January 12, 2012
Reaction Roundup - State Of The City 2012
State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver: "I applaud and thank Mayor Bloomberg for joining our call to increase the minimum wage. As I have said, it is wrong to expect anyone – let alone working families – to be able to afford the cost of living today and invest in their future on a salary of $7.25 an hour. Increasing the minimum wage would benefit more than 14 percent of our workforce. Mayor Bloomberg’s commitment to helping the more than 1.2 million low wage workers in New York climb the ladder of financial security is welcome news."
UFT President Michael Mulgrew: "The Mayor seems to be lost in his own fantasy world of education, the one where reality doesn't apply. It doesn't do the kids and the schools any good for him to propose the kind of teacher merit pay system that has failed in school districts around the country. As far as the 'turnaround' model goes, the Mayor knows perfectly well that under state law these kinds of initiatives have to be negotiated with the union. If he's really interested in improving the schools his administration has mishandled, he will send his negotiators back to the table to reach an agreement on a new teacher evaluation process."
32BJ President Mike Fishman: "Mayor Bloomberg deserves credit for coming out in support of an increase in the minimum wage, and for seeking new proposals to develop the Kingsbridge Armory. An increase in the minimum wage will help thousands of working men and women across this city climb out of poverty. Development of the Kingsbridge Armory has the potential to create the good jobs our city needs. In this time of growing inequality and continuing economic uncertainty, wage standards are more important than ever for keeping our city on track for future growth and a broadly shared prosperity."
Comptroller John Liu: “It was great to hear the Mayor support the Dream Act in New York. It would help unlock the potential that so many New Yorkers possess but can’t realize because of their difficulties gaining access to higher education. It was also great to hear that the Mayor supports an increase in the minimum wage, which would be in line with the enactment of living wage legislation for publicly subsidized projects... We are disappointed, however, at the mere half-line mention of increasing opportunities for minority and women entrepreneurs at a time when only two percent of the City’s business is actually going to minority and women entrepreneurs. It was also disappointing that the Mayor used the reduction in employee workforce headcount as a metric of success without acknowledging the ballooning costs of outside contracting. The Mayor devoted much of his speech to addressing some of the continuing shortcomings in our public schools, but his harsh criticism of teachers was surprising and unwarranted."
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio: “I applaud Mayor Bloomberg for recognizing that halfway to the top of the mountain is not enough, not when it comes to educating our children and creating middle class jobs. I heard a lot of good ideas, especially around economic development in the outer boroughs and his support for an increase in the minimum wage. But his concern for working families ought to extend to those working in projects subsidized by City funds: let’s pass a Living Wage bill this month. That’s how we can start to create a vibrant five-borough economy in which all New Yorkers can start to rise together. Strengthening career and technical education and passing the State Dream Act are important steps. But the more divisive parts of the Mayor’s agenda are counterproductive to reform. A war on teachers will not help educate our kids.”
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn: "I thought that raising the minimum wage was terrific. We've already begun drafting a resolution in the Council in support of Speaker Silver's efforts, which we will probably introduce at the next Council meeting. I think that's terrific and I think that will be a good thing for all of us in the city and state to join together on to have as high a level playing field as we possibly can. I like the idea of the incubators to spur small businesses and entrepreneurs. One of the things we're looking at is how you take incubators to the next level. I think his education plan is very aggressive and sends a message about how much this will be priority for the Mayor in the next year."
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.: “I applaud Mayor Bloomberg for articulating an expansive and progressive vision for New York City in today’s speech. Mayor Bloomberg focused on education, job growth, public safety, and other issues that have been high priorities for my administration. The mayor presented several interesting ideas and initiatives that will improve the lives of all New Yorkers; including the highly anticipated release of a new request for proposals (RFP) for the Kingsbridge Armory, improving services to NYCHA’s residents and preserving public housing, and the redevelopment of the Hunts Point Produce Market. I thank Mayor Bloomberg and the city council for adding another $25 million to what will now be the city’s $87 million commitment to re-building the Hunts Points Produce Market and making sure those jobs stay right here in the Bronx."
