WE THE PEOPLE: Week of November 3

A hard beginning can make a good ending

The European Union settled on a plan for the Greek debt crisis andthe American economy reflected real growth. This sparked a rally onWall Street. The Occupy Wall Street protesters in Zuccotti Parkmay go home if everyone ‘s attention is diverted from greed toprosperity.

Congressmember Nydia Velázquez introduced legislation to increasejobs for economically disadvantaged residents of public housing.This could put unemployed Brooklynites back on payrolls around theborough. Congressmember Grimm should lend support for the measure.The American public is not served when the politics of division anddespair trumps the policies of change and creation.

The OWS movement is still making noise down by Wall Street. Anoverwhelming majority of financial industry professionals believethe OWS movement will change the way Wall Street is regulated andtaxed. The Dodd-Frank Act was created Wall Street needed reform.The OWS reminds people that the regulations should stay in placeuntil the relative cost to business against the benefit to thepublic is measured.

Working people know that an imbalance which favored corporationsplayed a large role in the financial crisis. Even capitalistsgrudgingly admit that capitalism unchecked leads to wealthconcentration in the hands of the few from the fruit of the laborof the many. We should remember that unchecked capitalism is a realdanger when gas drilling companies continue to hammer away atAlbany politicians for permission to endanger our watersupply.

Yelling and screaming about greed may not accomplish change but ithas directed the attention of the people to the question of how wewant government to take care of the needs of citizens and howpeople should be taxed and how tax money should be spent. The OWSmovement and the Tea Party have relevance in such adiscussion.

In New York City, a living wage movement claims to be the answerto the question of how to elevate the living conditions forworkers. A mandated higher New York City minimum wage of $10 or $12an hour may actually decrease opportunities for employment withinthe city.

If the Department of Education opened career and technicaleducation schools with programs to teach skills which command goodwages, we would not need a living wage law.

New York City CTE schools concentrate on information technology andsophisticated trades but have eliminated blue-collar programs.We need carpenters, heating and ventilation technicians, automobilemechanics and plumbers. These blue-collar careers are needed bypeople to earn a living wage.

It would be great if the current DOE CTE programs produced one BillGates, but it would be better to train 100,000 skilled and talentedcitizens so they can support themselves and their families.


The 68th Precinct is embroiled in a scandal where police officersallegedly violated the public trust and engaged in criminalactivities, including weapons smuggling for money. If theallegations are proved true, how could several officers in the 68thPrecinct engage in such criminal activity without question orsuspicion? The question must be answered by those in command beforecommunity confidence is restored.

Brian Kieran is a community activist who works for the State of NewYork and is a Democrat.

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