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mayor de blasio state of the city address 2017 nyc harlem apollo theater

De Blasio Delivers State of the City Address

Mayor Takes Humanist, Social Science Approach to Solving NYC Problems

NYC Crime Down, Stop N’ Frisk Down 97%, NYC Public School Graduation Rate Up, H.S. Drop Out Rate Down, College Bound Graduates Up, 70,000 Children Enrolled in Universal Pre-K, Financing Initiated on 62,000 Units of Affordable Housing, NYC Budget Surplus

See Related Analysis of Reporting by Multi-Billionaire Owned NY Post

photos apollo theater harlem de blasio state of the city address nycFebruary 14, 2017 / Harlem Neighborhood / NYC Government & Politics / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

I attended Mayor de Blasio’s third State of the City Address at the Apollo Theater in Harlem on Monday. The beautiful old theater, built in 1904, didn’t admit African Americans until thirty years later. And it was in 1934 that the historic theater began earning the fame it has today, by becoming the showcase for African American musical and theatrical legends.

In the photo at right is the Apollo Theater as seen from one of the balcony booths prior to the beginning of Mayor de Blasio's 2017 State of the City Address.

 

Fighting Tyranny & Thomas Paine: These are the Times that Try Men’s Souls

There were a number of performances and speeches leading up to the Mayor’s address, including a performance by the Dorothy Maynor Choir of Harlem and an operatic delivery of the Star Spangled National Anthem by FDNY’s Regina Wilson. Recently deceased Detective Steven McDonald’s son, Conor, gave a speech, as did NYC First Lady Chirlane McRay, the Reverend David Ramos, Rabbi Arthur Schneier and Imam Souleimane Konate.

The Pledge of Allegiance was delivered by Jian ‘John’ Yuan Lin, Chyna Huertas and Eva Lin. And the Reverend Michael Walrond, of the First Corinthian Baptist Church, gave a fiery, inspirational speech talking comparing the national state of affairs today to the American colonists fighting to shake off the shackles of tyranny. He cited the words of American Revolutionary Thomas Paine, who in 1776 said,

“These are the times that try men’s souls.”

Just before the Mayor came on stage was a video highlighting the de Blasio Administration accomplishments.

 

Mayor de Blasio Standing Big & Tall for All New Yorkers

america's mayor de blasio nyc

The Mayor came onto the stage, beginning by thanking the various people and departments that helped make his Administration’s accomplishments possible. His thanks always include his wife, Chirlane McCray, who has been evolving in her role as NYC’s First Lady.

 

Here’s a sampling of the de Blasio’s efforts to make New York a better place for all New Yorkers. Some of the information came from the video presentation referenced above, which I have augmented with some additional research and information obtained in prior reporting efforts.

 

In the photo at right stands a weary, but determined, Mayor Bill de Blasio at his 2017 State of the City Address at the Apollo Theater in Harlem.

 

I. De Blasio Administration NYC Public School Achievements

A. Social Science & Humanist Approach to Education

• Universal Pre-K Enrollment 70,000
• Advanced Placement For All
• Drop Out Rates Down
• Graduation Rates Up
• College Bound Graduates Up

america's mayor de blasio nyc

The slide at right shows some of the gains made by the de Blasio Administration with the NYC public school system over the past three plus years.

 

1. Stop the Bleeding – Stop the 'CORPORATE' run Charter Schools from Maximizing Profit at the Expense of Maximizing Human Potential

Editor's Note: There is a BIG DIFFERENCE between the NON-PROFIT CHARTER SCHOOLS and FOR-PROFIT CHARTER SCHOOL CORPORATIONS. Non profit charters are generally older organizations, designed as an alternative in response to failing public schools decades ago, and whose focus is on improving education - not improving profits.

By contrast the FOR-PROFIT CHARTER SCHOOL CORPORATIONS generally arose in the 21st century, and this group appears to be pillaging the public school system by recruiting and siphoning off the good [low cost / high performing] students so they can maximize profits – not enhance public education.

