Posts Tagged ‘Mayor Bloomberg’

6th November
2008

First Published in the Riverdale Review, November 6, 2008

By Andrew Wolf

Residents of a certain age may remember the administration of the late Mayor Abraham D. Beame. Abe Beame was an accountant, who worked as Budget Director under Mayor Robert F. Wagner, Jr., before being tapped to run for Comptroller as Wagner’s running mate during his last term.

In 1965, Beame won a hard fought primary battle and won the nomination to become the Democratic candidate for mayor against Republican John V. Lindsay. He lost.

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15th September
2008

First Published in The New York Sun, September 15, 2008

By Andrew Wolf

Michael Phelps, the Olympic champion, is understandably trying to capitalize on his remarkable athletic achievements. In reality, there is little money to be made from swimming. There are no pro swim teams, or other professional competition for which he could be compensated.

So in time-honored tradition, Mr. Phelps is seeking his fortune through endorsements. Last month he delivered endorsements for Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes and McDonalds Restaurants. He might as well have endorsed firearms for toddlers or condoms for six-year-olds, such was the venom and antagonism of the backlash.

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11th August
2008

First Published in The New York Sun, August 11, 2008

By Andrew Wolf

A third group has begun public hearings on the future of mayoral control of the public schools, due to sunset in less than a year, on July 1, 2009.

This panel, the “New York City School Governance Task Force,” is sponsored by the New York State Senate Democratic minority. It may well be the Democratic majority come January, which would greatly diminish the mayor’s clout in Albany.

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24th March
2008

First Published in  The New York Sun, March 24, 2008

By Andrew Wolf

Last week, I spent a half hour debating with Transportation Commissioner Jannette Sadik-Khan over the issue of congestion pricing. Ms. Sadik-Khan came to my Bronx office to pitch her case to the editorial board of the Bronx Press and Riverdale Review newspapers, which I publish.

I have come to the conclusion that congestion pricing is bad public policy for the city. For the vast majority of New Yorkers, those of us in the outer boroughs and upper Manhattan, having an automobile is a defining point of entry into the middle class. Owning a car is a liberating experience - yes, many trips are best made by mass transit, but simply knowing that there is an alternative, one that opens up every corner of the city and beyond, is invigorating. Should we close off to those in poverty today that to which they, too, aspire?

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7th March
2008

First Published in The New York Sun, March 7, 2008

By Andrew Wolf

We’re coming into the home stretch on Mayor Bloomberg’s “Congestion Pricing” tax plan. The City Council and the state Legislature need to pass or reject this proposal by the end of March, the deadline for coming up with a plan that will enable the city to obtain several hundred millions of federal dollars to help get the scheme underway.

This is money on which we would be well advised to pass, funds that will move us in the wrong direction as we plan for our city’s future.

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3rd February
2008

First Published in The New York Sun, February 3, 2008

By Andrew Wolf

Mayor Bloomberg, with the connivance of Council Speaker Quinn, has proposed permitting the addition of 1,500 vendors to city streets. These vendors have long been a source of contention. In some cases they so crowd certain streets that they become a public nuisance, which is the rationale for having government regulate them.

Those who sell the same wares in conventional stores hate the street vendors with particular passion. After all, who wants a competitor opening up right in front of his door, a competitor not burdened with paying rent, an electric bill, or even, in some instances, taxes?

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1st February
2008

First Published in The New York Sun, February 1, 2008

By Andrew Wolf

The commission appointed to “study” the mayor’s congestion pricing initiative has come up with a proposal that hardly changes the original plan. This commission was front-loaded with committed proponents of the idea, a kangaroo court if ever there was one - if kangaroos acquit.

There now seems to be a shift in emphasis away from claims by proponents that congestion pricing reduces traffic (only a 6% reduction is projected) or will clear pollution from the air and cure children of asthma. There is now more of an acknowlegement that the plan is about only one thing - creating a new revenue stream.

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14th December
2007

First Published in The New York Sun, December 14, 2007

By Andrew Wolf

Debate on the mayor’s congestion tax scheme is about to get into high gear. It is clear that there will be modifications to the mayor’s plan. But we need to put aside those details. The main question before us is whether we are willing to open the door to the congestion tax in the first place. The details are immaterial.

I am sure that those who created the first income taxes or sales taxes to meet “emergency” needs would be horrified to see what became of their ideas years later. Tolls, imposed on bridges and roads were supposed to end once the construction bonds were retired. But tolls, like other taxes, keep going up.

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2nd November
2007

First Published in The New York Sun, November 2, 2007

By Andrew Wolf

In recent weeks I have spent a lot of time thinking about the reasons that I, and many others, occasionally drive into Manhattan, causing all this awful congestion that we hear so much about. My conclusion is that Mayor Bloomberg and other supporters of a congestion tax should be careful for what they wish. We may be a lot better off with congestion than without it.

Suffice it to say that when I do drive into Manhattan it is not to take a joyride to pass the time. Every time I drive into the “Congestion Zone” I am doing so for one reason - to engage in commerce. In other words, I am usually on a mission to spend money, bringing dollars to pump into Gotham’s economy.

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19th October
2007

First Published in The New York Sun, October 19, 2007

By Andrew Wolf

Anyone who harbors the notion that Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Klein have just won a victory over the teachers’ union by gaining approval of a merit pay scheme had best look more closely. The plan announced on Tuesday was indeed a “slam dunk,” but not by the mayor and chancellor. It is the president of the United Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten, who leaves the bargaining table victorious. It may be a “historic” deal with national implications, but it is one that increases the power of the union.

At the center of most merit pay plans is the idea that individual performance should be rewarded. That is not part of this initiative. Rather it skews power to the group, each school becoming a sort of kibbutz, collectively governed, dividing the fruits of labor by committee. Even participation in the plan will be determined by a vote of the union members, 55% of whom will have to go along.

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