Angry New Yorker

Wednesday, December 24, 2003
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Angry New Yorker is taking some time off to mellow, reflect and catch up on the year's happenings. We'll be back at 12:01 a.m. on January 1st. Maybe. ;-)

Friday, December 19, 2003
Glad that's over...
Well, my last law final was wrapped up last night, which means I can get, for the time being, back to being New York City's Angry Man. I've been a bit out of the loop as of late.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003
Simply amazing...

Is it just me, or is Leslie Stahl of CBS News without any sense of objectivity? Her interview with Donald Rumsfeld [available here]about the capture of Saddam Hussein was simply flabbergasting. Rumsfeld, to his continued credit, did not rise to Stahl's many cheap-shot questions, disguised as "tough reporting." Rumsfeld was a class act, particularly in his response to the torture question. Give it a rest, Ms. Stahl.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003
Nation's Safest Big City? Once Again, It's New York

For the second year running, New York is "the undisputed safest large city in the nation," Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said happily yesterday at a news conference where he and his police commissioner released federal figures showing that the city has continued to push crime down more aggressively than most major cities.

New York has the lowest overall crime rate among cities with more than one million people, according to their presentation of the preliminary Uniform Crime Report compiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for the first half of the year.

Crime dropped 7.4 percent in New York City, the statistics show, compared with 3.1 percent in the nation as a whole, and 4.4 percent in cities with a population greater than a million. The murder rate was up slightly in New York, as it was nationwide, but the city's rate was still far below its peak in 1990.

The city's crime index, a figure adjusted for population, is on par with much smaller cities, like Ann Arbor, Mich., and ranks 194th out of 200 cities with more than 100,000 residents, making it one of the safest.

Complete article here.

Sunday, December 14, 2003
Excellent news!!
"We got him." Article here. Saddam Hussein is finally captured. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it Osama. Of course, the New York Times can't hide it's own conflicted nature, and can't resist noting that "U.S. Sees More Attacks Despite Hussein's Capture."

Friday, December 12, 2003
Goldman's Unmitigated Gall
Ed. note - If Goldman gets one red cent from New York, there'd better be hell to pay.

Goldman Asks for Grants for Downtown
New York Times. Article here.

Three years ago, Goldman Sachs decided to build the tallest and most expensive skyscraper in Jersey City — a development that left New York officials fuming over the snub.

That 42-story, $1.3 billion tower is now nearing completion, but the investment bank is having trouble finding anyone to move into it. Faced with an unpopular new building across the Hudson, Goldman Sachs emerged suddenly last week with a new plan: to build a 1.5-million-square-foot tower in Lower Manhattan, directly across from ground zero.

And as it did in New Jersey, Goldman Sachs is seeking subsidies to build in New York, where its headquarters have long been located.

The investment bank has spurned suggestions that it move into 7 World Trade Center, the tower Larry Silverstein is building, or the so-called Freedom Tower, the 70-story building that is to be the centerpiece at ground zero. Neither of the buildings, which will have a total of 4.3 million square feet of office space, has a tenant.

Instead Henry M. Paulson, the firm's chairman, has told the governor and the mayor that Goldman wants its own tower, on what is known as Site 26 at Battery Park City, and wants some of the same cash grants, tax breaks and tax-free financing that are available downtown right now, according to state and city officials who are working with the bank.

"It's heartening that Goldman has decided to build in Lower Manhattan," said Harvey Robins, a mayoral aide to Edward I. Koch and David N. Dinkins. "But in terms of their planning, Jersey has turned into one big folly. Goldman squeezed Jersey for tax breaks and now they're not missing a beat in looking for subsidies on this side of the river."

Goldman itself declined to discuss its plans in New York.

"We're exploring a number of options," said Bruce Corwin, a spokesman for the bank, "but we're committed to remaining in downtown Manhattan."

