With the legislative session adjourned for the moment, I want to take a closer look at why one issue that everyone seems to agree on, reforming Industrial Development Agencies, hasn't passed.
The 115 Industrial Development Agencies statewide are the main vehicle for subsidies paid to private corporations with our tax dollars. And everyone agrees that New Yorkers aren't getting their money's worth from these IDAs. Standards should be put in place for the Industrial Development Agencies to add accountability measures for things like wage standards and hiring provisions. Wage standards, for example, would ensure that our tax dollars aren't supporting low-wage work or shoddy contractors. If we're going to give money to private firms, we should expect some accountability on what they do with the money.
Now that the Governor has signed legislation moving New York's Primary Election to September 18, here are some new key dates:
The Board of Elections has an election calendar (pdf) with more of the new dates candidates will need to know.
Queens Affordable Housing Borough Meeting details
Tenants, affordable housing advocates, clergy, Queens Borough President Helen M. Marshall, Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, Assemblyman Jose Peralta and Councilman Joseph Addabbo are meeting tonight as part of the Queens Affordable Housing Borough Meeting. They'll talk about increasing rents, the decreasing number of available affordable apartments and ways to preserve affordable housing by changing unfair rent regulation laws.
Past rejection hasn't stopped Clipper Equities and David Bistricer from putting a new proposal on the table to buy Starrett City and turn it into luxury condos.
A recap first: The Clipper Equities development group led by David Bistricer proposed buying Starrett City, home to 14,000 people, for $1.3 billion. Analysts agree that a price tag that high means Bistricer intends to convert Starrett City to luxury condos. The proposed sale quickly became a proxy fight over affordable housing, and was initially derailed by an outpouring of community outrage.
Bistricer's latest proposal shamelessly calls for tens of millions of dollars in new public subsidies to Clipper Equities. In return, they'll convert Starrett City to luxury condos slowly instead of doing it right away.
The Columbia University Working Families Party Chapter is cosponsoring an event tonight featuring U.S. Representative Jerrold Nadler and Todd Gitlin, a 60s activist, author and Columbia Journalism professor.
They'll talk about ending the war in Iraq and what withdrawal means for Middle East geopolitical stability.
Thursday, April 5, at 8pmCosponsored by the Columbia University Working Families Party Chapter and the Columbia Coalition Against the War.
Good news for New York City - Wal-Mart is picking up it's ball and going home. From the New York Times:
Frustrated by a bruising, and so far unsuccessful battle to open its first discount store in the nation's largest city, Wal-Mart's chief executive said yesterday, "I don't care if we are ever [in New York City]."
And Lee has a childish explanation for why Wal-Mart has failed in New York City:
200 parents from the Put the Public Back in Public Education Coalition will attend tonight's Panel for Educational Policy meeting at the Tweed Courthouse to call on Chancellor Klein to listen to the public and stop the reorganization of the New York City's schools.
Mayor Bloomberg was busy this weekend responding to frustrated parents who want a say in their kid's education and the city's latest school reorganization. From the New York Times:
The Bloomberg administration has been battered with criticism over its handling of the schools in recent weeks, from parents irate over midyear changes to school bus routes and from a coalition of elected officials and parent and community groups who say they were not sufficiently consulted about plans to further restructure the school system.
We're already making progress in bringing the Mayor to the table. From the Daily News:
Is it full crisis mode at City Hall?
It's time for the public's voice to be heard again in our public schools. The Working Families Party is among the groups organizing a rally tonight at 6:30pm, at St. Vartan's Cathedral on 2nd Ave, where parents, teachers and students will tell Chancellor Klein to stop the proposed school reorganization and listen to the community.
At issue is the latest New York City Department of Education proposal to reorganize our schools, which was put out without consulting the public or accepting public input. That's three major reorganizations in five years, and the public has NEVER been consulted about ANY of these reorganizations, even though each reorganization is chaotic and destabilizing for parents and teachers and for our kids. This from a Chancellor who repeatedly claims to want to bring stability to the system.
The Drum Major Institute and the School of Public Affairs at Baruch College are hosting an April 2 conference to address just that question.
The agenda for the American Dream in the Big Apple conference includes presentations of new research, two panel discussions and an open discussion. Conference topics include income inequality and affordable housing. The speakers announced so far include heavy hitters like New York City Comptroller Bill Thompson and Representative Anthony Weiner (both frequently mentioned mayoral candidates), Finance Commissioner Martha Stark (one of the finalists for state comptroller), and UFT President Randi Weingarten, with more to come.
The fight over affordable housing in New York is coming to a head in Starrett City. Here's a starting point on the players and where they stand.
Starrett City is home to 14,000 people and includes 46 towers, 5,881 apartments, schools, churches, synagogues, a shopping center, post office and power plant over 140 acres on Jamaica Bay in Brooklyn.
David Bistricer leads the development group that want to buy Starrett City for $1.3 billion. With a price tag that high, analysts agree that Bistricer intends to make his money back by converting Starrett City to luxury condos.
Serious number junkies will want to look at the pdf versions, but the basic breakdown is blue means a high percentage on both maps, green is a medium percentage and yellow is a low percentage.
WNBC is reporting that State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is saying the next New York state comptroller will be Nassau County Assemblyman Tom DiNapoli.
Session is set to start at 2:15.
And we're off.
Election Day is underway and people are voting in the race for an open New York State Senate seat from Long Island.
Follow the election results tonight at the Nassau County Board of Elections.
This is an open thread. What are you hearing about the race?