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.”
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”.
Nixonian tactics by a powerful state agency conducting improper tax audits of its own staff? A rogue unit of state tax investigators stealing seized funds? It’s not immediately clear whether either of these is accurate, but according to James Odato‘s very interesting story in today’s Times Union at least one of them may be true.
Today’s Politico story clearly captures Mitt Romney’s basic campaign strategy:
“Romney’s repeated promise to “repeal Obamacare” is sure to be curtailed, even with a Republican Senate, his advisers admit. One official said that under a Democratic Senate, “we would just have to try to grind out changes by starving Obamacare through regulations.”
Already, Romney aides know they have promised more than they can pull off. Talk of immigration reform in the first year — a Romney promise from the second presidential debate — causedaides to roll their eyes.”
David Dinkins, or at least his political ghost. As Christine Quinn attempts to become the first Democratic mayor in 20 years, the political shadow of the last Democratic mayor lurks as a danger zone.
In broad stroke, David Dinkins and Christine Quinn have some meaningful similarities: adept career politicians, successful one step below the mayor’s office, from Manhattan and powerful symbols of the political progress of their respective communities. Dinkins, a smart, steady politician and decent person, was ultimately overwhelmed by the City’s challenges and perpetually played political defense. “Dave, Do Something” still echoes hauntingly.
Today Jacob Gershman reports in the Wall Street Journal that “Wall Street and insurance groups are organizing an effort to overturn a New York ethics regulation requiring trade associations that lobby state government to publicly disclose their sources of funding.” Part of the New York Bankers Association’s argument against such disclosure is that it chills their right to free speech. They essentially argue that the right to free speech is really a right to anonymous free speech. Continue reading Anonymous Free Speech: Bankers & Actual People→
According to recent news reports, Governor Cuomo is considering seeking changes in New York’s campaign finance laws. In anticipation of the governor’s proposal, which has not yet been publicly revealed, here are a few observations on Andrew Cuomo 2014, Inc.’s most recent campaign finance disclosure statement and the campaign finance reform issues which it frames. Continue reading Andrew Cuomo & Campaign Finance Reform→
In his 60 Minutes interview broadcast Sunday, Mitt Romney gave many interesting answers. Here are a few:
Self awareness: Scott Pelley, with a reference to David McCullough, asked Mitt Romney about what he has “learned from the history of presidents in the White House”. Romney spoke a bit about McCullough’s biography of John Adams and approvingly described Adams as “an individual who was less concerned about public opinion than he was about doing what he thought was right for the country” and who “did what he thought was right for America” even though it cost him reelection. Presumably Romney sees himself in that mold, or at the very least aspires to it. If the American people saw him that way, he would be coasting to victory. They don’t, and that’s why he isn’t.
That was the Wall Street Journal’s A1 headline exactly four years ago, with the lede; “Fear coursed through the U.S. financial system on Wednesday, as hope for a resolution to the year-old credit crisis faded.” A true financial panic, with the proverbial chickens hatched during the Bush administration coming home to roost.
The Romney campaign has tried to recycle the question that helped propel Ronald Reagan to the White House: “Are you better off than you were four years ago?”
Mitt should ask that question at his fundraisers. The financial services executives in attendance should be the first to answer.
~ John Kenny
Insight, analysis and reporting on New York and national politics