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Why I LIke Mike Bloomberg by Lynne Weikart

Bloomberg took office two months after 9/11. The results of 9/11 - the city lost over 100,000 private sector jobs in one year. The city was devastated. Corporations were fleeing the city as were residents. Bloomberg created an economic development machine that roared through all five boroughs and brought over 400,000 new jobs.Just about the time the city recovered from 9/11, there was a national recession and Bloomberg guided the recovery. That recovery was cushioned by the fact that Bloomberg had raised taxes twice and the city had surpluses to help navigate the recession.

Very early in his mayoralty, Bloomberg made it very clear that he would not tolerate discrimination against Muslims. In 2002 shortly after Bloomberg became mayor, he announced he was against a city council bill that would ban the Palestine Authority from their offices in the city. A few years later in the hysteria surrounding the proposed building of an Islamic Community Center a few blocks from the devastated World…
Recent posts

Federal Government and the Lack of Affordable Housing

The federal government hasn't built public housing since the 1960s. President Johnson pushed Congress to pass the 1968 Housing Act that became a major time of construction of public housing almost doubling such units across the country. In addition, Bobby Kennedy and Senator Jacob Javits pushed through a 1966 amendment to the Economic Development Act that provided private developers with incentives payments to invest in poverty areas.

Once the Reagan era began that was the end of public housing. Instead, Reagan signed the Tax Reform Act of 1986, which slowed building of low-income housing further. First, the act repealed accelerated depreciation and the use of depreciation deductions to offset other ordinary income, precipitating a sharp drop in multifamily housing production. Second, the law placed a cap, for the first time, on states’ authority to issue tax-exempt bonds for multifamily housing and imposed income limits on eligible households. Third, the act created the Low Income…

When are we going to stop blaming teachers

It has been proven time and again that American schools are divided by class. Those in well funded school districts score fine on tests; those in poorly funded districts do not do well on tests. The resources schools receive are based upon the local property tax and where there is wealth, there is a decent public school.

I can understand people concluding that we should change the way we fund our schools. What I can't understand is how teachers can be blamed for the test results of their students who are in these poorly resourced schools. It is bizarre.

These so-called reformers who blame teachers for students failing standardized tests have taken leaps of logic down the rabbit hole. If a school is the center of a poorly resourced community, those students will reflect that poverty. Poverty has enormous impact on children which has been proven time and time again. To believe that teachers can make up for that poverty and somehow change the trajectory of that child is simply that …

When the government doesn't open

Trump held 8 of the 12 federal appropriation bills hostaged. These eight were Homeland Security; Agriculture; Commerce, Justice and Science; Energy and Water Development; Financial Services and General Government; Interior and Environment; State and Foreign Operations; and Transportation and HUD.

For those who want a simple way of looking at it, here are the departments that were closed except that some federal employees were told to come to work even though they were not getting paid -

Department of the TreasuryDepartment of AgricultureHomeland Security DepartmentDepartment of the InteriorDepartment of StateDepartment of Housing and Urban DevelopmentDepartment of TransportationDepartment of CommerceDepartment of JusticeMore than 420,000 of the 800,000 furloughed had to come to work even though they were not getting paid. This included the air traffic controllers, coast guard, the FBI and border security. Even a few IRS agents were called back to work - no paycheck however. 
Democrats wi…

TANF's Long Reach

This is about one of the worst laws signed by President Clinton - the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), which dramatically cut cash benefits to the poor and limited cash benefits to five years. States could choose to adopt this portion of the law - to restrict poor families from receiving additional benefits when they have additional children. 14 states currently adopt this rule: Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. How does it work? In Massachusetts, a single parent with two children receives $578in TANF benefits each month. But if a second child is born while the family is already receiving TANF, that child is ineligible, and the family receives $100 less, for a grant of $478. 22 states originally adopted the cap and so far, 8 states repealed the cap, the most recent is New Jersey. 

You can imagine the comments from conservatives. "If t…

Poverty and Education

Whenever I talk about poverty, my more progressive friends get annoyed because I think it is very difficult for children in poverty to be successful in schools and my more progressive friends think that we can educate every child, no matter how poor, to a high standard.





Let's look at poverty. The official poverty definition by the Census Bureau is family money income before taxes and does not include capital gains or noncash benefits (such as public housing, Medicaid, and food stamps)." The Census Bureau chooses poverty thresholds which are the dollar amounts that determine poverty status.  In 2017, the poverty thresholds ranged from $11,756 for one senior person age 65 and older living alone to $54,550 for a family of nine people or more. There is an annual cost of living adjustment but not a geographic adjustment.  Not a lot of money. America has one of the highest rates of poverty for children in the developed world. According to OECD, America ranks 17th out of the 19 OEC…

Recognizing the Power of Tribalism

I live in Charlottesville. Last year on a Friday night, I witnessed three hundred, young, white, angry men march with tiki torches through the grounds of the University of Virginia. Undeterred, these young men shouted Nazi slogans, surrounded the Jefferson statute, and proceeded to beat students and faculty who were brave enough to tell them to go home.

     The next day these hundreds of young men armed with sticks, shields, and masks descended onto a small park (Lee Park) near the Downtown Mall to protest the city's decision to move General Robert E. Lee's statute. Shouting the same Nazi slogans as the evening before (their favorite was "Jews will not replace us"), these angry young men were accompanied by armed militia who were older with serious armament. (In case you didn't know by now, Virginia is an "open-carry" state which means I can walk into Kroger's and see a shopper with a rifle.)

     That Saturday, as I watched the protest grow m…