Tag Archives: Ester Fuchs

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

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Keeping Our Eyes on the Prize

Several days ago, CityPragmatist observed that former Bloomberg charter revision commission chair Ester Fuchs seemed ideally positioned to play a role at this year’s charter revision commission. A day later, the Daily News floated the name of CUNY Chancellor Matthew Goldstein as Bloomberg’s pick for 2010 chair. The next day, silive.com, the news blog of the Staten Island Advance, floated the name of Billionaire Ron Lauder as Bloomberg’s pick. Then, someone called to our attention yet another chair designation: Anthony Crowell, a Bloomberg senior counselor, reported by Edward-Isaac Dovere of City Hall News. What’s going on here? 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.