Will New York Revisit Non-Partisan Elections?
By MICHAEL SCHENKLER
Last week I shared with you some thoughts about the likelihood of a final term limit resolution being put on the ballot this November by the Charter Revision Commission. As we all sit and wait to see the structure of that proposal, which will hopefully allow the people to limit the terms of their elected city officials whereby those officials can’t again overrule the will of the people, there are other reports which may pique the interest of reformers.
The Charter Revision Commission, appointed by Mayor Mike Bloomberg, may offer to the voters the opportunity to amend any provision of the City Charter it believes appropriate. And as can be expected, they are likely to consider the wishes of Mayor Mike. Not only has he created the commission comprised largely of allies, his personal wealth enables him to deliver for members of the commission and their causes as well as provide financial support for ballot proposals offered by the Commission.
In 2003, backed by more than $7 million of the mayor’s own money, non-partisan elections were badly defeated at the ballot box. On June 8, of this year, the people of the state of California adopted a similar proposal, possibly giving the mayor hope for what appears to be one of his political missions for our city.
Budget Deadlock - Day 120
That we’ve had no budget in ol’ New York?
One hundred twenty days, a third of a year,
Do you think people are starting to talk?
Well they haven’t been talking very loud,
Indeed there’s been little inspection,
Cause very few of our State Legislators
Have a real challenge during the coming election.
There are no answers we have to the problem,
We can’t resolve this with a quip or line clever,
We expect someday they’ll pass a budget
But they may remain dysfunctional forever.
We sit and we wait for Superman.
Or some superbeing to end our strife.
We sit and we wait, and sit and we wait,
And may be waiting for the rest of our life.
To Shelly and Sampson and their minions,
They are all mere mortal women and men,
After this failure perhaps I could do no better,
But I know I wouldn’t run again.
Opposed by the institutional Democrats whose party wins just about every City election held – with a handful of Council seats going Republican – the proposal has created whispers and some divisiveness in other parties and good government groups.
While we believe the impact of passing such a proposal will have little effect in the end on who wins what, we do believe it is worthy of consideration and should be put to the voters.
We provide one admonition to Chancellor Goldstein, Commission Chair: if you do, remember to include in the proposition that the results can only be modified by a vote of the people.
You never know when the elected think they know better and will overturn the will of the people.
Police To Scan Data Manually To Comply With Stop & Frisk
By HENRY STERN
By HENRY STERN
The new stop and frisk law, which precludes an electronic database of those stopped by the police but not arrested, passed 85-55 in the Assembly, with 14 Democrats joining 41 Republicans in opposing it.
In the Senate, all 32 Democrats supported it. If any one of them had opposed it, abstained, or been absent, the bill would not have passed. All 29 Republicans opposed it.
Governor Paterson signed the bill on July 16th, ignoring appeals by Mayor Bloomberg, Commissioner Ray Kelly, the News and the Post.
Governor Paterson’s explanation, a spontaneous expansion of his signing statement, was quoted in a Daily News editorial:
“‘That is not a policy for a democracy. Maybe that might work in Bosnia. Maybe that might in Somalia. Maybe it would have worked in the Soviet Union or in 1984. But we can’t allow it to happen here.’”
The News’ editorial continued with increasing vigor, denouncing Paterson’s remarks as “slander”. We quote:
“He also cited the Police Department’s computerized files in the same breath with egregious infringements on civil rights, including the Alien and Sedition Acts , and the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.
“This is gubernatorial slander of a department that has a deserved reputation for successful crimefighting well within the bounds of the U.S. Constitution. Somalia? Bosnia? The Soviet Union? Are those the precincts into which Paterson believes Commissioner Ray Kelly has led the NYPD?”
The new law was sponsored in the Senate by Eric Adams, and co-sponsored by Pedro Espada, Velmanette Montgomery, Kevin Parker and Jose Peralta, who defeated Hiram Monserrate, his predecessor. The Assembly sponsor was Hakeem Jeffries.
The Police Department’s initial response to the state restriction was reported in a story by Rocco Parascandola, chief of the Daily News police bureau:
“Cops can no longer keep a giant electronic library of everyone they stop on the street - but officers can still collect names the old-fashioned way, a new NYPD memo says.
“The internal memo was sent out Friday, just after Gov. Paterson signed a law banning the NYPD from entering personal information of innocent people into a citywide database.”
We have not heard the last of this issue. Although opinion on the merits of the bill appears to be divided, as the Assembly Democrats are, the unanimity of Senate Democrats and Attorney General candidates indicates that they are marching to the tune of a different drummer.
The Geese Return To Prospect Park Dont Try To Fool With Mother NatureThe geese are back in Prospect Park.
According to a count from two of our readers, Ed Bahlman and Anne-Katrin Titze, 28-Canada Geese have resettled at Prospect Park Lake since their feathered friends were rounded up and gassed to death on July 8th.
We have every reason to believe that our readers’ count is accurate, as it was Ms. Titze who conducted the official New York State Ornithological Association and NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Waterfowl Count of the area in January 2010.
Although the return of the geese is fair news for fans of the local fowl, we were hesitant to report it for fear that we would be sentencing these new settlers to the same fate as their predecessors. Upon further reflection, however, we were convinced that these geese would certainly not go unnoticed by the authorities, and so the best chance of advocating for their safety was to make public the fact of their residence.
The return of the geese deepens our suspicion that the eradication of the Prospect Park 400 was not adequately thought through. Does the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which is said to have ordered the mass killing, intend to hunt down these 28 geese too, along with those yet to join them? Are they to be gassed on a rolling basis or will the executioner come once a year after mating season, while they are molting and unable to fly?
Clearly, there are problems with the government’s explanation of its actions. As we pointed out in our column on June 16th, the seven-mile kill zone extending from both LaGuardia and J.F.K., designated by the Agriculture Department for geese removal, does not accurately encompass Prospect Park, which is between 9 and 10 miles away from both airports.
We still maintain the public deserves more information about the government’s policy of geese removal. We do not dismiss the possibility that the removal of some geese may be necessary for air safety, but there are unanswered questions about the Brooklyn geese, the cruelty of their execution and the disposition of their bodies. We believe that before more geese and goslings are butchered, a clear statement of procedures and alternatives is needed.
We share this planet with millions of other species. We should not exterminate animals without clear evidence that it is necessary to do so to safeguard human life.