Saturday, June 11, 2005

The Legislature Deconstructed, The Schools Questioned,

Subject: We Could Do Better
Date: 6/10/2005 8:03:34 PM Eastern Daylight Time
Sent from the Internet (Details)

The Legislature Deconstructed, The Schools Questioned, Today's Politics Skewered, and a Tragic Death in Mexico.

By Henry J. Stern
June 10, 2005

Today is the tenth anniversary of the opening of the movie Pocahontas in Central Park. It was the first park event for which the city received $1 million from Disney. The film was shown on giant screens arranged, facing inward, along the borders of the Great Lawn. It was permissible only because, at that time, in 1995, much of the the Great Lawn was a dustbowl, the grass withered, the earth cracked and Turtle Pond steeped in sludge.

We also felt that it was important to show that Central Park, was a safe place for a hundred thousand people to gather on an evening in June. The city was recovering from the period when two thousand people were murdered each year, and although the turndown began several years before that, the public had not fully perceived the improvement.

Numerous references to newspaper stories about the city are provided by Robert Hardt, political editor of New York 1, who compiles political itch, and by Gotham Gazette, a project of the Citizens Union Foundation. New York Civic is more of a boutique, specializing in areas of government activity which we believe to be in particular need of reform. Our goal is to encourage honesty, efficiency and fairness, and to discourage those whose conduct in office fails to meet high standards.

There are two columns in today's New York Sun that we believe deserve a wider audience. You can read them at your leisure over the weekend.

New York State's inability to transact business is excoriated by John P. Avlon, in "INCOMPETENT ALBANY GOES INTERNATIONAL". He focuses on the defeat of the West Side Stadium, which he calls the result of arrogance, incompetence, possible corruption, inefficiency and dysfunctionality. However you feel about the merits of the stadium, it is evident from years of dismal experience that Albany is a horror show.

In another column, "SHORTCUT CLASSICS IN CITY SCHOOLS," Andrew Wolf writes about the takeover of New York City schools by a postmodern ideology which he sees as destructive to learning. He says that children are not encouraged to read books, but must limit themselves to small sections. Wolf's writing is vivid, his descriptions are specific, and his conclusions are frightening. It would be valuable to read contrary views expressed by those in authority. The educrats' strategy, however, appears to be to avoid discussing the questions that critics raise. Say it ain't so, Joel.

Fortunately, New York Civic is not the only voice crying in the wilderness about the state of politics today, we have linked to a column written by Mike Schenkler, publisher of the Queens Tribune, a chain of weeklies serving neighborhoods in Queens County. The significance of the article is that distaste for the system is not confined to the towers of Manhattan. There are others who are indignant at the money-powered circus in which our elected officials perform. We assume that most of our readers share that distaste. If you do not, let us hear from you, by e-mail to

Just to show that, however we complain, things are better here than in other places, we forward this brief Associated Press article which was published on pA25 of today's Newsday. The title is distressing: "NEW COP CHIEF KILLED IN MEXICO", but the story is even sadder than that. You should read it.

Henry J. Stern
New York Civic
520 Eighth Avenue
22nd Floor
New York, NY 10018
(212) 564-4441
(212) 564-5588 (fax)

1 comment:

Mary said...

RE- school children's reading material

I'm convinced the gov't wants a whole generation of little Brown Shirts. They got rid of civics in HS and Liberal Arts in colleges. Now they dumb down reading to what is needed to pass a test.

If you get rid of critical thinking you have kids who will seek 'opportunity' in the military or become corrections officers without thinking of the trap they have fallen into themselves.

The proof of this is the resistance of the mayor to spend the court ordered dollars on public schools. Instead he criminally tags those funds for general spending -- effectively stealing from our school kids. These are the dollars our own Robt. Jackson won in the courts on behalf of our kids.