Author Archive

A Reentry System For Ex-Offenders

Written by Michael Benjamin on . Posted in Opinion

For weeks, universal prekindergarten has dominated budget news coming out of Albany. So it might be surprising to learn that Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget has actual good news for ex-offenders (or justice-involved persons). Cuomo proposes restoring college classes at 10 state prisons, raising the age for felony offenders and funding a statewide Re-entry Council to recommend policies to reduce recidivism among newly released prisoners and parolees. Tracie M. Gardner, policy director at the Legal Action Center, which supports creating a… [More]

How de Blasio Can Avoid Being Dinkins

Written by Michael Benjamin on . Posted in Features, Opinion

Standing amid the de Blasio celebrants last November, I wondered, “Who would have thought that the Dinkins mantle would fall to Bill de Blasio?” And so it seems with the election of Bill de Blasio, the Dinkins restoration began. Perhaps de Blasio will fulfill the promise offered by the election of the city’s first black mayor back in 1989. In choosing de Blasio, voters thought he would best solve the jobs, housing affordability and income inequality crises hurting many neighborhoods.… [More]

Election Day Should Honor Our Vets

Written by Michael Benjamin on . Posted in Opinion

Turnout on Election Day was particularly dismal, with only 22 percent of registered voters deigning to cast votes in New York City as America’s premier one-party town became even more of a monopoly. Michael Benjamin (Illustration Credit: Lisanne Gagnon) While the election might have been anticlimactic for city Democrats (and yet another disappointment for city Republicans), there was some drama to be had on the micro level. Last month the usual monotony of the weekly New York City Board of… [More]

Instant Runoff Voting: Good for Democracy and the Bottom Line

Written by Michael Benjamin on . Posted in Opinion

Thirteen million dollars! Yes, the cash-strapped, snafu-prone New York City Board of Elections held a $13 million runoff that turned out fewer than 200,000 voters. The election was a 20-point rout by City Councilwoman Letitia James over state Sen. Dan Squadron for the little understood (and powerless) post of public advocate. Michael Benjamin (Illustration Credit: Lisanne Gagnon) Is democracy served when only a tiny sliver of the electorate selects the officials who oversee a giant $70 billion government enterprise called… [More]

We Who Believe In Freedom Cannot Rest

Written by Michael Benjamin on . Posted in Opinion

In the days and weeks since the not guilty verdict in the trial of George Zimmerman for the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, Americans, like the proverbial blind men, are misidentifying the elephant in the room. Depending on where you’re standing and which end you grab, racism feels different and is identified differently. Michael Benjamin (Illustration Credit: Lisanne Gagnon) This was never more evident than in President Obama’s comments to Jay Leno and his earlier impromptu talk to White House… [More]

The Champion Underdog for Public Advocate

Written by Michael Benjamin on . Posted in Opinion

Michael Benjamin
(Illustration Credit: Lisanne Gagnon) While the New York media have been concerned with the travails of bad boys running for mayor and comptroller, Cathy Guerriero, a little known but energetic professorial dynamo has been crisscrossing the five boroughs like a veritable (“bing, bing, bing”) Ricochet Rabbit. Her frenetic schedule nearly rivals that of John Liu, who is also seemingly ubiquitous. Michael Benjamin (Illustration Credit: Lisanne Gagnon) Cathy burst into the collective media consciousness late last month when a poll showed her besting most of… [More]

Albany’s Female Legislators Must Be The Change

Written by Michael Benjamin on . Posted in Opinion

Women in the State Legislature should take inspiration from New York’s junior U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s effort to hold the military accountable for its treatment of women by holding another powerful institution—their own—accountable. Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, who once disclosed on the floor of the Legislature that she had been sexually assaulted as a teenage volunteer on a political campaign, recently acknowledged more than once witnessing inappropriate behavior by lawmakers— presumably men. While, sadly, this revelation came as no surprise to… [More]