Thursday, June 17, 2010


By Rafael Martínez Alequín

New York City must have a balanced budget by July 1st. Every day at City Hall Plaza, inside the building known as City Hall, human congestion makes it difficult to walk from the east to the west wing and back again. The corridors within City Hall are just as crowded as the Plaza outside. When lobbyists catch sight of council members passing through the police screening station, they swarm like bees to honey, in an effort to extract funding from the city budget. (note: the state budget (57 days late is due on June 28 a pray may help). This phenomenon is quite a site to behold and a splendid case study in human behavior when slush funds are no longer as accessible as before...


I have been a frequent o
bserver of the yearly cabaret act between the executive (Bloombito administration) and Speaker Quinn (known around City Hall as the sixth deputy mayor). BloomQuinn, as speaker of the City Council, surrenders herself unto the mayor's knee. When Mayor asks her to "jump", she performs a double back handspring and a series of cartwheels. Quinn is quite agile when it comes to pacifying and/or pleasing her Bloombito.

Every year at this time the executive drafts a preliminary budget where funds to city services, like libraries and legal aid, are initially cut. Day care centers, senior centers, aid to the homeless and various other social services - cut. Under the political duo of Bloomberg-Quinn the population of homeless people within all five boroughs has increased. What is the cause of this increase and why would the administration cut funding to citizens who are most vulnerable and underserved? Not so fast...before that question is answered, let's move on with the show...

By June 28, Bloomberg and Quinn - like a ventriloquist and his wooden friend - will appear under the Rotunda for a photo-op and a hand-shake announcing that they have reached a deal saving libraries, seniors centers, day care centers, homeless services, and Legal Aid. In essence, both sides will claim victory. This charade will be perpetrated on the masses despite our general knowledge that the budget was balanced on the already broken backs of the poor and working people of the City of New York. In the meantime, Council Member Deborah Rose of Staten Island should be commended for her first budget experience. See video below.

video by Rafael Martínez Alequín for YFP

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