Tag Archives: cynthia nixon

The Board Of Elections Misdirection: The Problem Is The Upcoming State Election, Not the Recent City Primary Election

The recent New York City primary election saw the usual grousing by New York City politicians about the performance of the New York City Board of Elections, the one government agency operated specifically by New York City politicians.  

The complaints are disingenuous.  Yes the DOE initially miscalculated the ranked voting totals, but this was the first time the city had used ranked choice voting, and any time you do something new there are going to be problems the first time you do it.  Nor is ranked voting itself a problem; without it we would not know the outcome of any of the primary elections as of the day I am writing this, and party nominees would be determined by a second runoff election in the heat of late July, when even most of those who showed up the first time wouldn’t bother.  Instead, we have already had an “instant runoff” based on the voters’ second, third and fourth choices.  

In addition, you don’t have the kind of “voter suppression” in New York that you have in other states, at least not intentionally.  Thanks to additional New York City– specific reforms, moreover, there were actual city elections, with lots of choices on the ballot. Those reforms include term limits, which create open seats, public campaign financing, and ballot access reform, with fewer signatures required to run for office.   If the political/union class didn’t succeed in stopping non-partisan elections in NYC, and getting rid of most minor parties in New York State (the should have prohibited the cross-endorsement of incumbents instead)…


There also might have been a real election in November, when everyone shows up, as well.   As it is, at least for members of the Democratic Party, people may not be happy with the election winners, but at least they had a real choice and thus vote.

The real scandal of the Board of Elections is that in cases where there is an incumbent, it is part of a system intended – to an extent matched nowhere else in the U.S. – to ensure that there are no elections.   Not as long as the incumbents do what the special interests order them to do, so those interests don’t create an actual election themselves.  New York doesn’t have voter suppression; it has candidate suppression, something that turns voting into a fraud.  So don’t expect candidates for New York State Assembly, New York State Senate, and the House of Representatives to come knocking on your door in spring 2022 – unless you yourself chooses to do your civic duty as a citizen in a democracy and run for one of these offices, and somehow sneak on to the ballot (as I did in 2004). Meanwhile, the choice for Governor is shaping up to be awful.

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New York School Spending: Entitlement Feeds More Entitlement And It’s Never Enough

Over the past 25 years some types of Americans have become richer and richer, at the expense of others who have become poorer and poorer – to the point where average life expectancy is starting to fall.  One might have imagined that at some point those who have been taking more and more would conclude that enough is enough, feel obligated to do more in return, and become concerned about the circumstances of others who are less well off.  But that doesn’t seem to happen.  Not among the richest generations in U.S. history, those born from 1930 to 1957, who continue to be completely focused on increasing their own share of the take.  Not among the richest people, the top executives who sit on each other’s boards and vote each other higher and higher pay.  And who anointed themselves “the makers” and everyone else “the takers” within two years of having been bailed out by the federal government, even as “the takers” saw their standard of living plunge, and then demanded another round of tax cuts that mostly benefit themselves.

And not among New York’s unionized public employees, particularly those working in its public schools, who have become the most politically powerful – and selfish – of all self-interest groups at the state and local level here.  Power and selfishness seem to go together in part because no one dares to offend the powerful, by pointing out how much they have taken relative to everyone else, and the connection between others having less and them taking more. So they can continue to feel aggrieved, entitled, resentful, unobligated – and somehow demand even more without embarrassment.  There seems to be no end to it.  This post uses Census Bureau data to show how far it had gone, as of three years ago.

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Census Bureau Public School Finance Data: FY 1996 vs. FY 2016 for New York City, Other School Districts in NY State, and Other Areas

The Census Bureau slipped its data on public school finance out in late May.


There was no press release or PDF report, but if you click on 2016 tables at the top and then “Summary Tables,” you can find all the spreadsheets the Bureau previously released in PDF format.   Including, crucially, Table 12 (tabs on the bottom), which ranks states according to their school revenues and expenditures per $1,000 of state residents’ personal income (which adjusts for the state average cost of living and average age and the ability of state taxpayers to pay).  And Table 18, which provides per pupil revenues and expenditures for the 100 largest school districts, including the most expensive by a mile, New York City.  As in the past, I’ve downloaded and compiled more detailed data for every school district in New York State and New Jersey, the U.S. average, the averages for selected other states, and selected school districts elsewhere.  And tabulated revenues and expenditures per student by category for FY 2016 and FY 1996 — with an adjustment for the higher average wage in the high-cost of living Northeast Corridor.

I’ve been holding onto the data for a month, re-downloading and checking it against other sources, because New York City’s expenditures and staffing levels had become so extreme that I can hardly believe it.   Especially since it would be much higher today, in FY 2019.  And because Mayor Bill DeBlasio, candidate for Governor Cynthia Nixon, and a lawsuit from a group backed by the United Federation of Teachers claim that New York City school funding is inadequate, with the schools “cheated out of $billions.” How high was it?  Take a look.

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