Monday, April 8, 2013

"Tonight Show" and "Got Talent" Coming to NYC

"The Tonight Show" and "America's Got Talent" are coming to NYC.These moves will create jobs in NYC and enhance opportunities for NYC-based stars of the future.

Tonight Show

From AM New York:

Jimmy Fallon will be the next host of "The Tonight Show," which is coming back to New York.

NBC confirmed Wednesday that Jay Leno will end his 22-year tenure as host and pass the torch to Fallon after the network wraps up its coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympics.

The network said the show will return to New York, news that excited city and state leaders.
"It's the perfect symbol of incredible comeback we've worked to create in our city's film and television industry," Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

The new "Tonight Show" will have a new set at 30 Rock. Leno, 62, and Fallon, 38, joked on their shows about speculation of their respective futures, and continued the wisecracks Wednesday in their statements about the announcement.

"I'm really excited to host a show that starts today instead of tomorrow," Fallon said.
"Congratulations Jimmy. I hope you're as lucky as me and hold on to the job until you're the old guy. If you need me, I'll be at the garage," Leno said.

The "Tonight Show" originally filmed in New York until 1972, when Johnny Carson relocated to Burbank, Calif. Bloomberg said it was natural for the show to come back to Gotham because its TV and film industry has been booming over the last decade.

There are 130,000 New Yorkers who work on TV productions, a 30% jump from 10 years ago, according to the mayor.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is planning to extend the state's 30% tax credit for productions that includes a stipulation for major talk shows.

"The original 'Tonight Show' ushered in the modern era of television, broadcast here from New York. It is only fitting that as 'The Tonight Show' returns to our state, it will be headlined by New York's own native son and resident, Jimmy Fallon," Cuomo said.

America's Got Talent

From CNS News:

NBC's "America's Got Talent" is moving from New Jersey to New York City's Radio City Music Hall.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo made the announcement Wednesday.

The eighth season of the popular talent competition will air live from the landmark theater twice a week, starting July 23.

The show is relocating from the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark.

Cuomo says the move will create more than 500 jobs and generate $100 million each season. New York State recently extended its Film Production Tax Credit to attract television shows to the state.
Supermodel Heidi Klum was recently added to "America's Got Talent" as a judge.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Stop and Frisk Back in the Headlines

Last week, NYC's disgusting Apartheid stop-and-frisk program returned to the headlines as the new police chief endorsed the practice while admitting that he's been a victim of it.  

New Police Chief

Phillip Banks III is the ultimate Uncle. Tom.  He took time last week to endorse the use of stop and frisk tactics in NYC to harass and humiliate people of color in our city. But, he supports the racist approach to policing that Mayor Bloomberg has made the centerpiece of his mayoralty while admitting that the practice victimizes people of color. Phillip Banks III, as a person of color, has actually been victimized by the practice. Yet, he supports the practice fully and wishes to see his fellow New Yorkers suffer from it. 

All of us should have just as much contempt for Phillip Banks III as we do for Ray Kelly and Mayor Bloomberg. In fact, one could argue that Phillip Banks III should be held in the highest contempt because he supports the racist stop-and-frisk program while possessing familiarity with the burden it imposes on law-abiding New Yorkers. Phillip Banks III knows that 90% of stop-and-frisk victims are people of color and that 90% of the stop-and-frisk victims are not even issued a summons. Moreover, Phillip Banks III knows that despite the stop-and-frisk programs avoidance of stops of white New Yorkers, those white New Yorkers who are stopped are twice as likely to have illegal guns or illegal drugs as the people of color who get the attention of the NYPD. 

While Bloomberg and Kelly seem to enjoy the Apartheid system for the control and power it affords them, Phillip Banks III enjoys the practice of actually subjugating his sisters and brothers throughout our great city.

So, Phillip Banks III must resign now. We cannot afford to tolerate the Bloomberg Apartheid a day longer. If Bloomberg, Kelly, and Phillip Banks III won't leave quietly, we must all raise our voices loudly and force them out immediately.

