That's Michael Bloomberg's take on the volatile behavior attendees have demonstrated at the recent meetings for the Panel for Educational Policy.
"The decorum - this is embarrassing for New York City, New York State, for America," Bloomberg said on WOR this morning. "This is not democracy, letting people yell and scream. That's not freedom of expression. That's just taking away someone else's rights."
The latest PEP meeting, where outrage was loudly expressed, was last night. The panel voted to close 12 failing schools - which comes on top of a similar meeting Tuesday to close 10 other schools.
Michael Bloomberg says the answer is to cut the $12,000 payment the city makes to retired firefighters and police officers.
"We need the governor to put it into the budget," Bloomberg said this morning on WOR. "That would save 10,000 teacher jobs right there alone."
The mayor is set to testify in Albany on Monday about the governor's proposed budget. On February 17, the mayor will deliver his preliminary budget to city lawmakers.
Michael Bloomberg has been trying to get Governor Cuomo to come out in favor of abolishing the Last In First Out rule protecting longer-serving teachers from layoffs.
Cuomo doesn't embrace it fully,saying not to "penalize seniority" but rather incorporate "objective, fair" criteria into the equation.
"I think there is a receptivity that there should be objective, fair criteria that don't penalize seniority but that also understand that there are other criteria to take into consideration. That's a conversation worth having."
From his Q&A; today:
No I don’t support Walmart opening a store. I don’t think the city should tell anybody that they can’t come here. If Walmart wants to come, that’s their business. If you want to work for them, work for them, if you want to shop there, shop there, if you don’t you don’t. We’re not here either pro or against. This city should be open to business to anyone who wants to come here.
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What should Congress do to prevent people like Jared Loughner from being able to purchase the weaponry he used? The media should have immediately turned a bright spotlight on our gun laws and then inquired into why the shootings generated so little momentum for reform. We’ve seen a little of that, but it’s been buried in the avalanche of opining about political speech.
Then House Republicans got back to work trying to dismantle healthcare reform. When Democrats were struggling to pass reform last year, we were inundated, via the media, with the sights and sounds of angry protesters. Watching the news accounts, you would have thought America was rising up in full-throated revolt. Of course, we now know that many of those protests were manufactured by conservative operatives.
With Republicans flexing their newfound majority in the House, the media had an opportunity to delve into the effect undoing health reform would have on millions of Americans who enjoy benefits they’ve never had before. Instead, the reporting was disproportionately about the kinds of words Republicans and Democrats used during floor debate. That was great news for Republicans—they could offer a sop to their base without alienating a broader swath of the electorate. Not so great for those of us who hope that newscasts will feature news. [Read the U.S. News debate: Should the healthcare law be repealed?]
And then there was the State of the Union. I think the bipartisan seating arrangement was a fine gesture, and I suspect its sponsors would suggest that it was meant to be nothing more. But the fourth estate couldn’t get enough—about which I would like to offer the following: If we have really come to the point where Congress is to be complimented for comporting itself as we would expect, say, a fifth grade classroom to do, then perhaps it is time to rethink this whole democratic experiment. Honestly. That is a low, low bar.
Cuomo takes his budget argument past the media, and releases this video, saying his financial proposal will "shake up the Albany establishment. But this is exactly what we must do."
The scape-goat in Cuomo's telling of the budget, is "Albany."
"When you pull back the curtain in Albany, you find a government working more for the special interests and the lobbyists than for the people."
He says, "Only government hasn't adjusted to the new economic reality" and "I will be attacked by these special interests."
It's an pre-emptive move against attack ads Cuomo says is coming because he's trimming the state budget.
So, just a few words on where Andrew Cuomo expects to raise money for his budget without raises taxes.
Basically, it's mostly coming from gambling.
From the "Revenue Actions" section of the governor's budget book:
$11,922,000 - an "amended fee" for people requesting Security Clearance Requests clearance checks - jumping fro $5 to $60.
$7,600,000 - a new 2 3/4 percent charge on "purses for all horse races conducted within the state."
$22,000,000 - repealing a tax benefit for "cooperative insurance companies" with profits exceeding $25 million.
