The most misused and overused word uttered by New York politicians is “transparency.”
For example, Governors Spitzer, Cuomo and Paterson all pledged that their administrations would be the most “transparent” in the state’s history.
Well, we all know what happened to them: two disgraced their office and resigned. As for the third, David Paterson, a Commission on Public Integrity “found that [he] had lied about accepting five free World Series tickets and fined him $62,125.”
When Kathy Hochul was sworn in as New York’s 57th governor on Aug. 24, she too pledged that her administration would be “transparent.”
The New York Post pointed out on Sept. 3, however, “Gov. Hochul just broke her vow that transparency would be her administration’s ‘hallmark’—in the first bill of her tenure.”
Hochul approved eviction moratorium extension legislation that was voted on without any debate or discussion. Also, the extension includes language that “effectively” suspends the state’s Open Meetings Law.
“Until January,” the Post reported, “any governmental body that broadcasts its meetings online via conference call can ban protesters, lobbyists, the press and members of the public from physically attending meetings.”
So much for openness and transparency in government.
On another front, the New York City Department of Education has called for the elimination of academic honors for its top students.
“Recognizing student excellence via honor rolls and class rank,” the DOE has determined, “can be detrimental to learners who find it more difficult to reach academic success, often for reasons beyond their control.”
Instead of grading students on reading, writing, and mathematic skills, the DOE wants to judge students on their “contribution to the school or wider community and demonstrations of social justice and integrity.”
The late Daniel Patrick Moynihan, in a 1993 essay published in The American Scholar, called such policies “Defining Deviancy Down.” By this he meant there has been a “manifest decline” in America’s public educational systems by “redefining problem[s] as essentially normal and doing little to reduce it.”
Because teachers are failing to educate large segments of New York City’s student population, (only 14 percent of Black eighth-graders are proficient in English and 10 percent in math), the DOE wants to redefine standards downward to cover up poor student performance.
During the de Blasio years, his DOE has waged a brutal war on excellence. In addition to ditching grading standards, they have been attempting to eliminate testing for admission to elite public high schools and gifted and talented classes.
They will not be satisfied until they define standards low enough to ensure that every student, regardless of ability, gets a lousy education.
Next, Long Islanders returning to work this fall in the Big Apple have every reason to be concerned about the rapid increase in crime—particularly in the city’s mass transportation system.
Nicole Gelinas, a fellow at the Manhattan Institute, fears that the subway crime problem will scare people away unless the police “step up again.”
Her analysis concluded that “during 2020, despite severely reduced ridership, violent crimes rose to 928 incidents from 917 the year before.”
Non-violent felonies also increased during the same period. “In 2020, there were 2.71 felonies committed per million rides, up from 1.45 in 2019.”
This increase in criminal activity can be laid at the feet of the governing class who believe criminals are victims of society, that punishment and imprisonment does not deter crimes, and that violent crime should be treated as a public health issue.
This attitude helps explain why the city’s five district attorneys are declining to prosecute more and more accused felons and judges are dismissing more cases.
The state Division of Criminal Justice released data that indicated DA’s in 2020 dropped charges in 17 percent “of the 38,635 felony cases that were closed in N.Y.C. during 2020.” In 2019, the rate was 8.7 percent.
The Bronx DA took top honors. He declined to prosecute 28.5 percent of cases. And judges in the county dismissed 28 percent of the cases that appeared before them. Hence, the conviction rate dropped to 27.4 percent vs. 44.2 percent in 2019.
There seems to be no end to the follies of New York progressives who live in ideological fantasy lands.
And that explains why New York’s political silly season is in full bloom.