Good afternoon. Here’s a digest of opinion content published in The Journal News Thursday, Jan. 27 and today, Friday, Jan. 28:
Thursday, Jan. 27
Fair housing study: Editorial
We comment on a study released Tuesday by Westchester Residential Opportunities Inc., a White Plains-based non-profit, that found that racial discrimination is still evident in the Lower Hudson Valley’s housing market. We write:
… The fair-housing group on Tuesday reported the results of an 18-month inquiry in which minority and white testers posing as housing-seekers were dispatched to real-estate offices, apartment complexes and management offices in Westchester, Rockland and Putnam. Their aim was to determine the extent, if any, of unlawful discrimination in our communities. Overall, the findings showed that 21 percent of minority “applicants” experienced “unequal” or inferior treatment, compared against the treatment accorded whites. In Westchester, 17 percent of minority testers experienced unequal treatment; in Rockland, the figure was 35 percent; and in Putnam, the number was 14 percent.
Such unequal treatment included requiring credit checks of minorities, but none for white testers. There also was evidence of racial steering — showing minority applicants housing in predominantly minority neighborhoods and white applicants units in predominantly white areas. According to the WRO report, in the “most blatant” example of unequal treatment, a building superintendent in New Rochelle would arrange to meet testers on a street corner. The superintendent, a management-company employee, “would pull up in his car, get out and amiably show housing units to (white) testers. However, with (minority) testers he would inform them that he had no units available or he would refuse to show an apartment without first having a credit check and a completed application. He did not require a credit check or a completed application in order to show apartments to (white testers). He would not even get out of his car for the (minority testers).” …
Baby Boomers: Reisman
Phil Reisman exmaines the Baby Boom generation, which he divides into three segments: The Strivers, born between 1946 and 1951; the Straddlers, born between 1952 and 1959; and the Stragglers born between 1960 and 1964.
Westchester tax levy: Commentary
John M. Nonna, who represents the Westchester County Board of Legislators’ 3rd District, offers a Community View on the struggle between the Board and the administration of County Executive Rob Astorino over the 2011 county tax levy, which is in dispute. Nonna, a Pleasantville Democrat, argues that the county charter does not allow the County Executive to reject the board’s levy.
Today, Friday, Jan. 28
Functional government: Editorial
We comment on President Obama’s State of the Union address, the Republican response from Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and the Thursday report from the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission that spread blame for the 2008 economic meltdown on just about everyone. We write:
… With 14.5 million Americans out of work, new Rep. Nan Hayworth, R-Mount Kisco, told a business audience Monday who shouldn’t be creating jobs: “To me, the best thing the federal government can do is stop trying to create jobs,” Hayworth told the Business Council of Westchester’s meeting at Abigail Kirsch at Tappan Hill. “We need to let you all do what you do best.” During the Great Recession, that list would include cutting payrolls and expenses, ramping up productivity, and banking record corporate profits.
President Obama set forth a different vision in his State of the Union address the following day, making a case for targeted government “investment” in education, high-speed rail, clean-energy technology and bio research — part of a new Sputnik-styled effort to “win the future.” Hampering that aim will be mounting red ink. The budget deficit is on track to eclipse the record $1.4 trillion set in 2009, though it is expected to fall to $1.1 trillion next year. Yet the president said our challenges are clear: “We need to out-innovate, out-educate and outbuild the rest of the world.” …
… Suffice it to say for now, during this week of speeches and dueling models of government, that while Americans may be conflicted about how much government they want and what they are willing to pay for, the nation absolutely needs a government that works. If we could just get that much right.