Showing posts with label Mayor. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mayor. Show all posts

June 6, 2019

Alabama Mayor Calls For Killing Gay People

Carbon Hill Mayor Mark ChambersImage copyright

Image captionMayor Mark Chambers called for the killing of LGBT people

The mayor of an Alabama town reportedly called for "killing out" gay people in a since-deleted Facebook comment. 
Mark Chambers lumped "homosexuals" and "transvestites" together with "baby killers" and "socialists" in the post, according to TV station WBRC. 
The Carbon Hill mayor reportedly maintained his words had been taken out of context, before apologizing. 
A gay rights group has demanded his resignation. The mayor could not immediately be reached for comment. 
According to WBRC, Mr. Chambers posted on Facebook a graphic that read all in capital letters: "We live in a society where homosexuals lecture us on morals, transvestites lecture us on human biology, baby killers lecture us on human rights and socialists lecture us on economics!" 
The mayor reportedly commented on the post: "The only way to change it would be to kill the problem out. I know it's bad to say but without [sic] killing them out there's no way to fix it."
The comment prompted calls for the mayor to step down, including from the Alabama branch of the Human Rights Campaign. 
The group called Mr. Chambers' comments "horrifying, unconscionable and unacceptable". 
"LGBTQ people face disproportionate levels of violence and harassment in their daily lives - a fact that is especially true in Alabama. Mayor Chambers must be held to account." 
Mr. Chambers has given no signal that he will step down as mayor of Carbon Hill, a town of fewer than 2,000 people, 150 miles (240km) north of the state capital, Montgomery. 
When WBRC contacted Mr. Chambers, he initially denied writing the comment, according to the Birmingham, Alabama-based news station. 
But in a subsequent call, he reportedly told WBRC he had made the comment public by mistake and intended to send it privately to a friend. 
During his phone call with the TV station, Mr. Chambers also reportedly mentioned immigrants in the US, calling them "ungrateful" and arguing they were taking over the country. 
US media report that Mr. Chambers posted an apology to his Facebook page, writing: "Although I believe my comment was taken out of context and was not targeting the LGBTQ community, I know that it was wrong to say anyone should be killed [sic]."
Mr. Chambers has been mayor of Carbon Hill since 2014. 
According to the town website, he ran for office because Carbon Hill "was not going in a positive direction".

November 19, 2018

Di Blasio Fires Police Investigations Chief (He Got Weinstein) Over Abuse of Power

                               Image result for Chief Mark Peters,

Mayor Bill de Blasio on Friday took the extraordinary step of firing his embattled investigations commissioner, Mark G. Peters, the culmination of a fierce rivalry between the two powerful men.
It was a rare and consequential action by a mayor to remove an investigations commissioner: The position is understood to come with a large degree of independence that allows impartial scrutiny of all areas of government, including the executive branch.
But the relationship between Mr. Peters and the mayor had severely deteriorated over time, and the last straw was an independent investigator’s report that found that Mr. Peters had abused his powerand mistreated underlings, and said that he was “cavalier with the truth.”
Mr. de Blasio will name Margaret Garnett, the state’s executive deputy attorney general for criminal justice and a former federal prosecutor, to replace Mr. Peters at the Department of Investigation. Her appointment must be approved by the City Council.
Mr. Peters had produced numerous investigative reports that exposed significant failings in city agencies that were highly embarrassing to Mr. de Blasio, including lapses in performing lead paint inspections at the New York City Housing Authority, and the lifting of deed restrictions on a Lower East Side nursing home that permitted its sale to a developer of luxury condominiums.
Mr. de Blasio on Friday said those investigations did not influence his decision.
“D.O.I. is meant to be critical of city agencies,” Mr. de Blasio said at a news conference, before delineating the “mistakes and abuses of power” detailed in the independent report on Mr. Peters. “The D.O.I. commissioner is supposed to be the most pristine of all.”
Mr. de Blasio said that he was not influenced by any continuing investigations. Mr. Peters had begun an investigation into whether City Hall sought to influence a review of the educational quality at some Jewish religious schools.
He also said, however, that he regretted hiring Mr. Peters in the first place.
Mr. Peters said in a brief statement that he would issue a fuller written response to his firing in coming days. He said that under his direction the department “exposed corruption and misconduct and forced serious systematic reforms in multiple agencies.”
But in an email to his staff sent about two hours after he was fired, Mr. Peters suggested that the mayor fired him to prevent him from carrying out investigations.
He wrote that he did not want his staff to take the firing as a defeat, “but rather as proof that the excellent work you do makes a difference — indeed, so much of a difference that “it appears the mayor felt compelled to act.”
The City Charter says the mayor has the power to remove the investigation commissioner, as long as he gives an accounting of his reasons for the firing and allows the commissioner “an opportunity of making a public explanation.”
The mayor prepared a one-page written statement that cited the independent investigator’s conclusions, including that Mr. Peters had conducted himself “in a manner indicating a lack of concern for following the law,” had made “deliberately misleading statements” in testimony before the City Council, and had engaged in “intimidating and abusive behavior.”
Margaret GarnettCreditNYC Mayor’s Office
Margaret GarnettCreditNYC Mayor’s Office

