Suggested Platform for New York City Mayor 2017:
End Poverty and Violence Once and for All
Create Lasting Economic and Social Prosperity
Dear Fellow New Yorkers:
Are you extremely frustrated, as I am, by the persistent failure of our mayors over decades and decades to end New York City’s 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? And are you extremely frustrated by the prospect of having more and more mayors in the future with no real, lasting solutions, with only empty slogans and vague, flimsy platforms? If so, please take the time to read this letter. If I would ever receive sufficient support, I would run for mayor of New York City because I am convinced that my platform has the definitive, sustainable solutions for New York City’s serious problems, and for making New York the most economically and socially prosperous city in the world. Importantly, those solutions would be applicable nationwide. No serious, comprehensive, detailed platform with real, lasting solutions can be reduced to just a few paragraphs. I hope you will be willing and interested to read my entire platform which is a few pages long.
The policies contained in my suggested platform are very different from the failed Democratic and Republican policies of the past half-century. I hope you’ll be interested to carefully consider my platform and then be persuaded that it is the platform New York City has always needed. While it might seem to be a “liberal” platform by emphasizing spending on education and other social measures, it is actually an “enlightened capitalism” platform. It is pro-growth and pro-business, recognizing that economic prosperity is essential, while understanding that social prosperity is just as essential, since it enhances economic prosperity and leads to much lower taxation. New York City taxes have been high precisely because of our severe social problems.
With enlightened policies, we can achieve the lofty goal of ending poverty and violence in New York once and for all, and making New York the most livable and beautiful city in the world with the lowest taxes, much faster than most people imagine possible. The right platform for New York City is a win-win platform, not a zero-sum platform pitting one class against another. The way to end poverty is not by soaking the rich. A prosperous New York needs many wealthy people and many highly profitable businesses. Chasing them away with high taxes is counterproductive. I hope you will be persuaded that my suggested platform truly contains the solutions for New York. If you are enthusiastic about my platform, you should help publicize it, share it with your friends and colleagues, and volunteer your support for it and any candidate espousing it. Otherwise, we will continue to be saddled with Republican and Democratic mayors with no solutions, and no major progress will ever be attained.
Suggested Platform for NYC Mayor 2017:
1) Prioritize ending the dropout phenomenon and the low graduation rate, and ending poverty. Ending the dropout phenomenon and the low graduation rate requires having firm discipline and lots of homework in all our public schools, both of which are non-existent in most public schools. It also requires providing those students in academic difficulty with extra instruction, including individual tutors and mentors, and study hall. I know this from personal experience as I volunteered teaching economics and investing to students in various failing NYC public high schools. Furthermore, the public school curriculum must be optimized for our complex 21st century world and the very competitive globalized economy in order for all our students to become highly productive, creative, and employable. The curriculum must include four years of psychology and “group therapy” classes in all high schools in order to have well-adjusted youth, to end violence, and to greatly improve parenting. There must be high quality, daily after-school activities, including on weekends, during vacations, and during the summer, in sports and the arts, in order to prevent our underprivileged youth from spending time on the streets. All our public schools must be great, not just good, schools, with 25 students per class maximum, with highly qualified, highly motivated teachers, and with a leading, world-class curriculum. How can all that be paid for? First, by prioritizing. Second, by insisting that the federal government participate in the financing through QE. (If QE was done to help the banks, why shouldn’t it also be done for education? And for infrastructure improvements? And to finance tax rebates in order to increase consumer income and consumption when the economy is weak?) Third, by having philanthropic organizations contribute to the financing of the first program capable of eliminating poverty, violence, and crime once and for all, which will be a model for all cities.
2) Have a police academy with the highest standards, in order to have extraordinarily well trained police and avoid the use of excessive force. Greatly increase neighborhood policing to ensure all neighborhoods are safe.
3) Turn NYC into a leading “green” city, by requiring triple-glazed windows on all new buildings, by requiring all buses and trucks in the city to be electric by 2024 to reduce air and noise pollution, by providing dedicated lanes and street parking for electric automobiles, by requiring recharging stations in all garages and all gas stations.
4) Ensure that all city prisons have effective, high quality rehabilitation services, covering education and psychological assistance. There is no excuse for the high recidivism rate in our nation. If all public schools and prisons were well run, we wouldn’t have a serious crime, violence, and recidivism problem. Insist that all state and federal prisons provide high quality educational and psychological rehabilitation. It is also absolutely essential to provide socially productive city jobs and strictly supervised housing for parolees unable to find employment and lodging in the private sector.
5) Recognize that gun control is not the solution for ending violent crime. Heroin and cocaine are illegal, yet readily available on the black market. The same goes for guns. The way to end gun violence is for every child to get a great education, to have attractive after-school activities all year long, to have psychology and “group therapy” classes from junior high school through high school, to have highly competent neighborhood policing, to have a strong economy with very low unemployment, and for the city to have socially productive employment programs for those unable to find employment in the private sector.
6) Eliminate the practice of placing welfare and homeless housing in residential neighborhoods. That is unfair to residents, degrading their neighborhoods and reducing the value of their housing. And it is uneconomic for the city. All welfare and homeless housing must be located in dedicated areas outside of established residential neighborhoods, and provided with high quality educational and social services.
