Carey Eulogized As City’s Savior
Carey was world renowned for his feat of saving New York City from bankruptcy in the 1970s, which was in sharp contrast to the present situation in the United States, where President Barack Obama and congressional leaders from both parties were able to find a solution to an unprecedented national debt crisis as time was running out and the nation faced near financial ruin.
In 1974, Carey won the gubernatorial election after serving seven terms as a congressman from Brooklyn. Shortly after he took office in 1975, the state’s Urban Development Corp., who’s mission was to build housing in distressed areas, defaulted on its bonds.
Meanwhile, in New York City, the government was near bankruptcy and banks were refusing to lend it any money.
Carey’s first move was to create the Municipal Assistance Corp. (MAC), as advised by financier Felix Rohatyn. They sold MAC bonds to banks and union pension funds to get a money stream started. Eventually, the city fought off bankruptcy and Carey was also able to get a $6.9 billion loan from the U.S. Treasury.
Recalling this ugly chapter in NYC history and the happy ending, former Mayor Ed Koch paid tribute to Carey in terms many other people were also thinking.
“He will and should go down as the greatest governor in modern history,” Koch declared. “It was his leadership which brought everyone together.”
Mayor Michael Bloomberg also paid homage to Carey as “my friend and mentor in public service”, explaining that when he first thought of running for mayor, “Hugh was one of the first people I spent a lot of time with.”
The mayor added: “His strong and determined leadership, and his ability to bring people together to fix the most difficult problems, saved New York during one of the toughest times in our history, and set the stage for the city’s incredible rebirth in the years and decades that followed.”
Ending his tribute to Carey, the mayor stated: “As I often say about our work in New York City, success is not inevitable—it takes hard work, difficult choices, and a willingness to put aside ideological differences. That’s how Hugh Carey governed our state and saved our city—and given the national events of the past week, his loss is a poignant reminder of how badly we need more elected leaders with the character and courage of Hugh Carey.”
In another tribute, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said, “As a state Assemblyman, I worked with Governor Carey for six years and I learned a great deal from him.”
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D–N.Y.) hailed Carey as “an extraordinary public servant” who “brought people together to lead our great state through an economic crisis and rescue New York from financial collapse.”
WEPRIN, MALONEY ON JOB GAINS:Assemblymember David Weprin, who’s running for the vacant 9th CD seat in the September 13 special election, issued this comment on last week’s latest job gains:
“Today’s new job numbers highlight how important it is that we send someone to Congress who will work with the President to turn our economy around. That work needs to start by closing tax loopholes for big oil so we can start providing tax breaks for small businesses to help them grow and create jobs. Yet while tens of thousands of New Yorkers remain out of work, the ultra conservative Tea Party Republicans have continued to demand more tax cuts for wealthy corporations instead of providing the American people with a comprehensive jobs plan that will put people back to work”.
Congressmember Carolyn Maloney (DQueens/ Brooklyn) commented that the 117,000 jobs created in July was “better than expected—but our current unemployment rate is a sobering reminder of just how fragile our economic recovery continues to be.”
The lawmaker added, “Recent economic indicators should serve as a red-flag warning that the bitter wrangling and endless gridlock comes with real-world consequences and real-world costs.
“The weak consumer spending we have seen also makes it clear that cutting off the stimulative effect of federal spending too quickly, too deeply and too recklessly, will only delay recovery, slow growth, kill jobs and make it even harder to solve our long-term deficit problems.”
Maloney added: “Recent polls have sent a clear message to Washington that the American people are losing confidence in their government. And in the past 24 hours, markets all around the world have stamped that message: ‘Urgent’.”
She concluded: “It’s time for Congress to come together to solve our problems, instead of creating new ones. Job creation needs to be job number one for Congress. The rest is noise. I hear that message loud and clear. And I agree.”
Maloney also had something to say about the decision by Standard & Poor’s (S&P) to downgrade America’s credit rating. She said it was deeply flawed. She continued, “Let’s begin with the fact that two other rating agencies, Moody’s and Fitch, continue to give our credit the highest rating possible.
“Plus markets around the world have already spoken quite clearly on the issue. America remains the best place in the world to safely and securely invest money. Seventeen other nations around the world are rated AAA by S&P, and with all due respect, some of those economies are nowhere near as strong as America’s.”
Maloney went on, “S&P said that an irresponsible process and political brinksmanship led to the credit downgrade. While I can agree that it was a disheartening spectacle to witness, the battle to raise the debt ceiling was certainly no more dangerous to our economy than the financial crisis. And even on the edge of that abyss, our credit rating remained AAA. As Mark Zandi of Moody’s Analytics put it: ‘U.S. Treasuries are still the gold standard’.”
Maloney couldn’t resist this last zinger: “And then of course, S&P made this downgrade even after acknowledging a $2 trillion error in its deficit projections. S&P was wrong on their math and wrong on the downgrade.
America deserves to stay triple-A.”
