Robert Hornak's blog

Church Sues to Run Charter School

This week the Gotham Legal Foundation filed suit in federal court on behalf of Harlem minister Rev. Michel Faulkner who would like to run a charter school but is prevented from doing so by the  infamous "Blaine" amendment in the NY State constitution and by the Charter Schools law.

The NY Sun did an excellent story on the suit at and does an excellent job of explaining this blatant example of religious discrimination.

Kudos to Jay Golub, my friend, for having the courage to finally challenge a law that has been the bane of education reform and one that is often talked about as discriminatory and counterproductive.

The REAL Question on the Renters Tax Rebate

OK, so Speaker Quinn wants to give renters a break on the property tax increase from 2003. Owners have seen a few rebates and now a cut in the rate. An interesting idea, but there are a few flaws in her plan that beg us to ask a few basic questions.

First, when the rate was cut, didn't the reduction pass through just as the increase passed through? Aren't the taxes passed through to the renter itemized every month? If not, why not?

If that is the case, why don't we just make it a law that if rent is increased by a tax increase, then the cut gets passed through also. Simple.

Nanny-State Sen. Kruger Proposes Stupidest Idea of the Year

Is it possible anyone thinks that Sen. Kruger's idea to ban the use of ipods, walkmans and cell phones while crossing the street is a good idea? Frankly, I think this is one of the stupidest, most brain dead ideas I've heard in a long time. And in NYC that is really saying a lot.

First of all, cops won't be stopping middle age executives in midtown during rush hour as they call home while running to catch the LIRR. It's just never going to happen. And if it did the mayor would lose those pretty approval numbers he gets overnight.

Instead, what this will lead to is cops hassling young black and hispanic kids at 2am on the phone trying to figure out which club to head to next and when there aren't any cars on the road anyway. They'll get the usual stop and frisk and probably get busted for pot possession (which means they spend 3 or 4 days in Rikers, pay a $90 fine and cost the system a few thousand to process them).

Weingarten Lies on Tenure

Is it possible that Randi Weingarten is the biggest phoney in NYC politics? That would be a tough feat, considering some of the real lunatics we have in NYC, but I think she may just win the award.

The issue of teacher tenure has been one often discussed as a major problem preventing our children from getting a good education as well as a budget problem driving the cost of the system higher every year. And, of course, any attempt to reform tenure has been met with a harsh response from Randi.

In the past, her argument, and the argument of all the defenders of tenure, has been that tenure protects teachers from the whims of politicians or administrators who may have ideological or political differences with certain things a teacher is saying in class. So the defense goes, this allows for a better education because it protects all viewpoints in the classroom.

Con Ed: Time to Be Held Accountable for Your Negligence

On Wednesday the NYS Department of Public Service released its' report on the July 2006 power outage in Queens and what responsibility Con Ed had in the failure. To say the least, the report was scathing for Con Ed and called their failures in this incident "unacceptable."

The report goes on to say that Con Ed did not take appropriate action to "minimize the impact of the primary cable and transformer failures on the secondary system and consumers."

The Complete, Politically Incorrect Story of Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving. The one truly American holiday. Other holidays may have originated in America, but none embodies the spirit of America and its' founding like Thanksgiving. And by that, of course, I mean America's dedication to and reliance on free markets and the work ethic.

When we give thanks on the fourth Thursday every November, we usually are thinking about the scrumptious bounty of food before us and the good fortune of being together with our loved ones. While these are certainly good things to be appreciative of, even more important in terms of this holiday is the new way of life centered around work and business that was developed specifically to create this new world, and would not have existed if not for the desire to build a new society.

Moynihan Station, We’ll Hardly Miss Ya

Now that Shelly Silver single-handedly pulled the plug on Moynihan Station, at least for the time being, the debate is beginning about what we need and should build to replace Penn Station, or, as some say, to finally restore what was lost when the old Penn Station was demolished.

Well, there are a few problems with that before we even get into the debate about what we need for transportation purposes.

