocate, and non-partisan elections — provided some lively back-and-forth. Continue reading

Press Coverage of Charter Revision Hearing

NYC Charter Revision Commission

Next-day coverage of the first public hearing of the 2010 NYC Charter Revision Commission was less than global. The most analytic piece may have appeared on silive, the news blog of the Staten Island Advance.

“Surprise sprung by Charter chair; L.I. attorney named to direct panel and Staten Island secession vet tabbed as research director,” was the silive lede. The story, by Peter N. Spencer, discussed the implications of charter chairman Matthew Goldstein’s choice of executive director Lorna B. Goodman and research director Joseph P. Viteritti for key commission staff roles. Continue reading

Bloomberg’s Wealth and Charter Revision

Adam Lisberg, Daily News City Hall Bureau Chief, reports that Matthew Goldstein, Chancellor of CUNY, could be Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s choice as chair of a 2010 charter revision commission. To us, the real meat of the DN story isn’t who might head the commission, it’s how the charter process could be affected by Michael Bloomberg’s personal wealth. Lisberg goes there in his last paragraph, where he comments on Bloomberg’s failed 2003 charter attempt to institute non-partisan elections:

In 2003…, Bloomberg spent $7 million of his own money – and $462,000 in city funds – on the nonpartisan election push. Voters rejected the plan 70% to 30%, which Bloomberg still fumes about.

Those of us who tried to influence the 1989 charter revision process remember how hard it was to counter the public relations juggernaut driven by the commission’s professional staff, which was headed by Hofstra University law professor Eric Lane. Continue reading

Fuchs: Charter Proposals Not Likely This Year

Ester Fuchs

At Tuesday evening’s charter revision forum at Baruch College, panelist Ester Fuchs, chair of Mayor Bloomberg’s 2005 charter revision commission, responded to a question from moderator Doug Muzzio about the timing of proposals to be advanced by a 2010 commission. When would such a commission’s work product go before the voters? “I think it’s going to be over a year…” Fuchs answered. “I don’t think it’s going to be on the ballot this September.”

Fuchs’ projection was not contested by the other panelists at the forum co-sponsored by Citizens Union, possibly because she had suggested inside knowledge earlier in the session. Although the mayor has not yet named the members of this year’s commission, Fuchs, who recently accepted a fellowship at the Partnership for New York City, is expected to play a role.

A long timetable for this year’s charter revision commission would be consistent with the “top to bottom” restructuring considered probable by the Baruch panelists, who included Stephen Fiala, a member of the 2005 commission, Eric Lane, executive director of the landmark 1989 charter revision commission, and William C. Thompson, the former NYC Comptroller who ran unsuccessfully against Michael Bloomberg for mayor in 2009.

We recently speculated about some of the tactics a 2010 commission could use to manipulate voters’ response to its charter proposals. Nothing we heard from Tuesday’s panelists leads us to believe our speculation was baseless.