Friday, October 30, 2009

NY1 scandal: Give me a break because I am a 'high-profile journalist,' Dominic Carter begged judge

BY Jill Colvin, Katie Nelson and Corky Siemaszko

Friday, October 30th 2009, 4:00 AM

Dominic Carter with his wife Marilyn at Ramapo Justice Center.
Schwartz for News
Dominic Carter with his wife Marilyn at Ramapo Justice Center.

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NY1 anchorman scandal

NY1 political anchor Dominic Carter is accused of abusing his wife, but has denied all charges and called them “a big misunderstanding.” Do you believe him?






Desperate to bury a career-damaging wife-beating charge, TV newsman Dominic Carter begged a judge to cut him a break because he was a "high-profile journalist" with lots of big-wheel pals.

"I've appeared on the cover of The New York Times and TV Guide," Carter said in a Dec. 11 court appearance in Rockland County that was released Thursday. "I covered the state attorney general and the chief judge of the court."

The New York 1 political anchor also claimed he was friends with former chief judge Judith Kaye and Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau. He punctuated his pleading by insisting over and over, "This is not fair."

If "my political enemies" find out about the charges, Carter warned, "it will end up in the Daily News."

Justice Arnold Etelson put the newsman in his place. "Don't start dropping names," he said. "You know better than that."

The justice also told Carter that "if there's no repetition" of wife-beating, "it's going to go away in a year."

Unfortunately for Carter, the damning accusation roared back Thursday.

Carter was knocked off the air and placed on "indefinite leave of absence" by NY1 just days before the hard-fought mayoral election he had been covering.

"Dominic will not be appearing on New York 1," said the cable channel's general manager, Steve Paulus.

Carter said he understands the decision.

"You can't have a journalist on the air with a cloud of controversy over their head. They had no choice," he said.

Carter had the hammer dropped on him the same day his wife, Marilyn, returned to court and said she lied when she claimed her husband attacked her last October.

With his job on the line, Carter tried pleading again - this time for a favorable ruling.

"In the court of public opinion, if I leave here without an opinion, my career is over," he said.

Again, Etelson told Carter no and ordered the lawyers to submit papers by Nov. 19.

Carter, 45, left the court with his wife.

"I am sticking by him with this," said Marilyn Carter, 52.

The ugly accusation surfaced at a tricky time for Carter, whose "Inside City Hall" program is a must-watch for pols and political junkies.

Carter's contract is up in a month, sources told The News.

Former NY1 co-anchor Davidson Goldin came to his friend's defense.

"I sat inches from Dominic for years, and I never had any reason to think of him as anything but a truly decent guy," he said.

Carter is charged with third-degree assault for attacking his wife on Oct. 22, 2008, and could get up to a year in jail if convicted. He told reporters the incident was "a big misunderstanding" and insisted, "I would never strike my wife."

Marilyn Carter complained her "husband's character is being assassinated."

But in court papers, she - at first - tarred her husband as a wife beater, claiming that "while sitting on the couch the suspect attacked her by punching her about the face area several times and grabbed her by the throat."

A month later, Marilyn Carter recanted.

That led to the Dec. 11 hearing where Carter asked Etelson to bury any record of his wife's charge.

Marilyn Carter now claims she was attacked by a day laborer she picked up on Route 59 near their home - but doesn't know his name.

"You don't ask a laborer his name," she said. "You ask a laborer to work."

Asked why she lied and told a dispatcher Carter had beaten her up, she replied, "I was angry with him."

Prosecutors played a 911 tape on which Marilyn Carter could be heard identifying her assailant as "Dominic Carter."

Marilyn Carter told the court she loved her husband, but also admitted that he called her a "dumb, stupid, project bitch."

Adding to Carter's woes, his angry brother-in-law accused the newsman of fathering two children out of wedlock with a former high school sweetheart.

Marilyn Carter "wanted a divorce for adultery," said Larry Stevens, 62, a retired cop who lives in Queens.

