Monday, June 29, 2015

de Blasio: Tweeding is just fine

From the Observer:

In May of last year, Mayor Bill de Blasio was blunt.

“I do think it’s time to end member items. I think that’s the smart path going forward,” the mayor, a Democrat, told reporters. He added that he respected the City Council’s desire to keep them.

“But I think this may just be one of the areas of respective disagreement,” he said.

Since then, Mr. de Blasio has done nothing to abolish so-called member items–and appears to have lost any desire to take up the fight in the future, sources say. The quiet decision to back away from a pitched battle with the City Council represents another win for the body, and may also be evidence that Mr. de Blasio’s quest to end member items was little more than a talking point.

Mr. de Blasio’s office did not return a request for comment.

In the city’s $78.5 billion budget for the 2016 fiscal year, just under $50 million was allotted for discretionary funding. The cash includes a $16 million pot of money that goes to Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, with the rest of the money being split up roughly evenly among the members of the City Council. It can then be dispensed at the individual council member’s discretion to various nonprofits, charities and pet projects.

These member items, though representing a very small slice of the hefty budget, have drawn scrutiny from good government groups, reporters and some elected officials. The system, critics say, can breed corruption by giving politicians the ability to reward allies with taxpayer money and patronage. Used in the worst way, member items can be a vehicle to buy votes.

Mr. de Blasio may be done trying to fight this battle with the Council, sources say. The reforms to member items put in place last year—a more equal distribution of funding based on poverty levels of the 51 districts—appeared to placate the mayor. Previously, the speaker had sole discretion to award member items as he or she saw fit, and members close to the speaker often brought home the most cash.


Anonymous said...

I believe that Cuomo did not include in the state budget any 'Members Items" for the state pols to dole out.

Anonymously Grey Gardens said...

That may be true, Anonymous, but the 'Friends & Family' governor himself is extremely busy with his patronage job mill for false, fake and failed political hacks, like Mark Weprin (who recently vacated his seat on the city council, to now be part of Cuomo's daily, Albany lunch-and-manicure clan).

Add Weprin's name to the ever growing corral of shame and failure, like Floyd Flake (a family name like this gets no argument from me), slimy Peter Vallone, Jr. (a public industry gargoyle), and Czarina Christine Quinn (who is allergic to all paychecks from private industry---unless, of course they are contributions from private developers that ultimately force major hospitals to close and fold into condominiums!

With a cushy, house lineup of cheap (but, likewise expensive) hustlers like these amateur side shows, I implore you Preet Bharara, to dethrone the last and final 'King of Albany,' before New York State ends up in total fiscal meltdown and collapse mode, like Greece and Japan are facing right now!

It's so much later than anyone truly believes---and the taxpaying public be damned (again, still and forevermore)!

Anonymous said...

Democrats screwing the middle class tax payers on their property tax so politicians can keep the faithfully America hating minority voter on the government plantation.

Anonymous said...

one wonders if U.S.Attorney Preet Bharara is investigating the NYC/DOE for it's invasion of N.East Queens school districts by illegal alien unaccompanied children /S.E Asian illegals. this tax burden is becoming unsustainable by property owners . where are all these public school invaders coming from , to overload the buildings and bankrupt the citizen taxpayers.

it is reported that 2500 "REFUGEES" have taken seats this year in NYC schools @ $20,000 per seat for one year. We will soon be BANKRUPT PUERTO-RICO & GREECE.

Anonymous said...

Two communist peas in a pod.

Anonymous said...

Anon no. 4: one knows that Preet Bharara is investigating when laws are being broken. Ask Shelly Silver and Dean Skelos.