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”.

Romney Strategy

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 — caused aides to roll their eyes.”

 Strategy summary:  Say anything.

˜  John Kenny



Christine Quinn’s Biggest Opponent?

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.

Continue reading Christine Quinn’s Biggest Opponent?

Anonymous Free Speech: Bankers & Actual People

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

Andrew Cuomo & Campaign Finance Reform

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

Insight, analysis and reporting on New York and national politics