Carter denied it.

"There is no high school sweetheart; there are no other children," he said.

Carter's wife said she and her brother have been fighting over money and Manhattan real estate - not her marriage.

csiemaszko@nydailynews.com

With Sarah Armaghan, Nicholas Hirshon, Elizabeth Benjamin and Tanyanika Samuels

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Kin makes shocking disclosure as Carte's abuse trial gets under way

By LIZ SADLER and DAN MANGAN

Last Updated: 2:23 PM, October 29, 2009

(FP note: It seemsthat the two of them are alike}.


See full size imageSee full size image
NY1 political anchor Dominic Carter’s brother-in-law today said Carter has physically and verbally abused his wife for years – and while married fathered two children out of wedlock with his high school sweetheart.

"It been going on for over 20 years, physical abuse, verbal abuse. It’s been kind of messed up for years," said Larry Stevens, 62, a retired police officer whose sister, Marilyn, is married to Carter.

"It’s been an ongoing thing, Marilyn covered it up for many years, and as her kids got older they started complaining about it," Stevens said at his Queens residence "I’ve seen her with a black eye . . . everyone knew what was going on."

Stevens spoke to reporters hours after The Post revealed that Carter, 46, was arrested last year for assaulting Marilyn, a case that is going to trial in a local Rockland County court today. Several other police reports described cops going to the Carters’ Pomona, NY, residence in response to domestic disputes between the couple, who today denied he was physically abusive.

Dominic Carter denied the accusations.

"I will be exhonorated. Domestic violence is a serious issue that me and my wife do not take likely. I was not home at time. I was never taken into custody. I was never questioned."

However, the Rockland County Sheriff's Department and Town of Ramapo Police said that an order of protection was issued against Dominic at the request of Marilyn Carter in March 2007, and that that order expried three months later. The sheriff's department said that the order was served on Dominick in Rockland Family Court.

Marilyn, when asked about her brother's comments, said, "It’s disgusting what he’s doing. He picked up the paper this morning and saw an opportunity to attack me."

"Larry is striking back because I was taking him back to court over property in Harlem that was left to me and my siblings by our parents."

"I have not spoken to him in years. He's making false accusations to get back at me."

MORE: CARTER DENIES ASSAULT ON WIFE

Stevens said both of them are not telling the truth about Dominic’s conduct.

"H was a nice guy at first, but he just got, I don’t know, with fame and money, maybe it got worse," Steven said.

"They lived with my mother for many years in Harlem, so my mother was a witness to the abuse," Steven said. "And she tried to talk Marilyn into leaving, but she wouldn’t leave."

"I tried to get Marilyn to get a divorce and she wouldn’t leave him," he said. "We offered financial help and everything else to leave."

Stevens said that he and another sister of Marilyn’s have not talked to Marilyn for several years.

"Me and her older sister was getting on her about getting a divorce many years ago. And because of the marriage, she didn’t want to get a divorce, and she wanted to break ties with us."

Stevens said that he aware that Dominic, while married to Marilyn, fathered two children by his high-school sweetheart – a son and a daughter.

"There’s another family," Stevens said.

Stevens said that the son of that relationship was named Dominic Jr. – the same name of the son Marilyn Carter had by Dominic.

Marilyn also has a daughter by Dominic.

Stevens, when asked what Marilyn thought about her husband having a second family, said, "I don’t think she was OK with it but she stayed in that relationship"

A woman who knew the Carters when they lived in Harlem said that when she first met Marilyn years ago, "She was beautiful, a really happy girl -- she lived here with her family."

"Then she got married, she lost a lot of weight, got real puny," said the former neighbor, Ruth Brown, 80. "She didn't look good. She liked someone who was being abused."

"She got real unhappy. I discussed it with my daughter and a neighbor. We all thought she was such a lovely girl and when she got married she lost so much weight and lost her vitality. We knew something just wasn't right," Brown said.


