Angry New Yorker

Thursday, August 19, 2004
[Ed. note - Maybe we're missing something, but we just don't understand why a negative impact on those here illegally should be a factor in cracking down on drivers' licenses garnered with fake Soc. Security numbers. Color me crazy, but what aspect of illegality raises "concerns"? The those who are here illegally part, or the illegal use of a fake or wrong social security number?]

DMV Launches Massive Crackdown On Drivers Without Valid Social Security Number

AUGUST 19TH, 2004
Keeping a closer eye on just who gets state and federal I.D. cards was something the 9/11 Commission highlighted in their final report. Now the state DMV is rearing a massive crackdown on drivers without valid social security numbers – a crackdown that worries many illegal immigrants. NY1 Brooklyn borough Janine Ramirez filed the following story.

It's a state law that has been in place since 1995. But thanks to new technology and increasing attention on identification fraud following 9/11, the state Department of Motor Vehicles is vowing to make sure for the first time that no New York driver renews their license without a real social security number.

"As we learned from 9/11, 18 of the 19 hijackers held valid driving licenses from other states, many of which were obtained through fraudulent means," said New York State DMV Commissioner Raymond Martinez. "These license documents issued in states where requirement were less stringent than those here in New York, allowed hijackers to board planes and execute acts of terrorism against our nation."

As a result of the new effort, up to 300,000 New Yorkers may lose their right to drive – many of them illegal immigrants without social security numbers.

Inside and outside a State Assembly hearing, immigrant advocates Thursday charged the crackdown unfairly targets immigrant families, who need to be able to drive in order to work.

"I believe we can find a middle ground to all this," said Fernando Mateo of Hispanics Across America. "But to take the license off of so many hard working immigrants is going to detrimental to not only the economy of the state, but to a lot of families."

But some of those who lost loved ones on 9/11 say it's not about discrimination but about keeping the country safe."

Read the full article here.

Monday, August 16, 2004
From today's NY Post, a good rundown of the continued chaos Albany has created for us here in the "Empire State".


August 16, 2004 -- DURING the late, lush 1990s, Albany's fiscal profligacy was merely ir responsible. Today, as New Yorkers struggle to recover from a Wall Street slump and a stubborn recession, Albany's irresponsibility is unconscionable.

Last week, state Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno and Assembly Leader Sheldon Silver passed New York's annual budget, four months late — and they charged taxpayers usury-level interest rates for all those extra months.

Gov. Pataki had proposed a $99.8 billion budget in the spring; Bruno and Silver tacked on $1.5 billion in extra spending.

So the budget will finally break the $100 billion barrier. But that number is meaningless without context.

In early 2000, during the final year of the stock-market bubble, Wall Streeters and lucky speculators across the state were pouring more than $3 million an hour into Albany's coffers. Pataki, Bruno and Silver took advantage of their unprecedented — and ephemeral — wealth to jack up state spending by nearly twice the rate of inflation. They passed a $78 billion budget that year.

That plan was constructed on an artificial base: The unsustainable gains of the Internet boom. But even after the bubble burst forever, Pataki & Co. pretended their budget platform hadn't collapsed.

So since early 2001 they've hiked spending another 30 percent — while taxpayers struggle to catch up. Income-tax collections — the state's largest source of cash — won't recover to their Internet-era highs until next year at the earliest.

Albany didn't waste just four months. Bruno, Silver and Pataki wasted three years.

They knew that the 2001 downturn wasn't an aberration — it was a return to reality. The recession bared the truth: New Yorkers were already struggling under the heaviest debt burden in the country, and state spending on health-care and education was already spiraling out of control.

New York's three purported leaders should have leveled with the taxpayers. Instead, they stalled.

Bruno, Pataki and Silver squandered more than $13 billion in one-shot boosters to narrow gaping budget deficits. Last year, Bruno and Silver seized on a Pataki proposal to issue $4 billion in deficit-bond financing — ensuring that future taxpayers fund last year's spending. Then the two Legislative leaders defied Pataki to hike taxes on everyone: from new sales taxes on mothers buying clothing for their children to income tax "surcharges" on top earners.

Those tax hikes bought another year that could have allowed for honest reform. Instead, Bruno, Silver and Pataki continued to build more weak structures on their crumbling foundation:

Education: Albany will spend $751 million more on schoolkids this year. But New York has already increased education spending by 54 percent in a decade, with little discernable effect on learning. "

Read the entire article here -

Tuesday, August 03, 2004
We've climbed our soapbox time and again here to highlight the perverse nature of New York State's current government, which as if anyone needed more evidence to detail its Keystone Cops quality, was just exoriated in a report from the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law School. The report, LEGISLATIVE PROCESS:AN EVALUATION AND BLUEPRINT FOR REFORM, available at, starkly concludes:

New York State’s legislative process is broken. * * * Neither the U.S.Congress
nor any other state legislature so systematically limits the roles played by
rank-and-file legislators and members of the public in the legislative process."

Despite the desperate state of NYS' legislature, the report positively
notes "[f]ortunately, many of the shortcomings of the current system can be
remedied without new legislation or constitutional amendments. Mere changes
in the rules of the Senate and Assembly would make a significant difference."
The big question is will anything change in Albany in the near future? We hope so, and we urge all of you to deluge the representatives, the press and your neighbors to press for reform. Otherwise Iraq will shortly, ironically, have more democracy than the Empire State.

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