State and city officials and downtown executives have embraced Goldman's proposal, although negotiations are expected to go on for some time. "I'm thrilled Goldman is committed to building a new headquarters downtown," said Carl Weisbrod, president of the Alliance for Downtown New York. "It's not only directly important in terms of Goldman's prestige and number of employees, but it's also a signal to others to consider building on the World Trade Center site and elsewhere in Lower Manhattan."

But even those who welcomed Goldman's initiative also marveled at the bank's "hubris."

Goldman bought the land in 1999 for the tower in Jersey City — one of three development parcels it acquired at the site of the old Colgate toothpaste factory — at a time when Wall Street was booming and the bank had doubled the size of its work force and its real estate holdings in Lower Manhattan. There was talk of building a trading floor and creating a training center.

Good building sites were unavailable downtown, Goldman executives said at the time in explaining their decision to jump across the Hudson River. What was also available in New Jersey was more than $160 million in tax breaks over 10 years.

Early in 2002, the company told employees that it would move equity sales and trading operations, as well as researchers and data departments, to its 875-foot tower under construction in Jersey City. That set off an insurrection by traders who did not want to be cast off to New Jersey, according to banking and real estate executives. At the same time, a downturn in the economy prompted Goldman to scrap plans for a second building in Jersey City and to cut 13 percent of its work force. The bank currently leases a total of about four million square feet in nine buildings in Lower Manhattan, although not all of it is occupied.

It recently negotiated a deal to pay the landlord at 10 Hanover Square near Wall Street $40 million to cancel its lease next September, according to real estate executives who were briefed on the talks. And last summer, with the cost of its new tower mounting, Goldman tried to lease it to Mellon Financial Services. Instead, real estate brokers say, Mellon appears close to leasing a different office tower in Jersey City that UBS is no longer moving into.

Mr. Corwin of Goldman Sachs said the bank now planned to move "a few thousand" employees into the Jersey tower, a building that could accommodate more than 6,000 workers, beginning in April. Brokers say that at least for now, the bank will occupy only about a quarter of the tower, although one Goldman banker said that half the building would be in use by next fall.

"Goldman's intention is to occupy about 350,000 square feet and mothball the rest," said a top real estate executive in New York who deals with the investment bank. But that has not stopped Goldman from thinking about consolidating its operations in Lower Manhattan, where it is spread across nine buildings. Given the tax incentives available for rebuilding downtown and the tax-free Liberty Bonds available for new construction, the bank focused on a new headquarters at Site 26, at the north end of the World Financial Center.

The parcel offers an unobstructed view of its Jersey City tower one mile to the west, which the company hopes will convince employees consigned to New Jersey that they are still in the mix as Goldman consolidates its operations into a tower on each side of the river over the next five years.

"They're having difficulty getting people to go to Jersey City," said one developer who has talked to Goldman. "If they get Site 26, they could run their own private ferry between the buildings."

Why Bush is being endorsed by in 2004

Bush lays it for the French, Germans, Russians and others directly, simply and with no beating around the, ahem, bush ... can you imagine Dean ever saying the following?

"Let me make sure everybody understands that men and women from our country, who proudly wear our uniform, risked their life to free Iraq. Men and women from other countries, in a broad coalition, risked their lives to free Iraq. And the expenditure of U.S. dollars will reflect the fact that U.S. troops and other troops risked their life.
* * *
Q Sir, Chancellor Schroeder says international law must apply in this case. What's you're understanding of the law?

THE PRESIDENT: International law? I better call my lawyer; he didn't bring that up to me. I asked President Chirac and Chancellor Schroeder and President Putin to see Jim Baker, to talk about debt restructuring. If these countries want to participate in helping the world become more secure by enabling Iraq to emerge as a free and peaceful country, one way to contribute is through debt restructuring. And so Jim Baker, with the consent of the Secretary of State, is going to go over and talk to these leaders about that. But I don't know what you're talking about, about international law. I've got to consult my lawyer.
* * *
What I'm saying is, in the expenditure of taxpayer's money -- and that's what we're talking about now -- the U.S. people, the taxpayers understand why it makes sense for countries that risk lives to participate in the contracts in Iraq. It's very simple. Our people risk their lives. Coalition -- friendly coalition folks risk their lives, and, therefore, the contracting is going to reflect that. And that's what the U.S. taxpayers expect."
-- From Remarks by the President After Meeting with the Cabinet, President Discusses Year-End Accomplishments in Cabinet Meeting. Full comments here.