Hot-headed NY1 political anchor Dominic Carter is due in court today after being accused by his wife of punching, choking and kicking her in their suburban home, The Post has learned.

Cops were called to the Carters' Rockland County house four times in the last two years for domestic disputes, police records show.

The most violent incident -- in which Carter, 46, was arrested for assault -- occurred Oct. 22, 2008.

That night, Marilyn told cops, Dominic twice punched her in the face, "causing a swollen bottom lip," and grabbed her around her throat, "causing scratches and minor bleeding from behind her left ear," police records show.

HUSBAND & STRIFE: NY1's Dominic Carter, with wife Marilyn, allegedly beat her at their Rockland home (inset).
Naswnyc.org
HUSBAND & STRIFE: NY1's Dominic Carter, with wife Marilyn, allegedly beat her at their Rockland home (inset).

Dominic also repeatedly punched her in the right upper arm and "kicked her in her lower right shin, causing a small cut with minor bleeding," the records said.

Marilyn Carter, 52, in recent days moved out of the couple's Pomona home, sources said. They also said Dominic Carter is scheduled to appear today in Rockland County Family Court.

The domestic incidents came just after the anchor published a book, "No Momma's Boy," which revealed physical and sexual abuse he suffered as a young boy in The Bronx at the hands of his schizophrenic mother, who tried to strangle him as an infant.

Neither Carter nor his wife responded to calls seeking comment.

NY1 General Manager Steve Paulus said, "This is a domestic matter involving one of our employees and it's our policy not to comment."

Hours after The Post's inquiries, Carter was noticeably absent from his seat hosting "Inside City Hall" last night.

Carter, who moderated the Oct. 13 mayoral debate between Mayor Bloomberg and Comptroller Bill Thompson, joined NY1 when Time Warner launched the channel in 1992.

Since then, he has interviewed virtually every big-name New York politician and made "Inside City Hall" must-see TV for local political junkies.

In 1997, he was told to take a few days off after getting into a shoving match with an editor.

Carter married Marilyn in 1985 after graduating from SUNY Cortland, where they had secretly dated while he was a student and she was an administrator at the school, he wrote in his book. They have two children.

In 2007, their home life became increasingly rocky, and began drawing the attention of Ramapo town police, who patrol Pomona.

On March 14, 2007, the Carters' daughter, Courtney, then 19, called 911 after her parents had an argument, a police report says.

"Dominic fled the scene prior to [police officers'] arrival," according to the report.

Marilyn told cops that she and Dominic had "a verbal dispute" earlier in the day, and that it began again after she returned to the home after leaving for a while.

"Marilyn states Dominic became agitated and began yelling and cursing at her," said the report.

No one was injured in that case, and no arrests were made.

Nearly a year later, on March 8, 2008, Ramapo cops again were called to the Carter residence.

"Marilyn reports that her husband . . . has been out of the house for a couple of days, and tonight, he took the kids to the movies and they came back and they had a verbal argument and she wants him to leave," police wrote.

"She was concerned due to the fact that he has gotten physical in the past," the report said. Police said Dominic agreed to leave the house to avoid further dispute.

But the next day, cops again were called to the Carter home -- this time by Dominic.

The newsman, in a written statement for police, said Marilyn "refused to open the door to the house to me."

He wrote that "my wife lied to the officers [and] said I hit her" during the call of the prior day.

Marilyn then "left the scene and advised she will be staying at a friend's house until future time. Mr. Carter advised he will seek a divorce," the police report said.

Additional reporting by Perry Chiaramonte and Candace Amos

dan.mangan@nypost.com

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Guilty Plea Expected By Ex-Bloomberg City TV Exec


1

A former top exec at the city's television station is expected to plead guilty this afternoon to looting some $60,000 in ad revenues due the city. It's hardly the biggest ripoff by a municipal employee, but what makes Trevor Scotland's appearance today a 'matter of interest' - as the Manhattan U.S. attorney's office is terming it -- is whether prosecutors indicate that Scotland is cooperating in an ongoing probe of activities at the station.