The despicable consequence of this for-profit charter school strategy is that they are simultaneously robbing the most vulnerable, disadvantaged children of anything resembling an opportunity in life as promised in the founding documents of this nation.

Family background continues to be the highest determinant [have the highest correlation] of a student’s academic achievement.

So the de Blasio Administration has significantly slowed the corporate charter school assault on the public education system.

 

Corporate Charter School Business Strategy Comparable to Old Health Insurance 'Gaming the System'

Recruit the Academic Achievers, 'the Healthy Ones', Because They're Most Profitable & Shun the Rest

america's mayor de blasio nycIt appears the charter school corporations have employed a strategy designed to recruit and retain the best students to their schools, while leaving the rest behind. They appear to recruit the kids who are already performing well, because the performing children cost the least to educate, thus providing the highest return to the hedge fund profiteers because the funding is allocated on a per capital / per student basis. High performing student enrollments also enable corporate charter schools to claim they are ‘performing well’ because they've recruited the highest scoring students.

The recruitment and retention strategy referenced above resembles the old health insurance strategy of recruiting the healthy people to buy health insurance as they are the most profitable, while denying those who aren’t blessed with good health because they cost the most to keep healthy. This was a systemic inequity Obamacare attempted to eradicate.

In the photo at right stand an Imam [Islam], a Rabbi [Jewish] and a Reverend [Christian] all sharing the same podium with a message of love, peace, respect and understanding.

 

2. Help the Youngsters & Maximize Human Potential – Not Profits

The De Blasio Administration pushed through universal Pre-K, which has enrolled 70,000 students since its inception in the Fall of 2014.

When this first came out I, and a number of people I know, didn’t really grasp the importance of this effort. As family support is the highest determinant in a child’s success, many youngsters were entering the public school system at a significant disadvantage vis a vis their better parented peers.

By accessing these kids while they are younger, and providing access to the guidance and resources of the public school system earlier, the NYC Public School system now has a greater chance of motivating these kids, which will inevitabley empowering them, raising their self esteem, and give them a chance at a far more engaged and productive life.

I now get it. And this seems like it can only be a good thing for all of society, as it will reduce societal costs of failing these people early on.

MAXIMIZE HUMAN POTENTIAL - Good Public Policy Costs Less in Long Haul & Enormously Benefits Society

america's mayor de blasio nycThis approach to education enables us as a society to maximize our human potential, which will benefit all the community - and in some small way - all mankind. Not only is this a more humanistic approach to engaging these children, but it's more cost effective in the long haul, as those left behind will inevitably cost society more through lost opportunities, lost productivity, and increased spending on health, human services and criminal justice programs.

In the photo at right is the Mayor on stage at the Apollo Theater with all of the people working for the city that he honored that night including policemen, firefighters, sanitation workers and educators. The Mayor appears to be one who is very much in touch with the middle & working class rank and file of New York City.

Click here for our report about Mayor Bill de Blasio's State of the City Address 2017 including an update on crime, the affordable housing crisis, the city's finances, sanitation and social activism.


De Blasio Delivers State of the City Address

Mayor Takes Humanist, Social Science Approach to Solving NYC Problems

NYC Crime Down, Stop N’ Frisk Down 97%, NYC Public School Graduation Rate Up, H.S. Drop Out Rate Down, College Bound Graduates Up, 70,000 Children Enrolled in Universal Pre-K, Financing Initiated on 62,000 Units of Affordable Housing, NYC Budget Surplus

See Related Analysis of Reporting by Multi-Billionaire Owned NY Post

February 14, 2017 / Harlem Neighborhood in Manhattan / NYC Government & Politics / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC. Continued.

