When elephants fight, it is the [New Yorkers] that suffer, [amended African Proverb]

States, counties and cities are facing catastrophic budget shortfalls; unemployment rates not seen since the Great Depression and uncertainty over the re-opening of businesses and schools.  Each day as expenditures exceed revenues the deficits widen,

While the state budget was approved on April 1, under his emergency powers the governor can adjust the budget, in other words the budget is malleable; depending on revenues the budget can be adjusted after the July 1st.

A bill, the HEROES Act passed the House, it provides over $1 trillion for a wide range of supports.

Will the HEROES Act  pass the Senate? And, if so, how will the Senate change the House bill?

The current House bill would be a life-saver for New York City as well as cities across the state (See proposed $$ to each city here). Speculation is that the final bill will not come before the Senate until late June and will look considerably different than the bill that passed in the House.  The final bill has to “satisfy” Senate leader McConnell, the Republicans and the President.

In a normal year the Mayor and the City Council Speaker would be deep in discussions over the final budget. New York City, since the sweeping governance changes in the late eighties, is a “Strong Mayor,” system. The Mayor has wide discretion over the allocation of resources, the Council, aside from approving the budget; its powers are limited to land use and the holding of hearings.  (Read a fascinating account of New York City governance and the emergence of the current configuration here).

Corey Johnson, the leader of the Council is a candidate for mayor.  Scott Stringer, the Comptroller, is also running for mayor, as well as the Eric Adams, the Brooklyn Boro President and who knows who else …. Andrew Yang? The ranked-choice primary will be held in June, 2021.

Taking “shots” at a weakened term-limited mayor is de rigueur in the world of politics.

Stringer calls for a $1B cut in the NYPD over four years by attrition and using the funds for community programs (Read presser here).

Meanwhile the Independent Budget Office (IBO) paints a bleak picture of New York City’s economy over the next few years,

The coronavirus pandemic has put New York City in the worst economic crunch in decades, with 22% of residents currently out of work and City Hall mired in a nearly $9 billion budget gap.  

 The state government in Albany is facing an even more dire fiscal situation than the city. Rather than providing assistance to the city, the state has looked to the city for fiscal relief. The state budget adopted last month includes hundreds of millions of dollars of cost shifts from the state to the city, including a direct raid on the city’s sales tax revenues. In short, New York City is facing nearly unprecedented challenges as it struggles to maintain budget balance, protect vital services, and provide a safe and healthy environment for individuals who want to live, work, or visit here

After the police clashed with demonstrators and widespread looting occurred the governor threatened to remove the mayor. Can the governor remove the mayor?

(See the text of the City Charter and State law below)

 “What happened in New York City was inexcusable,” Cuomo said during his Tuesday press conference, unprompted. “I have offered the National Guard; the mayor has said he can handle it with the NYPD. My option is to displace the mayor of New York City and bring in the National Guard as the governor in a state of emergency and basically take over … the mayor’s job. You’d have to displace the mayor.”

One would hope and expect that electeds: the governor, the mayor and the candidates will work together to restore the city, to make the city into a better place. We are in a moment in time when sweeping change is possible. Change is inevitable, and change can be disruptive, not all change make education better.

Teachers simply want to back to their classrooms in a safe environment, and we have yet to define safe.

I suspect some of the elements of remote teaching, can be incorporated, adding remote parent conferences to in-school conferences, one on one remote learning to reinforce in-school learning, remote conferences in lieu of out of school meetings, etc., and probably more.

If, however, the decision-makers, continue to bicker, to try and use the crisis for political advantage schools can slide into an abyss.

“The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis.”

Dante Alighieri


Its Friday; gray and rainy, listen to Rhiannon Giddens, “Leaving Eden,” a poignant song in troubling times, one of my favorites.



The Removal of a Mayor in New York State

“The mayor may be removed from office by the governor upon charges and after service upon him of a copy of the charges and an opportunity to be heard in his defense. Pending the preparation and disposition of charges, the governor may suspend the mayor for a period not exceeding thirty days.”  (NYC Charter)

“The chief executive officer of every city and the chief or commissioner of police, commissioner or director of public safety or other chief executive officer of the police force by whatever title he may be designated, of every city may be removed by the governor after giving to such officer a copy of the charges against him and an opportunity to be heard in his defense.  The power of removal provided for in this subdivision shall be deemed to be in addition to the power of removal provided for in any other law.  The provisions of this subdivision shall apply notwithstanding any inconsistent provisions of any general, special or local law, ordinance or city charter.” (NYS Law)



Its Friday; gray and rainy, listen to Rhiannon Giddens, “Leaving Eden,” a poignant song in troubling times, one of my favorites.



2 responses to “When elephants fight, it is the [New Yorkers] that suffer, [amended African Proverb]

  1. Eric Nadelstern

    We will do our students a disservice if the only two options we are considering is business as usual or remote learning or a hodgepodge of these approaches, both of which have proven inadequate for too many youngsters.

    This is the time to think out-of-the-box.


  2. Ken Karcinell

    The Heroes Act should be re-titled as The Children of Heroes act. To that end it should establish among all of its other provisions, one that creates a foundation so as to guarantee the educational or trades training of surviving children of lost heroes. I am not an advocate of college tuition forgiveness for all. I am an advocate for deferred college loans forgiveness with the possibility of total tuition forgiveness eventually. There are any number of service profession shortages, especially in our low income communities. Educators, Medical Professionals, law enforcement, Legal Services, just to name a few. I think that any college graduate who enters such a “needs” profession, should have by virtue of certification of their supervisors of satisfactory and continuous service , their yearly loan premiums forgiven for each of their first 5 years of service, followed up by a period of 5 more years of paying a half premium, followed up by total forgiveness of any remaining balance. What of college graduates who turn to the corporate world for employment careers? Then their loans in total should become the responsibility of those corporations . Same with Law school Grads who get hired by huge law firms.as a part of their commitment to their recruits. With regard to surviving children of Heroes lost,they pay no premiums, and their loans are paid for by separate foundation established within the Heroes Act and supported not by taxpayers, but by corporate commitments to that Foundation.
    As for things governemntal and Elephants fighting in NYS, these are not elephants, they are virtual criminals. On the one hand we have a Mayor who thinks that it is more important to build 4 new Prisons in every boro, but not important to expand on Specialized HSs and Talented and Gifted Education. Just what our kids need as they go about their daily travels, a constant reminder of Prison that awaits them, instead of a glimmer of hope that would be provided by more and better schools. He has a bloated DOE that like The Hindenberg is about to explode, and not one single cut at that level is being reported, but 90% of The NYC TEACHING FELLOWS Program is. How does that show any anticipatory thinking with regard to such a decision,We know that Teachers who are at or beyond retirement eligibilty, and who may have wanted to continue on, will not when they measure the risk of Covid to their future lives. I believe that there will be an onslaught of Teacher Retirements submitted during the month of August. What are these socialists going to do then? As for The Gov,he does nothing wrong, he says. I guess hes right, he killed over 10,000 citizens and got away with it. Said he was following Guidelines. Sounds a lot like 1942. Guidelines are not mandates, they are information giving resources, which become a part of the ultimate decision making power of an executive. Many of this governors co-equals chose to ignore those guidelines, some chose to adapt a portion of them or a few of them in terms of making their own policy decisions. Gov DeSantis of Fla made the centerpiece of protecting seniors a provision of not allowing COVID infected transfers into nursing homes or Assisted Living facilities. Not our guy.He followed guidelines! Hes not Mario, not by a long shot.


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