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An Open Letter to Commissioner David Steiner

2 Dec

Dear Mr. David M. Steiner, Commissioner of Education,

I urge you deny the request from Mayor Michael Bloomberg to grant a School District Administrator certificate to Ms. Cathleen Black. Mayor Bloomberg is seeking to place Ms. Black as Chancellor of the New York City school system, even though she does not have any of the essential credentials enumerated in the Commissioner’s Regulations that demonstrate competency in educational leadership. Thus, the Mayor’s need for a waiver. The latest addendum to this scheme, that a deputy with experience in education be named to scaffold the shortcomings of Ms. Black, is equally deficient. Continue reading


The elections hit Black power hard: The time to start fighting back is now

18 Nov
By BILL LYNCH, Chairman of Bill Lynch Associates

It is hard to believe that just two years ago, many of us stood in the plaza in front of the Harlem State Office Building cheering and weeping for joy over the election of the first African-American president, Barack Obama. There is no other way to describe the feeling in the wake of the 2010 elections than terrible, especially for African-Americans in New York and nationally.

In New York State, we will no longer have an African-American governor, and with Democrats in danger of losing the State Senate that we only just won in 2008, leaders John Sampson of Brooklyn and Malcolm Smith of Queens, both African-American, could lose their posts. Continue reading

State Senate Democratic majority: Every vote counts and we are counting every vote

11 Nov


Most of the focus of the 2010 election has been on Capitol Hill, but closer to home here in New York, there are three closely contested races where counts are still underway that will determine which party holds the majority in the now Democrat-controlled State Senate. These races are outside of New York City, in Nassau, Westchester and Buffalo, but we need to keep a watchful eye on them because of what’s at stake for communities of color and also because widespread voting irregularities throughout the state have called the new voting system into question. There are still thousands of absentee, affidavit and emergency ballots yet to be counted and we need to make sure New York in 2010 doesn’t become what Florida was during the 2000 presidential election. In these contests, only hundreds of votes separate three Democratic incumbents—Craig Johnson, Suzi Oppenheimer and Antoine Thompson—from their Republican opponents. The outcome will impact policies in New York for years to come as Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo takes the reins of power in the executive mansion. With control of one half of the State Legislature in the balance, voters deserve a full, fair and honest accounting of the ballots cast in these races, especially after previous electoral debacles. To that end, Democrats have now launched what we believe to be the largest election protection effort New York has ever seen. This was the first general election run on new electronic voting machines. Voters and poll workers were not accustomed to the new system. In Suffolk County, there have been wild swings in the initial counts in the 1st Congressional District and the 1st Assembly District. Meanwhile, in Nassau County, there are reports of ballots that weren’t scanned. Overall, there may be as many as 10 races in dispute throughout the state because of voting discrepancies. All across New York, we heard reports of ballots rejected because voters checked, rather than filled in, the bubble next to a candidate’s name. The law states that every ballot where the voter made their intention clear must be counted, but these ballots weren’t. This is an area that could require further legislation to protect voters. In addition, thousands of votes cast by men and women serving in the military, or who for some other reason were unable to travel to a polling place on Election Day, have yet to be tallied. These citizens have every right to be heard. Make no mistake, we will not allow a rush to judgment to quiet the voice of the people. Democrats have dispatched teams to make certain every vote is counted. Although Republicans want to declare a victory by press release, Democrats understand we have laws to ensure accuracy and fairness in close races. Two years ago, Democrats were able to gain a slim two-seat majority after 43 years of lost jobs, high taxes, inequitable education funding and a health care policy that disenfranchised New Yorkers. Since then, we’ve stimulated job creation, expanded health care access to the underserved, opened up state contracts to more minority- and women-owned businesses, created low-interest student loan programs and forced public authorities like the MTA to be more transparent. We’ve also advanced progressive policies such as reforming the Rockefeller Drug Laws and the NYPD’s invasive stop-and-frisk practices. Whether these policies continue rests on the outcome of these pivotal races. We believe that when the votes are fully counted, we will build on the victories Senate Democrats witnessed on election night. In Queens, Tony Avella, a proven advocate for his community, beat Republican State Sen. Frank Padavan, an incumbent who served for nearly four decades. In Rockland County, David Carlucci of New City was victorious against a Republican political giant, County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef. Carlucci’s win puts this seat in Democratic hands for the first time since 1983. And in Buffalo, Erie County Legislator Tim Kennedy beat Jack Quinn III, the scion of a Republican political dynasty. The importance of the outcome in these three other races cannot be overstated. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “I am not interested in power for power’s sake, but I’m interested in power that is moral, that is right and that is good.” We must not and we will not let any voters be passed over by a flawed voting process or a pointless rush to meet an arbitrary deadline for power’s sake. We are ready to go through every ballot to make sure the people’s voice is heard.