It said Mr. Peters’s removal would take effect after three business days, a period ending Wednesday that is apparently intended to allow time for Mr. Peters to make the public explanation mentioned in the City Charter.
Mr. Peters fell far and hard. A longtime friend of the mayor, he served as the treasurer for Mr. de Blasio’s 2013 mayoral campaign. When Mr. de Blasio appointed him as the commissioner of the Department of Investigation, the choice was greeted with skepticism, with critics asking whether someone so close to the mayor would be independent enough to pursue investigations into the administration.
Mr. Peters ultimately quieted those critics with a series of hard-nosed reports, such as the exposure of failings at the housing authority and a recent report highly critical of the Police Department’s sex crimes unit.
Mr. de Blasio often took issue with the findings and defended agency heads who came under Mr. Peters’s scrutiny.
But Mr. Peters finally overreached: Earlier this year, he staged a takeover of an independent office that conducts investigations of the school system. When the head of the office, Anastasia C. Coleman, resisted the takeover, Mr. Peters fired her.
She then filed a whistle-blower complaint, which led to the appointment of an independent investigator: James G. McGovern, a former federal prosecutor.
Mr. de Blasio had considered firing Mr. Peters at the time but decided against it; city officials seemed leery of the possible backlash over firing an investigator who had taken a critical look at the mayor’s governance.
The McGovern report, which was completed in early October, finally gave the mayor the impetus and evidence to force Mr. Peters out.
The City Council was a strong ally of Mr. Peters in his clashes with the mayor’s office, especially under the current Council speaker, Corey Johnson. But the whistle-blower report undermined that support, including the allegations that Mr. Peters had misled the Council.
Mr. Johnson provided a statement on Friday that credited Mr. Peters for exposing “significant issues” at the housing authority and in other agencies, but said “the McGovern report raised questions about his ability to continue in his role.”
But the chairman of the Council’s committee on oversight and investigations, Ritchie Torres, praised Mr. Peters for his independence, adding that he “strongly disagreed” with the firing.
Mr. de Blasio, in a statement released after the dismissal, thanked Mr. Peters for his service but saved his praise for Ms. Garnett.
“Margaret has spent decades protecting the public’s interest, prosecuting criminals both inside and outside of government,” he said.

September 14, 2018

Carmen YulÍn Cruz Small in Size But A Giant as San Juan Mayor in PR and Savior of Lives

 Meet Carmen Yulin Ortiz "El Pitirre" de San Juan  El Pitirre is a bird that never stops flying, singing, nest building

