Cuomo The Conqueror;
Where Will He Take Us?
Henry J. Stern is the founder and president of New York Civic.
Thursday, December 8th, 2011

The agreement reached by Governor Cuomo and the legislative leaders of both houses on taxation is an achievement of sorts, in that it shows that somewhere, in some circumstances, and in some fashion, state government is capable of making decisions.

This puts Albany far ahead of Washington, where partisan gridlock has so far prevented action on numerous issues, particularly the Federal government’s lack of financial responsibility, which has led to mounting deficits. The United States would be bankrupt today if it did not have the authority to print money.

Simcha Felder
Seeks Senate Seat;
Either Party Will Do
Henry J. Stern is the founder and president of New York Civic.
Monday, November 28th, 2011

For the past year, we have been watching closely the redistricting process in New York State. As you know, the United States Constitution requires the states to redraw legislative and congressional districts every ten years, on the basis of the decennial census.

The Constitution does not, however, specify how the states should do this, except to require that the populations of the various districts should be approximately equal. Recent court decisions require the protection of racial minorities. Beyond that, almost anything goes.

The historic practice of tailoring districts for partisan advantage is called gerrymandering, after Massachusetts Governor Elbridge Gerry (1744-1814), whose surname was incidentally pronounced with a hard ‘g’. It describes a scheme involving convoluted district boundaries, structured to concentrate voters of one political party in a district where they could prevail, and to divide districts in which the opposition party might have a majority.

Koch Stresses National Issues
Which He Sees As Neglected
Henry J. Stern is the founder and president of New York Civic.
Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011
Holidays encourage people to think retrospectively about their circumstances. So it is that Thanksgiving is an opportunity for us to speak, not only in gratitude for things that have occurred, but reflectively about things that have not happened and are, in fact, unlikely to take place.

Mayor Koch has written a Thanksgiving column which in his usual direct and uninhibited manner offers a realistic analysis of a national crisis which is not being addressed with the urgency required. We think he makes some important points and we are pleased to bring them to your attention here.

We are interested in your views of the concerns he expresses. We welcome you to respond to let us know what you think. Meanwhile, we wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving and look forward to resuming our dialogue next week.

Many Factors Determine Voter Choices.
Demonstrations Can Bore the Public.
For Messages, Use Western Union.
Henry J. Stern is the founder and president of New York Civic.
Friday, November 18th, 2011
The Occupy Wall Street campaign is faltering, despite considerable public sympathy for the social issues which the protesters seek to publicize.

The pickets and other demonstrators focused on a seam of popular discontent at economic inequality in the United States, the difficulty people face in obtaining work, and the failure of wages to keep up with rising costs. The effects of the Great Recession, specifically people losing their jobs, their mortgaged homes and large portions of their 401(k)s, have left millions of Americans unhappy with their own economic situation and their prospects for the future.

Although there is widespread dissatisfaction with President Obama, the public holds Congress in even lower regard. Last month, according to a CBS News/New York Times poll, Congress registered a 9% approval rating, the worst in the legislative body's history since Americans were first surveyed on the subject in 1977. Although the President may have erred in reaching too far and, paradoxically, retreating too often, the Congressional followers of Rule 9-J, "Just Say No", have offered the American people next to nothing.

City Moves on Zuccotti Occupiers
After Two Months' Acquiescence,
Next Round Will Be in Court
Henry J. Stern is the founder and president of New York Civic.
Tuesday, November 15th, 2011
Last night, the city administration used its power to close down, at least temporarily, a street demonstration that had occupied Zuccotti Park, a previously uncelebrated 33,000-square-feet plot of choice Lower Manhattan real estate with trees and benches softening the skyscrapers surrounding it on three sides.

The Park is located on the west side of Broadway, between Cedar Street and Liberty Place, roughly two blocks north of Trinity Church, which is at the head of Wall Street. It is public open space, owned and maintained by Brookfield Properties and intended for passive recreation. It was created through a transaction in which Brookfield was permitted to build a substantially larger office building on the site. Mr. Zuccotti, a former first deputy mayor of New York City during the Beame administration, serves as the co-chairman of Brookfield, a Canadian company.
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