Eric Holder and the Justice Departments recommendation that a monitor be installed to oversee the NYPD is a bad idea that fails to reflect the reality that the NYPD under Ray Kelly is one of the best run police departments in the country. Although no department of this large size will exist without problems and legitimate criticism on a variety of matters, the NYPD has done an amazing job of making New York City one of the safest big cities in America. A federal monitor runs the risk of interfering in policy matters that are best made on a local level.
I thought that State Senator Marty Golden, whom I serve as chief of staff, summed up the views of many New Yorkers with a short statement he issued in response:
I can think of no more significant way to disrupt the hard work the NYPD has done to keep our streets safe than this proposal. We have a chain of command in the NYPD and a system in place to investigate the actions taken by police officers if they violate the law. Having the Justice Department install someone to look over their shoulders will do nothing to increase how safe our city is, and will act as a deterrent on our police force to effectively do their jobs.
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The Mayors proposals to harden the citys defenses against future storms is innovative, detailed and thoughtful. It is also very expensive. The projected cost is approximately $20 billion dollars with the prospects of escalation very likely. And the project is far from full proof with a certain acceptance that some areas can never be adequately protected understood.
That being said there is a need to move forward at least with all the planning and protections in high risk areas such as the Rockaways, Gerritsen Beach, Manhattan Beach, Coney Island and Staten Islands South Shore. With few exceptions in these communities where buy outs are the preferred recommendation because properties are in swampy/ or low lying areas that cannot be protected most New Yorkers have or will soon return to their homes. Between the threat of future storms and the costs of rebuilding and protecting your property including sky rocking insurance premiums few homeowners will feel comfortable until these big scale resilience projects are in place.
I doubt New York City will every become the North American equivalent of Holland, but the concept of living with the oceans and rising tides is certain to become part of all future city planning.
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Governor Cuomos economic policies which now seem to be focused on placing casinos in parts of the state that are least likely to be sustainable at a profit and to create 100% tax free zones that will likely create an economic wasteland beyond their borders are meeting with a great deal of skepticism.
With these types of polices for the future and New Yorks current poor business environment as a result of high taxes, expenses and out of control workers comps costs, it is no wonder the State of Texas is running advertisements urging New York Business to relocate. I can think of a bunch of reasons including the availability of talent, extensive higher education opportunities, generally better healthcare and other quality of life incentives that could cause a company to want to remain in New York. That being said the State of New York needs to stop coming up with gimmicks and put in place across the board, statewide changes in its economic policies if it wishes to effectively end states encroaching on New York business.