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Is Mayor Michael Bloomberg a Leprechaun?

Irish legends suggest that a leprechaun is a mischievous elf, who resembles a little old man. He possesses gold-which he hides away- and is very very lucky. Sometimes, he even touches things and they turn into gold, literally or figuratively. So looking back at Mayor Bloomberg’s personal life, his business and political career, I now posit the question: Is Mayor Bloomberg a leprechaun?

By his own admission he got lucky in business. He even admitted to skirting around the peripheries of ethics and public-safety (my words), while conducting business in the early days. This can be extrapolated from the many things written about his business conduct. Some say that brilliant people make their own luck, so maybe the guy is brilliant. And as such, he should be admired.



Pandering to Privilege, Bill Thompson Loses My Vote

The well worn path to prominence in New York politics is to bestow benefits on the small number of active interests already privileged by state and local policy.  Then when “forced” to impose sacrifices on everyone else, even those comparatively worse off, blame “inevitable” circumstances, or the other political party.

It is three years until the next Mayoral election, and New York City Comptroller Bill Thompson has already lost my vote.  Lost it by saying two words I never want to hear from any elected official or aspirant:  “senior citizen.”  I don’t want to hear those words not because I have anything against senior citizens; indeed, I hope to become one myself one of these days.  It don’t want to hear them because today’s senior citizens have just about the greatest sense of entitlement, both in terms of what they are to receive and what they ought not have to pay, of any just about anybody on the planet.  And public policy, including tax policy, already benefits them to an enormous extent – especially in New York City.



Mike's Shift to the Left

Mike as Democrat
 
We hear a lot about Hillary's shift to the right in order to appeal to centrist voters and become president. I've been noticing the opposite in Mike lately. People talk about Mike running for president. If he is, he's running as a Democrat, not a Republican.

Mike's latest shift to the left was reported last week. He's always said he favored same-sex marriage, but appealed the court ruling legalizing it for various legalistic reasons. As my club's blog The Writing on the Wall notes, he's now said he'd fight for marriage equality (that blog suggests that he spend some of his money to that end).



Statewide Primaries - Are They Bad?

On the eve of the State Democratic & Republican conventions, pundits are exclaiming that the polls predicting a decisive fight for the Republican nomination for Governor and an easy win for Eliot Spitzer among Democrats means that the GOP is doomed this year.

Without getting into whether polls this early should be believed, I’d like to look back and try to see if hard-fought Statewide Primaries for Governor or Senator have hurt, helped or made no difference to candidates.

1968 - Democrats chose Paul O’Dwyer in a 3-way Primary to face Republican Senator Jacob Javits, who did not have Primary. Javits was considered the overwhelming favorite all year and the Democratic Primary had a low-turnout and not very exciting.  Javits did win by over 1 million votes.



Ground Zero Lament: should we do a new site plan?

Let me start by saying that Lower Manhattan needs to be redeveloped.  The trend of converting older commercial buildings into residential use is a great idea and the development of the remaining residential land in Battery Park City should move more rapidly than it did in the early years.  With Goldman Sachs putting up their ultra green skyscraper in the last commercial plot in BPC the Downtown Business District is well anchored. 

The new South Ferry station enlargement is behind schedule but moving.  The Staten Island Ferry terminal is bustling and we can hope the Governor’s Island ferry will get use again soon if someone in state government does a plan for the island (on second thought, maybe we should wait for the new governor).  Other commercial and residential construction is under way south of Canal Street east of West Street. And the Fulton Fish Market moved to fabulous facilities in the Bronx, opening the surrounding area to renovations.



Introducing: The Grapevine

Every fortnight from here on in I will try to produce a column called: “The Grapevine”. I suggest you fasten your seatbelts for this the first column. What this column will do is breakdown the things that are being said in “out- there-land”, better known as the political grapevine. The reason I choose to do it on a bi-weekly basis is because I don’t want to be known as the Cindy Adams of NYC politics. It wouldn’t just be about political-gossip. I do intend to track down sources/players, and also ascertain the veracity and plausibility of the stories I report. I will try to inform not ridicule. It will be all about “the story behind the story”, if you catch my drift.



ET, Phone Home!

This is for you early adapters out there:  Room Eight is now equipped for home-made video.  So if your camera or cell phone can pick up key or silly moments of press conferences, private conferences, or anything else, we can (and will) host it.

Send your clips to videos (at) r8ny (dot) com, straight from your cell phone or computer.  They'll be handled by DropShots and appear on this site for the world to see.

Note: the subject of your email will become the caption for the video; and, simply use the email text area to provide us the backstory.

Oh yeah, and if you're otherwise opinionated, don't forget that you can start your own blog and wax poetic about New York politics right here.