San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz’s debut on the world stage was unforgettable. “We are dying here,” Cruz said in a Sep­t. 29, 2017, press con­fer­ence after Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico and a slow, inadequate response from the U.S. federal government compounded the disaster. “So I am done being po­lite.”
Cruz, now 55, was bold and defiant. But it was far from the first time. Five years before she found herself standing up to President Donald Trump, Cruz, whose remarkable journey to power is the subject of this week’s episode of Breaking Big, airing at 8:30 p.m. EST Friday on PBS, was challenging another giant — one of Puerto Rico’s most established political bosses — in order to win her current job. 
Puerto Rican society, including its political life, remains defined by a machismo culture that can make it daunting for women to pursue their dreams and ambitions. As Cruz tells OZY’s editor-in-chief Carlos Watson, “If a man raises his voice in the Congress, he’s being vocal. You are being hysterical.” 
And in San Juan, the embodiment of that machismo culture for years was its mayor, Jorge Santini, a bombastic political strongman with slicked-back hair who ruled over the island’s capital for 12 years and had a reputation for wasting public money on extravagant projects. Cruz, a graduate of universities like Boston University and Carnegie Mellon, returned to Puerto Rico in the early 1990s to start her own career in politics, working under Sila María Calderón, Santini’s predecessor as mayor of San Juan and the first woman to become governor of Puerto Rico. Cruz ran for office herself in 2008, winning a seat in the Puerto Rico House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives.
Four years later, the candidate from Cruz’s Popular Democratic Party had to drop his challenge to Santini when he became embroiled in a controversy over domestic abuse. The party was scrambling to find a last-minute replacement — but nobody wanted to challenge the powerful Santini, already serving his third term in office. Well, almost nobody. “So I’m saying, ‘Pick me. Pick me. I want to do it,’” says Cruz. “Well, my party had meetings and meetings and was like, ‘Anybody but Yulín.’ And finally, there was nobody left.”  So Cruz got her shot. Nobody thought she had a chance against Santini. “I went to talk to her and said, ‘Listen, are you sure you want to do this? There’s no possibility that you’re going to win this election,’” says Charlie Hernandez, an attorney and the former majority leader of the island’s House of Representatives. “And she said, ‘I know I can win, and I will win.’” Cruz’s campaign director, Cesar Miranda, says she started with just two people on her campaign and zero money. But after watching Cruz in action, it was clear to Miranda and other political veterans that they had a candidate who would not require much polishing. “We said, ‘Let’s not touch this woman. She’s a wildflower. You don’t touch wildflowers.’”
Santini, known as “the Hawk,” mocked his opponent’s gender and experience on the trail, addressing her not by her name but as “esa señora” (“that woman”). Running on a platform of inclusion and change — and building a coalition of students, women and LGBTQ voters — the under-5-foot-tall Cruz billed herself as “La Pitirre,” a tiny but aggressive bird (the gray kingbird) that is the subject of a well-known saying on the island: A cada guaraguao le llega su pitirre (“Every hawk has its pitirre”). Wearing a red bandanna like a political revolutionary, Cruz took to the streets, launching a grassroots campaign dedicated to job creation, transparency, the needs of the poor and connecting with everyday Puerto Ricans. “She can convince. She can talk to people,” says Hernandez. “She is a political monster because she can find a way to do things, to convince the people.” 
And on Nov. 6, 2012, Cruz pulled off a David-beats-Goliath victory over the once-mighty Santini, beating him by around 6,000 votes. “The girl triumphed over the hawk” read San Juan’s El Nuevo Día the following day. “Our machismo culture in Puerto Rico resists a strong-willed, smart woman like [Cruz]; of course they do,” says Hernandez. “I’m still amazed at the way she did it.”
The day of her inauguration, Cruz ditched her red bandanna for an all-white outfit meant to send the message that with her at the helm, the residents of San Juan would be getting a clean slate. But, as San Juan realized when Hurricane Maria hit, a fresh start does not mean that Cruz fights any less hard than the men who have traditionally ruled the island. “I fight like a man,” says La Pitirre herself. “And I’m telling you this in the machismo context: I’ll give it to you as hard as you give it to me.”

May 22, 2018

NYC Mayor Wants The Police to Stop Making Arrests For Smoking Pot

 This is Mike Bloomberg, Ex-Mayor of NYC. Pot might be the only thing the ex-mayor and the new mayor agree on

NEW YORK — Mayor Bill de Blasio says he wants the New York Police Department to stop arresting people for smoking pot in public and instead hand out summonses.
In a statement released Sunday, the Democratic mayor says the city must plan for the eventual reality of marijuana legalization and the "public safety, health and financial consequences involved."
De Blasio says he still has his concerns, but that he must now focus on crafting the regulatory framework before legalization.
The mayor's remarks came less than a week after he directed the police department to overhaul its marijuana enforcement policies in the next 30 days.
The mayor said in a statement:
With marijuana legalization likely to occur in our state in the near future, it is critical our city plans for the public safety, health, and financial consequences involved. While I still have real concerns we must work through, it isn’t difficult to see where this is headed and any responsible policymaker must prepare for that eventuality. My focus now will be helping to craft the critical regulatory framework that must come before legalization is realized.  