$5,000,000 - automatically withholding a lottery winner's unpaid taxes.
$200,000,000 - requiring all sales tax vendors to file their taxes electronically, which will result "in increased State revenue through denied refunds." Also, require "more frequent filing from sales tax filers who have poor filing records."
$38,000,000 - granting "free game credits" on video lottery games "to induce frequent players to use paid credits [money] when their 'free play' is exhausted."
$4,000,000 - expand the number of certain instant games.
$10,000,000 - eliminate certain restrictions on where Quick Draw machines can be located.
$2,000,000 - combining video lottery games here with progressive jackpots (which grow larger until there's a winner).
$100,000,000-expand the Lottery sales force, and add things like a "Megaplier" feature on the Mega Millions game.
$55,000,000 - shorten the length of time a vendor is allowed to hold onto uncollected property or money, from 5 or 6 years, down to 3 years. Uncollected money is turned over to the state.
These actions are expected to raise $455,552,000 this year, in Cuomo's budget.
On Maddow last night, Bloomberg pressed the White House to move ahead with gun control enforcement - something the mayor says they can do without congressional approval.
In particular, the mayor wants more intel sent to the national gun registry, which could weed out drug addicts, felons and other people who should be barred from buying gun. So far, Bloomberg says not enough info is being sent to the registry.
Obama "can stand up to federal agencies, that he directs, you will send the data to this database and I want you to certify to me every six months to me that you are doing that."
He equated it to Enron, said it defied logic and warned (or perhaps, promised) that fixing it would send lobbyists "running around the hallways like their hair is on fire."
New York's new Democratic governor said he wanted to replace formulas that called for annual double-digit increases to the state's most expensive programs, with more modest rates of growth, that also, for the first time, took performance into account.
By the end of his hour-long presentation Monday, Governor Cuomo had cast himself as a transformer: changing Albany's decades-old budget habits, and repositioning the state "nationally" as an economic destination for the private sector.
E.J. McMahon, a budet expert with the business-backed Manhattan institute, said eliminating the formulas was indeed a shock to the Albany system, but the rest of Cuomo's budget was not extraordinary.
The elimination of those automatic cost increases "'just drives people here crazy. I love it," said McMahon. He said Cuomo did nothing to empower school districts to cut program costs hoisted upon them. McMahon also doubted the Medicaid Redesign Team which Cuomo empaneled — which included legislator and organizations representing health care workers and hospital operators — would come up with any drastic changes to the program.
"That crew ,on that Medicaid Redesign Team, they may hit a target of 2 billion and change — they aint going to change Medicaid," said McMahon. "All right. They're going to find a way to get through this year, you know what I mean. That group, they putting the stakeholders in a can, shaking it up and seeing what comes out is not going to alter Medicaid for all-time. What it is, is 'I'm putting a gun to their head and saying 2 billion my way or 2 billion your way.'"
"State mandates will contribute to increasing the cost of special education related services in our public schools by almost 13 percent next year. And our mandated pension costs will go up 19 percent."
Lovett and Blaine put the total hit to NYC at $700 million.
The reactions from 1199 SEIU, the union representing health care workers, and the Greater New York Hospital Association is...not supportive.
Interestingly, both are on the Medicaid Redesign Team, which Cuomo is banking on coming up with $2.8 billion in savings.
The two organizations put out a joint statement, the group said the cuts, combined with the loss of matching federal dollars, would mean New York would lose "$5.9 billion in Medicaid funding."
It would "decimate New York’s health care infrastructure, threaten access to care, and harm communities everywhere. For hospitals, nursing homes and home care workers, the cuts would trigger further reductions in care, layoffs, and outright closures."
Full statement after the jump.
UPDATE: 1199 SEIU is hosting a rally in Manhattan on February 3, to protest "the unprecedented budget crisis in Albany [that] could lead to devastating cuts in the delivery of homecare."
After getting a standing ovation, Cuomo joked that he went to his dentist for a root canal as a "welcomed" distraction from the budget, which is already raising howls from some critics for its drastic cuts in education and other programs.