COUNCILMEMBER CROWLEY EYES BROKEN HYDRANTS: Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley (D-Glendale), chairperson of the Fire & Criminal Justice Committee, has filed legislation to try to assure that all fire hydrants in the city are in working order.
Under Crowley’s bill, the city Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) would be required to fix a non-working fire hydrant within seven to 10 days “to ensure that when fire companies respond to a fire, they will have a working hydrant to hook up to”.
Crowley said the idea for her legislation came from an audit done by City Comptroller John Liu which revealed that a significant amount of hydrant repairs did not meet the DEP’s internal time goals.
Liu’s audit revealed, Crowley said, that on average, it took the DEP more than 15 days to fix high priority fire hydrants, which the FDNY defines as those near schools, hospitals and senior citizen housing among others. As for regular hydrants, the FDNY says it generally takes 18 days to fix them, on average.
Crowley said citywide, 43 hydrants went more than a year without being properly repaired. One hydrant at 116th Street and Liberty Avenue in Richmond Hill took 368 days to fix.
Currently, she said, the DEP does not have any written standards for repairing hydrants, only an internal goal to repair high priority hydrants within 10 days. Consequently, 38 percent of the hydrants surveyed by Liu’s staff did not meet this standard, Crowley said.
Under Crowley’s bill, the DEP will be required to repair high priority hydrants within seven calendar days of receiving a complaint and regular hydrants within 10 days. DEP will also have to develop a method for reporting and tracking all repair jobs, and the information would be available to the public.
Crowley said Liu’s audit “exposed a major flaw with the tracking, reporting and repairing of fire hydrants”.
Liu stated his audit findings were troubling, especially with high priority hydrants. He said “Crowley should be commended for taking the initiative to introduce this legislation which will enhance the safety of all New Yorkers by turning a loosely followed internal policy into binding law.”
BORZELLIERI FIRED: Frank Borzellieri, a 48-year-old Middle Village man, who was fired last week as the principal of a parochial high school in The Bronx after his writings for a white supremacist group were exposed, was recalled as a very controversial person some 15 or 20 years ago at a time that he was a board member of District 24 in Ridgewood.
As the Daily News reported, at that time, Borzellieri tried to keep what he called anti- American literature from school libraries. Among the books he targeted was a biography of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Borzellieri’s firing brought a comment from Councilmember Daniel Dromm (DJackson Heights), a former teacher at P.S. 199. Dromm stated, “Mr. Borzellieri’s bigoted positions stand in blatant opposition to the church’s record on social justice, especially where immigrants are concerned. Our youth, whether they are learning in public or parochial schools, deserve to learn in an environment free of hate. It is my hope that Mr. Borzellieri has been truly removed and that he doesn’t resurface somewhere else within a Catholic organization in the future.”
SCHUMER, GILLIBRAND SEEK EFFECTIVE RADIO SYSTEM: One of the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission was the creation of a nationwide emergency radio system, one that would enable police, fire and emergency crews to communicate with each other across city, state and network lines to be most effective in helping them to carry out their anti-terror duties as well as deal with major fires and other disasters.
It became a recommendation of the 9/11 Commission because it had been one of the stumbling blocks in trying to operate efficiently on 9/11. The absence of an effective radio communication system has plagued emergency responders and even the New York City fire and police departments for decades, but despite the need for such a system and also the widespread support for it, creating it has escaped numerous efforts to make it a reality. Even the U.S. Congress has been beset by major obstacles in creating a nationwide system. Although there is legislation pending now to create a system, supporters would like to see it passed by the time the 10th anniversary rolls around next month.
New York’s two U.S. Senators, Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, are both strong supporters of the bill and are hoping for a 9/11 anniversary miracle to get it approved, but the legislation is stalled over funding and debates about whether private industry or the government should sponsor it. Besides that, Congress is out of session until September 6, which doesn’t help matters much.
A bipartisan Senate proposal, sponsored by U.S. Senator John Rockefeller (D-West Virginia) would pay for the $12 billion system with a broadband auction.
Several 9/11 groups will be in the nation’s capital on 9/11/11 to mark the original 9/11 anniversary. Gillibrand, who will be among those welcoming those groups, said recently:
“The solution to this national security problem hasn’t languished due to a lack of technological know-how.
“I will continue to urge Congress to seize the moment and bring our first responder technology into the 21st century by passing this bipartisan legislation that pays for itself.”
TURNER GETS EQUAL TIME IN BROOKLYN: Republican congressional candidate Bob Turner, who’s challenging Assemblymember David Weprin for the 9th CD Queens/Brooklyn-vacancy, convinced Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz that he should get some equal campaign time in Brooklyn.
Turner let out a holler last week after Markowitz gave Weprin the stage before a crowd attracted to a summer concert in Coney Island by Aretha Franklin.
Markowitz has arranged for Turner to get stage time at another summer concert in Coney Island, but this time featuring the band Cheap Trick on August 18. No word whether Turner accepted the offer yet.