2017 New York City Mayoral Election
After a 50-year string of New York City mayors incapable of solving the serious problems of poverty, homelessness, violence, a high criminal recidivism rate, addiction, high taxes, and a generally low level of education in the public schools with high dropout levels and low graduation rates, New York needs a candidate for mayor with an enlightened, detailed, practical, effective plan to solve those problems quickly and sustainably. An enlightened capitalist candidate with a win-win platform combining pro-business solutions with social solutions, leading to much greater prosperity for all New Yorkers. Not a soak-the-rich attitude, rather a conviction that while social prosperity is essential, it cannot come at the expense of economic prosperity. A prosperous city needs many wealthy residents and many highly profitable businesses. Chasing them away with high taxes is counterproductive. Once the social problems are solved, all taxes can be reduced dramatically. Here are what should be the next mayor’s platform priorities:
Education reform: A) An ambitious public school curriculum optimized for the complex, highly competitive global economy. Very important four-year high school courses: 1) The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the history of human rights violations; 2) economics/finance/investments; 3) 20th Century world history in great detail (all students must understand the causes of World War I, the causes of the Great Depression, the causes of communism and fascism and why they failed, the causes of World War II and the Holocaust, the causes of the Cold War, the causes of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, the causes of Islamic terrorism); 4) history of art/architecture/design; 5) history of music; 6) logic and critical thinking; 7) ethics; 8) introductory law; 9) foreign languages/cultures; 10) comparative religion; 11) psychology, including “group therapy” classes. NYC must have the best public schools in the world. The formula of all successful schools is strict class discipline and lots of homework. That’s been missing in too many NYC public schools. B) All-day public school, from nursery through high school, to free parents to work and to keep students constructively occupied and out of trouble. C) Mandatory afternoon study hall and individual tutors/mentors for students having academic difficulty, and individual psychological assistance for students in need. That’s the only way to prevent dropouts and ensure a high graduation rate. I know that from personal experience, having taught economics/investing in several “failing” NYC public high schools as a volunteer. Academic success combined with being mentally well adjusted is the only way to prevent poverty, addiction, and violent crime. D) Very well organized arts and sports activities, as well as vocational training in multiple fields, on afternoons, weekends, holidays, and during the entire summer break, to enrich the students and keep them off the streets. E) A voluntary, demanding, prestigious Mayor’s High School Graduation Exam, certifying a high level of academic achievement for those who pass it, and providing scholarships to city universities. F) Promote high quality charter schools. Competition makes public schools better. Importance of school choice. This comprehensive education reform would lead to a dramatic reduction in poverty, homelessness, crime, and addiction, to a dramatic increase in economic prosperity, and to much lower taxes.
Public safety reform: 1) Ensure the highest level of training for police officers, a model for the nation. 2) Have neighborhood beats wherever there is crime. Crime must be eradicated quickly and sustainably. 3) Rikers Island Prison is a disgrace. Immediately institute high quality educational and psychological rehabilitation programs. Make Rikers Island a model prison, where inmates spend the entire day getting educated and being helped to overcome psychological problems. Criminal recidivism is unconscionably high and must be eliminated through effective rehabilitation programs. Provide socially productive city jobs and strictly supervised housing for parolees unable to find employment and lodging in the private sector.
Beautification of NYC: 1) Create a NYC Beautification Corps open to all comers, both to beautify New York and to reduce unemployment. All city blocks should have beautiful sidewalk pavements and plantings along with atmospheric lighting. All subway stations must become stylish. All roads must be beautifully landscaped, particularly the ones to the airports. 2) Multiply outdoor public swimming pools in the parks. They must be large, beautifully landscaped, and very well run, some for families with children, others only for adults. 3) Use the Manhattan Central Park Reservoir as a swimming oasis, with multiple well run “beach establishments”, some for children, others for adults only. 4) The city’s entire riverfront must be beautifully landscaped, just like on the lower West Side of Manhattan from 13th Street down to Battery Park.
“Green” New York City: 1) Have dedicated street lanes and parking spaces with charging stations for electric vehicles. 2) Mandate that all trucks and buses in New York City be electric by 2025.
Welfare reform: 1) Create well-run, basic yet attractive, strictly supervised welfare housing campuses with on site schools and health clinics. Separate housing for families with children. No more shuttling homeless people between SRO’s or hotels/motels. Stability is required for homeless people to develop productive lives for themselves and their children. Adults required to work, provided with socially productive city jobs (such as with the NYC Beautification Corps) if unable to find employment in private sector. Children in school all day long, getting well educated and benefiting from organized afterschool activities in the arts and sports. 2) No more welfare housing in established residential neighborhoods since that is unfair to residents and counterproductive, reducing real estate values and the city’s real estate tax revenues.
These reforms would lead to enormous social and economic prosperity, faster than most would imagine. NYC can afford them through efficiency and creativity, without raising taxes. In any case, over $3 trillion of QE financing was used by the federal government in recent years to save the banks. When required, QE financing by the federal government should also be used to help cities finance essential educational and infrastructure programs. In addition, our billionaire philanthropists would contribute large amounts if presented with a convincing comprehensive program to greatly improve public education and eliminate poverty, homelessness, addiction, and violent crime, while greatly beautifying New York, making it a model for the world.
Have I persuaded you? If so, spread the word. Volunteer to help elect an enlightened candidate for NYC mayor. Follow me on Twitter @EdwardSonnino; on my YouTube channel; and on Facebook at Edward Sonninonyc. Let me know what you think by emailing me at email@example.com It’s all up to you! Don’t be passive! Decide how you want New York City to be. Elect an inspired long-shot outsider, not a typical politician with no real solutions. Elect the candidate with the best platform by far, if you want real, transformative, lasting change for the better.
© Edward Sonnino 2017