Posts Tagged ‘Sheldon Silver’

4th April
2008

First Published in The New York Sun, April 4, 2008

By Andrew Wolf

In the late 1750s, fed up with steep tolls on the King’s Bridge, then the only link between New York and the American mainland, the business community of the day underwrote the construction of the Farmers Free Bridge between Manhattan and what we now call the Bronx.

The opening was celebrated at the time by a great barbecue on New Years Day, 1759. In short order, the toll revenue dried up on the King’s Bridge, and the levies were abandoned. The lure of free travel to the mainland turned out to be so compelling that a new road was shortly built connecting the new free bridge with the Boston and Albany Post Roads. It could be argued that this event was a key event in the development of New York as an economic power.

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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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13th July
2007

First Published in The New York Sun, July 13, 2007

By Andrew Wolf

We’re coming down the home stretch on the congestion pricing mini-marathon. If there is anything that characterizes the Bloomberg style of governance, it is his absolute confidence that his vision for the city’s future is the correct, indeed, the only vision.

Since his vision includes congestion pricing, a radical idea that would normally demand extensive debate, anyone opposing it must, at worst, have some sinister motivation, and, at best, be an idiot.

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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…)

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…)

26th June
2006

First Published in The New York Sun, June 26, 2006

By Andrew Wolf

There are many reasons for the failure of Governor Pataki to convince the legislature to increase the cap on charter schools in New York State.But two miscalculations by advocates of charter schools contributed to the debacle.

One was the insistence of Chancellor Klein on situating a charter school in the building now occupied by a growing and successful public school. Mr. Klein sought to put the Ross Global Academy, a new charter, into the lower east side school building now largely occupied by the New Explorations Into Science, Technology and Math school. NEST+M, a school for academically advanced students, is wildly popular with Manhattan parents, whose children, in my estimation, are the most academically neglected in New York. (more…)