July 8, 2017

GOP Mayoral Candidate Gets Slapped by NY Conservatives for Saying Sorry for Opposing Gay Marriage

I Would Like to say Nicole Malliotakis,  a GOP'er from Saten Island  has no chance in hell of winning an election for mayor for NYC but since Trump became president I don't speak like that anymore. True that NY City is had many Republican Mayors but never a real conservative one. Mayor Giulliani was the closest to that but at least he was seen as a law and order candidate at a time New York had high crime figures. He was a prosecutor that never did anything qietly and was even given credit for controlling the mafia, which is still very alive and rich as ever, they just learn to do things more quietly.

 This is one of the ways she fought Gay Marriaage


GOP mayoral candidate Nicole Malliotakis got hit with friendly fire from the right flank Wednesday.
State Conservative Party chairman Mike Long said he was blindsided by the Staten Island assemblywoman’s statement that she regretted her six-year-old vote against gay marriage in the state Assembly.
“This is the slap in the face to the leaders of the Conservative Party,” Long fumed, noting Malliotakis first made the comments during a Post interview.
“I had to read about this in the New York Post? I’m taken aback by it. The party leaders should have been notified up front.”
Malliotakis told The Post about her “evolved” position Monday — about six weeks after the city’s Conservative leaders endorsed her candidacy.
“When did she change her mind? Last week?” Long said. “I certainly don’t agree with her. She’s sort of created a credibility problem for herself.”
Malliotakis became the presumptive GOP nominee for mayor last week after her chief primary rival, real estate mogul Paul Massey, dropped out of the race.

Malliotakis, in the statement to The Post, said, “Any legislator has votes that they regret, and just like President Barack Obama, my views on same-sex marriage have evolved.”
“I voted against the marriage-equality bill in 2011 because I thought the bill would have the unintended consequences of lawsuits against religious institutions that did not want to perform the marriages,” she explained.
“Since 2011, I have attended two weddings of close friends and support the law as is. In recent years I have voted to expand the rights of same sex couples by voting for: The follow up legislation that amended the estates, powers and trusts law to reflect the provisions of the marriage equality act. Adoption rights for same sex couples. Expanding eligibility for those who receive awards under crime victims’ compensation to include domestic partners. A ban on sexual orientation conversion therapy upon patients under 18 years of age.”
The Conservative Party opposed the same-sex marriage law, which passed both houses of the state Legislature and was signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2011.
Malliotakis was a first-term assemblywoman representing Staten Island and southern Brooklyn at the time she cast a no vote. The US Supreme Court has since upheld the legality of gay nuptials.
The Conservative Party made opposition to same-sex marriage a “line in the sand” issue and pulled the endorsement of Republicans who voted for the law.
But Long admits that gay marriage is now accepted law and is a “non-issue” in the mayoral race. He said Malliotakis could have said gay marriage is the law of the land without running away from her vote.
Despite the blow-up, he said the Conservative Party will stand by its support of Malliotakis.

February 18, 2016

The Gentrified Mayor “Affordable Housing” {{for people able to afford Housing}}


 Why is the City Giving away money in the way to right to build to developers by changing zoning laws so they can build residential in commercial zones? Let me just say that this administration who promised so much in a way of change in the way we deal with the NewYorkers which can no longer afford to live here has taken the play book of the previous administration of mayor Bloomberg. 

The key word here is “affordable” which is use to confuse and bait and switch the city council and voters. Why? Simple. When they say “affordable’ one has to ask for whom? Because it doesn’t mean what we think it means anymore in this city. They will answer with a jargon of percentages which you would have to get a calculator and the city code books. Like people sitting at this particular meeting who would not take that for an answer and they interrupted and yelled out “ What’s affordable when I can’t afford affordable? 

I wrote ‘bait and switch' because the affordable is for people that don’t need it, so the they can build and they (developers) make a bundle and the city(this admin) will make money without spending money because the affordable already can afford and they will be given more incentive to stay here by making their rents even lower. Wait here…Am I saying that this is a game to placate some people and there is no plan to make new units affordable for the working poor and the lower middle class? Nope! Aren’t those the ones that voted for this mayor, yes! and this is not even a matter of leaving your city because if you have a job here you are going to spend the money to move where? You are stuck. Some people that were paying $600 a few years a go now have to pay $1200-1700 a month in the span of a few years. To some it even caught them off guard. Their rent was going up 7, 9% 
a year and all of a sudden they are paying double and more in 4-5 yrs. 

