November 2009

THOMPSON FOR MAYOR

New York City ADA has endorsed William C. Thompson for Mayor. We believe that he will be the better Mayor. Current mayor Michael Bloomberg has repeatedly indicated that he wants to be judged on his record in education. We do not believe that his performance here rates a third term.

Thompson attended New York City public schools. His mother taught in them. He served as Deputy Borough President of Brooklyn and for five years he was President of the Board of Education. He has been New York City Comptroller since 2001.

Endorsed  Candidates November 2009

Office

Candidate

Area

Mayor

William F. Thompson Jr. (D)*

Mike Bloomberg (R)

City-Wide

Comptroller

John C. Liu (D) (WF)*

Joseph A. Mendola (R)

City Wide

Public Advocate

Bill de Blasio (D) (WF)*

Alex T. Zablocki (R)

City-Wide

District Attorney

Cy Vance (D)

Richard Aborn (WFP)*

Manhattan

Borough President

Scott Stringer (D, WF)*

David  Casavis (R, G, LBT)

Manhattan

City Council

Gale Brewer (D, WF)*

Joshua Goldberg (R )

6th District

City Council

Robert Jackson (D, WF)*

Firma  Shlimel  (LBT)

7th District

City Council

Daniel Dromm (D)*

Mujib Rahman

25th District

City Council

Jimmy Van Bramer (D)*

Angelo Maragos

26th District

City Council

Mark Winston Griffith (WFP)*

Al Vann  (D)

36th District

City Council

Brad Lander (D)*

Joe Nardiello (R)

39th District

City Council

Vincent Gentile (D) (WF)*

Bob Capano (R)

43rd District

City Council

Deborah Rose (D) (WF)*

Tim Kuhn (R)

49th District

Endorsed*

   
Bloomberg has repeatedly said that under his administration NYC students are testing higher and graduating in larger numbers. However, the new book, NYC Schools Under Bloomberg/Klein: What Parents, Teachers and Policymakers Need to Know, points out that while test scores have improved, they are believed to be inflated – with some questions repeated from year to year and the scoring easier.

 

Furthermore, results on the National Assessment of Educational Progress tests have been mostly flat and, in 8th grade reading NYC has made less progress over the last six years than any other large urban school district in the country.

Bloomberg’s appointee, School Chancellor Joel Klein, has repeatedly said that he does not intend to reduce class size despite the NYS mandate to do so. He has been repeatedly cited for misusing hundreds of millions of dollars appropriated for this purpose. Klein recently announced that he would shrink the teaching staff by 30%, This will increase class sizes significantly.

As Comptroller, Thompson audited the performance of the Department of Education. He charged that Schools Chancellor Joel Klein inflated high school graduation rates

-- 10% of the students whose transcripts his office sampled did not earn enough credits or pass enough courses to graduate.

New York City ADA is also concerned by the $85 million dollars of his own money that Bloomberg is spending on the campaign and the $80 to $100 million he gives each year to NYC non-profits. City Limits magazine reported that in preparing an article on the subject it spoke to former and current Department of Education staffers, school principals and academics. Nearly all of them requested anonymity to protect them and their programs from retribution.

ADA opposed Term Limits when the issue came before New York City voters. The voters said Yes twice and we accepted that. Bloomberg didn’t! He convinced the City Council to override the voters. His money talks.

During his tenure on the Board of Education and later as President, Thompson focused on helping the poorest students and diminished the power of local school boards.

NYCADA believes Thompson will increase access to affordable housing, create long-term, good-paying jobs, and get the wealthy to pay a fair share of the taxes needed to operate New York City. We like his support of LGBT rights, the Latino community, new initiatives on behalf of labor unions and working families.

Mayor Bloomberg, on the other hand, dismisses criticism about his role in the Department of Education, has handed over neighborhoods to developers, has not supported an effective recycling program, presided over the demolition of the Deutsche Bank and the debacle in the Department of Buildings. We could continue. However, it’s time for a change! Vote for Bill Thompson.

HEALTH CARE REFORM NOW LESSONS TO SIMPLIFY REFORM PROPOSALS

Only when the citizens of this nation demand health care reform, will it happen! Today we are in the midst of a vicious campaign with the special interests representing those who profit from our present system fighting every effort to seek reform that will help working and middle class people. It’s been 44 years since we‘ve had any meaningful health care reform. Medicare and insurance costs continue to escalate. Quality care remains elusive. Large numbers of Americans have no or little health insurance at all! The nation’s economy – one sixth of which is tied to health care – cannot survive the ever increasing costs which bring unparalleled profits to insurance companies, individual and group practitioners, health related corporations , hospitals and pharmaceutical firms.


These special interests have huge resources at their command. Efforts to rein in costs, expand coverage and improve quality generate a full-scale offensive of myths and misconceptions designed to convince the American people to reject reform once again as happened during the Clinton administration.


Health care premiums have risen 131% over the last decade. Employer provided health care premiums average $13,000 in 2009 and the cost of coverage continues to outpace increases in wages and inflation. The average annual cost of coverage hit $4,824 for an individual and $13,375 for a family in 2009.


We look at this on-going struggle and attempt to simplify the proposed reforms so that the average lay person can better understand them. We ask and attempt to answer five questions:

  1. Is health care reform necessary and achievable?
  2. Who are the major players?
  3. How does pending legislation address the goals of health care reform?
  4. How can compromise overcome opposition to the basic provisions of pending health care legislation?
  5. What might effective health care reform involve?

We conclude by asserting that health care reform can be achieved only if citizens - voters across the country - reject the myths and misconceptions with which the print and electronic media are constantly bombarding them. Citizens must educate themselves to the real issues behind the claims of special interests and understand that at this time they are being held hostage to the demands of Wall Street. These include insurance company profits, the greed of individual and group medical practitioners who want to expand their bottom line, the demand of pharmaceutical companies to increase their already huge profits, and the prevailing view of a minority Republican party that those less fortunate are less worthy, and that health care is a privilege and not a right.


Finally, Americans must realize that only by extending health care to our neighbors can we insure that we will enjoy quality health care ourselves.


This struggle is not pretty but it is timely and its resolution will signal what kind of nation we will become and what kind of people we truly are!

We excerpt from the final lesson in our series to make the current and on-going struggle for health care reform more understandable.

Lesson 5. What might effective health care reform legislation involve?

Both sides – Democrats and Republicans – yield to special interests. Special interests hire lobbyists to present their positions on any given issue regarding pending legislation. They contribute to the election and re-election campaigns in both the House and the Senate. Billions of dollars change hands in an effort to influence the final outcome.

The lobbyists are out in full force around the issues which health care reform addresses:

the plan for health care reform we seek
  • guarantees essential health care to all citizens;
  • ends fee for service reimbursement to health care providers;
  • ends/weakens the near monopolies insurance companies have in 40 states;
  • introduces the public option;
  • permits Medicare to negotiate drug prices;
  • provides full access to abortion;
  • provides subsidies to facilitate purchase of health care by poor, working and moderate income people
  • sets a basic standard of care;
  • levies no tax on employer-provided insurance benefits;
  • contains restrictions on insurance companies’ denials of care;
  • assures its enabling legislation contains less than 100 pages;

Citizen action counteracts the power of lobbyists. Citizens must inform their representatives about their views on issues of importance. We must learn more about the complex issues involved in health care. We must demand that our Congress members support meaningful health care reform. We must stand up to the powerful, influential lobbyists who protect the profits and bonuses of the health care industry.

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