- Ben and Gur 



Republican Family Values

Today’s Journal News reports:

"Assemblyman Lou Mosiello of Yonkers appears to be headed for a new job on the state's Parole Board. Should he accept the nomination, Mosiello would have to step down from the state Assembly.A likely successor to Mosiello in the Assembly  should he decide to accept the Parole Board position, is former state assemblyman Michael Spano, the brother of state Sen. Nicholas Spano.

Mosiello is a retired police sergeant and former county legislator county legislator who stepped into the Assembly race in 2004 after Michael Spano abruptly aborted his campaign. Spano held the seat for nearly 12 years and left so he could spend more time with his family."



CACA Endorses Carl Andrews. Why?

The incredible release below was posted on Ben Smith’s Room Eight blog. It announced the creation of a committee named “Caribbeans for Carl Andrews” …henceforth known as CACA. I am acquainted with three of the “influential Caribbean leaders” listed as founding members of CACA. I have tried to contact them to confirm that the announcement is legitimate. And will eventually find out whether Carl has given Frances, Eleanora, and James the Alton Maddox treatment. But read this first segment and check back for the rest of it.



A Test for Conservative Party

Wednesday brought the welcome news that Matthew Long, the son of Conservative Party boss Mike Long was released from the hospital. Matthew Long was seriously injured in an accident while riding his bike to work during the transit strike.

It’s ironic that this occurred the same week, that Westchester State Senator Nick Spano introduced a bill would require the MTA to pay half of the strike fines levied against the TWU for illegal strikes, strikes like the one that was  indirectly responsible for Matthew Long’s injuries.



Charles Barron To Open Campaign Office Tomorrow: Do You Know Why?

Rock
Rock Hermon Hackshaw

When I first broke the news (1-22-06) on the Politicker, that Charles Barron was challenging Ed Towns for his congressional seat, some callers thought I was smoking crack. Well, I may be a political-junkie, but I don’t smoke crack. Never did. Never will. I took a lil “toke” on some reefer here and there- during my younger days- but I never went further. I never liked the idea of cocaine and other drugs even then, and nowadays I have zero tolerance for drugs, period. Anyway, after their initial shock-on ascertaining the truth of my post- the detractors argued that Barron would pull out, just like he did in his mayoral bid. Even after he filed his committee and showed close to a hundred thousand dollars being raised in a couple months, many detractors still insisted that he wasn’t in the race for the long haul. Well get over it detractors because Charles Barron is for real in this race.



Educational Employment Boom? (Part III of III)

Might public school enrollment increases explain the huge increase in public school employment in the rest of the state? Not exactly.

In 1990, the rest of New York State had 17.7 public school employees per 100 public school enrollees. New York City, despite a far needier and more troubled student body – and a reputation for over-staffed schools -- made do with just 14.9.

From 1990 to 1998 public school enrollment soared in New York City, as the children of the baby boomers (the baby boom echo generation) and of immigrants entered their school years. With a fiscal crisis, a low share of state aid, and other priorities, however, the City’s public school employment did not keep up, and its ratio per 100 students fell 13.8 in the latter year. The low year, at just 12.2, was 1996, following the implementation of Governor George Pataki’s first budget – which cut state school aid to New York City and increased it for the rest of the state, cutting the city’s share of state school aid from 33.2% to 29.6% (New York City’s share of the state’s public school students was about 37%).



Yvette Clarke To Make Major Campaign Overhaul

Now that Nick Perry is out of the race for the 11th Congressional District, I predict that Yvette Clarke will make major changes within her campaign team. Yvette, who has now emerged as the favorite to win the seat, will bring in a new campaign manager/ management team soon. Her current manager will be either axed or reassigned, if it hasn’t been done already. Note that this is the same manager who came in, with lots of fanfare about four months ago. Word is that Yvette wants to shift gears and move into winning stride. It’s her race to lose. She will revamp the campaign as a way to invigorate a soporific start.



NY's Booming With Government Employees - Part II

So, as noted in the previous post, local government employment has soared by over 100,000 over 15 years in the portion of New York State outside New York City.  Could population trends explain this?

Not exactly.  In fact, local government employment has fallen steeply relative to population in the city, and risen in the rest of the state.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, New York City’s population rose from 7.3 million in 1990 to 8.15 million in 2005, a gain of over 800,0000.  Accordingly, the number of local government workers per 1,000 residents fell from 64.4 in 1990 to 55.1 in 2005, a substantial decrease of 14.4%.



The International Zone

Empire Strikes Out
 
I'll give the Empire Zone a few weeks before fully judging it, but my first impression of the Times' new political blog isn't great. The content, reporting, etc. are fine—the quality one would expect from such a prestigious paper. However, the fun and utility of the Daily Politics, the Politicker, Room 8, etc., is not only what the writers have to say, but what the New York politicos think about the subjects—and the conversations in the comments sections that often ensue.

Ben calls the Daily Politics "A running conversation about the New York political scene"—he really should append "...between a New York political reporter and New York politicos." I don't think the Empire Zone can duplicate that or even make it a good imitation.