NYPD Inspector General

Predictably, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly opposes independent oversight of the NYPD. As the City Council looks to mandate an Inspector General for the NYPD to investigate police abuses, Ray Kelly states that such an approach would endanger the public. In essence, the public is only safe if the NYPD has unlimited freedom to break laws and violate constitutional freedoms. Of course, he's wrong. We won't be safe until his power is taken away. We'll only be safe when the NYPD is forced to respect the rule of law and reduce their abuse of people of color in our city. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Women and Minority Owned Businesses Left Out of NYC Contracting

New York City awards only 5% of its spending to women- and minority-owned firms, and the city's population has achieved an all-time high.

Rising Certifications

Bloomberg's reign as Mayor has resulted in a growing number of minority-owned and women-owned firms that are certified to earn business from New York City. In fact, the Bloomberg Administration says that more than 3,500 such firms have been granted certification during the Bloomberg Era.

Unfortunately, certification provides only the possibility of earning business from NYC and provides no guarantee of revenue.

Lack of Contracts

Manhattan Borough President (and candidate for NYC Comptroller) Scott Stringer issued statements focusing on the need to turn certifications into city contracts for women-owned and minority-owned firms.
In the last budget year, only 5% of the $10.5 billion the city spent on contracts — for everything from construction projects to paper clips — went to firms owned by minority-group members or women.
“The good news is the city has done a terrific job boosting these certifications,” said Stringer.

“The bad news is we’re still falling short where it counts — which is getting contracts into the hands of the minority- and women-owned businesses.”

Stringer said those businesses complain about often-confusing applications, the lack of notice about contracting opportunities and fees charged by some agencies to view bidding documents.
Large, well-established companies have years of experience navigating the process. But for fledgling businesses — which are more likely to be owned by minority-group members or women — the process can be overwhelming, Stringer said.

“The city is not doing enough to help the businesses navigate the bid process, which remains too complicated and too time consuming,” Stringer said.
In our country's largest city, the lack of revenue for women-owned and minority-owned firms is heartbreaking. Let us hope that the next Mayor makes a priority of bringing these firms into the flow of the spending of our tax dollars.

NYC Population Growth

Our city's population grew significantly since the 2010 Census and now stands at more than 8.3 million.
The city's population has grown by more than 161,500 people since 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated. The increase is more than the entire population of Kansas City, Kan.; Savannah, Ga., or Hartford, Conn.

Mostly, New York City's growth is due to a widening gap between the numbers of births and deaths as life expectancy increases, according to city planners' analysis of the census estimates. But an influx of foreign immigrants in the last two years also played a role by outdistancing the number of New Yorkers who left town.

Brooklyn saw the biggest growth among the city's five boroughs, gaining more than 60,000 residents, as people flocked to a borough increasingly seen as having all the cachet of Manhattan – if not more – with less of the cost.

Manhattan's population growth was second only to Brooklyn, and the luster of Manhattan continues to drive NYC to greater heights.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Bloomberg Soda Ban Fizzles Out In Court

Earlier today, a New York State judge invalidated Mayor Bloomberg's ban on large sugary soft drinks.

Judge Tingling Invalidates Bloomberg Soda Ban

From the NY Daily News:

Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Milton Tingling Jr. declared the ban “arbitrary and capricious,” agreeing with several soda and business groups that had challenged the prohibition in court.
The ruling was a stinging setback for the mayor, whose administration enacted the regulation in the face of criticism that he was turning the city into a “nanny state.”

The Bloomberg-backed city Board of Health approved the regulation last year, calling it a crucial tool to attack obesity. The rule forbid restaurants and certain other businesses from serving sugary sodas larger than 16 ounces.
In striking down the regulation, Tingling noted that the rule would have applied to all food-serving businesses regulated by the city, such as restaurants and movie theaters — but not to state-regulated establishments, like 7-11 convenience stories.
“The loopholes in this rule effectively defeat the stated purpose of the rule. It is arbitrary and capricious because it applies to some but not all food establishments in the city” and because it applies to some sugary drinks but exempts others, the judge said.

 The judge also said that only the City Council, not the Board of Health, had the power to approve the ban.

“One thing not seen in any of the Board of Health’s powers is the authority to limit or ban a legal item under the guide of ‘controlling chronic disease,” the judge wrote.

