Tag Archives: NY City Council

Even Larry Has No Answer

Larry’s Favorite Former Jet, Santana Moss

Larry is one of the smartest guys in Flatbush. So when he started defending Brooklyn’s lack of clout at City Hall, I did a double take.

“The Board of Estimate was a bad idea. Staten Island didn’t deserve to have the same power as Brooklyn.”

But isn’t it worse for Brooklyn to have no power, because the mayor — most responsive to Manhattan media  — controls almost everything?

Larry shrugged and turned back to the TV. It was easier for him to watch his beloved Jets self-destruct than to grapple with one of the thorniest issues facing New Yorkers in 2011: how to ensure that Mike Bloomberg’s successor — whoever he or she is — will balance the needs of the BBQSI boroughs against those of the Manhattan business community. Continue reading

A 311 Bone for Community Boards, or a Snow Job?

Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith

Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith said today that “we’re 30 days away” from giving community boards “real-time 311 data,” but that he would have to confirm this.

He made his comment in response to a question by Councilmember Gale Brewer at today’s City Council hearings on the Blizzard of 2010.

But a Brooklyn community board district manager who has seen a prototype of the system cautions that the 311 data will not be what the boards had requested.

Despite some incisive questioning, especially by Councilmember Jumaane Williams (45CD), the mayor’s representatives toughed it out and protected Bloomberg by saying that they, not he, had made the crucial decisions.

Sanitation Commissioner John J. Doherty

But when it came time to specify which managers had made which decisions, no one took responsibility. Goldsmith called himself a “coordinator” who had left it to commissioners John Doherty (DSNY) and Joe Bruno (OEM) to make the critical operational calls. They said the decision-making scenario was a group process.

No one admitted City Hall had erred in delaying declaration of a snow emergency.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg’s political operatives are working in Albany on their real agenda: gutting the civil service merit system.

Loosey-Goosey Term Limits

Tuesday’s NY Times reports that nearly three-fourths of New Yorkers want to effectively reverse the 2008 Local Law that overturned two-turn limits for the mayor and other NYC elected officials. Unfortunately, voters will not get the chance to do this in November.

The charter revision commission convened by Mayor Bloomberg earlier this year has produced only two ballot questions. On the first — whether to restore two-term limits — a “No” vote will retain the existing three-term limit, and a “Yes” vote will reimpose the two-term limit, but not for today’s incumbents. Only newcomers who first get elected in 2013 or afterward will be subject to the two-term restriction. Continue reading

We Regret to Say We Told You So

On January 28 — two months before Michael Bloomberg convened a 2010 New York City Charter Revision Commission — we predicted that his charter panel would take advantage of voters’ resentment towards the 2008 Mayor/Council term limits putsch to motivate them to endorse charter changes to increase the mayor’s power.

The commission’s August 23 decisions prove we were right. Continue reading

Short and Tweet

Always looks the same, doesn't it?

NYC Charter Revision: @We want to go to sleep tonight, so we’re going to pretend we’re tweeting and be done with it:

Charter revision commission spent 1:15 on “independent budgets” with OMB’s Mark Page. He: smart, thorough, earnest, soporific, and ultimately a believer in the status quo, bashes independent budgets, even for Conflicts of Interest Board.

CRC Member Cassino wants to clean up City Council. But no recognition that eliminating Council member items must be matched by eliminating mayor’s discretionary items. Our bet: CRC won’t tackle this one.

Goldstein didn’t know “etymology” of Council extra compensation called “lulus.” Was told it means: “in lieu of.” Aahhh! Continue reading

Efficiency! is Theme of Charter Hearing

NYC Charter Revision: If anything, Matthew Goldstein’s treatment of a group of protesters at Monday’s charter revision commission hearing was efficient. When the protesters interrupted the Harlem State Office Building session by chanting “Show me what democracy looks like. This is what democracy looks like,” Goldstein didn’t even blink.

Apparently well-schooled in street theatre, the CUNY Chancellor waited for the protesters to finish their call-and-response and deliver their statements demanding a more democratic process before he returned to the business at hand. He didn’t waste a Joule of energy.

Goldstein’s invited guests, who also waited while the middle-aged protesters did their thing, were 2005 charter commission chair Ester R. Fuchs, currently a fellow at the Partnership for New York City, her 2005 executive director, Terri Matthews, current Bloomberg deputy mayor for legal affairs Carol Robles-Roman, and David B. Goldin, the mayor’s Administrative Justice Coordinator.

Their task was to educate the 2010 commission about two “efficiency” initiatives contained in its preliminary staff report for possible ballot inclusion this November. Continue reading

Surprise: Charter Commission to Give More Power to the Mayor

NYC Charter Revision: They didn’t say it in so many words, but the 2010 Charter Revision Commission members are heading in the direction of giving the mayor even more power than Mike Bloomberg has today — at the expense of the City Council and government transparency.

How: by creating a new “reporting commission,” putatively to get rid of unnecessary advisory bodies and trim the number of reports the mayor has to submit each year. Some of those reports are not used. But the charter revision commission would give the new reporting commission the power to review (and reject?) any future City Council decision to “extend or enhance” a report the mayor already provides.

Because a majority of the members of the reporting commission would be appointed by — you guessed it — the mayor, he would be able to frustrate the Council if it wants to ask for additional information from his agencies: a loss for the Council and transparency, and a gain for him. Continue reading