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]

A Constituency Of None

Written by Alexis Grenell on . Posted in Opinion

The First Amendment is clear that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” yet the practical separation between church and state is anything but. Public life is saturated with references to God, from the courts to the Pledge of Allegiance. Right or wrong, candidates are required to negotiate through the religious beliefs of others and account for their own. In 1954 the phrase “under God” was added to the Pledge in… [More]

What New York Can Learn From Nebraska

Written by James Coll on . Posted in Features, Opinion

If New York abandoned its winner-take-all allocation of electoral votes in presidential elections, our state could start the transformation to become a powerful influence in national politics. Instead, Albany has legislated our state to irrelevance. Article II of the U.S. Constitution expressly gives each individual state legislature the power to choose how to give out the state’s electoral votes. The New York State Assembly and Senate decided years ago—like 47 other states—that the candidate for President who wins the most… [More]

To G Or Not To G

Written by Seth Barron on . Posted in Opinion

chirlane Chirlane McCray made her first official solo appearance as New York’s First Lady last month at an immigration forum sponsored by the Black Institute, an “action tank” run by longtime de Blasio friend and political ally Bertha Lewis. McCray’s talk was followed by the release of a Black Institute video spot featuring McCray and the ubiquitous de Blasio children, in which the three of them proudly announce themselves as “G,” a term that, according to the Black Institute’s “G Project”… [More]

The Difficulty Of Righting Wrongs

Written by Steven M. Cohen on . Posted in Opinion

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman recently proposed legislation that would remove obstacles that make it difficult for the wrongly convicted to obtain financial compensation from New York State. His proposal is admirable. But attention also needs to be paid to the difficulty of getting wrongful convictions righted, not just financially compensated. Twenty years ago, as an assistant United States attorney, I was part of a team of police officers and prosecutors who listened as a gang member admitted to his role… [More]

No Good Deed

Written by Morgan Pehme on . Posted in Opinion

Five hundred years before House of Cards, Niccolò Machiavelli counseled in The Prince that “men should either be caressed or crushed, because they can avenge themselves of lighter injuries, but of more serious ones they cannot; therefore the injury that one does to a man should be such that one does not fear revenge for it.” A deft practitioner of pragmatic political philosophy, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is doubtlessly well acquainted with the substance of this advice—all the more reason he… [More]

Replacing Bullying and Bribery With Consensus

Written by Brad Lander on . Posted in Features, News, Opinion

images-1 Distrust and cynicism about government prevail these days—with partisan gridlock in Congress, NSA surveillance, New Jersey embroiled in Bridgegate, the New York State Senate denying New York City a vote on whether we can tax ourselves to pay for universal pre-K or raise our own minimum wage and Albany refusing meaningful campaign finance reform. At the New York City Council, we are pushing in the other direction. On Monday, Feb. 24, the Council’s Rules Committee will hold a public hearing… [More]

Amid Debate Over Pre-K, Kindergarten Could Be Lost

Written by Sister Ana Maria Causa on . Posted in Features, Opinion

As anybody who reads local papers knows, there is an important political contest taking place in New York politics. The mayor and governor are arguing how to fund a full expansion to universal pre-kindergarten (UPK). Each side is holding firm, making moves, counter moves. The resolution of this conflict is important, not just for the game of politics between New York’s governor and New York City’s mayor, but for the future of all of New York State’s children. While we… [More]

Controversy Should Not Diminish Port Authority’s Essential Work

Written by Robert Douglass on . Posted in Features, Opinion

To acknowledge the obvious, The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has recently been beset by controversy. While the questions being raised appropriately command our attention and commitment to discovery and reform, they also risk distracting us from a larger point: the essential nature of the Port’s good work and its indispensable role as our most potent vehicle for regional public investment and cooperation. Although I have been an observer and participant in state, regional and city government… [More]

Making the Black Vote Count

Written by Michel Faulkner on . Posted in Features, Opinion

As a black conservative, I believe the Republican Party offers the best opportunities for blacks and our nation’s youths to earn a seat at the political table of change. Our form of democracy—dysfunctional as it is—works best when there is a balance of power, giving new and provocative ideas an opportunity to come to the forefront before they are watered down so much that they don’t have the slightest resemblance to the original purpose behind them. Blind loyalty to the… [More]