Because the Board of Health approved it, and not the City Council, the “rule would not only violate the separation of powers doctrine, it would eviscerate it,” the judge said.

Businesses groups that filed the legal challenge hailed the decision. “The court ruling provides a sigh of relief to New Yorkers and thousands of small businesses in New York City that would have been harmed by this arbitrary and unpopular ban,” said Chris Gindlesperger, spokesman for the American Beverage Association, one of the plaintiffs.

Matt Greller of the National Association of Theatre Owners of New York State said the group was “elated” by the ruling.

“This issue was never about obesity, nor about soda. This was all about power. The court rejected the Mayor’s attempt to unilaterally tell New Yorkers what to drink, and where to drink it. We are pleased that the Court’s decision shows that serious problems like obesity cannot be addressed by the imposition of an arbitrary and porous Mayoral fiat,” he said.

The Bloomberg administration vowed to appeal “as soon as possible.”

“This measure is part of the City’s multi-pronged effort to combat the growing obesity epidemic, which takes the lives of more than 5,000 New Yorkers every year, and we believe the Board of Health has the legal authority – and responsibility – to tackle its leading causes,” said Corporation Counsel Michael Cardozo.

Hours before the judge’s ruling, Bloomberg had touted the ban as a national model. “Everybody across this country should do it,” said Bloomberg. And, he suggested, the crusade should not stop there. “In fact, obesity is a problem around the world,” he said. “It’s getting to be as serious if not more so than smoking.” He said tough moves are necessary because the obesity epidemic will “bankrupt” the healthcare system - and, he suggested, because fat people can’t do their jobs as well as those in better shape. He cited an economic hit because of “people who come to work and because they’re overweight just can’t perform as well as people who might be in better shape. Physical activity requires you to be in good shape.”

Bloomberg released new data Monday showing that the neighborhoods where people consume the most sugary drinks also have the highest obesity rates. Most of the neighborhoods are poor.
“If you go back to the 20s, you see these pictures of the old robber barons with their big stomachs out there - that was a sign of success,” Bloomberg said.

“Today those people are doing pilates and running in marathons and triathlons and if you look at where obesity is in the country, it tends to be in the people at the lower end of the economic ladder who don’t have the ability to take care of themselves as well, and if anybody will get helped by this, it’s them.”

Monday, March 4, 2013

Sequester Comes to NYC

Last week, the Sequester began. Now, We look at the impact on New York.

What Is the Sequester?

The federal government has implemented across-the-board spending cuts totaling $85 billion in 2013 and $109.3 billion a year from 2014-2021.

The 2013 sequester includes these items.
  • $42.7 billion in defense cuts (a 7.9 percent cut).
  • $28.7 billion in domestic discretionary cuts (a 5.3 percent cut).
  • $9.9 billion in Medicare cuts (a 2 percent cut).
  • $4 billion in other mandatory cuts (a 5.8 percent cut to nondefense programs, and a 7.8 percent cut to mandatory defense programs).
Here are examples of specific program cuts in 2013.

  • Aircraft purchases by the Air Force and Navy are cut by $3.5 billion.

  • Military operations across the services are cut by about $13.5 billion.
  • Military research is cut by $6.3 billion.
  • The National Institutes of Health get cut by $1.6 billion.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are cut by about $323 million.
  • Border security is cut by about $581 million.
  • Immigration enforcement is cut by about $323 million.
  • Airport security is cut by about $323 million.
  • Head Start gets cut by $406 million, kicking 70,000 kids out of the program.
  • FEMA’s disaster relief budget is cut by $375 million.
  • Public housing support is cut by about $1.94 billion.
  • The FDA is cut by $206 million.
  • NASA gets cut by $970 million.
  • Special education is cut by $840 million.
  • The Energy Department’s program for securing our nukes is cut by $650 million.
  • The National Science Foundation gets cut by about $388 million.
  • The FBI gets cut by $480 million.
  • The federal prison system gets cut by $355 million.
  • State Department diplomatic functions are cut by $650 million.
  • Global health programs are cut by $433 million; the Millenium Challenge Corp. sees a $46 million cut, and USAID a cut of about $291 million.
  • The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is cut by $55 million.
  • The SEC is cut by $75.6 million.
  • The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is cut by $2.6 million.
  • The Library of Congress is cut by $31 million.
  • The Patent and Trademark office is cut by $156 million.