Budget Director Robert Megna has called this a "transformational budget."
Via Liz Benjamin.
UPDATE: In a press release accompanying the budget proposal, there is a reference to "one new fee" that is being introduced, along with "$805 million in non-recurring actions."
UPDATE II: The new fee is a surcharge on horse racing purses, estimated to bring in about $7 million. So, if you don't bet on the ponies, you probably won't notice it.
Cuomo's budget presentation is pretty consistent with what he's been saying all along: no new taxes, no borrowing, and across-the-board cuts.
But there are parts of the budget that assume cooperation among some well-entrenched interests.
Medicaid. The budget relies on the Medicaid Redesign Team "will identify initiates to reduce state Medicaid spending by $2.85 billion for 2011-12 and by $4.6 billion in 2012-13." They'll find these savings by "modifying program requirements and limiting spending growth."
The Medicaid Redesign Team - which includes legislators and members from the health care industry and unions representing health care workers - has not yet announced their recommendations. That'll come on March 1.
Prison Consolidation. To close prisons, Cuomo is offering up to $100 million to those communities to wean them off those institutions as a form of economic development. (The New York Times earlier said Cuomo wouldn't press this issue in his budget presentation.)
While closing prisons is unpopular with local lawmakers who rely on those facilities to employ constituents, the $100 million carrot should be enticing.
And, if not, there's always the stick.
Cuomo will create a "task force by Executive Order" to make recommendations. If the recommendations are rejected by the legislature, the commissioner of Correctional Services (which is appointed by the governor) "would be empowered to implement facility closures."
"Communities affected by the closures wold receive assistance" from the governor's new Regional Economic Development Councils, with "$100 million available to help communities end their reliance on incarceration as a major source of employment."
I'm going through Cuomo's budget book now, but here are some highlights:
9,800 layoffs, in addition to attrition
$41.5 million- how much is expected to be raised from "enhanced collections from existing taxes"
$0-Aid and Incentives for Municipalities to New York City.
UPDATE: Some photographs from inside the budget book.
Carl Paladino, in Albany, keeps it entertaining.
I'm not sure what the backstory here is, but Paladino jabbing with reporters is nothing new. During the governor's campaign, he blacklisted AP reporter Beth Fouhy. Afterwards, he's called for his supporters to cancel their subscriptions to the Buffalo News, his hometown paper.
For what it's worth, the public radio reporter rebuffed in the video above, Karen DeWitt, kept her cool and avoided making any Youtube viral video moments, which, as Fred Dicker demonstrated can happen when questioning Paladino.
The tabloid announces a concerted effort to go local, and expand the map. Their main competitor, the New York Post, is unlike to chase them into side streets of El Barrio or through the Cloisters. But the push to go more local is catching on with some New York outlets.
UPDATE: Uptown bureau chief Joanne Wasserman takes to Facebok: "The New York Daily News is going uptown with a new section starting Feb. 10 - and I'm editing it! Can't wait to hear from all of you with stories about Harlem, East Harlem, Inwood and Washington Heights."
The official announcement, from the Daily News:
Beginning Thursday, February 10, residents in northern Manhattan will find local coverage of their neighborhoods in the Daily News’ Uptown News section three days a week on Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays. The Daily News is publishing this new section for the more than 515,000 residents that live in these storied neighborhoods, which are home to some of New York’s most historically promininent sites, such as the Apollo Theatre in Harlem; El Museo Del Barrio in East Harlem; the Cloisters in Inwood; New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center in Washington Heights - not to mention home to Daily News readers. JoAnne Wasserman has been named the Uptown News Bureau Chief and will oversee the production of the new borough news section.
Uptown News reporter Michael Feeney, a Harlem resident, and Pulitzer prize-winner Heidi Evans will report on area schools, crime, housing, arts and culture, local businesses and residents. The three-day a week section will also include: a weekly column by the News’ own Clem Richardson spotlighting these neighborhoods; a weekly political column by veteran reporter Frank Lombardi; and a weekly review of the best of everything in the neighborhood, from bakeries to bookstores; playgrounds to swimming pools.