All posts by John Kenny

Coincidence or Causation? Koch and the Decline of Ulcers



Among Mayor Koch’s many memorable quotes is:

“I’m the sort of person who will never get ulcers,” the mayor — eyebrows devilishly up, grinning wickedly at his own wit — enlightened the reporters at his $475 rent-controlled apartment in Greenwich Village on Inauguration Day in 1978. “Why? Because I say exactly what I think. I’m the sort of person who might give other people ulcers.” (New York Times 2/1/13)

In the Koch era, ulcers really were the ailment of the times.  It seemed like ulcers were ubiquitous, both in real life and in pop culture.  The 1970s version of food allergies:  widespread, often very serious, but newly focused on and receiving outsized social attention.

Notwithstanding significant medical advances, the fading attention given to ulcers as the Koch era faded suggests a clear conclusion: maybe Ed Koch really did cause all the ulcers.

Hurricane Sandy: Report from Rockaway #5



In this Report from Rockaway we look at the aftermath of the Rockaway Beach Boulevard fire, which burned several blocks of businesses and homes, and at recovery progress in Rockaway Park.

We talk with Lew Simon, an elected District Leader, and visit the wreckage of his office, which was destroyed in the Rockaway Beach Boulevard fire.

This is our fifth Report from Rockaway.  You can view our previous reports here, here, here and here.

Republican Primary Rundown: The @Jcats2013 Edition



The Republican mayoral race has burst into public view, with at least seven candidates and hope-to-be candidates.   My prediction?  It’s Catsimatidis and Lhota, with the wildcard of A.R. Bernard.  Here’s a quick rundown on the Republican primary field:

1.  John Catsimatidis:  Which recent Republican nominee will he most resemble?  A schlubby version of Michael Bloomberg, a self-made, self-financing successful businessman and effective CEO focused on serious campaign issues and governing, albeit with a thick New York accent, $100 suits and a messy haircut?  Or the New York City version of the Carl Paladino Clown Show?

Continue reading Republican Primary Rundown: The @Jcats2013 Edition

Mayoral Mashup: The Mayoral Forum Edition



In our Mayoral Mashup, we talk with political and policy leaders about what they see as the most important issue facing New York City’s next mayor.

On January 24th, the New York Daily News and Metro IAF hosted a mayoral candidate forum, with Errol Louis moderating the six-candidate discussion.  We conducted our own Mayoral Mashup with audience members after the forum, in which we asked one simple question:  What do you see as the most important issue that our next mayor will face upon taking office?  Watch to find out what they had to say.

Cuomo’s Cash – A Closer Look



Here is a close look at Andrew Cuomo 2014, Inc.’s January 2013 campaign finance report.  (You can read my analysis of Governor Cuomo’s previous filing, in July 2012, here.)

1.  Two Wrongs Can Make A Right.

The governor’s filing violates Section 14-108(2) of the Election Law by not including over $300,000 received during the legally mandated reporting period.  How do I know that?

Continue reading Cuomo’s Cash – A Closer Look

“Outer” Boroughs No More: May the Major Boroughs Prevail



 

Let us shed the term “outer boroughs” and enable the Major Boroughs to proclaim their rightful dominance in city politics.

“Outer Boroughs” has long been used as a shorthand reference to everything non-Manhattan.  Implicit in the moniker is their lesser status, away from the true center of all things worthy, and dependent on the “inner” borough for support.  Like workers in the field, they are expected to wait for beneficence to be sent out from inside the castle wall.

The four “outer” Boroughs are, however, anything but.  They are the majority in number, the majority in population, the majority in land area, the majority in the number of elected representatives, the majority in, well, just about everything.  In short, as the majority in everything except media company headquarters and hot air, they are truly the Major Boroughs.

Continue reading “Outer” Boroughs No More: May the Major Boroughs Prevail

Hurricane Sandy: Report from Rockaway #4



In this Report from Rockaway, we visit Belle Harbor, Rockaway Park and Arverne and talk with Congressman Gregory Meeks, New York State Assembly member Phillip Goldfeder and New York City Council member Jimmy Van Bramer.