  •  New York Impact

    The impact on New York State is not insignificant, and some parts of the budget will face meaningful challenges. As Governor Cuomo has stated, however:
    "Financially it will not be as impactful on the state government as it would be on individuals because it’s more assistance that goes to individuals"
    Education cuts
    The sequester would cut $42.7 million from primary and secondary education in New York. About 590 teachers and aides would lose their jobs and 120 schools would lose funding. Special education would also lose $36.3 million, according to White House numbers. Special education would also lose $36.3 million.

    Meals for senior citizens
    Government-provided meals for senior citizens would see $1,447,000 in cuts in New York.

    Job cuts
    Up to 100,000 workers in the state could lose their jobs due to the sequester, a study from George Mason University estimated.

    Public housing cuts
    The New York City Housing Authority reported that sequestration could lead to a 9 percent loss of funding and a $110 deficit, reducing services by 20 percent.

    Monday, February 25, 2013

    Bloomberg to Blame in Teacher Evaluation Mess

    Mayor Bloomberg is the cause of the $250 million loss and the ongoing teacher evaluation mess that Governor Cuomo is attempting to clean up.

    Cuomo's Proposal

    Last week, Governor Cuomo proposed a solution to the hundreds of millions of dollars of lost educational funding created by the lack of a teacher evaluation program in NYC. Cuomo has proposed that New York State be empowered to impose a teacher evaluation system on NYC if NYC cannot adopt such a program by June 1.

    In New York State, every community must have a teacher evaluation system or forfeit its New York State education funding. Our city has already lost $250 million in state education funding, and there is another nearly $500 million that our city will lose if there is no teacher evaluation system by September of this year.

    What Went Wrong

    Why is our education budget being undermined by lost funds? The answer is that we elected the wrong mayor.

    Mayor Bloomberg did not want to reach agreement with the teachers' union on the evaluation system.

    In a statement that the union president said was “painful to make,” Mulgrew said UFT and Department of Education negotiators had reached a deal overnight on how to structure and execute new teacher evaluations. But when they presented their agreement to Mayor Bloomberg this morning, Mulgrew said, the mayor rejected it.
     Bloomberg, of course, has a different story, but he has admitted that he rejected the deal that the DOE and the teachers' union initially found acceptable.

    Now, we are speeding toward a billion dollars of losses from the Mayor's unwillingness to compromise for the benefit of our city's children. Let us hope that the Governor is successful in fixing the problem by gaining control of it and balanced in the teacher evaluation system he imposes.

    Monday, February 18, 2013

    NAACP Takes on Bloomberg on Stop and Frisk

    The NAACP has called on Mayor Bloomberg to end his stop-and-frisk tyranny.

    NAACP and Stop and Frisk

    Yesterday, the NAACP made news by stating the need for stop-and-frisk to end immediately.
    The head of the NAACP took the pulpit of a Brooklyn church on Sunday to demand that Mayor Bloomberg end the controversial stop-and-frisk program before his term ends.
    “Mayor Bloomberg, I ask you, before you leave, repair the damage you have done,” pleaded NAACP President Benjamin Jealous. Addressing about 100 worshipers at Nazarene Congregational Church in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Jealous called for New Yorkers to “stand up” and tell the mayor, “There is no place for racial profiling.”
    The Next Mayor

    We will have a new Mayor in January 2014, and the NAACP is determined not to allow the next Mayor to abuse people of color the way that the current Mayor has for so many years.
    As Bloomberg's third, and last, term nears its end in January, Jealous said he expects the city's new mayor to oppose stop-and-frisk tactics, along with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The Democrat announced recently that he's working to help stop the practice.
    If the new mayor doesn't do that, too, Jealous vowed that "we'll do a lot more than march."
    Stop and Frisk

    As we discussed last week, stop-and-frisk has been the topic we've addressed with the greatest frequency and with deepest concern. It is the topic that should be at the top of the agenda for any Mayoral candidate.