Tuesday, December 09, 2003
Even more money...
Today's N.Y. Times reports that "[d]espite a successful campaign by the Bloomberg administration to cut the number of overtime hours worked by city employees, overtime spending continues to rise, an analysis of budget figures shows." Even though overtime hours worked "the 4 percent drop in hours translated into a 3 percent increase in overtime spending — or $10.6 million more — by the Police Department in the fiscal year that ended in June." Full story here.

Fer crying' out loud!

As a taxpayer it galls me that we'll be paying Mr. Sharpton $200,000. At least, however, all the people Sharpton's stiffed in the past can run to the court to file liens before the funds disappear into Sharpton's financial sinkhole.

Sharpton Settles Negligence Suit Against NYPD For 1991 Brooklyn Stabbing

The Reverend Al Sharpton announced Monday he has settled a lawsuit he filed against the NYPD for not preventing his stabbing in Brooklyn almost 13 years ago.

Under the terms of the settlement, the city has agreed to pay Sharpton $200,000 in damages, plus another $7,000 for hospital bills stemming from his stabbing in Bensonhurst in 1991. Sharpton was stabbed by Michael Riccardi as he and a group of protestors prepared to march through the neighborhood.

The protest was staged to mark the second anniversary of the death of Yusuf Hawkins, who was murdered in the neighborhood by a group of white teenagers in 1989.

Sharpton’s lawsuit charged the NYPD with negligence for allowing his attacker to break through a so-called police "safety zone," after demonstrators had been promised protection.

Sharpton’s attorney, Sanford Rubenstein, released a statement from the reverend that reads: "I agreed to settle this case because the city finally agreed to pay the hospital bills of Coney Island Hospital and to reimburse my loss of income as a result of my inability to work after the stabbing and pay a fair amount of damages for the injuries I suffered.”

The city released a statement saying it believed the police acted appropriately, but "could not predict how a jury might rule, and therefore believed that settlement was the best resolution for all parties involved. It did not admit any fault by the NYPD or any liability."

Sunday, December 07, 2003
Our senator, Hillary Clinton, on This Week with George Stephanopoulos.

I can’t imagine that anything pleases Hillary Clinton. Right up front, full disclosure: I didn’t vote for Hillary. I would never vote for her and I hope the citizens of New York boot her out of office at the first opportunity.

This said, her performance this morning on This Week with George Stephanopoulos highlights just why she infuriates those on the right, and, frankly, should infuriate all clear thinking New Yorkers. If you are heading up, she argues the international community prefers down; if you achieve A, she questions why wasn’t B selected; if asked directly what she believes regarding C she responds with a definition of D. She’s appears truly to be congenitally incapable of answering a question directly.

For example, in direct response to George Will’s question “just who’s less free because of the Patriot Act?” she pulls a classic Hillary in responding by raising the issue of detainees at Guantanamo -- which, surprise, surprise, have nothing to do with the Patriot Act. Then, she, repeatedly, on both This Week and subsequently on Meet the Press, declaims that the U.S. doesn't have a deep enough reserve of the proper troop mix to increase our boots on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan. Excuse me, Mrs. Clinton, wasn’t your husband the commander-in-chief of the U.S. armed forces, and therefore responsible for total troop levels, for eight years before 2000? But her implication is it's the Bush administration’s fault. And when Tim Russert repeatedly asks Mrs. Clinton if she would accept the democratic nomination for 2004 if offered to her she tap dances before finally proffering a non-answer “it’s not going to happen” at which points she begins cackling like a mad-woman.

Bottomline: While I don’t agree with everything President Bush and the Republicans do, for crying out loud there’s virtually *nothing* Hillary says I trust or agree with.

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