Lebowitz for Mayor in 2013?

The writer Fran Lebowitz is enjoying something of a revival these days, thanks to the new Martin Scorsese documentary “Public Speaking,” which captures Ms. Lebowitz hilariously holding forth at the Waverly Inn on subjects ranging from her aversion to texting and her failed career as a cellist to her well-known anxiety-induced writer’s block.

But in a question-and-answer session after a sold-out screening at the Film Forum on Wednesday night, it was city politics that seemed to most animate the acerbic essayist.

She decried life in New York under Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, accusing him of pulling off a “coup” when he undid the term limits law in 2009, and saying she had proudly informed the mayor in person that she voted against him three times.

She seemed offended that after last year’s election Mr. Bloomberg had expressed anger over voting machine foul-ups, given his lack of interest in the voters’ will during the term limits debate, and suggested that he should never discuss voting or elections again, given his history.

And she seemed galled that New York has a mayor so rich that he doesn’t need or want to live in “a place called Gracie Mansion,” emphasis on mansion.

Growing more expansive, Ms. Lebowitz acknowledged that she was never a fan of Mayors Edward I. Koch or Rudolph W. Giuliani, either.

“You know who I think should be mayor?” Ms. Lebowitz asked the audience. “Me.”

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Morning Buzz | Heated Words Over Contract Costs

Thursday will be bright and cold, with highs just under freezing.

In a scathing critique of the Bloomberg administration’s oversight practices, New York City’s top fiscal watchdog has accused the city’s main agency for economic development of allowing a contract with a construction company to balloon by tenfold in three years to nearly $74 million, and authorizing more than $3 million in dubious payments.

The accusations, leveled against the New York City Economic Development Corporation, are detailed in an audit that is scheduled to be released on Thursday by John C. Liu, the comptroller.

The audit is the latest in an increasingly hostile battle between the agency, which has become a vital vehicle for Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s aggressive development agenda, and Mr. Liu, whose office must approve the corporation’s contract with the city every year. [NYT]


Some New York City officials contend that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s plan to alter the way teachers are evaluated would not be as revolutionary as Mr. Cuomo claims. [NYT] (Also see The Daily News.)

The Public School 22 students who sang “Over the Rainbow” to cap the 2011 Academy Awards returned to New York to find milling reporters asking about their reaction to Andy Cohen’s public description of their performance as “awful” and “horrible” on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” [NYT]


In an abrupt concession to community complaints, the Bloomberg administration said Wednesday that it would scrap a plan for a pedestrian plaza on 34th Street in Manhattan that would have banned automobile traffic on the block between Herald Square and the Empire State Building. [NYT] (Also see The New York Post, The Daily News and The Wall Street Journal, paid subscription required.)

Government & Politics

David W. Johnson, who was an aide to Gov. David A. Paterson, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to harassing a former girlfriend, capping a series of events that enveloped Mr. Paterson in scandal and derailed his bid for election last year. [NYT] (Also see The New York Post and The Wall Street Journal, paid subscription required.)

Hospital leaders have supported billions in cuts proposed by Governor Cuomo’s Medicaid redesign team, even though in the past they have proven imposing budgetary opponents. But this year, hospitals have a strong incentive to pursue the cuts: a proposal that limits malpractice cases and could save hospitals about as much money annually as that lost to the cuts. [NYT]

The City Council passed a bill on Wednesday seeking more transparency from crisis pregnancy centers that present themselves as medical clinics but that critics say offer little more than pregnancy tests and counseling intended to steer women away from abortions. [NYT] (Also see The Daily News, The New York Post and The Wall Street Journal, paid subscription required.)

People & Neighborhoods

This spring, a team of historians, geneticists, archaeologists and anthropologists will exhume the remains of the Leather Man, who wandered a 360-mile loop through Westchester and Connecticut in the mid 19th century wearing a leather suit he cobbled from old boots, becoming probably the most famous hermit to inhabit these parts. The scientists seek verifiable details of the man’s identity, which is obscured by innumerable and vastly different reports in newspapers and the Leather Man’s own unwillingness to speak. Peter Applebome tells us about the search, and what little is known about the Leather Man’s story, in the Our Towns column.

Dozens of immigrant workers and business owners showed up at a public hearing at the Flushing Public Library in Queens on Wednesday to protest plans by the mayor to overhaul Willets Point by making room for 5,500 apartments, parks, office buildings, stores, restaurants and a hotel. [NYT]

Bill Wurtzel discusses life as a jazz guitarist with Sam Roberts in the Experience Necessary column.

