York Politics As Usual & Not So Usual
Can Believe In: While the young, Democrats, liberals, and New
Yorkers of all sizes and shapes are counting on a Barack Obama
victory to restore to our nation the pride, self respect and good
feelings that have been lacking for the last eight years, there
is a lot more that is appealing about the change Obama can bring.
An Obama victory will immediately change the world's perception
of our country which has suffered greatly under the present administration.
Not to discount the economic woes of the United States, but the
lack of confidence in our country has significantly contributed
to our weakened currency.
A new Obama administration is likely to restore confidence in
America and provide world cooperation that will strengthen the
dollar and the standing of the United States in world markets.
This Republican-sounding mantra may just be the incentive which
will help supplement the record-setting Obama fundraising and
elect Obama and with it, change we all can believe in.
The State We're In: The Governor knows. Everyone in Albany knows.
It's about the worst kept secret in the state. New York State
is in deep financial trouble. Analysts predict a record shattering
deficit that our children and grandchildren could be burdened
with because of the fiscal shenanigans in our time.
While the governor has quietly ordered staff cuts - leaving all
vacancies unfilled except those protecting health and safety,
and a 3.35% spending cut, it's another case of too little too
late in the Empire State. While he has vowed to chop major waste,
claiming 5% to 10% could be cut without affecting the average
New Yorker, the budget is a testimony to the same ol' Albany games.
The less than courageous action by the governor and State Legislature
in passing an almost $122 billion dollar budget, which increased
spending by almost 5% from last year, continued a long series
of building budgets with fanciful structure and support. Throw
in the debt of quasi-public state agencies which are hidden from
the public and the house of cards becomes ever-so-more-likely
And it will topple on us and our kids in huge taxes needed to
repay the deficit. It will cause many to flee the state leaving
those who remain obligated to an even larger share of the debt
we leave them.
Yup, your legislators vote for it and will do so again next year.
Primary Election Watch: Petitioning is done, the campaign is in
Meng v. Young: the 22nd Assembly district challenger Grace Meng
filed several thousand more signatures than incumbent Ellen Young.
In a prelude of the most competitive primary of this election
season, Meng has made it clear that she is in it to stay and in
spite of the efforts of powerful councilman John Liu, some insiders
are buzzing that Meng may be the stronger and better candidate.
Meeks v. Wills: While popular congressman Greg Meeks is clearly
unbeatable at the ballot box, Ruben Wills has been the buzz of
the Southeast Queens petition season. The young organizer out
of Shirley Huntley's operation - she's not supporting him, we're
told - has put together a petition operation that would make any
old pro proud. While Meeks will likely overpower him, Wills has
established himself as a future Southeast Queens player.
Ford v. Young: Teamed with Wills, is Democratic District Leader
candidate Erica Ford, an established community organizer rooted
in southeast Queens' powerful hip-hop culture. Ford is taking
on party mainstay Dora Young of the powerful Guy Brewer Democratic
Club. What we may be seeing here with Wills and Ford and others
is the beginning of the changing of the guard as old timers from
the area who dutifully backed Hillary, are facing challenges which
appear to come from a newly energized group of the party emboldened
by the victory of Barack Obama.
Addabbo v. Baldeo: Finally, we note that it appears that all the
negotiating and posturing to give Democratic Councilman Addabbo,
Jr., a clear shot at Republican State Senator Serf Maltese may
have been for naught. Joe will likely have to spend his time and
money battling Albert Baldeo for the right to battle Maltese.
It was Baldeo, who two years ago, demonstrated that Maltese was
vulnerable when the surprise little-known candidate came within
a couple of hundred votes of unseating the old timer.
This seat has been the number one target on the list of the Democratic
Senate campaign effort - lead by Southeast Queens' Malcolm Smith
- in their attempt to take control of the Senate.
Maltese Loses Key Ally In Seminerio
Stadium Memorabilia Selling Fast
Fugitive Convicted In 2001 Murder
Rally Howls For Affordable Housing
Sikhs and Arab Still Suffer Since 9/11
Queens’ Latin Jazz Coalition Finds Rhythm
Going From Here to There — Got Ideas?
Protest To Keep School Bus Routes
Rival Term Limits Bills Approach Council Floor
Stolen Torahs Returned
Seminerio Arrested For Mail Fraud
Teen Pleads Guilty To 2006 Park Murder
Mayor Endorses Maltese In Senate Battle
Huge Turnout Gives Huntley Win In Jamaica
Memories of Shea
On 9/11, Some Wounds Still Unhealed
Women’s Hospital Breaks Ground
Citi Field To Be Year-Round Attraction
Stolen Torahs Recovered By Police
Meng Beats Young in Primary for Flushing Seat
Term-Limits Reversal Is Lukewarm
Rising, Clock Running
HENRY J. STERN
Previously, we discussed the difficulties at the former World Trade Center, where, six years and seven months after 9/11, the only new structure is an office tower, 7 WTC, built by Larry Silverstein. The rest of the ruin, under the jurisdiction of the public sector, has not yet reached ground level. There will be endless remonstrances between all the parties involved as to who is to blame. No one has yet confessed to anything; no one expects any expressions of contrition.
The June 30 report to the governor by the new Port Authority executive director, Chris Ward, was a splendid idea. He has rightly absolved himself, and Governor Paterson, who appointed him, from responsibility for anything that preceded their advent. That is fair and reasonable, but the clock is now running on the new team. Ward has command responsibility for the debacle at the huge water filtration plant being built in the southeastern corner of Van Cortlandt Park.
That is not to say that Ward did anything wrong with regard to the plant, or failed to do anything he should have done. He was NYC Commissioner of Environmental Protection in the Bloomberg administration from 2002 to 2005 while the giant hole in the ground (to store and filter water) got underway. The cost of the project has risen from one to three billion dollars (estimates, all) and the enormous excavation is the closest thing to the Grand Canyon on the eastern seaboard.
Ward left the Bloomberg administration under somewhat unusual circumstances. He quit in 2005 to take a private sector job as chief executive officer of a firm which operated two container facilities at the Port, one in Red Hook and one in Port Newark. On his departure, the mayor's statement called him an "outstanding steward of our precious water supply." American Stevedoring, Inc. had experienced problems with city government. The Bloomberg administration wanted to get the company out of the Brooklyn waterfront so it could redevelop the area. The company believed that a former Bloomberg commissioner would be a prize asset in dealing with the administration he left. Ward lasted there about a year.
In 2006 Ward had the good fortune to become managing director of the General Contractors Association of New York. He was essentially a lobbyist for a powerful trade group, which had problems of its own. It has been my experience in government that people who skip through jobs often do better than the plodders who stay in one agency. When the jumpers have a problem in one agency, they often end up with a better job elsewhere to decorate their resume.
The New York Post took off on the WTC story with an editorial "Scrap The Plan," which claims that Ward's plans are "unworkable, unmanageable, unaffordable," largely due to increasingly exorbitant costs. They suggest that he stick to Silverstein's basic five office towers.
The Times featured an article which profiled Ward and his attitude in dealing with the financial problems of the Memorial. He said that what happened was an understandable response to the overwhelming disaster which had occurred.
The Trade Center was attacked in 1993 and destroyed in 2001. At today's rate of progress, nothing much will have been built by 2009. Rome wasn't built in a day, or a decade, but it was a fairly large city for its time. It didn't fall in a day, either, see Edward Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. The World Trade Center did.
Not4Publication.com by Dom Nunziato