Court records show that assistant U.S. attorney Brent S. Wible wrote to federal Judge Paul Crotty on October 19 seeking a one-week delay in a scheduled court appearance that day for Scotland. The delay was in "expectation that the defendant will enter a guilty plea," wrote Wible.

The Voice detailed in August how the head of the scandal-scarred agency, a former campaign aide to Mayor Bloomberg named Arick Wierson, was forced out of his job last spring after a city Department of Investigation probe turned up widespread mismanagement. Scotland, the former director of development and operations, told investigators that he was able to get away with his theft because Wierson and other top execs were absent much of the time. Wierson, the $150,000 a year director of the station whose wife worked at Bloomberg LP's television arm, allowed Scotland to sign his name to documents if he wasn't around.

Part of what kept Wierson and other NYC TV aides so occupied, the Voice reported, was work on their own private movie, a documentary called "Back Door Channels" about the 1979 Camp David peace accords in which wealthy businessman Leon Charney - who hosts an interview show on the station - played a leading role.

Before the scandal hit, Scotland and Wierson regularly appeared with Mayor Bloomberg who hailed their station as an example of his administration's innovative approach to communications.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Women’s City Club Calls on NY Senate to Oust Monserrate


October 26, 2000
http://www.cronicaviva.com.pe/images/stories/2009/crimen/hiram_novia150.jpg

Senator’s conduct and misdemeanor assault conviction violate public trust

NEW YORK – The Women’s City Club of New York called on the New York State Senate Friday to oust State Sen. Hiram Monserrate due to his misdemeanor conviction of third-degree assault against his companion.

In a letter sent Friday to Senate leadership, the New York City delegation, and members of the special committee of inquiry formed to investigate Monserrate’s conduct, WCC President Ruth Acker and Vice President for Public Policy Barbara Zucker wrote, “We are deeply troubled by the actions of State Senator Hiram Monserrate and his conviction of misdemeanor assault charges involving domestic violence. We believe that his actions violate the public trust place in him. We urge the New York State Senate to remove Senator Monserrate from office.”

As an organization that promotes good government and women’s rights, the WCC adds its voice to a growing chorus of organizations and elected officials condemning Monserrate’s conduct and demanding his removal from office.

CONTACT: Heidi Overbeck 212-353-8070 x200

'Bloomberg Town'

Here's the third and final ad in the three-spot, $500,000 independent expenditure anti-Bloomberg campaign being run by CWA Local 1180.

This ad is like "Star Wars" meets "Being John Malkovich". It envisions New York City in 2021 as not only still under Bloomberg's rule, but wholly subsumed by Bloomberg. In short, it has become...Bloomberg Town.

(No matter that the mayor has repeatedly tried to shoot down speculation that he will try to stick around for a fourth term if he's successful at winning a third, insisting he'll be too old by then - 71 - to run for office).

This ad is scheduled to his the airwaves tonight. It just so happens to come on the same day the mayor delivered a speech in which he envisioned the city in 2013 after another four years under his control.

(Naturally, it will be greener, safer and have an even better public education system).

Scott Levenson, who spearheaded the "NYC is Not for Sale" campaign for Local 1180, said the release of this ad on the day of Bloomberg's vision speech is "somewhat coincidental," adding: "It's coincidental that I got done with the ad, but releasing it today is an opportunity I didn't want to miss."

Levenson repeated the Thompson campaign's denial that his firm, The Advance Group, is working for both the comptroller and CWA. He said the $690 paid to the firm by Thompson was actually for primary palm cards that featured both Councilwoman Inez Dickens and the comptroller.

"We billed Inez for the palm cards and she billed him for his share," Levenson said.


Bloombergtown from Elizabeth Benjamin on Vimeo.

