Archive for October, 2005

28th October

First Published in The New York Sun, October 28, 2005

By Andrw Wolf

Passing through Attleboro, Mass., last weekend, I encountered a bit of New Englandstyle campaign strategy. At the town’s busiest intersection, supporters of various candidates seeking local public office stood on each corner holding signs advertising their favorite. Basic. Civil, and charmingly American. It could have made a Norman Rockwell painting.

Now if the Democratic candidate for mayor of Attleboro were to somehow convince William J. Clinton, the former president of the United States, to come make a campaign stop on his (or her) behalf, I suspect that it would be at this very busy intersection. (more…)

21st October

First Published in The New York Sun, October 21, 2005

By Andrew Wolf

The Campaign for Fiscal Equity continues to press its case against the state of New York,trying to enforce the judgment it has won to force the state and city taxpayers to increase spending for education in Gotham by $5.6 billion annually. With the promise of a windfall on the horizon, a couple of familiar players weighed in on how the money, if it ever materializes, should be spent.

Arthur Levine, president of Columbia University Teachers College, was tapped by the Council Speaker Gifford Miller to head a commission to plan the spending spree. Anthony Alvarado, the former schools chancellor, was enlisted and paid handsomely — $75,000 thus far — as the executive director. (more…)

17th October

First Published in The New York Sun, October 17, 2005

By Andrew Wolf

The state Democratic chairman, Herman “Denny” Farrell, engaged two weeks ago in a bit of “fuzzy math,” analyzing poll results on New York One’s “Road to City Hall” show. By his analysis, the then-14-point spread between Mayor Bloomberg and his opponent, Fernando Ferrer, was actually a tie, a statistical dead heat within the margin of error. If you just add all the undecided voters to the Ferrer column,Mr.Farrell suggested,you see how the race is really a nail-biter, not a romp.

Two new polls were released Wednesday disclosing remarkably uniform results: the mayor surging, headed toward what could even be twoto-one margin of victory against the hapless former Bronx president. How will Mr. Farrell spin this one? (more…)

7th October

First Published in The New York Sun, October 7, 2005

By Andrew Wolf

Last March, in this space, I got into a bit of a dust-up with the public television establishment over the content of two programs on education then being produced, and their sponsorship. I suggested that they were a form of infomercial, funded by foundations to advance the educational programs they favored and financed.

I am an aficionado of the cooking programs that appear on public television.These are sometimes produced with funding from companies in the business of selling cooking items. While pioneers such as Julia Child did what she did with little or no regard to her underwriters, I have noted recently that many of the hosts promote the products of their funders. So the Italian chef, sponsored by the olive oil company, will drown his or her concoctions in extra virgin oil. (more…)

4th October

First Published in The New York Sun, October 4, 2005

By Andrew Wolf

In the final analysis it was the election that ended the long-simmering contract dispute between the United Federation of Teachers and the Department of Education (subject, of course, to the ratification of the members). Sources close to the negotiations confirm that it was the mayor who kept the deliberations moving even as his own Education Department officials took a hard line.

Mayor Bloomberg was eager to deny this issue to Fernando Ferrer. By settling with the teachers, the mayor removes the lack of a contract as a Ferrer talking point. Not clear is whether the teachers might endorse the mayor, something I suspect is not likely. But it is now less likely that they would back Mr. Ferrer. The union can turn its attention to winning ratification from the membership, an excuse to remain above the political fray. I view the contract settlement as a victory for Mayor Bloomberg. (more…)