Henry J. Stern is the founder and president of New York Civic.
Thursday, October 3rd, 2002

When writing about public affairs, it is very difficult to tell people how bad some situations are. That is because we live under a form of government that we basically like, that provides citizens with a great deal of freedom, and is a lot better than most other systems around the world.

There are, however, dark corners in our public institutions. One of the most shameful, the Brooklyn judiciary, was re-exposed in a Daily News editorial yesterday, which you are encouraged to click on to. If you don’t have the time to read it now at work, print it out and catch up with it when it is convenient for you.

Henry J. Stern is the founder and president of New York Civic.
Sunday, September 22nd, 2002
Today is the first day of autumn.  September is a month of fresh starts, the return from summer vacations, the beginning of the academic year, the early Jewish New Year, the welcome onset of decent weather after a hot, muggy summer.
City government has been relatively quiescent as well, except for the turnover at the Board of Education, a phrase that will linger even though the board is defunct.  The new chancellor is lodged at the old Tweed courthouse, a symbol of municipal waste and corruption. I wrote about him on August 12.

Henry J. Stern is the founder and president of New York Civic.
Friday, September 6th, 2002
The withdrawal of Andrew Cuomo from the race for the Democratic nomination for Governor is most unusual.  Normally, elections are decided at the polls, by the voters.   This election appears to have been decided by the polls, which indicated a widening lead for State Comptroller Carl McCall.
This is an unsatisfying and undemocratic way for a political campaign to end.  It is the equivalent of the manager of a baseball team coming out in the seventh inning and saying he does not want to play any more, because the other team is too far ahead.  That is a childish thing to do.  The fans are entitled to a complete game, the players on either side should have the full chance to do their best, and what about ninth-inning rallies.

Henry J. Stern is the founder and president of New York Civic.
Tuesday, August 27th, 2002
The city spends about $400 million a year to build and maintain a
system of more than 1,700 parks and playgrounds. In the last 25 years,
the Central Park Conservancy has raised and spent more than $250
million to keep and restore Central Park.

The parks are free for anyone to enjoy. They are not free, however, to
corporations that want to occupy public space to promote their
products or services. People who use the parks to sell goods or to
raise funds have been required to help defray the costs of maintaining
the parks according to guidelines adopted and published by the Parks

Henry J. Stern is the founder and president of New York Civic.
Monday, August 12th, 2002
Back when I was a kid, the first day of school always brought a certain excitement.  A new teacher, some new classmates, the nip of September in the air, and the end of hanging around the house and beating up your siblings.  Also, on opening day, you didn’t owe any homework assignments, book reports, or lab experiments.  Figuratively as well as literally, you start school with a clean slate.

This year we have a brand-new Schools Chancellor, Joel Klein.  He has a 1940’s name, post-Joseph but pre-Jason.  He went to a neighborhood high school, William Cullen Bryant in Queens, not an elite school like Science, Stuyvesant or Brooklyn Tech.  Forty years ago, you could do that.  From there it was Columbia College, magna, Harvard Law School, magna and law review editor, a distinguished career in public service and private practice, including a clerkship for the wise and moderate Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell.  Everything Klein has done professionally has been top-drawer.  And now he is about to take a job which, with the exception of Frank Macchiarola, has diminished everyone who has held it; if not in their own eyes, then in the eyes of the public.

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