Housing & Economy

Philip B. Schwab, an 82-year-old demolition contractor whose work helped reshape several American cities even as rogue business practices led to indictments and federal prison, is expected to surrender on Thursday to face state tax charges. [NYT]

Alexander Wang’s store has opened in SoHo. Here is the review. [NYT]

Crime & Public Safety

As Twitter, Facebook and other forms of public electronic communication embed themselves in people’s lives, the postings, rants and messages that appear online are emerging as a new trove for the police and prosecutors to sift through after crimes. Such sites are often the first place investigators go. [NYT]

Two teenagers convicted of killing a Queens man whom they overpowered as he slept in his Lexus were sentenced on Wednesday to prison terms of at least 20 years each. [NYT]

A special grand jury in Manhattan has declined to indict a man at the center of a chaotic police shooting case in Harlem last summer in which police officers who were breaking up a block party ended up firing 46 bullets, several of them striking the man. [NYT] (Also see The Wall Street Journal, paid subscription required.)

A heavily armed man who crashed his pickup truck on Long Island and then shot an emergency medical technician who went to the accident scene before being killed by the police, appeared to be on his way to carry out a mass killing, the police said Wednesday. [NYT] (Also see The Daily News, The New York Post and The Wall Street Journal, paid subscription required.)

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CNBC doesn’t believe Delaware is the First State for business

In CNBC’s recent ranking of the top states for business Delaware came in 42nd. Is there really any reason for concern? If so, what needs to be done to make Delaware more business competitive?

CNBC scores the 50 states on 40 different measures of competitiveness grouped into ten aggregate categories. Each of the ten categories receives a different weight for determining the overall state’s score.

Of the 2,439 possible points, six categories accounted for almost all of Delaware’s lost points. Delaware lost the most points in the following four categories: cost of doing business, quality of life, the economy, and transportation and infrastructure.

The cost of doing business includes the tax burden, labor costs, rental rates, and utilities. Delaware takes a big hit because of its energy costs, and is ranked 36th among all states in this category.

The quality of life includes local attractions, crime rates, health care, and air and water quality. Delaware has a high and rising violent crime rate and poor air quality, and overall ranks 47th among all states.

The economy is measured by CNBC by diversity, economic health, and growth. Because of its concentration of employment and output in financial services and a low proportion of employment accounted for by small businesses, Delaware lags in diversity. Delaware has also been a slow growth economy for almost a decade. Delaware ranks 45th on this category.

Transportation and infrastructure are assessed by the value of goods shipped by air, land, and water, and by the availability of air travel and the quality of roads. A good deal of Delaware’s manufacturing capacity is now focused on management rather than production, and obviously Delaware does not have a major airport. The state ranks 44th on this category.

Delaware is most competitive in the category of business friendliness with a rank of 1st. Delaware is perceived to have a business friendly legal and regulatory environment. The state ranks 17th on workforce, primarily because of business’s aversion to unions.

Delaware ranks 20th on access to capital, reflecting the strides made by state government and business groups in the areas of start-up and venture capital. Delaware ranks 25th on education due to lower traditional measures of K-12 education.

So, based upon the framework used by CNBC, what areas need action to make Delaware more business competitive? There are no surprises here: lower energy costs, lower violent crime rate, increased small business diversity, improved public school student test scores, and continued focus on the factors that encourage economic growth (e.g., low taxes, individual freedom). Delaware has a relatively low tax burden, the flow of polluted air from the rest of the Northeast can’t be stopped, and how can one justify another major airport between Philadelphia and Baltimore?

Given this one study, Caesar Rodney Institute’s focus on energy competitiveness, public education, and economic growth appear to be quite appropriate.

Dr. John E. Stapleford, Director
Center for Economic Policy and Analysis
[email protected]

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‘Wisconsin!’ as a Battle Cry in Albany

ALBANY — “We are not Wisconsin,” State Senator Suzi Oppenheimer, a Democrat from Westchester County, told a packed hearing room on Tuesday.

A groundbreaking statement? Not seemingly. Even a schoolchild who learned geography from a poorly-performing teacher whom Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg wishes he could fire would probably be able to confirm that cartographical fact.