You go ahead and read what De Blasio’s administration is saying and you will also understand that this mayor is doing what Bloomberg was doing. Giving away zoning and tax incentives so people can better afford what they can afford. The others, which is why there is a crisis will have to loose everything or never be able to have a savings account with money that stays there and doesn’t go to pay the rent. There are also other people no one talks about and that is those that give up and loose their apartments and now they will be called homeless because unless someone has mental problems as a homeless person, the homeless is a constituency that is being made and is growing by the lack of affordability in housing in this city. This is like when a person has an infection on the small toe. Nothing is done and gangrenes develops, before you know it,  you have to cut the whole leg or you have a dead person. Why get to that point?
Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen had just begun testifying at a City Council zoning subcommittee hearing yesterday morning when a barrage of catcalls erupted. “De Blasio’s plan ain’t affordable to me!” the hecklers shouted, and about a dozen were ejected from the Council chambers. 
The hearing marked the beginning of the 50 days the Council has to vote on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s “mandatory inclusionary housing” program. When several city neighborhoods are rezoned, the plan would allow for developers to build taller buildings and require them to rent 25% to 30% of the apartments for less than market rate.
Seven neighborhoods are being considered: East New York in Brooklyn, the Jerome Avenue region of the Bronx, Bay Street near the ferry in Staten Island, Inwood and East Harlem in Manhattan, and Flushing West and Long Island City in Queens.
The Council would have three options for these neighborhoods. In one, they would require 25% of the apartments to rent for an average of about $1,165 a month, affordable to people making 60% of the metropolitan area’s median income (AMI)—which amounts to $36,300 for an individual and $51,780 for a family of four.
In the second, 30% would rent for an average of $1,550, for people making 80% of AMI, about $62,000 for a family of three. The third would be available in “emerging markets”—a.k.a. gentrifying neighborhoods outside the southern half of Manhattan—and would slate 30% for households at 120% of AMI. These would rent for about $2,300.
This system is a “monumental achievement,” said Land Use Committee Chair David Greenfield (D-Brooklyn), who is sponsoring the proposal in the Council. It would be the first time New York developers would be required to include affordable housing, and would cover builders seeking individual zoning variances.
Critics say the plan will yield a grossly inadequate amount of housing for people who make less than $40,000 a year—the people who need it most, and the majority of those in the neighborhoods currently slated for rezoning. 
The city’s median household income, a bit more than $50,000, is well below the metropolitan AMI (which includes Rockland County, Westchester County and Putnam County), so people who can afford “moderate income” housing are actually in its upper half.
Affordable housing advocates packed the hearing (William Alatriste for the New York City Council)
Councilmember Inez Barron, who represents East New York, held up a pie chart showing the difference: 53% of current residents make less than $35,000, but only 13% of the plan’s housing would be slated for them. More than half of it would go to households making more than $75,000, although only 14% of residents make that much.
Councilmember Antonio Reynoso said that in Bushwick, 40% of the residents make less than $31,000 a year, but only 7% of the housing built under the plan as is would go to people at that income level.
“Why aren’t we reaching the very incomes that reflect our communities?” subcommittee chair Donovan Richards (D-Queens) asked the trio of Deputy Mayor Glen, city housing commissioner Vicki Been, and City Planning Commission chair Carl Weisbrod. “We have a program that does not reach our populations.”
“Is it enough? Of course not,” Glen responded. But it is the best the city can do under the economic and legal circumstances, the administration argues. “This is the strongest, most rigorous program anywhere in the U.S.,” Glen told reporters at a roundtable discussion hosted by City Hall on Monday. “It’s not ‘Are you going to provide affordable housing?’ It’s, ‘You will provide affordable housing.’” 
“The goal is to harness the private market,” Been told the reporters, and Glen used a similar phrase before the Council. If the percentage of lower-cost apartments is set too high or rents are set too low, the administration argues, developers simply won’t build, and “30 percent of zero is zero.” If the affordability requirements are “too onerous,” the program might face a property-rights challenge under the Constitution’s “takings clause.”
Some rents will be lower because the program’s affordability levels are averages, Been said. In this scenario, instead of all the affordable apartments in a building renting for $1,165, some might go for $775 and others for $1,550.
There are other subsidy programs the city can use to help poorer renters, she added, and getting the private market to build housing for more middle-class people frees up city funds for them. According to Weisbrod, in East New York, some sites will be “100% affordable housing,” with some rents as low as $450.
Gentrification is not going to stop, they say, as long as market pressures remain the same. In the “emerging markets” where landlords can get $2,300 a month rent, the program will "'lock in' the affordability of some units for moderate-income households," Been told the Council. "Don’t make the perfect the enemy of the good."
Glen added, "We are in a true housing crisis—and we can’t just sit by and do nothing as market pressures change the city."
But gentrification is built into the plan, says Tom Waters, housing policy analyst at the Community Service Society. For any affordable housing to be built, he explains, developers will have to be able to get rents of $2,300 and more in new buildings—and if the market in a neighborhood will support that, landlords of older buildings will try to get higher rents too.
The administration has pledged $76 million in legal assistance for tenants facing eviction. That won’t help tenants in unregulated apartments, however, because they have no legal right to renew their leases. And the state’s weakened rent-stabilization laws allow large increases on vacant apartments.
“I’m still hearing the same arguments as in the previous administration,” Public Advocate Letitia James said angrily. The Bloomberg administration’s rezoning of downtown Brooklyn promised affordable housing, she said, but “where are all the low-income residents in downtown Brooklyn? They’re in North Carolina, South Carolina. I get letters from them saying they couldn’t afford to stay."
The de Blasio administration’s Housing New York plan promises 80,000 new affordable apartments and another 120,000 “preserved.” Only 20% of those will go to people who make less than $40,000, however. Of the slightly more than 40,000 units the administration claims credit for building or preserving in the past two years, about 15% went to people making less than $39,000. More went to people making between $93,000 and $128,000. Slightly less than 2,000 went to people making less than $23,000.
Two alternative proposals come from the Real Affordability for All coalition, which advocates requiring 50% of housing built to be affordable for people at or below the neighborhood median income, and the Association for Neighborhood Housing Development, which wants 15% reserved for people making less than $23,000, and a “deep affordability” option in which 30% of apartments would go to people with those incomes. 
Failing to provide housing that cheap in Bushwick, said Jose Lopez of Make the Road New York, is “telling more than half the neighborhood you should find somewhere else to live.”
Building housing for people that poor, Glen said, is impossible without subsidies such as the federal Section 8 program, which has been curtailed to the point where the city closed it to new applicants in 2009.
“It’s expensive,” says Alexa Sewell, head of the Settlement Housing Fund, a nonprofit developer. A hypothetical 12-story building in the Bronx aimed at people making 30% to 90% of AMI would cost $55 million to build, she says, so it would need $20 million in subsidies up front. Costs per apartment are about $667 a month, so if tenants can’t afford that much rent, they need subsidies too.
Ultimately, the politics of this plan resemble those of Obamacare: A dispute between the Democratic center and the left, in which both sides agree on the need but disagree sharply on the means. The center relies on leveraging the market, insists that this is the only practical solution, and responds to critics with the mantra of “don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good."
The left believes that these solutions are grossly inadequate, whether they be a health-insurance policy that leaves people agonizing over whether the baby is sick enough to incur a $150 emergency-room copay, or a housing program that would leave hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers lamenting, “I don’t make enough to get into affordable housing.”
The zoning subcommittee hearing continues today. 

