Saturday, July 12, 2008

Free E-ZPasses For MTA Members Now In The Past

MTA Board Members are no longer entitled to free travel passes for life. New York State law mandates that members serve “without salary or compensation.” The passes were finally determined to be "compensation." Under tremendous pressure from Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and others, the board unanimously voted 12-0 to repeal their own privilege. Surprisingly though, one member abstained and two others were no-shows. Current members may retain the passes for “official use” only. One might accurately predict that board members will be "officially" working outside of the office just a bit more in the future.

Charter School Grades Off The Charts - BUT

Charter schools offer parents much needed choice; particularly in bad neighborhoods. These schools receive public funds but are privately run, generally outside the full jurisdiction of the Board of Education. Many feel dollars are better spent in schools like these rather than by offering parents school vouchers. Most importantly, charters seem to work here. For example, students in New York City’s charter-schools did significantly better than students in the city’s regular public schools. In grades 3 to 8, math proficiency scores were 84.9% for charter students vs. 70.5% for students in the same district and 74.3% citywide. In English, charter students were at a 67.1% proficiency level as compared to 53.6% for others in the same district and 57.6% citywide. Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of students are not in charter schools. It’s New York City’s responsibility to ensure the best possible education system for kids. Even with the positive results charter and magnet schools seemingly deliver, test scores highlight the fact that New York City is still not teaching many of our children to effectively read and write. School choice or not, those who are responsible for teaching our children are failing us all if over a third of our students can’t even read well. We need city government and Board of Education officials to make the grade NOW with whatever resources they have at their disposal NOW. If not, many of our children won’t be able to fulfill their aspirations in the future; the same future where these same city and Board of Education officials will be comfortably retired ... retired on the pensions that we’ll be paying them.

Paris We Ain’t

It only happens on TV. Sex in our city is nothing to even make the evening news. Just 11% of New Yorkers had more than one sex partner last year. 89% of us were either faithful … or did without. Only 5% of married partners reported having an affair. 36% of gay lover-boys claimed five or more sex partners but didn’t wear condoms consistently. All of these statistics were released in the city's Health Department annual report. No, this isn’t Swingtown, USA any longer. Perhaps that’s a good thing for religious and social reasons. Perhaps though, New York has become the Lying Capitol of the world!

Murder Up In Metropolis

New York City’s murder rate has risen 8% in 2008. The NYPD reports over 200 so far this year. Robberies and rapes are up too. Overall however, crime in NYC has dropped 3%. Play nice New Yorkers. Tourists from tiny towns across America don’t want to see blood or bodies in their vacation photos.

Naked Cowboy Can Seek Mars Millions

Blue M and M shouldn’t be seen on a large NYC billboard impersonating a city cowboy-crooner. Manhattan federal court Judge Denny Chin’s decision permitted Time Square’s “Naked Cowboy,” Robert Burck to sue Mars Inc. to sue Mars Inc. for compensatory and punitive damages to the tune of $4 million. So far, Mars has not melted in Burck’s hand.