Tag Archives: Scott Stringer

Citizens Union: NYC Needs Top-Two Elections

Citizens Union Speakers

NYC Charter Revision: Non-partisan primary elections — or, as the Citizens Union has re-labeled them, “top-two elections” — dominated Monday’s charter revision commission session at Brooklyn College.

The CU team proposing top-two included chairman Peter Sherwin, Executive Director Dick Dadey, senior staff members Alex Camarda and a silent Rachael Fauss, and the disembodied voice of CU Foundation board member John P. Avlon, who was unable to appear in person.

So effectively counterbalanced was CU’s top-two advocacy by the opposition from floor speakers that the evening felt scripted, almost as if some political strategist had said “we’ll satisfy CU that we’re listening to them, but we’ll give enough opponents a chance to speak that CU will realize that putting non-partisan elections on the ballot this year would fail. And then the mayor won’t owe anything to them or to the Independence Party.” Continue reading

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Community Boards: A Vicious Circle

Ira B. Harkavy

Ira Harkavy, Florence Nathanson, Esther Lopato and Helen Henkin were community board members back in the day when board membership meant more than echoing the mayor’s priorities or being ignored.

The three women are gone; Harkavy, who quit as chairman of Brooklyn Community Board 14 to run for the bench, is retired from a long and respected judicial career during which he inspired a Hollywood film by sentencing a landlord to live in his own tenement.

All of them were “plugged in” (Harkavy, for example, concurrently led CB14, the Madison Jewish Center, the Brooklyn College campus foundation and alumni association, the Brooklyn College Hillel House, and the Midwood Development Corporation); all adhered to the highest ethical standards; all commanded respect and all used their formidable intellectual and moral powers to ensure that City Hall paid attention to the needs of Flatbush and Midwood, the neighborhoods their board comprised. Continue reading

Charter Panel Hears Pitch for Non-partisan Elections

Carl Paladino at NYC Charter Revision Commission Hearing 4/6/10

A surprise visit by Carl Paladino, millionaire Buffalo developer and newly-announced candidate for Governor, provided some media candy at Tuesday evening’s NYC Charter Revision Commission public hearing at the CUNY Graduate Center in Manhattan. Paladino’s open disdain for New York’s partisan electoral politics brought passion to the dominant message voiced in Tuesday’s public testimony: Make NYC elections non-partisan. Continue reading

Building NYC’s Tech Industry

A week ago we asked our readers to comment about why NYC’s middle class has vanished 44% faster than in the rest of the United States since 1970. We cited reasons suggested by a NYC think tank, the Center for an Urban Future. One of them: a NYC job mix that had “shifted away from positions that provide middle-income wages and benefits.”

In a companion 2009 report, “Building New York City’s Innovation Economy,” CUF suggested specific ways for NYC to encourage job growth in the tech sector, including linkages between research universities and tech entrepreneurs. Continue reading