July 22, 2014

Mass Mayor to donate $5 to Gay orgs for each complaint she gets from antigays


The mayor of a Massachusetts city has fired back at conservative protests of her move to void a contract with a Christian college that opposes U.S. efforts to protect gay rights, vowing to donate $5 to a local gay-rights group for each complaint call she receives.
Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll last week terminated a contract that allowed Gordon College to operate Salem's town hall, after the school joined other religious organizations in appealing to the White House to exempt it from federal rules forbidding employers to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.
Complaints began coming in after an article on the issue ran on, a website owned by conservative commentator Glenn Beck's company.
"Apparently, Glenn Beck is not happy about the city's stance terminating our contract with Gordon College," Driscoll wrote in an open letter posted on her Facebook page on Wednesday.
In her post she said her office had received more than 50 complaint phone calls from people who appear to be readers of conservative blogs. She vowed to donate $5 to Salem’s North Shore Alliance of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Youth for each call she receives on the Gordon matter.
"I hope these donations, made as a direct result of the persistence of those who would deny LGBT citizens their equal rights, will help you in growing and strengthening your organization," she said.
Driscoll said the college’s stance on gay rights violated a city ordinance barring Salem from contracting with discriminatory organizations.
Gordon officials could not be reached for immediate comment on Thursday. 

