Posts Tagged ‘Eliot Spitzer’

5th October
2007

First Published in The New York Sun, October 5, 2007

By Andrew Wolf

Governor Spitzer’s proposal to ease identification requirements for a New York State driver’s license is turning into an astounding pile-up. I can appreciate the arguments on both sides of the issue. The Motor Vehicle Bureau is ill-equipped to enforce immigration laws, but should we be officially validating the identity of individuals who are here illegally?

The problem comes from the custom we have developed in the United States of using a driver’s license as a de facto national identity card. This predates September 11, 2001. The license is often required when cashing checks, buying alcoholic beverages, purchasing tobacco products, or even registering to vote.

(more…)

10th August
2007

First Published in The New York Sun, August 10, 2007

By Andrew Wolf

It isn’t a good thing when the power and influence of a new governor peaks before he takes office, but that appears to be exactly what has happened to Eliot Spitzer. A year ago he was the inevitable governor, poised to crush one of the more attractive Democrats to come forward in many years, Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi, in a primary election.

The GOP standard bearer, John Faso, a former assemblyman, was a victim of 12 years of increasingly lackluster performance by the Republican incumbent, George Pataki. The conventional wisdom, months before the election, was that Mr. Spitzer was not just the inevitable governor, but the inevitable president, sure to become the nation’s first Jewish chief executive after being elected (a mere formality) in 2012 or, at worst in 2016. (more…)

12th March
2007

First Published in The New York Sun, March 12, 2007

By Andrew Wolf

Tomorrow afternoon, the members of the Legislature will gather in joint session to make four critical appointments to one of the state’s most important panels, the Board of Regents. The board controls virtually all aspects of education, including the appointment of the education commissioner.

The much-criticized concept of “three men in a room” — the governor, the speaker of the Assembly and the Senate majority leader — looks downright democratic next to the process by which our regents are chosen. This process can be called “one man in a room.” Even so, that one man, Speaker Sheldon Silver, is willing to let party hacks, or even lobbyists, recommend candidates to sit on this critical board. (more…)

1st February
2007

First Published in The New York Sun, February 1, 2007

By Andrew Wolf

The Boston mayor, Thomas Menino, is fuming and with good reason. Four months ago, he proudly introduced Manuel Rivera as Beantown’s new superintendent of schools, to start work July 1 of this year. Hiring Mr. Rivera seemed like a tremendous coup and was treated as such by the Boston press and civic groups.

Mr. Rivera has been the superintendent of schools in upstate Rochester and was named Superintendent of the Year for 2006 by the American Association of School Administrators. (more…)

12th January
2007

First Published in The New York Sun, January 12, 2007

By Andrew Wolf

In what could be a radical change in the way state government is run, Governor Spitzer is pushing the idea of nonpartisan redistricting for elections to the state Legislature and to Congress, a reform proposal whose time may have come.

But in designing new procedures to draw legislative districts, I urge caution. We could end up replacing raw partisan political considerations with something worse: extreme political correctness, enforced by Washington bureaucracy. (more…)

29th December
2006

First Published in The New York Sun, December 29, 2006

By Andrew Wolf

On the first day of the new state administration everything is supposed to change, but if one of Governor-elect Spitzer’s key appointments is any indication of things to come, the current Albany atmosphere will change little.

Last week, Mr. Spitzer appointed Lorraine Cortes-Vasquez to the post of secretary of state. Ms. Cortes-Vazquez is a prominent ally of the Bronx Democratic organization. (more…)

24th November
2006

First Published in The New York Sun, November 24, 2006

By Andrew Wolf

If New Yorkers were hoping that on day one of Governor Spitzer’s first term everything would change, a close inspection of the membership of his transition committees — named last week — will surely quell their hopes, particularly regarding education.

If this education panel emerges as an influence on the new administration, expect education reform in the Empire State to lag. New York spends too much for meager results in its K-12 programs, pays lip service to academic standards, and is home to a state university that barely registers on the national academic radar screen. (more…)

13th November
2006

First Published in The New York Sun, November 13, 2006

By Andrew Wolf

The election news may not be all so dark for those on the right in the Empire State. Buried in the ruins of the statewide Democratic juggernaut — including the loss of three Republican congressional seats, slippage in the state Senate, and the general collapse of the Republicans’ party structure — is a possible nugget of good news.

It appears that the Conservative Party has narrowly beaten out the Working Families Party to keep Line D on the state ballot for the next four years. (more…)

10th November
2006

First Published in The New York Sun, November 10, 2006

By Andy Wolf

Near the top of everyone’s to-do list for Governor-elect Spitzer is the issue of funding education. That is, the Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit. Although he pledged a generous settlement while on the campaign trail, nobody knows better than the attorney general the validity of the arguments on the other side. As the state’s lawyer, he led, at least technically, the defense against the litigation. Mr. Spitzer is a smart man, so hopefully this experience has not been lost on him. More dollars do not translate directly into better educational outcomes.

If there are solutions to fixing what is wrong with education, the solutions will have to be found at the state level. Unlike most other industrialized nations, which have national educational systems and uniform standards, in America it is the individual states that are charged with running schools. All of the local school districts, including our own here in Gotham exist under the rules and supervision of the state Education Department. (more…)

20th October
2006

First Published in The New York Sun, October 20, 2006

By Andrew Wolf

When he is not busy measuring the windows in the governor’s residence for new drapes, Attorney General Eliot Spitzer is calculating just how deep into New York City taxpayers’ pockets he can reach to help fund a “settlement” of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit. Barring the miracle of the Court of Appeals rejecting the premise on which litigation such as this is based, New Yorkers can expect this to be costly. There is, however, another choice.

If one figures at $5 billion annually, it is likely that Mr. Spitzer will insist that the city pick up somewhere between 30% and 40% of the tab. According to published reports, he is likely to tie the CFE issue to the mayor’s continued control of the city’s public schools. This has become the “holy grail” to Mayor Bloomberg.The state doesn’t have this money, particularly if we accept Mr. Spitzer’s word that he won’t raise taxes. (more…)

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