Saturday, December 10, 2005

The Wheel of Blame

Today’s NY Times suggests that Mayor Bloomberg is unable to complete the school construction he’s promised us. He blames this on Governor Pataki, who’s appealing the CFE verdict.

Actually, the judge said NYC could be compelled to provide a share of the settlement. Governor Pataki immediately offered to pay 60% (thereby having the city contribute the other 40), and CFE, the organization that brought the suit, suggested the city pay a more modest 25%, leaving the state with the other 75.

Why should the city pay part of this settlement? Well, the much-lamented ex-mayor Rudolph Giuliani had a curious policy—every time the state raised its comtribution to education, he had the city reduce it by an equivalent amount. In order to gain control of what's now the DOE, Bloomberg agreed to halt this policy. Nonetheless, the damage was done, and the city was expected to pay for some part of the suit. Between CFE and Pataki, there appeared to be a fair possibility of compromise.

So how much was Mayor Moneybags, who so greatly values education, willing to pony up? Not one dime. A representative suggested the city would say “No, thank you” to the suit if it were required to actually pay for any part of it. Hence, Governor Pataki’s appeal.

That speaks volumes of how much this mayor really values education. He can blame Pataki all day long for the lack of space for NYC’s children. But the mayor’s hiding the fact that NYC’s kids are simply not a priority.

If these were sports stadiums, rather than schools, being built for billionaires, rather than kids, this mayor wouldn’t have thought twice about committing hundreds of millions to construct them.
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