Friday, October 9, 2009

A NEW TALE OF TWO CITIES



Thinking Big: New York and London


New York/London—Comparable, Complementary, Competitive

By Daniel Rose


Current discussions of New York and London focus primarily on who can seduce from whom the lucrative fees from hedge funds, derivatives or Initial Public Offerings that enrich individuals and fill municipal coffers. The underlying assumption, perhaps mistaken, is that the halcyon days of 2002-2007 will soon return, that the financial services industry will once again be the “cash cow” of yesterday, and that attention should focus on topics like support for electronic trading, or on increasing available electrical supply.

London’s financial services sector is, of course, of great importance both to the City itself and to the U.K., employing over one million people (nearly half of whom work in London) and accounting for eleven per cent of the U.K.’s total income tax and fifteen per cent of its corporate tax revenues. In the U.S., financial services represent eight per cent of our GDP and more than five per cent of all U.S. jobs. Obviously it is in each nation’s interest for its financial sector to thrive.

Today, however, our problems are more complex than just those of the financial community. We face a slow and difficult economic recovery dominated by financial deleveraging and short-term deflationary risks, by massive public and private debt, high unemployment, frightened consumers and an aging labor force. Lack of trust—in government, financial institutions and civic leaders—is widespread.

The gross volume of financial transactions, the profits from the services provided and the numbers of those employed in the financial world are apt to be lower in the future than in the past. The worldwide eastward shift of global wealth and the surge of competitive financial centers in Singapore and Shanghai, and those nearer home like Dublin and Luxembourg and non-EU regulated Geneva, Zurich and Monaco present growing challenges. Hong Kong, Bermuda, Paris and Dubai also seek larger pieces of the financial pie.

In such a climate, steps that strengthen the financial services industry and also help maintain leadership standing in a globalized world are called for.

New York and London, both high cost-of-living cities, share problems—public safety and education, effective mass transit, appropriate middle class housing, sustainable development, improved air quality, new “green” energy sources, etc.—and solutions to these problems would benefit from continuing joint examination and review.

Like loving siblings who share values but eye each other competitively, we can agree to compete in some areas, cooperate in others and, above all, to learn from the other’s experiences.

First we should face our joint basic challenge: to be world-leading global cities in the 21st century. These cities are widely agreed to be centers that:

1) Attract, develop and nurture the human capital that generates economic value from ideas;

2) Have the physical and social infrastructure that supports the solid middle class that performs the work of society and an innovative, creative class that spawns new industries and modernizes old ones, that originates new products, new services and new ways of doing things;

3) Serve as both the repository and incubator of world class cultural achievement. (Ideally, these cities should also be safe, healthful, fun to live in and have a low cost-of-living; but Utopia awaits another incarnation.)

Attracting, nurturing and retaining the “best and the brightest” in all fields—financial services among them—requires a context of many components. For a rich society, the easiest component should be the physical, yet New York is the world’s only major city without effective mass transit to its airports; and Heathrow (already at 99% of capacity) is considered among the least efficient airports in Europe.

Education is an area in which New York and London should be pre-eminent, yet New York’s public elementary school system is generally considered poor, and London does not take full advantage of the superb universities on its doorstep.

Housing is an area in which a rich nation should be able to keep its major city well-supplied. In practice, the crucial middle class is seeping out of New York because of the cost and shortage of middle income housing, and London is only marginally better.

Although the problems are similar, each city must address them in its own way. Greater London’s newly-appointed Chief Economist, Bridget Rosewall, points out that, “London’s taxes go straight to the National Exchequer (the U.K.’s treasury department) and less than 10% is raised directly by the mayor. Money comes back to subsidize transport, economic development and so on, but only by negotiation with central government departments.”