It’s not about Rick Sanchez it is about Diversity

15 Oct
By Elinor Tatum
Publisher and Editor in Chief

On Friday October 1 Rick Sanchez was unceremoniously yanked from CNN’s airwaves, after he ranted about TV show host Jon Stewart, CNN management, and the media in general on a radio show. During this “rant” Sanchez said, “… He’s such a minority … Please, what are you kidding? … I’m telling you that everybody who runs CNN is a lot like Stewart, and a lot of people who run all the other networks are a lot like Stewart, and to imply that somehow they — the people in this country who are Jewish — are an oppressed minority? Yeah.'”

Sanchez was removed from the air so fast that it would make your head spin. CNN did not act the way it did with Lou Dobbs- who was allowed to spit out anti-Hispanic and anti-immigrant rants for years – Sanchez’s firing was practically instantaneous. Continue reading

Manhattan-to-NJ Tunnel Should Proceed

11 Oct

By: Gregg Walker Blogger of Manhattan Viewpoint

though New Jersey’s Governor Christie appears to be reconsidering is decision to cancel the planned $8.7 billion tunnel between Manhattan and NJ, his initial opposition to the tunnel reminds us how important elections are.

Tunnel to NJ from Manhattan 

The tunnel project is a classic example of how the public sector can improve the environment, improve our quality of life, and boost the economy all at the same time. Only the public sector can make these types of investments, and cancelling such an investment after it has begun wastes resources, undermines the firms that have ramped up their operations to work on the tunnel, and leads to uncertainty about other key public works projects with a New Jersey connection. Continue reading

A Paladino warning

7 Oct
Publisher and editor-in-Chief

As the clock continues to tick and the weeks become mere days, we look and see what we really have as our candidates for governor of this great state of ours. Over the past few weeks on this page, we have looked at Andrew Cuomo and what he must do to garner the vote of the Black community. We have talked about Charles Barron as an option, but we have also said in no uncertain terms that we will not support Carl Paladino for governor, and now it is time to tell you why:

“I’m not politically correct, and I don’t want to be!” That is what Palidino has said to NPR and anyone else that will listen to him. While some may feel he is a free spirit, there is more to it than just being politically incorrect. There is something to say about sensitivity to people and the way in which politicians interact with their inner circle and the public in general. Citizens want someone to represent them who has at least a modicum of decorum and shares at least some of the same values. Continue reading

Bloomberg’s Charter Schools Underperform Traditional Schools

4 Oct
By Gregg Walker: Manhattan Viewpoint Blogger
Last week, we learned that New York City’s charter schools received lower grades on their “report cards” than traditional public schools received.
Poor Quality

We have highlighted the fact that only 28% of black male students in New York City graduate from high school. We have also criticized the Mayor for attempting to fix the public school system through charter schools.

Our city’s public school system is not meeting the needs of our city’s children, and, ironically, the Mayor’s solution, charter schools, is thus far more a part of problem than a part of the solution. Continue reading

Now that we have your attention, Mr. Cuomo…

30 Sep
Publisher and Editor in Chief

Finally, it looks like there might actually be a real campaign.

It seems as though Andrew Cuomo has finally gotten the message that he has to actually engage the electorate and show us that he is actually worthy of our votes. We have been speaking loud and clear for some time now, and it looks like he has started to listen. We have been trying to tell him that we want someone to vote for, not simply someone to vote against.

And last week, Cuomo actually came to Harlem, took some time to shake hands and talk to our folks and open up a dialogue with our community. This is a good first step, but we can only hope this is just the first step in addressing the issues and concerns of Black people, who will be vital for either his electoral success or defeat. Continue reading

NYC Subway Frustration

27 Sep

By Gregg Walker: Manhattan Viewpoint blogger

Last weekend provided us with an opportunity to experience the frustrations of the investments being made in our city’s subway system.

2nd Avenue Subway Delays Continue

Though the 2nd Avenue Subway project is already years behind schedule and $1 billion over budget, new disappoints have emerged.

Early this month, we learned that new cost overruns and delays were being blamed on the need to move the plumbing and utilities under the private buildings along 2nd Avenue. One wonders how this moving of utilities could have been unanticipated. Continue reading

Andy, are you gonna to run a campaign?

23 Sep
By ELINOR TATUM: Publisher and Editor in Chief

Dear Andrew,

It has been a long time since we talked. It was good to see you at the editorial board meeting of the Amsterdam News in early August, but besides that, we have not met to discuss issues affecting our community or your election runs since your run for governor against Carl McCall back in 2002. Andrew, that is eight long years ago, and much has changed; yet, much has stayed the same.

You have remained silent. You have met with no one. And I mean no one. You have not spoken to us or any other media outlets, for that matter. You seem to think that you are the golden child who cannot be touched, but I am afraid, my friend, you may be sorely mistaken. Continue reading