Today’s Headlines

  • Larry Littlefield

    How much do you want to bet that the final language contains language that OUTSIDE NEW YORK CITY school aid cannot be reduced, no matter how bad the fiscal situation gets? Otherwise, what is the difference if special aid is given and other aid is reduced by a greater amount? And if the state is broke, it needs to cut something, so the likely plan is to slash funding for NYC schools sending them into another 20-year decline while increasing it for the rest of the state. That’s what they did in 1995-96, the decision that has had a greater effect on my family than any other.

    Since 1990, employment in the public schools in the rest of the state is up 26.5% (76,600). This in an area without substantial population growth, as I showed here.

    http://www.r8ny.com/blog/larry_littlefield/what_has_happened_and_will_happen_new_york_government_history_lessons_from_the_current_employment_survey.

    Overall, local government employment in the rest of the state is up by nearly 120,000 over 18 years. Employment in the New York City public schools was 7.6% (10,900) higher in 2008 than in 1990, although taken together all local government employment in the city is still down 14,400.

  • Glenn

    To everyone who contributed financially or worked hard for any democratic senate campaign on the promise that Albany would change, I’m sorry to say that it looks like your time was wasted.

    Malcolm Smith has betrayed you and made a mockery of your hard work & contributions. If only there were a legitimate third party in NY State that could run insurgent candidates that would stand up for hard working transit riders and their families (and transit workers) and against a political elite perpetually gaming the electorate. Something like a party that would represent, you know…average working families in NY State…a guy can dream.

  • I’m getting tired of working myself into a lather every time the state legislature screws The City. Is there anyone that believes a viable and well thought out solution to these types of funding problems will ever be implemented? I just can’t see it ever happening.

  • here’s a good one:

    Dozens of Housing Authority employees commute to and from work on the taxpayers’ dime – some even using city cars for weekend getaways, the Daily News has found.

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/2009/05/03/2009-05-03_road_waste_warriors_housing_authority_employees_racking_up_boffo_commuting_milea.html

  • If only there were a legitimate third party in NY State that could run insurgent candidates that would stand up for hard working transit riders and their families (and transit workers) and against a political elite perpetually gaming the electorate. Something like a party that would represent, you know…average working families in NY State…a guy can dream.

    Of course, here in New York State, it would be entirely possible to have a fusion third party which highlighted the needs of straphangers and cyclists. It could support major party candidates who take these issues seriously, and oppose those who don’t. Unfortunately, Working Families Party doesn’t seem interested in taking a particularly strong stance on transit issues. We would need an entirely new party, and I would be the first to sign on.

  • spike

    Come on, you all can do the math. The problem has always been a senate heavily biased toward upstate, so the city has been getting screwed for decades. The senate is now barely Democratic but as long as the republicans vote as a block against the city, a few democrats refusing to vote on anything will really screw things up. We need to get a few more reliable pro-city senators and make sure the redistricting in a few years removes the long standing bias against the city. Until then, we will have to live with stop-gap measures. Where was Bloomberg in all this- why wasn’t he twisting the arms?

  • Democrats and Republicans are equally corrupt–I figured that one out years ago and stopped voting for either of them. It’s just everyone out for themselves, and throwing dollars at whatever interest groups are supporting you. The rest of us get screwed.

  • New York politics is why i never registered as a Dem or Rep.

    Skeeevy all around

  • Larry Littlefield

    Here’s some symetry.

    In 1983 the U.S. Republicans, having cut the progressive federal income tax, hiked the regressive payroll tax, which doesn’t hit retirement or investment income, to “Save Social Security.” And now, after wage earners have paid in all of that additional money for 25 years, Social Security is not saved, because Generation Greed has already spent the money and left behind IOUs.

    And now the New York Democrats, having refused to even consider taxing retirement income the way they tax wage income, are adding another payroll tax to “Save the MTA.” After a massive borrowing binge while promising to “build the Second Avenue Subway.” In the state with the higest state and local taxes as a share of income in the country.

  • J-Uptown

    New York has a long history of corruption at Tammany Hall and anti-corruption Fusion tickets that fought against Tammany. Fiorello LaGuardia is perhaps the most notable official elected on a fusion ticket. It is time to get the third parties (Working Families, Liberal, Independence, and others) to band together to get decent politicians elected. The current state of affairs is opaque and undemocratic, and the way to change it is at the polls.

  • The problem with left-leaning parties is that they only support the little guy if he’s a union member.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “The problem with left-leaning parties is that they only support the little guy if he’s a union member.”

    Actually, the union members who are supported are those retired, those with seniority, and those who work for the unions themselves. As the encumbered future continues to arrive, the number of winners continues to shrink, but those winners continue to control the state legislature (and Congress). Changing Governors or Presidents can only do so much.

  • Jason A

    “Actually, the union members who are supported are those retired, those with seniority, and those who work for the unions themselves.”

    As a newish member of DC 37 I find this to be all too true… In lieu of layoffs, the mayor recently asked for a modest (and fair) contribution to our health care (we currently pay nothing). Our union, looking out for its “brothers and sisters” rebuffed the mayor and continues to maintain a blase attitude about losing younger members…

    Time and time again the decisions of my union tilt upwards – in favor of Larry’s favorite generation…

  • Larry Littlefield

    While at City Planning I was a member of that same union. There was actually an insurgency and an election in which the ballots disappeared. There was some talk of furloughs in the early 1990s recession. They went with layoffs instead, as they always do.

    (Threating the unions with layoffs is a joke — the don’t care. Layoffs mean those with seniority can stop working, and claim the problem is not enough staff).

    Later, having won a pension enhancement in 2000 for those cashing in and moving out, they agreed to a 15% pay cut for new hires.

    They almost put through another pension enhancement in 2007, but even the legislature refused to go along after the Times exposed that its estimate of the cost was (like alll the others) a fraud.

    I used to go to the City Planning DC37 Christmas party with the idea that I had to try to “eat the dues” because it was all I was getting out of that organization.

    Here is the deal. The unions give money to the politicians, who agree that you will be forced to give money to the unions. The two then agree to “screw the newbie flee to Florida” contracts. Unions ain’t what they used to be, and haven’t been for decades. Yet another institution in decay.

  • unfortunately, comments like Larry’s – true as they are – are considered political suicide

    its very depressing

  • Niccolo Machiavelli

    Cynicism is defeat Oscar, there is a reason why there is a two party system. You can either take the path of disengagement, isolation and individualism, squawk on some blog, or you can be active with a civic organization, political party or trade union, as imperfect as they are, to work at building trust and interaction over a long period of time to improve life for you and your fellow citizens, the choice is yours. I’m thinking that the disengagement of Rhywun and Larry is not a big concern for the political parties who win elections in New York.

    I have suggested to many “New Urbanists” that they create their own political clubs as petitioning machines to pull the Democrats and WFP in their direction. None of them has taken me up on it, maybe it was a dumb suggestion, after all Tammany was a club and we all know how corrupt they were. So if you are looking for a reason not to do it, there it is, voila.

    By the way, given the strong anti-development and anti-industrial tendencies expressed in this space, I don’t think you will be needing me when and if you do form a political club. Still, I think it would be a good idea for you guys.

  • Rhywun

    I haven’t seen much “anti-development” or “anti-industrial” sentiment around here. I certainly don’t share those views. In fact, I think most of us support greater development around transit lines/nodes. That said, too often in NYC, “development” means giant mega-projects that suck taxpayer dollars out of us and into billionaire’s wallets. As for industry, I happen to agree with James Kunstler that we’re turning too much waterfront into playgrounds for the rich, and that we’re going to need that land for industry again some day.