New York’s mayor must deal with a difficult City Council and a dysfunctional New York State legislature whose antics would be suitable for Gilbert and Sullivan comedy if the economic results were not so painful. A classic example is the repeal of New York City’s lucrative and badly-needed commuter tax, which reimbursed the City for expenses related to urban workers living (and taxed) in the suburbs. That the repeal movement was led by a New York City-based State legislator to help the re-election campaign of upstaters defies logic. “Was it weakness of intellect, birdie, I cried,” or another reason? Londoners who recall Britain’s ancient “rotten boroughs” will understand what flows from the 98% re-election rate of New York State legislators.

London and New York are great international centers whose well being is of huge importance to their inhabitants, their respective regions, their respective nations and the entire civilized world. Let us explore the ways in which they are comparable, complementary and competitive, and how they can learn from each other.

I Comparables

At this moment of economic trauma, London and New York are each blessed with a mayor fully conscious of the short term, intermediate and long term economic challenges. Economics, “the science of the allocation of scarce resources,” is the key to how their respective administrations will be remembered. Each administration must consume less and invest more, think less “today” and more “tomorrow.”

Mayor Boris Johnson’s London Plan and Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s PlaNYC are major efforts to plan for emerging needs two decades ahead.

Each city has a population of eight million (London a bit less, New York a bit more) and each is expected to add a million in the next 20 years. The impact on housing, energy, water supply, waste disposal and infrastructure will be profound—difficult to implement and challenging to finance.

Each has over one third of its population foreign born. London, with 40%, thinks of itself as cosmopolitan; New York, with 36%, thinks of itself as an American city with many foreign born who are becoming American. Helping immigrants to enter the mainstream as quickly and effectively as possible is a continuing challenge. (Half the students in New York’s elite public high schools—Stuyvesant and Bronx High School of Science—are now Asians.)

Each has a theater district with over twelve million tickets sold annually. Broadway specializes in expensive, blockbuster musicals (which make their way to London), while the West End, in addition to imports, features smaller offerings often flowing from a subsidized National Theatre. An increasing number of plays travel from London to New York, since a production costs four to five times as much to launch on Broadway as on the West End. A growing “off Broadway” reflects the need to cater to lower budget audiences.

Each has wonderful museums of modern art. New York’s MOMA, with a fine permanent collection, attracts 2.7 million visitors annually, many of them tourists. London’s Tate Modern, with imaginative shows, attracts 3.9 million, many of them locals.

In the three F’s (film, fashion and food) each is a world leader. New York’s film activity has been significantly greater but London’s is rising rapidly; the fashion palm goes to New York; but food is important in both. Star chefs are now major celebrities on both sides of the Atlantic. In London, “name” chefs charge high prices in smaller restaurants; New York stars charge somewhat less and make it up in volume in larger settings. (In both cities, great chefs today serve dazzling original creations, but some of us miss the dowdy old Hotel Connaught, with its excellent traditional Grill, or New York’s Careme-inspired Le Pavillon.)

Billionaires are attracted to both cities. Before 2008, New York had 71, largely American, while London had 36, largely foreign.

Each city boasts fine art galleries and auction houses. New York has been pre-eminent but London has made great strides in the past decade, and it is too early to forecast the full impact of the current downturn.

Both cities have outstanding museums, opera houses, concert halls, athletic stadiums, great parks and libraries which attract the creative class, as well as tourists.

“Climate change” threatens to become a real-world problem for both cities, which Londoners recognize but most New Yorkers do not. For older New Yorkers, the term “ecology” refers to vanishing Bengal tigers and snow leopards, and the term “flood plain” refers to New Orleans. Younger New Yorkers are more alive to the problem.

London seeks to reduce its carbon emissions by 60 per cent by 2025. Most New Yorkers are not sure what carbon emissions are.

The world’s leading financial institutions have offices in both cities. London’s top income tax rate is now 50%, as is Manhattan’s total of federal, state and local charges; Switzerland, Singapore and Hong Kong have rates half as much, and in Dubai (where few want to live) the rate is zero.