But at the Capitol this week, there has been plenty of talk about whether New York is Wisconsin. The discussion has stemmed from a proposal sought by Mr. Bloomberg and passed by the State Senate on Tuesday that would change teacher seniority rules — and that union officials and some lawmakers say would be a grave affront to the rights of organized labor.

That was Ms. Oppenheimer’s concern. At an Education Committee meeting on Tuesday and later on the Senate floor, she argued that changes to teacher seniority rules should be negotiated with teachers’ unions, not simply imposed by the Legislature.

“We cannot wipe out our civil service protections and rights,” she said. “We are, as I said earlier, not Wisconsin. I think in New York State we don’t want to destroy collective bargaining.”

She was not alone. While Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is seeking plenty of concessions from public-employee unions — including a wage freeze for state workers, changes to the state’s pension system and possibly thousands of layoffs — labor leaders seem to have drawn a line in the sand in regard Mr. Bloomberg’s effort to end what is known as “last in, first out.”

The president of the New York State A.F.L.-C.I.O., Denis M. Hughes, turned heads on Monday when he called the Senate bill “a blatant assault on the principles of collective bargaining.”

“I want to make it abundantly clear to our elected officials that they cannot use the Wisconsin model of politics here in New York,” Mr. Hughes said in a statement, “and that the New York State A.F.L.-C.I.O. will not tolerate attempts to silence the voice of working people.”

The sponsor of the Senate bill, John J. Flanagan of Suffolk County, the chairman of the Education Committee, rejected those claims on Tuesday — and all but begged lawmakers to read the text of his bill and see for themselves.

In fact, Mr. Flanagan argued that his bill — which would allow New York City to lay off teachers based on factors like performance and disciplinary records, rather than seniority — would actually strengthen collective bargaining, because the bill provides for a negotiating process over seniority rules between the city and its teachers’ union, the United Federation of Teachers.

“The bill says the city and the U.F.T. shall collectively bargain,” Mr. Flanagan said. “Not ‘may,’ not ‘it’s a good idea,’ not ‘possibly,’ not ‘probably,’ not ‘maybe’ — ‘shall.’ And to me, that is the overriding factor of importance in this bill.”

Some of the back-and-forth arguing this week has amounted to an exercise of sorts. Mr. Flanagan openly acknowledged that his bill was a starting point. The Assembly speaker, Sheldon Silver, said he would not consider it, and Governor Cuomo is planning to introduce his own legislation regarding teacher seniority. (Mr. Bloomberg has expressed concerns about it and has argued that it would not help him as he faces the prospect of laying off thousands of teachers based solely on seniority.)

But the questionable future of Mr. Flanagan’s bill has not served to deflate the unions’ posturing. After the bill passed the Senate, the statewide teachers’ union, New York State United Teachers, released a statement once again fashioning a chunk of the Midwest into a pejorative. The bill’s passage, it said, represented nothing more than “Wisconsin-style politics.”

Our political reporters, and occasional guests, offer you a peek inside Albany and City Hall. Check back every Wednesday.

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Council Speaker Criticizes Article on Cancer Group

The City Council speaker, Christine C. Quinn, sharply challenged a report in The New York Times on Wednesday that raised questions about the Council’s generous support of a program that offers free brain scans to city residents.

The Times reported that the Council had directed nearly $2 million toward the Brain Tumor Foundation since 2005, despite skepticism about the foundation’s methods from the National Institutes of Health and the American Cancer Society.

“Does every doctor in every medical institution believe that these screenings are exactly the right thing? No, they do not,” Ms. Quinn said when asked about the report at a news conference. “But let’s not forget that when the first people proposed mammograms, they were laughed out of medical society.”

She added: “I stand by this organization. I stand by the funding. I don’t stand by this article.”

Scientists have fiercely debated the effectiveness of scanning for brain tumors because of concerns that early treatment may not improve a person’s health. The National Institutes of Health has said randomized scans for brain tumors “may not be ethical.”

Ms. Quinn also took issue with the article’s contention that the Council had chosen to support the Brain Tumor Foundation at the expense of other groups.

“I don’t know what facts they are based on,” Ms. Quinn said. “There was no moment when this group was funded over that group.”

The Times article focused on the Council’s pot of discretionary money, known as earmarks, which totals about $18 million each year. In interviews, lawmakers acknowledged that by supporting the Brain Tumor Foundation, they could not give as much to other groups. The foundation is consistently one of the top recipients of earmarks from the Council.

