Monday, January 3, 2011
How The NYC Council Spends Our Money
Here is a great article from the NY Times entitled "Council Grants Often Shortchange Needy Districts". It details how the City Council (i.e. Speaker Quinn) spends nearly $20 million of our money in the form of member items. Not surprisingly, the money that is doled out to members has very little to do with the needs of a district and everything to do with a Councilmembers loyalty to the speaker. So if you are on the outs with Quinn (that would be Charles Barron) you might only get $137,000 to spend in your district, but if you are doing the Speaker's bidding (like Lewis Felder) you might get near $1 million to spread around. This despite the fact that Barron's district in Brooklyn, which includes East New York and Brownsville, is one of the poorest in the City. Regardless of what you think of someone like Barron, his constituents in a senior home, little league or soup kitchen or no less needy than elsewhere. It would make a whole lot more sense for our money to be divided equally among the 51 Council districts or at worst to do it according to need. But to do it according to loyalty to the Speaker Quinn is a travesty that robs us all. When I served on the NYC Charter Commission last year I proposed such a change, and not one elected official spoke up in favor, so I find it comical that Manhattan BP Scott Stringer raises his voice on the issue in this article. He put out a thick report to the Charter Commission that did not include any Council reforms. It's about time we stood up and demanded some integrity in how millions of our dollars are spent.