London has twice the percentage of its population engaged in manufacturing than New York does, but both are low compared to other cities. New York’s energy costs (60% higher than the national average) are a factor. Manufacturing wages are higher than wages in health care and personal services, which are growing in both cities.

As a general rule, provision of infrastructure should precede economic demand, while provision of office space and highest quality housing should follow economic demand. Vacant offices and unsold condos help no one.

Economic diversification is crucial, all agree; its implementation merits highest priority for both cities. History has many stories of “one company towns” or “one industry cities” that came to grief, and the reliance that both London and New York place on financial services is unhealthy.


II What Each Can Learn From the Other

In some ways, of course, “we are what we are.” New York prides itself on its fierce energy, a sense of “now-ness” and openness to all possibilities, London on its appreciation of “high culture” and history and its openness to foreign influence. And, of course, London is its nation’s capital, while New York is not even capital of its State.

Some of my older British friends believe the introduction of “American breakfast meetings” to London was an act of barbarism. Some of my younger American friends cannot understand why their London counterparts consider vacations sacrosanct even when business “emergencies” arise. New York audiences regard “standing ovations” as mandatory; Londoners feel most are undeserved. Broadway audiences are sober at curtain time; West End theaters have bars.

London and New York can both learn from Singapore’s public toilets, which are the world’s best, and from the bicycle provisions in many world-class cities.

More importantly:

New York crime-fighting strategies under Mayors Rudy Giuliani and Mike Bloomberg, implemented by their Police Commissioners Bill Bratton and Ray Kelly, have proved their validity beyond question. Murders here are down from 2,200 in 1990 to some 500 this year and even graffiti has disappeared. These tactics, if introduced to London, could dampen that city’s soaring crime rate.

An American equivalent of the Financial Services Authority, England’s sole regulator of financial services, should be considered.

London’s new Forensic Audit Panel, to review critically municipal expenses and operational efficiencies, is an excellent step New York can take, too.

London’s sophisticated traffic controls could be applied in New York, just as London’s varied use of its waterfront has stimulated New York thinking.

London has exorbitant taxi fares (for better taxis) and an Underground system that stops at midnight. New York has an excessively litigious business climate and onerous post 9/11 restrictions on talented immigrants. London’s “congestion pricing” has stimulated debate in New York; and London’s competitive bidding for municipal bus services would work well in New York.

Effective private, non-profit entities such as the Central Park Conservancy ($70 million annual budget), the Prospect Park Alliance and Friends of the High Line have been a boon to New York and could be replicated. (The time has come for Britain to realize the importance of a philanthropic, non-profit sector, especially when the government is broke. This will require a change in public consciousness, but it is long overdue. Boris Johnson’s new Mayor’s Fund for London is a promising start.)

Government subsidized operations like the National Theatre run against the American grain (as our na├»ve discussions of national health care reveal), but they merit consideration. Much of off-Broadway’s best work is supported by non-profit groups.

“Jane Jacobs thinking” and “Robert Moses thinking”—maintaining the fabric and character of a city on the one hand while providing necessary infrastructure on the other—are both necessary. In New York today the excessive power of “community” and “single issue” groups working against the general public interest often stymie important university, hospital and other expansion. The defeat of the immensely important Westway underground highway still rankles.

London, Warsaw, Dresden and other cities rebuilt wonderfully after WWII. After 9/11, New York’s model could have been Pericles’ rebuilding of the Acropolis, instead of our currently planned embarrassment.

PlaNYC, the Bloomberg administration’s vision of New York in 2030, is imaginative and far-ranging. What the city really needs, however, is a comprehensive reconsideration of its out-dated zoning concepts (floor area ratios, air rights transfers, etc.) to stimulate the kind of development, especially in housing, New York needs and can have.

The failure of the U.S. Embassy in London to pay its large and overdue congestion charges is a national embarrassment.

Terrorist threats are always with us. The New York Police Department’s intelligence and counter-terrorism unit, called “the gold standard” by other U.S. police departments, should be emulated. Britain’s ubiquitous closed-circuit television cameras seem destined to be applied here as well.