3. Enhance Facilities & Programs

nyc crime rate down under de blasioThe Mayor told us that there will be [or are now] Advanced Placement programs in every NYC public high school, not just in some, as in the past. The high school graduation rate is up [77%], and the high school drop out rate is down [8%]. In a separate speech in January 2017, the Queens Borough President noted that the number of trailers used by public schools in Queens are down to 109 trailers from 152 - and 46 more trailers are scheduled to be removed by the end of this year.

Trailers for NYC Public Schools have been a problem for decades. Others talked about doing something about replacing the NYC Public School trailers and Mayor de Blasio has actually done something about it, with support from the NYC Council and mostly Democrats, but also some Republicans, in the NYS Legislature.

 

II. De Blasio Administration Public Safety Achievements

A. Social Science and Humanist Approach to Public Safety

• Stop N’ Frisk Down 97%
• NYC Overall Crime Rate Down To Record Lows
• Incentives Added to Police Evaluations to Encourage More Interactions With Communities They Serve
• NYPD Neighborhood Policing appears to be working
• Low Crime Rate Not Good for Tabloid TV & Headlines

 

1. Discontinuance of Stop N’ Frisk as Policy – BUT CONTINUATION OF STOP N’ FRISK AS WARRANTED

nyc crime rate down under de blasioOne of Mayor de Blasio’s bold initiatives when he came to office was to work with the NYPD to reduce the number of stop n’ frisks. As you may recall, there was an uproar, and everyone – including myself – thought that this would result in a spiraling crime rate. The NY Post screamed blood in their headlines, which they are now completely dismissing.

But Mayor de Blasio saw it differently. He saw how stop ‘n frisk was alienating huge swaths of the citizenry of our fair city [whites comprise about 40% of the NYC population] as people of color [the other 60%] were being stopped and frisked. This invasion of privacy added to animosity and distrust between people and police that was already in place.

Nonetheless, Mayor de Blasio worked with NYPD Commissioner Bratton and not only are stop n’ frisks down about 700,000 searches or 97% [see chart], but the NYC crime rate remains near record lows, including the murder rate.

2. Initiation of Neighborhood Policing

america's mayor de blasio nycNeighborhood policing is designed to promote efforts by police officers to rub shoulders with the communities they serve. The goal is to build a more trusting relationship between law enforcement and neighborhoods so that criminals don’t stand a chance.

 

Thus Mayor de Blasio worked with NYPD Commissioner Bratton, who selected current NYPD Commissioner O’Neill to lead the effort to implement neighborhood policing. While it is still in the process of being rolled out throughout the city, it appears to be working. Part of the program includes that the police are no longer evaluated on how many tickets they give out, but rather a whole set of variables that include developing neighborhood trust through improved community relations.

 

In the graphic at right is what appears to be multi-billionaire Rupert Murdoch's veiled NY Post urging the NYPD to resume its 700,000 stop 'n frisks of what had been largely ethnic New Yorkers.

 

III. De Blasio Administration Affordable Housing Achievements

homelessness in nyc 2017A. Social Science and Humanist Approach to Affordable Housing

 

• Evictions Down 24%
• Free Legal Counseling and free Lawyers for those facing Eviction who can Least Afford it
• Two consecutive years of Zero Increase in Rent for 2.5 Million Rent Stabilized Apartments
• Investments initiated in over 62,000 units of Affordable Housing

 

 

 

1. Stop the Bleeding – Slow / Stop Unlawful Evictions & Landlord Harrassments

homelessness under nyc mayor de blasioThe de Blasio Administration has worked to reduce evictions, which are down 24%. In the Coalition of the Homeless chart above you can see the slowing rate of growth for homelessness in NYC. In the chart at right you can see how Mayor de Blasio's efforts have reduced the growth of homelessness in New York compared to the efforts of his predecessor, but they fall short of the plan to address homelessnes by the Coalition for the Homeless.

 

The de Blasio Administration recently announced that they are offering free legal counseling to anyone facing eviction, who is making less than a certain amount of income, and free lawyers in some cases.

