Tag Archives: Staten Island

Charter Revision: What the Mayor Really Wants

Michael Bloomberg

How does Mayor Michael Bloomberg view the goals of his 2010 charter revision commission? Celeste Katz, the new editor of the DN’s Daily Politics blog, answers this in her April 13th piece on the mayor’s changing stance on the future of the Public Advocate and the borough presidents. Katz quotes Bloomberg about the BPs:

“I for one have come to believe that the Borough Presidents really do provide value added. I don’t agree with everything everyone does but on balance the Borough Presidents provide, at a local level, working with community boards and working with the City Council people, a valuable service and whether you could do it more effectively or not, whether they should be allowed to do A, B or C, those are the details.” Continue reading

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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

Power to the Beeps?

Stephen Fiala. Photo from the SI Advance

On the morning of the 2010 NYC Charter Revision Commission’s first public meeting, Tom Wrobleski’s  coverage is ahead of the game. Wrobleski, writing for the Staten Island Advance, says that commission member Stephen Fiala, Richmond County Clerk, intends to explore the possibility of giving more power to the borough presidents.

Although Fiala is skeptical of his prospects for success, we think an opportunity for greater BP power exists. As we commented to Wrobleski, power comes when one elected official needs the support of another to get his initiatives through. 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

Staten Island Advance Calls for Independent Charter Commission

In a February 13 editorial, the Staten Island Advance gloomily speculated about the prospect of Mayor Bloomberg’s friend, Billionaire Ronald Lauder, serving as chair of Bloomberg’s anticipated 2010 charter revision commission, and said “The chairman, we believe, should be someone who is totally independent of the mayor as well as other city officials — someone who has no dog in the charter revision fight. It’s the mayor’s commission, but its work will outlast this particular mayor.”

Our comment: “The Advance is right on the mark in criticizing NYC’s one-size-fits-all approach to government, and in calling for an independent charter revision commission. The key, however, will not be the identity of the commission’s chair, but the identity of its executive director. This is who heads up the staff, sets the agenda for the commissioners, and shapes the information that gets out to the press and the public.”