Continuing self-examination and examination of the experience of others should be ongoing exercises.

III Joint Challenges

Each city should focus on its regional, as well as its metropolitan, problems. New or improved subway, bus, commuter rail, light rail and ferry projects are needed, especially for dense areas with inadequate mass transit, high poverty levels and low auto ownership.

New York’s population density is twice London’s, and 55% of New Yorkers use public transportation vs. 37% of Londoners. London’s Tube costs three times what New York’s subway does. New York’s air conditioned subway cars are cooler in summer than London’s, but air conditioning is scheduled for the Tube in 2010.

Each city must demand vastly greater efficiency from its public sector, to assure better services and lower—not higher—taxes. “Doing more with less” would be an excellent motto.

Each city must press its national government for appropriate taxation and financial regulation practices that achieve legitimate public goals but do not strangle the financial sector to the benefit of foreign markets.

New York’s powerful public sector unions must be brought back into the real world, and their off-the-scale pension and health benefits and overtime payments should reflect the practices of the federal government and the other states (which also have 40-hour work weeks rather than New York’s 35-hour week).

Defined Contribution pension plans should replace Defined Benefit pension plans for all new government employees, and 401(k)’s should be encouraged, as they are for everyone else.

Offshore tax avoidance by rich Britons and Americans should be faced frankly.

Both cities face governance issues, but New York State’s chaotic conditions are of mythic proportions.

Calls for a constitutional convention to reform New York State government have come from former governors Mario Cuomo and George Pataki and former mayor Rudy Giuliani, among others.

Substantial cuts in State spending, wage freezes for all public employees, caps on local property taxes, term limits for elected State officials, non-partisan political redistricting, major legal tort reform and re-thinking of the operations of the state’s autonomous public authorities like the M.T.A. call desperately for open discussion and review.

Governor Paterson should be encouraged to submit without delay legislation for an early convention.
IV Financial Services

Recent studies by McKinsey and others detail the steps London and New York must take to improve their competitive positions in regard to each other and to the rest of the world.

Commissioned respectively by Mayors Boris Johnson and Mike Bloomberg, these studies spell out the micro and macro steps needed; and informed, involved citizens of each city should enthusiastically support their constructive suggestions.

Lowering New York’s strangling taxes (which, per capita, are roughly double those of America’s other large cities) is mandatory if the city is to thrive. The cutting of public expenditures which must accompany such tax cuts requires a degree of political courage not normally apparent in New York.

Conclusion

Neither London nor New York can rest on its laurels or assume that the past will automatically be reflected in the future. Each must vigorously capitalize on its strengths, address its weaknesses and “run scared.” And each must restore public trust in the character and competence of public leadership.

Difficult trade-offs (Heathrow’s third runway vs. environmental impacts, New York’s current public services vs. the need to cut expenditures, etc.) must be presented to the public frankly and clearly in order to gain public support for painful but necessary choices. Everyone loves Santa Claus (Father Christmas) but we shouldn't lose Scrooge’s email address.

The encouragement of small and medium-size business enterprises and the creation of “start-ups” are crucial. Financial services are important, but they are but one of many components of a diverse economy and vibrant society in a globalized world.

That London and New York will each retain a pre-eminent international role seems certain; but, as Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., one of America’s wisest jurists noted, “The mode by which the inevitable comes to pass is called effort.”

An aroused citizenry in each city must make that effort.



Talks by Daniel Rose can be found on www.danielrose.org

Saturday, October 3, 2009

MARTINEZ SIDELINED


Dear Readers:

I am presently in the hospital recuperating from a short illness. Although it has been an unpleasant stay, I have found some progressives amongst the staff. This has made the time more tolerable.
I will continue the blog from my hospital bed. Thanks to all of you for you support and good wishes.

Rafael Martinez
Editor "Your Free Press"