 

Tenants facing illegal evictions OR HARASSMENT are encouraged to use the services by calling 311 for further info. NYC Councilmembers Mark Levine of Manhattan and Vanessa Gibson of the Bronx were the co-sponsors of this bill.

 

2. Stop the Bleeding – Slow / Stop Rent Increases Rising Faster than Wages

The Mayor has also fought hard to win two consecutive years of rent freezes on rent stabilized apartments. This affects about 2.5 million New Yorkers, and had never been done before Mayor de Blasio came to office. De Blasio delivered with the help of Democrats and some Republicans in the NYS Legislature.

 

de blasio success building affordable housing nyc

3. Stop the Bleeding – Build More Affordable Housing

The de Blasio Administration has financed a bit more than 62,000 affordable housing units, since he took office, but the Mayor acknowledged this is still not enough. While the homeless numbers continue growing, the de Blasio Administration’s efforts to build housing is easily outpacing all of his mayoral predecessor’s since Mayor Ed Koch in 1989 [see chart].

 

In the chart at right, compiled by the New York Times for a January 23, 2017 report, you can see the success Mayor de Blasio has been having in initiating efforts to create more affordable housing in NYC. The NYT article reported,

"On affordable housing, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration is on a tear, building and preserving affordable units on a pace not seen since Ed Koch oversaw the rebuilding of a city awash in blighted property.

Mr. de Blasio doesn’t have the luxury of such abundant vacancy, but he is succeeding anyway.
And the Coalition for the Homeless noted in a report this month that the de Blasio administration is moving more homeless families into permanent housing than at any time since 2004, but that the influx of new families into shelters
continues.

About 80,000 families in New York are at risk of homelessness each year."


IV. De Blasio Administration Economic & Budgetary Achievements

A. Practical and Humanist Approach to the Economy & Business

de blasio negotiates contracts city workers• 99% of City Union Workers now have Contracts vs Zero January 2014
• Small Business Fines Down
• Balanced Budget with a Surplus for Rainy Day
• New Jobs in Technology / Life Sciences / Made in NY / Urban Manufacturing
• Record Tourism – 62 million visitors

 

1. Respect City Workers by Negotiating & Signing Labor Contracts

Today 99% of city workers are working under a contract. Mayor Bloomberg had shunned negotiations with the unions in what appeared to be an attempt to break them. Former Mayor Bloomberg departed office without any of the unions serving the city – meaning the NYPD, NYFD, Teachers Union & Sanitation Workers - having a contract. Paid family leave was also implemented over the past few years.

 

2. Respect Small Businesses & Homeowners by Using Regulatory Agencies to Enforce Law not as a Revenue Source via Fines

de blasio admin helps small businesses nycThe de Blasio Administration stopped using city inspector violations tickets as a revenue source. The Mayor returned city regulatory agency personnel to enforcing / overseeing regulatory issues by working WITH small businesses to ensure compliance to the law - rather than by harassing them.

 

As such small business violations tickets have dropped significantly as owners are given warnings with a short period of time to remedy problems, before being slapped with violations fines.

 

3. Sound Budgetary & Fiscal Management

The de Blasio Administration now seems almost prescient in that they have been squirreling away billions in reserves to provide them with funding in the face of an adverse economy - or as it now happens - an adversarial president.

This budgetary strategy puts Mayor de Blasio in a position to stand tall for all New Yorkers in a turbulent time.

 

4. Help Create More Jobs

The Mayor talked about existing and new efforts underway by his administration to help foster the creation of new jobs with good pay. Jobs designed to retrofit buildings with renewable energy, provide wifi in public housing and public space, jobs in the Technology and Life Sciences sectors, and jobs coming out of Made in New York.


V. Solid Achievements in City Operations include Traffic Fatalities Hitting New Low & Sanitation Department Fills over 1 Million Potholes

The Mayor has been working hard to deliver on his Vision Zero effort, as traffic deaths hit a new low – the lowest in a century.