7) Create a NYC Beautification Corps dedicated to beautifying our parks, plazas, subway stations, sidewalks and roadsides (for example, the roads to LaGuardia and Kennedy are in great need of high quality landscaping) and a NYC Youth Tutor and Mentor Corps for our students in academic difficulty.
8) Multiply the number of swimming pools in the parks, making them beautiful and well run for the city’s residents. Turn the Central Park Reservoir into a swimming area with various high quality “beach establishments”, some for families with children, others for adults only. Multiply well-designed cafes in the parks, open till late at night. Ensure safety in the parks 24/7.
9) Continue beautifying New York City’s riverfronts with landscaped promenades.
10) Eliminate the hotel occupancy tax. There is no reason for any hotel tax beyond the normal sales tax. We want to encourage tourism, not discourage it by making it more expensive.
11) Clean up the Hudson River and the East River, so that they are good for fishing and even swimming.
12) Have annual high-profile citywide competitions for all students and schools in sports and the arts, as well as in all academic subjects, including economic forecasting and portfolio management. (Economics and stock/bond market investing must be taught for four years in all public high schools, since we need an economically and financially literate population.)
13) Have high quality public pre-school and day care. This is not only essential for child development, but it also enhances the economy by freeing parents of young children to work.
14) Have school adoption programs for abandoned pets.
15) Repeal NY City, NY State, and federal capital gains taxes, to reduce the use of economically counterproductive, distorting tax shelters. We need to encourage, not penalize, economic growth, investments, and risk taking. Economic growth leads to more employment, more consumer spending, and more sales tax revenues.
16) Repeal NY City, NY State, and federal estate taxes, which are not only of questionable morality since confiscatory of already taxed earnings, but are counterproductive, chasing away many wealthy residents, leading to lower sales and income tax revenues and lower real estate values.
17) The NYC public high school curriculum must include the following courses in order to have truly well-educated, well-rounded, well-adjusted citizens: 1) The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the United Nations Charter, along with the history of human rights violations. 2) History of art, architecture, and design. 3) History of music. 4) 20th Century history in detail, explaining the causes of World War I, the causes of the Great Depression, the causes of Nazism and Communism, the causes of World War II and the Holocaust, the causes of the Cold War, why the Soviet Union collapsed, why communism ended, why tensions remain between the free world democracies respecting human rights and Russia and China, the causes of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, the causes of Islamic terrorism. 5) Comparative religion, reading the texts of the holy books and the history of the main religions. 6) Introductory law, with emphasis on constitutional law. 7) Logic and critical thinking. 8) Philosophy and ethics. 9) Economics. 10) Financial investing, in stocks, bonds, commodities, and currencies. 11) Marketing and advertising. 12) Psychology, including “group therapy” classes, and analyzing the causes of drug addiction and alcoholism, of bullying, of depression, of alienation. 13) Current events/opinion from various leading media sources such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, the PBS NewsHour, and the Charlie Rose Show. 14) Foreign languages and cultures (starting in elementary school, fluency required by the end of high school in at least one, preferably two). 15) World geography combined with concise national histories. This “liberal arts” curriculum may seem too demanding and too ambitious, but it’s not. It’s essential.
18) Institute a prestigious, demanding “Mayor’s High School Graduation Exam”, with scholarships to City College for students obtaining A grades on the test.
19) We must greatly improve the NYC public schools, while subjecting them to competition with a voucher system. Competition brings out the best in everybody. Everything will be done to make the public schools extremely competitive and successful, and public school funding per attending pupil will not be decreased. But our public schools must prove their worth in a competitive environment. Public schools which are not competitive will gradually lose students to charter or private schools. What must be clear is that the best interest of NYC’s students comes first. Our students must get nothing but the most excellent education, second to none in the world. We cannot waver on this crucially important moral and social commitment.
By implementing the above platform, in less than one generation our problems of grossly inadequate public school education, poverty, violence, and drug addiction/alcoholism in New York City would be practically eliminated, economic and social prosperity would soar, and tax rates would be cut dramatically. It’s tragic we’ve waited so long to do what is necessary. Practically no progress has been made since the “War on Poverty” was proclaimed in the mid 1960’s by Lyndon Johnson, due to incompetent leadership by both Democrats and Republicans. With competent leadership, widespread poverty would have been ended a generation ago.
Lofty, seemingly unrealizable goals can be achieved, when you know exactly what to do and are determined to succeed. In a democracy, it’s all in the hands of you, the voters. Never go for candidates with empty slogans and vague platforms, a sure sign they have no solutions. Seek out and support political candidates with convincing, logical, detailed platforms offering specific, real, workable, lasting solutions, even if they don’t have name recognition. Do your best to help them gain name recognition! You can follow me on Twitter @EdwardSonnino, and see my profile on Linked-In. And you can contact me by writing to my email address firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your attention! Remember, if you really like this platform and believe it would truly lead to solving our problems of poverty, homelessness, violence, addiction, and generally low level of education while greatly enhancing New York City’s economy, leading to much lower taxes, and making New York the most beautiful and livable city, help publicize it!
November 8, 2016
© Edward Sonnino 2016