Skip to main content


Mayor de Blasio admits homelessness cannot be eliminated immediately.

After three years of blaming his predecessor, Mayor Bloomberg, for moving so slowly on housing the homeless, Mayor de Blasio finally admitted that it will take years to house so many homeless people. Perhaps it isn't all Mayor Bloomberg's fault.
   To add a different perspective, let us take a look at New York State and its inability to commit resources to the city's problem. During the Bloomberg administration, the state cut funding to the homeless from $164 million in FY2002 to $110 million in FY2012, a 33 percent cut.  In addition, the state cut the funding to one of the few programs to permanently house the homeless, the Advantage Program. Not only did the state cut the program, but the state also passed legislation that the city could not use other state funds for the program.
   Then of course there is the federal government that has cut millions of dollars out of the public housing budget that houses so many of people in poverty. Thanks to the federal government, t…
Recent posts

How Poverty Affects Children's Education

The greatest complaint I have of educational reformers is their belief that our public schools should be able to educate children even if the children come from poverty. It is poppycock. The research over years has demonstrated that poverty has demonstrative effects on children's learning. Let me cite a few examples of that research using Eric Jensen's article, "How Poverty Affects Classroom Engagement."Health affects the poor. The poor have more untreated ear infections and hearing loss issues (Menyuk, 1980); greater exposure to lead (Sargent et al., 1995); and a higher incidence of asthma (Gottlieb, Beiser, & O'Connor, 1995) than middle-class children. Each of these health-related factors can affect attention, reasoning, learning, and memory. Nutrition plays a crucial role as well. Children who grow up in poor families are exposed to food with lower nutritional value. This can adversely affect them even in the womb (Antonow-Schlorke et al., 2011). Moreover,…

Education is big business

The United States has the highest poverty rate in the developed world. It has the second highest poverty rate for children (23.1%) in the developed world beaten only by Romania. Sheldon Danziger, the director of the National Poverty Center at the University of Michigan said:  “Among rich countries, the U.S. is exceptional,” he said. “We are exceptional in our tolerance of poverty.”

   In the last post, I documented how horrific poverty is for children's well being. How do we educate our children when almost 1/4th are dealing with poverty issues - poor health, terrible nutrition, sometimes horrible lives with homelessness and domestic violence, and meager preschool education? We don't. We have a bifurcated school system, one for the well to do richly funded with great results, and the other, usually in the inner cities or rural countryside, that is poorly funded with failing results. This story has not changed for decades. The reformers have changed. Once we had education…

The Disaster of Tax Liens on Low-Income Homeowners

During the Giuliani reign, the mayor created a tax lien program in which homeowners and landlords could easily lose their homes and apartment buildings. If a homeowner fell behind in his tax payments, the finance department would notify the homeowner and after waiting a short period of time, the finance department would sell the tax lien to a private corporation created by the mayor that would charge additional fees and 18 percent interest and attempt to collect the long, overdue taxes. If unsuccessful, the corporation would foreclose on the homeowner. The city would have one more homeless family or families.

There is another consequence to foreclosure. Homes are often bought by developers and renovated into market rate housing. This means that such homes are no longer available to low-income families.

Of course, it is isn't just homeowners who find they can no longer pay their property taxes but it is landlords of large buildings. the consequence of foreclosure for tenants in thi…

One Easy Change to Produce More Affordable Housing Units in NYC

In New York City, when Ed Koch was mayor, he had thousands of city-owned buildings that could be renovated to ease the affordable housing shortage and he did so. The next mayor, Rudolf Giuliani, changed the process. Beginning with the Giuliani regime, when the NYC's housing agency sued the owner of an apartment building to force repairs, the housing agency no longer foreclosed on that building. Instead it sells off that building's overdue bills so the city can recoup some of the fines and unpaid interest and water, sewer and other unpaid bills.

Stop selling off these properties. The whole process works through a trust which is financed by the sale of bonds to private investors. The trust collects payments and can seize the property if the bills are not paid. The city no longer owns the property. The property is in limbo. In a NYTimes article by Jessica Silver-Greenberg and Kim Barker, it is stated that from 2010 to 2015, more than 15,000 properties with roughly 43,600 resident…


I know there are many reasons why Hillary Clinton lost the Presidency even though she did not lose the election but won it by almost 3 million votes. But one reason is stated usually only by older women who have seen a great deal in their life time.

I remember in 1997 when Ruth Messinger ran against Rudy Giuliani for the mayor's second term.  The Messinger campaign conducted a survey of likely voters and asked whether or not they would vote for a woman. Almost 25% said they would not vote for a woman. Now that was 20 years ago and times change. But they haven't changed that much.

A great many voters out there still will not vote for a woman for an executive position. There is research that documents voters willing to vote a woman into a legislative office but far less willing to vote a women into an executive one. This prejudice is not easily overcome.