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer: "I support the Mayor's call for a higher minimum wage, and I am glad that he talked about education. But I wish he had spoken more about the squeeze facing New York's middle class families. Too many New Yorkers are working harder than ever, but feel like they are falling further and further behind. That's got to change. We need a clear vision going forward about how we're going to make this City work for middle class and working families. If the last nine years have shown us anything, it's that Mayor Bloomberg can't improve City schools by himself. The Lone Ranger approach to education has held us back. Mayor Bloomberg also needs input from parents, teachers and principals, advocates and business leaders. This speech did nothing to forge those partnerships."
Kathryn Wylde, President & CEO of the Partnership for New York City: “As the Mayor’s remarks made clear, New York stands out among American cities as a model of strength and vitality. The Mayor reiterated his priorities – education reform, economic growth and government efficiency – all of which are shared by the business community. His plans for 2012 build upon successes of the past decade, including diversification of the local economy and retooling the public education system.”
Coalition for Educational Justice: “The mayor missed a major opportunity today to take a big step forward for our children … by listening to the concerns of parents and the majority of New Yorkers who believe his policies have failed, … Instead, the mayor doubled down on bad policies that – after ten years of mistakes – leave just one-in-four City students ready for college.” (There's also a video response here.)
The Hunger Action Network of New York State "said today that it was pleased that Mayor Bloomberg has joined the effort to raise the state minimum wage, though it wished he would also support the efforts to improve the City's Living Wage Law. Hunger Action has been pushing the last two years to raise the state minimum wage to $10 an hour and then index it to inflation. Many of the three million New Yorkers who use emergency food programs are from households that work but make too little to escape the poverty level. Raising the minimum wage and the minimum unemployment benefits are core parts of Hunger Action's agenda to address the state's massive income inequality."
Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives: “The Mayor’s commitment to creating safe streets in New York City has empowered neighborhoods across the five boroughs to pursue improvements like bike lanes and public plazas. These changes make our city a better place, and they are supported by the vast majority of New York City voters. When we polled likely voters this past fall, 78% wanted safe spaces devoted to bicyclists and pedestrians. Neighborhoods are asking for help to make their streets safer, and these types of solutions can be tailored to meet communities’ needs. The New Yorkers we polled were nearly unanimous (94% ) in considering safer and more walkable neighborhoods important to their lives in the five boroughs. This high level of support is a clear indication that approval for these policies transcends any single administration.”
Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez: "The Mayor and I agree that education is the gateway to the middle class, but in his lengthy discussion of the topic in his State of the City address, he left one area strangely untouched: early childhood education. To ignore early childhood education, while trying to improve college readiness, is like trying to win a marathon after starting an hour late. Too many working class children are unable to ever compete because they weren't given the right foundations."
Make the Road New York: "Today, in his annual State of the City address in the Bronx, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced his support for the New York State Dream Act, introduced in 2011, and highlighted the importance of opening the path to higher education for all New York youth, including undocumented students. For too long, some of the brightest young people in New York State have been unable to access higher education because their immigration status prevents them from accessing scholarships and financial aid. The NYS Dream Act will lift barriers to loans and scholarships that these young people so desperately need to pursue their degrees."
David Jones, President and CEO of The Community Service Society "commends Mayor Michael Bloomberg for pledging to create at least a dozen more Career and Technical Education high schools over the next two years. Using his annual State of the City address, the mayor said students enrolled in these schools would participate in “out-of-school internships” through partnerships with private sector employers. There is a huge need to prepare young people for careers, given the abysmal rates of youth employment in the city. CTE schools have also been credited for boosting college enrollment, and for these reasons, high expectations surrounded the last mayoral commission set up to create them. Despite lofty talk back then, only three schools were established. We hope this new commitment to create more CTE schools is actually fulfilled."
To read the original article, click here.
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