And the Sanitation department reports they have filled over 1,000,000 potholes since the Mayor took office.

The Mayor told us how one Sanitation worker, just prior to heading out into one of the biggest snowstorms in NYC history, told him that,

“This is our time to shine.”

 

America’s Mayor: New Era of Activism

de blasio mentions womens march nyc january 2017 photosThe Mayor ended his speech saying that while many thought that the election of Trump was the end, he saw it as the beginning. The beginning of a whole new age of activism – like in the 1970’s.

The Mayor cited the protest by thousands of New Yorkers at JFK Airport to demonstrate against what appeared to be the unConstitutional Trump travel ban on some Muslim nations. He talked about how thousands of people have been showing up at town hall meetings in NYC, and all across America, to protest the Trump plan to take away their Obamacare healthcare insurance.

And Mayor de Blasio told us that - when 400,000 people showed up for the Women’s March in NYC in January, and millions more at locales around the nation and world - that this is not the end but rather that it is just the beginning of of a new era of activism by New Yorkers and Americans around the country who are concerned about the direction of the nation.

After the event the Mayor honored a number of people who work for the city including firefighters, policemen, sanitation workers, transit workers, and more. All came up to the stage to be recognized.

Anecdotally After the Speech - Audience Reactions

apollo theater harlem photos nycAfter the event, as I was departing, I asked a few people what they thought of the Mayor’s speech. One man told me he liked the speech because the Mayor seemed to be speaking directly to us, instead of showing departmental slides as in the past.

I asked a woman outside the Apollo what she thought. She said she thought the Mayor must feel beleaguered and that she hopes he knows how many people are out here who appreciate the good work he’s been doing.

And so there it was as I made my way to the 125th Street subway station.

Is Now the Time to Re-engage in the Democratic Process?

We modern day Americans of the late 20th and early 21st century appear to have taken our liberties and opportunities for granted by not investing the time required to monitor how our democracy is being run. Perhaps we all have not fully appreciated the sacrifices made by those who preceded us, to make our liberties and opportunities possible. Well, perhaps now is the time to change that before we lose them.

One of America’s Founding Fathers had to say about freedom and democracy. Thomas Jefferson said,

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free … it expects what never was and never will be. If we are to … remain free, it is the responsibility of every American to be informed."

Part of being informed means understanding who it is that controls the information sources you rely upon to make your decisions at the voting booth.

I own & operate this site – click here to learn more about me, Michael Wood of the Manhattan Buzz.

Epilogue: Distortions of multi-Billionaire Owned NYC Press & TV

I have been monitoring some measure of the press reports put out by the NYC Billionaire owned press. Specifically the NYC billionaire-owned press category includes 1) Rupert Murdoch who controls the NY Post, Fox News, the Wall St Journal, WNYW TV channel 5 & 44, and WWOR TV channel 9 & 38; and 2) Mortimer Zuckerman of the NY Daily News & U.S. News & World Report, who is also the Founder of Boston Properties, a major real estate development firm.

ny post is a propaganda rag attacking mayor de blasioSince Murdoch owns five large media outlets working in this city, and appears to have the longest running [about 40 years] and most widespread record [in English speaking nations on three continents] of press abuse, I’m going to focus on him and his use of the above named outlets as propaganda machines.

You can click here for our Extra, Extra – Read All About it – special section - Rupert Murdoch appears to use his media outlets to portray the world he wants his audience to see - rather than the world as it is - so he can convince his large audiences to vote for his economic interests & his candidates ... which often enough involves them voting against their own economic interests.

The day after the Mayor’s Address I went looking for coverage in the NY Post. Click here to read our analysis of the NY Propaganda Post account of Mayor de Blasio’s State of the City Address.

Click here to go to a section we dedicated to Keith Rupert Murdoch and the propagandist practices of Fox News, the NY Post, the Sun and more. Click here for two case studies of Murdoch's Fox News propagandist practices and here for Murdoch's NY Post propaganda practices.


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