First of all, we are not replacing the current Penn Station, but adding to it. The LIRR, Amtrak and the subway lines that currently run through Penn won’t be relocated to the new terminal. They will remain in the old, uninspiring station between 7th and 8th avenues. Only New Jersey Transit will be run out of the new, glorious new station that will be built where the Farley Post Office sits.

Municipal Unions Equals Democratic Party

After a few months break from Room Eight, I am back. I took an incredible vacation for two weeks in Greece at the beginning of the summer and it was so relaxing that it actually took a lot of the fight and outrage right out of me. Now, the summer is over, my energy and outrage have returned, and I hope to become a regular fixture here at Room Eight.

So, something short and simple for my return:

If ever anyone had any doubt that the municipal unions were totally partisan and in bed with the democratic party, one only has to look at what AFSCME did this week.

After endorsing Joe Lieberman in the CT Senate primary, they have reversed themsleves, thrown Lieberman overboard, and taken up with Ned Lamont. Now, it is somewhat understandable when democrats like Hillary do it, but a labor union that has been there for labor in the past? Very bad form, guys.

Toussaint's "Vacation"

Many people refer to a jail sentence as a state-funded vacation or taxpayer-funded vacation. Regarding Roger Toussaint's taxpayer subsidized vacation that begins today and will last for the next ten days in a Brooklyn jail cell, I was wondering, is he being paid for his time served or is he taking vacation time?

Considering how irresponsible the strike was, how many people were harmed, either physically or financially, and how many people's lives were turned upside down by Toussaint's leading this illegal strike, it's fair to ask if he will also be penalized by the TWU.

After all, the union did not escape unharmed either. $2.5 million in direct fines and the loss of their dues check off from transit workers paychecks might cripple the union indefinitely. Not that I'm crying for the union, but it would be the height of arrogance if Toussaint continues to collect his paycheck while serving his jail sentence.

New Yorkers Vote More Than Anyone Else - With Their Feet

According to the latest statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau and the NY Sun, New York is now losing more people annually to out-migration than any other state in the country. With an annual average outflow of 182,886 people, we have now surpassed California to claim the position of number one loser.

In addition, the NYC metropolitan region, which includes the five boroughs and parts of Long Island, Westchester and New Jersey, is the number one loser of all metropolitan areas in America. Here, we are losing even more people at a rate of 211,014 people annually.

But because our overall population remains relatively steady, even growing slightly, many people will ignore this situation believing that everything evens out in the end. But, if we look at who we are losing and where they are going, the problem should become clear.

Republicans Go Primary Happy

First there was Weld and Faso. Then, Spencer vs. KT emerged. Now, in this season of looming republican primaries, it seems we have one more to look forward to, Callaghan vs. Vanderhoef.

Who are they, you might ask. Of course, looking at any of the recent polls, you could ask that of almost any of the republicans running this year, with undecided the number one pick in every race among republican primary voters.

Well, J. Christopher Callaghan is the Treasurer of Saratoga County and is currently the only declared republican running for NYS Comptroller against democratic incumbent Alan Hevesi. Now, after months of rumors, it looks like Rockland County Executive Scott Vanderhoef is prepared to jump into the ring and run a primary against Callaghan for the nomination to take on Hevesi.

School Choice is Republicans Genie in a Bottle

What is wrong with New York republicans? As each year passes I am increasingly amazed that the party drifts further and further away from our core ideology and continues to build itself up on a dying cult of personality for our chief executive while also building a cult of patronage and liberal special interests. The NY Republican Party has ceased to exist as an entity that stands for anything republican.

For years our various leaders and advisors have been telling us what we need to be to win (while losing time after time) instead of letting us be what we are and working to make our issues resonate. They just don't understand that you can't fool the voters. It's time for that to change. It's time for the NYGOP to get back to representing average republicans and fighting for our ideals.

Robert Hornak, Republican Ideologue

I'm a local Republican activist who has been involved in city politics for over 12 years. I also professionally advise Republican candidates running for office in the downstate area. I've been active in the NY Young Republican Club, an independent YR club that has been working to build the NY GOP on real Republican ideals and principles. I am far more of an ideologue than a partisan, and rarely hesitate to criticize bad politicians or bad policies, regardless of which party they come from.

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