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.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Stop and Frisk Revisted

Last week, a new set of data regarding stop-and-frisk activity in NYC in 2012 emerged. While much has changed, much has not. 

Stop and Frisk History

We have repeatedly urged an end to the unconstitutional, racist, and disgusting Bloomberg stop-and-frisk Apartheid system in NYC.

Here is what we said in June 2011:

More than any other issue we have highlighted, we have focused on Mayor Bloomberg's and the NYPD's obsession with stopping innocent people of color in our city.

In March of this year, we focused on the payments that our city has made using our tax dollars to the victims of stop-and-frisk activity.

In September of last year, we expressed frustration with the quotas imposed on NYPD officers by their superiors and how those quotas drive the stop-and-frisk abuses.

In May of last year, we summarized all of our previous blogs regarding the stop-and-frisk outrage and noted, with alarm, that the often cited "fit the description" excuse for the stop-and-frisk abuses were not even the excuses that the NYPD actually lists for the horrible racism that drives their policing philosophy. The NYPD's own excuse for stopping hundreds of thousands of innocent people of color each year is that the stopped individuals were behaving suspiciously. There is no crime reported in the area and no description to fit. The act of being a person of color makes one suspicious to the NYPD, and the NYPD's race-based suspicions turn into stops.

The Mayor and the NYPD continue to increase their racist tactics and intensify their abuse of communities of color, and non-racist people must stand up and oppose these abuses. If the Mayor will not end these practices, we must demand that the Mayor resign. No police force in our country should be permitted to abuse its citizens of color with such ferocious and racist dedication. We, as residents of the greatest city on our planet, must put an end to it.

Stop and Frisk Constitutionality

2012 Stop-and-Frisk Data

* Cops made 685,724 stops in 2011, compared with 533,042 last year.
* They used stop-and-frisk to take 780 guns off city streets last year, a 5 percent drop from 2011.
* A total of 7,137 weapons were confiscated. The number of knives recovered was 4,970, a 15 percent decline from 2011.
* There were also 1,387 “other” types of weapons recovered last year — a 12 percent drop from 2011.
* Five percent of the stops last year ended with a summons being issued and 6 percent ended with an arrest, according to the new NYPD numbers. Those numbers are about the same as the 2011 figures.

The New York Civil Liberties Union, a persistent critic of the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy, slammed the numbers.

“These numbers show that the NYPD continues to stop, interrogate and humiliate innocent people far too frequently and that New Yorkers of color continue to bear the brunt of this indignity,” said NYCLU executive director Donna Lieberman.
Lieberman also said guns were found in only .01 percent of stops, calling the figure “an unbelievably poor yield rate for such an intrusive, wasteful and humiliating police action.”

Monday, February 4, 2013

Remembering Ed Koch

Former NYC Mayor Ed Koch passed away last week; we remember him today.

New York Times Obituary

The New York Times obituary tells the full story of Ed Koch, and it is a must-read summary of an extraordinary life of an extraordinary New Yorker. We will miss Ed Koch.

Mayor Koch and the Black Community

While Ed Koch remains larger than life, even in death, he had an uncomfortable relationship with the Black Community in NYC and in the world beyond NYC.

The New York Times obituary provides insight into the tension:

The scandals and the scourges of crack cocaine, homelessness and AIDS were compounded by a widening rift between Mr. Koch and black New Yorkers. The mayor traced his contentious relationship with black leaders to his first-term decision to close Sydenham Hospital in Harlem, where, he said, the city was paying too much for inadequate care. He would regret the decision.
“It was the wrong thing to do,” Mr. Koch, who rarely second-guessed himself, said in 2009. Closing the hospital saved $9 million, he said, but “there was such a psychological attachment to Sydenham, because black doctors couldn’t get into other hospitals — it was the psychological attachment that I violated.”
Black leaders were also unhappy with Mr. Koch’s decision to purge antipoverty programs and comments he made that they considered insensitive. He said, for example, that busing and racial quotas had done more to divide the races than to achieve integration, and that Jews would be “crazy” to vote for the Rev. Jesse Jackson in his 1988 presidential campaign after Mr. Jackson’s 1984 reference to New York as “Hymietown” and his call for a Palestinian homeland in Israel.
In a city where minorities had long held grievances against a largely white police force, Mr. Koch’s 1983 appointment of Benjamin Ward as New York’s first black police commissioner hardly appeased critics, and a series of ugly episodes came to symbolize mounting racial troubles.
In 1984, a white officer with a shotgun killed a black woman, Eleanor Bumpurs, 66, as she was being evicted from her Bronx apartment; he was acquitted. In 1986, a gang of white teenagers assaulted three black men in Howard Beach, Queens, chasing one, Michael Griffith, to his death on a highway. And in 1989, a black youth, Yusuf K. Hawkins, 16, who went to Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, to see a used car, was attacked by white youths and shot dead.
Mr. Hawkins’s death came just a month before Mr. Koch faced Mr. Dinkins, the Manhattan borough president and the only black candidate, in the 1989 Democratic primary. By then, City Hall was lurching from crisis to crisis. The racial divisions, the corruption scandals, the failures to cope with crack and homelessness all contributed to a sense it was time for a change. Mr. Dinkins, pledging to bring the city together again in a “gorgeous mosaic,” narrowly defeated Mr. Koch in the primary and went on to beat Mr. Giuliani, who ran on the Republican and Liberal lines, by a slender margin in the general election.
“I was defeated because of longevity, not because Yusuf Hawkins was murdered six weeks before the election, although that was a factor,” Mr. Koch wrote in New York magazine. “People get tired of you. So they decided to throw me out. And so help me God, as the numbers were coming in, I said to myself, ‘I’m free at last.’ ”