May 13, 2014

A Mayor tries to change NYC being the City of Only! the Rich


“Budgets are not just a collection of numbers, they are not just an accounting document,”said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio when he revealed his FY 2015 budget last week. “They reflect fundamental values.” A municipal budget, to trot out an old chestnut, is the way a society writ large votes with its dollars.
So we should be optimistic about de Blasio’s $74 billion plan, which, as New York Magazine explains, espouses “his consistent priorities: education, housing, the homeless, and raises for municipal workers, all in service of combating income inequality.” The Times editorial board stodgily declares that “there is a lot to like in what Mr. de Blasio is proposing.” And Brent Budowsky of The Hill writes (under a headline non-ironically anointing the mayor as the “FDR of New York”), “[The budget] will be a standard for progressive experimentation and execution in the same way Roosevelt created a New Deal for America that not only survives today but also includes many brilliantly successful and popular policies, such as Social Security.” New York–area members of Congress are eagerly praising the budget, too.
Among the budget’s highlights is a $41 billion allocation, over the next ten years, to build or preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing. De Blasio says that this—”the largest, fastest” affordable-housing program ever attempted on a local level—will create around 194,000 construction jobs and 7,000 permanent jobs. The New York City Housing Authority will receive $70 million for repairs and security upgrades. An additional $14.4 million will go toward providing shelter for both homeless families and single homeless adults. Says Denise Miranda of the Urban Justice Center, “De Blasio ensures that no New Yorkers will have to choose between living in a mold-infested NYCHA apartment or being homeless.” (That any New Yorker ever did, of course, is a sad example of the city’s prior commitment to affordable housing.) And $17.75 billion will be used for settling outstanding contracts with the city’slabor unions. (In today’s antilabor climate, the fact that “union” isn’t a bad word in the de Blasio administration is a very big deal.)
De Blasio’s budget is a vital wake-up call to a city that saw gentrification and de facto segregation rise under Mayor Bloomberg’s watch, especially where housing is concerned. “Mayor de Blasio’s [housing] plan could help decelerate the seemingly irreversible social segregation that is plaguing New York,” writes Richard Eskow at the Campaign for America’s Future. “What happens if this plan isn’t carried out? Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn will increasingly become white, wealthy enclaves. Gentrification will drive lower-income families out of even the outermost boroughs. Service workers and other lower-earning workers could soon face commute times that rival those of apartheid-era South Africa. The rich cultural diversity that has been New York City’s hallmark will disappear, and the school desegregation called for in Brown v. Board of Education will become impossible to achieve.” It’s frightening indeed when New York City can see Johannesburg as a “peer” on desegregation.
In a related item, the budget calls for a twenty-five percent increase in public-library funding, further demonstrating the mayor’s commitment to providing cultural and educational opportunities across the city, and not just in its elite Midtown core.
Could we finally be leaving Mayor Bloomberg’s Gilded City behind? In the introduction to our special issue about the Gilded City last year, we quoted James Parrott, chief economist of the Fiscal Policy Institute in New York, as saying, “New York City’s government is significant enough in its breadth…that the policy tools exist and the wherewithal exists to do something at the margins to lessen inequality.” De Blasio recognizes this. He also recognizes that he serves at the pleasure of the people—all 8.3 million of them—and that his mandate encompasses all of them.
A city in which white people, who make up 37 percent of the population, but earn 51 percent of the income—and where African-Americans and Latinos, who constitute 47 percent of the population, yet take home only 34 percent of the income—keeps its fingers crossed when it calls itself “great.” So does a city that, during the Bloomberg administration, denied shelter to record numbers of homeless individuals and families. 
As De Blasio’s term unfolds and as his budget takes actual shape, the city government will work provide both real and symbolic results for the people, an upgrade from too many years of relying solely on the symbolic. To see just how potent this new brand of progressivism has become, just look at the scene from the recent sixteenth birthday party of New York’s Working Families Party—which de Blasio helped found. In a speech, honoree Cynthia Nixonannounced, “We’re at the beginning of a great progressive era in New York City… Bill de Blasio, [public advocate] Letitia James, [city council speaker] Melissa Mark-Viverito. That is a holy trinity if I ever heard of one. We’ve had so many victories lately, and I feel that if we keep working, we have so many more coming.”
It’s said that the ideas behind New Deal were invented, developed, and tested in New York City in the 1910s and ’20s before going national under FDR. Behind De Blasio and WFP’s “holy trinity,” perhaps the New New Deal can start here, too.

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