Make Air Time Free
To The Editor:
We are living in a democracy where we, the citizens, have the right to hear views and issues of all candidates, and since this year is the important presidential election, it is my strong opinion that free air time should be given to all. It seems that politicians, candidates and citizens who possess large amounts of money are able to afford lots of air time to air their views, campaign and even win elective office. This is unfair. Where is equality and justice for all and the freedom of opportunity? It seems to me that the rich and the famous can be heard. Where is ordinary Joe Doe and Ann Smith? Years ago, there were editorials given prior to the national news on local television, where all were able to voice opinions. I suggest and urge the passage of free air time for all.
Long Island City
Plans For ’04
To The Editor:
Last December, Gotham Gazette asked me to make predictions about what 2003 had in store for New York. I predicted: "New York will be on the rise again: the economy will rebound, tax revenue will grow, and the reconstruction of downtown will be in progress." I am happy to say that at the close of 2003, those predictions have come true.
However, many challenges remain ahead of us in the rebuilding of New York. During 2004, I plan to undertake the most serious issues facing New Yorkers by: (1) creating a public school system that provides all 1.1 million school children with a first class education; (2) addressing the city’s shortcomings in providing services for those most vulnerable and the city’s failure to provide affordable housing for working families and (3) demanding our fair share of money from Washington and Albany.
I will continue to fight for a public school system that provides all 1.1 million school children with a first class education.
In 2003, I supported the restructuring of the school system. However, I pushed against bad reforms that I knew did not or would not work.
I fought against the Department of Education’s (DOE) secrecy, their hastily planned policies and their exclusion of parents, teachers, principals and advocates from the planning process. I opposed their use of the much-criticized and untested Voyager reading program and other expensive programs, which they forced on the system in great haste without consulting teachers or principals, or even properly training the teachers who would be using these programs. I admonished the DOE on their policy of illegally kicking students out of school. I was instrumental in making public the serious overcrowding problems in our high schools. I criticized the failed suspension system that allowed dangerous students to remain in school.
In 2004, I plan to continue to examine the reforms implemented and track their success to ensure that we are indeed reforming and improving the largest public school system in the world. I will scrutinize the DOE’s use of funding, the services they provide, and their treatment of parents, students and all school personnel.
I will continue to fight the city’s shortcomings in providing services for those most vulnerable and creating a plan for affordable housing that our working families desperately need.
In 2003, an investigation by my office led to the discontinuation of the city’s reckless Scatter-Site Housing program for the homeless which caused the displacement of rent-paying residents. I successfully advocated for New Yorkers across the city who were living in dangerous and substandard housing. I fought for workers by supporting the passage of living wage bills, and I fought for more funding for AIDS services.
In 2004, I plan to continue to fight for services for the most vulnerable—for children in foster care, for single, working mothers, for the unemployed,—but I will also pick up the fight for building more affordable housing. Affordable housing has been the looming crisis that has cast a shadow on our economic prosperity. Without more homes for working class New Yorkers our economy will stagnate and we will never realize the full economic potential of the Big Apple.
I will continue fighting for our fair share of funds from Washington and Albany.
The federal government has historically shortchanged New York City. The inequity of funding for homeland defense is one of the most glaring examples in recent memory. Additionally, Albany has failed to fund mandated programs such as Medicaid and education.
In 2003, I fought to bring in federal Food Stamp money worth $1 billion to the nearly 1 million New York City residents who qualify. I successfully pushed for simplifying the application process and for expanding outreach to qualifying families. Nearly 100,000 new families began receiving food stamps in 2003. I fought against unfair city budget cuts, like the closing of firehouses, and I effectively advocated against foolish budget cuts to programs that protect children from domestic abuse and neglect.
In 2004, I will fight for a fair budget for all New Yorkers; for property tax cuts when the city can afford them; for a business friendly environment that will create more jobs and bring back those jobs lost in the aftermath of 9-11. I will also fight for the $2.3 billion dollars in federal funding that rightfully belongs to residents of this city from state and federal programs, including the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, the Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage program, the Earned Income Tax Credit program, the Women, Infants and Children program, and the Food Stamp program.
The American Littoral Society Northeast Region "Walk on the Wild Side" at Breezy Point took place January 1, 2004. No beach walk is scheduled for January 11, the date originally listed in the Calendar of Events in the December 24, 2003 edition.