Monday, March 1, 2010

Skin Color Requirement for Ethics

As we see the sad end of Governor Paterson's campaign for Governor and the US House's Ethics Committee admonishment of Charlie Rangel, we are reminded that we have overcome coordinated attacks in the past, and we will win again. More than ever, we have an increased awareness of the impact of skin color on political determinations.

Bad Week for Upper Manhattan

The New York State Police committed horrible crimes under Pataki, they engaged in criminal behavior on behalf of Spitzer, and their culture of criminality has ended Governor Paterson's run for Governor. We hope that Governor Paterson will clean house at the New York State Police headquarters and not leave this mess for his successor. Attorney General Andrew Cuomo did not create this mess, and he has no obligation to fix it from his current seat.

The NY Times unjustified and inappropriate attacks on the Governor will now appear justified by the behavior of the New York State Police. That should not be permitted.

Similarly, Upper Manhattan should not permit Chairman Rangel to be undermined by the Ethics Committee of the US House.

Skin Color Requirement

The Ethics Committee of the US House admonished Chairman Rangel for taking a Caribbean trip that the Ethics Committee had specifically authorized. The approach to the trip was guided by the Ethics Committee staff, but the Ethics Committee (with a straight face) chose to pretend the there was mild wrong-doing by others instead of simply apologizing for their own lack of integrity and lack of competence.

The comments of one member of Congress tell the story. House Rules Committee Chairwoman Louise Slaughter, a New York Democrat, said she found the action “puzzling and inconsistent” because the ethics panel gave Rangel and five other lawmakers permission to take the trips and “five of them are exonerated of everything but Charlie is not.”

Even more troubling is the requirement that those investigated by the Ethics Committee be African American. In November, we learned that 100% of the members of Congress under full-scale investigation by the Ethics Committee are African American.
A document leaked to The Washington Post [in late October] showed that nearly three dozen lawmakers have come under scrutiny this year by either the House ethics committee or the Office of Congressional Ethics, an independent watchdog created in 2008 at the insistence of Pelosi. While the list contained a substantial number of white lawmakers, the ethics committee has not yet launched formal investigative subcommittees with respect to any of them — as it has with the seven African-American members.

Why does the Ethics Committee attack members for activities that the Ethics Committee pre-approved? Why does the Ethics Committee have the view that it can only conduct full-scale investigations of African Americans?

Perhaps the "culture of corruption" that many of us thought was engineered by the Bush White House is still a potent influence within the Ethics Committee.

Stringer Food Fight Continues

Manhattan Borough President deserves praise for his creative, policy-oriented fight for improve nutrition and a better food strategy for all of New York City. We have analyzed his previous food proposals and been vocal about our enthusiasm for his approach. We will discuss his detailed and updated food plan in greater detail in the future, but his consistent attention to this issue is a reminder of how fortunate we are to have the benefit of his leadership here in Manhattan.

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