In Ms. Quinn’s view, the article should have looked holistically at the city’s budget and noted that the Council has frequently restored financing for groups like food banks and after-school programs.

“There is no official in the city of New York that has funded more hunger relief groups than I have,” she said.

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Gold is Forever

The fluctuating economy has taken everything in its grasp. Everything from stock exchange to day to day commodities is seeing a tremendous fall. The age of deflation lowers the price of everything and makes people lose large amounts of money. However, one thing that is beyond the effect of ups and downs in economy is the priceless gold.

Gold is a rare metal and since a long time, it has been treated as the standard symbol of money. Traditionally, it was used to buy and sell commodities within a country as well as between two trading countries. Even in todays fluctuation economy gold is a survivor for many. For example, if you want some immediate cash in Tustin, then you can contact any gold dealer and they will readily provide you cash for gold Tustin.

One reason that differentiates gold from other metals is that it is accepted in whatever form it is, throughout the world. Whether you are looking for some immediate cash for gold Tustin or want to sell gold Beverly Hills, you can get full worth for your gold jewelry everywhere. If you want to sell gold today or even at a later date, you will always get money equivalent to current market rate of gold. You are never at a loss when you have gold to sell.

Immediate need of cash is not the only reason for which you can sell gold. You can also sell your old and broken jewelry, which is of no use to you anymore. These scrap jewelry can get you some good cash for gold Tustin that can be used to purchase some new fashioned jewelry.

Having some gold jewelry to sell can always work effectively during tough economic situation. It will help you get immediate cash for gold Tustin.

Author Bio-

Diamond Dan is an expert cash for gold analyst and author. Having both a professional business degree and extensive understanding of financial markets and the jewelry industry, he specializes in Cash for Gold Tustin and Sell Gold Beverly Hills.

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Services Offered by Packers and Movers Mumbai

Mumbai is one of the renowned metropolitan cities in India. The capital of Maharashtra is more famous for Bollywood industry, but the city is also offers various courses and running successfully.

One of the businesses of packers and movers is rapidly growing and booming aggressively. Mumbai is packers and movers industry offers several shifting and relocation services in the city and throughout the country, and international services as well.

Services Offered by Mumbai Packers and Movers

Packers and Movers Mumbai is renowned, reliable, experienced and totally affordable for their consumers. There are several companies offering relocation services, but packers and movers Mumbai is more reliable and make simple shifting in your lifetime. Shifting, removals and relocation is one of the toughest job in everyone’s life. When this types services offered by the movers and packers, it is just amazing experience throughout the life. They cover all the essential works related to removing, like packing, unpacking, loading, unloading, etc. Some packers and Movers like Mumbai offers own transportation for their client as per their requirement.

Movers and Packers Mumbai are experts in providing their services in Mumbai, and out of station. If you are looking relocation in other state or going to shift abroad then they will arrange cargo, ships etc to transfer your belongings. Mumbai Movers and packers dealing in the services like as residential relocation, commercial relocation, local household goods shifting, industrial goods shifting, office / shop shifting, domestic shifting, international relocation, etc.

Mumbai is considered as the commercial capital of the country, so relocation kind of things more found in the city. It is normal thing for the Mumbai people. However, the companies like shifting services is growing and gaining profits through the offered services. There are number of reputed and professional companies already running their business in the state. It is emerging as big center for packers and movers industries.

Mumbai Packers and Movers are famous for their quick and fast shifting process, so their clients are more reliable on their offered services. They are providing services in role of packing, moving, transportation, unpacking, loading, unloading, re-arranging, local shifting, international shifting, household relocation, commercial relocation, office shifting, etc.

The team of packers and movers mumbai are highly experienced and professionals. They are dedicated to their work and carry all the goods carefully. They take utmost care of belongings of their client and transfer their precious items and drop the belongings at the mentioned destination. We hope you will really and enjoy their tension free services and always be in touch for any relocation in your near future.

However, you can notice that how much these kinds of services are helpful for us, and make our relocation so simple and hassle free. Their staff of the company assists you at their level best, so that you can remember always for their suitable and reliable shifting.

Methew Gilcrist is working with http://anilpackersmovers.com. He advises consumers through her articles on Movers and Packers related issues as He is an expert Packers and Movers advisor. To know more about packers and movers mumbai, movers and packers mumbai, packers and movers in Mumbai.

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