In our conversations, we discuss a still-unfolding potential hospital crisis, recovery efforts by the Queens Library for it’s heavily damaged Rockaway branches and one elected official’s personal experience as the water rose on the night Sandy hit.

This is our 4th Report from Rockaway.  You can view our earlier reports here, here and here.

Mayoral Mashup with Richard Ravitch



In our Mayoral Mashup, we talk with political and policy leaders about what they see as the most important issue facing New York City’s next mayor.

For this Mayoral Mashup, Richard Ravitch shares his view of the most important issue awaiting the next mayor.  (Hint:  Listen for “multi-billion dollar deficits”.)

Be sure to also watch our 5 Minutes with … Richard Ravitch discussing the State Budget Crisis Task Force and it’s Report on New York’s fiscal challenges.  You can watch it here.

5 Minutes With … Richard Ravitch



In our “5 Minutes With …” feature we spend 5 interesting minutes with leading elected officials and policy leaders.  In this “5 Minutes With …” segment we spoke with Richard Ravitch about the State Budget Crisis Task Force and New York State’s fiscal challenges.

Richard Ravitch has been a leader in state and city government finance for decades.  He was a pivotal figure in rescuing New York City during the fiscal crisis of the 1970s and has filled an extraordinary number of vital roles since then.  In 2011, Richard Ravitch and Paul Volcker organized, and co-chaired, the State Budget Crisis Task Force, with the goal of conducting an in-depth analysis of the financial condition of six large states.   (More background can be found here.)

The Task Force has now issued its report analyzing New York State’s daunting fiscal challenges. The State Budget Crisis Task Force, the New York Report and New York State’s fiscal challenges are the subject of our 5 Minutes With … Richard Ravitch.

5 Minutes With … Kathryn Wylde



In our “5 Minutes With …” feature we spend 5 interesting minutes with leading elected officials and policy leaders.  In this “5 Minutes With …” segment we spoke with Kathryn Wylde, President and CEO of the Partnership for New York City.

Kathryn Wylde’s career, in which she has risen to lead one of the preeminent business/civic organizations in the country, spans a period of remarkable changes in professional opportunities for women.  (Her bio is here.)  As the President and CEO of the Partnership for New York City, she has a unique view into the most senior levels of American business today.

In our “5 Minutes With … Kathryn Wylde“, she describes conditions at the beginning of her career, when the senior ranks of business and government were largely closed to women, how far we’ve progressed and what remains to be accomplished in reaching full parity for women in the professional world.

Hurricane Sandy: Report from Rockaway #3



Here is my latest Report from Rockaway.  This video report, my third from Rockaway, provides an update on some of the ongoing relief efforts and gives a glimpse of how residents are working their way back one month after Sandy.

Here are two notable quotes.

From a relief worker describing how donors can provide useful donations: if you’re “walking down the grocery aisle, imagine coming home and everything’s gone … replenishing that stuff” is what’s needed.

From an optimistic resident who says that they are doing well: “the only thing most people are missing is the heat.”

5 Minutes With … Gina Raimondo



In our “5 Minutes With …” feature we spend 5 interesting minutes with leading elected officials and policy leaders.  In this “5 Minutes With …” segment we spoke with Gina Raimondo, Rhode Island State Treasurer, on the topic of pension reform.

When Gina Raimondo took office in 2011, Rhode Island had one of the weakest state pension systems in the country.  Gina Raimondo’s approach in seeking major changes was markedly different from that of many other elected officials around the country, as illustrated by her comment that “we took a tone of no finger pointing, no blame, no nasty divisive rhetoric … [and] my mantra was ‘this is math, not politics.'”

How she moved her state from inertia to action to dramatically change the Rhode Island state pension system is the focus of our “5 Minutes With … Gina Raimondo”.