councilman Anthony Como about becoming the next commissioner of the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA).
Como takes a relatively calm, even lawyerly, approach to such political possibilities. A recent news article explained how Como was promised the position and how the Bloomberg administration has dragged its feet in confirming him to the post. The suggestion was that the mayor promised Como this post in order to solidify his Republican support in Queens.
These appointments take time. Como told me, “As of two weeks ago, everything seemed fine, and they were going ahead with their background checks.” Como doesn’t seem to think anyone has used him or misled him, nor does he seem to be impatient about the situation.
The problem, however, is that some Republicans have taken that column and spread it around as a way to show how City Hall is once again shortchanging the city GOP. Those Republicans are doing Como no favors by doing that. It makes Como look as though he is behind the frustration, and he is not. As is usually the case in politics today, a person’s supporters or surrogates are often more emotionally involved in these things that the appointee himself.
But the frustration that these groups have toward government is not without reason. Even with Republican mayors being elected four times in a row, there are seldom any significant posts filled with party members. Some insiders say that there are simply not enough GOPers qualified for those posts. That is complete nonsense. But Republicans are not enough in number anymore to carry the political weight that might go with getting appointed.
Como was not offered this post because the mayor wanted the endorsement of the Queens Republican Party. The mayor can entice the Queens County GOP with plenty of other things if he wanted to do so. Anthony Como would need to be a much more widely known figure in Queens politics to become the political bone for which the party gets thrown. He is known, but to think that a post for Como is enough to appease the entire Queens GOP just does not seem to jive.
That said, I have followed Como’s campaigns and his short tenure in the City Council. He has a strong interest in housing issues, and in that respect, he might be good fit for this post.
City Comptroller’s Office Analyzes Unemployment
Comptroller William Thompson’s office recently released new information about how unemployment in the city is hitting different demographics of our population. According to the study, “unemployed Hispanic New Yorkers increased by nearly 24,000, and white New Yorkers who are unemployed
increased by more than 25,000 as compared to the first quarter of 2009. However, the number of African-American New Yorkers who were unemployed decreased in a quarter-over-quarter comparison.”
The recession has hit our city hard, and even if a few groups are seemingly not hit as hard, they are clearly all feeling the economic pain. The study goes on to explain that almost 130,000 New Yorkers
have been unemployed for more than 27 weeks, or six months, illustrating the long-term damage the recession is having on New Yorkers.
These are only numbers until it hits us personally. But you do not need to be unemployed to see the economic damage. In Ozone Park, you can see some of the tell-tale signs of economic shakiness. 99 Cent stores are popping up where real thriving businesses once stood. You can see check cashing facilities on Jamaica Avenue – another bad sign. Free medical clinics, check cashing businesses, and 99 Cent stores are signs of financial trouble in a neighborhood.
Thompson’s study suggests that “we can expect the unemployment rate to continue to rise even as jobs begin to appear because the number of people who are seeking work will rise along with those jobs.” True - but people will also retire at some rate as well.
Last year, Thompson’s office offered a forecast of how many jobs could be lost in the city due to the recession. The Wall Street crisis hurts the city most. Even though we like to focus on small business growth, the real tax revenue for the city comes from Wall Street. But if what we are seeing in some of our neighborhoods holds true, we know that when jobs return, they need to be good jobs that provide real income, not 99 Cent jobs.
Stanley Kaplan, Test Prep Pioneer - RIP
Stanley Kaplan, the pioneer of test prep died last week at the age of
a.) 90 b.) 85 c.) an even number between 60 and 80 d.)not enough information