Editorial Roundup: New York

New York Post. November 29, 2021.

Editorial: New Yorkers shouldn’t have to pay SEVEN TIMES the cost for their schools as other cities

As New Yorkers know better than anyone, everything costs more here. But seven times more? Alas, yes — at least if you’re talking about public-construction projects. The latest example: PS 33 in The Bronx, vs. a similar-sized school just across the Hudson in Jersey City, NJ.

It’s outrageous. And it goes a long way toward explaining why New York hits residents and businesses here with the highest taxes in America.

As The Post’s Conor Skelding and Ben Blanchet report, the two new facilities are similar in almost every aspect — except price. In Jersey City, a new 53,000-square-foot charter school will offer 480 seats at a cost of $12.5 million. In The Bronx, an expansion of PS 33 will add 46,000 square feet and just 388 seats but cost a whopping $70 million. That’s $180,000 per seat in New York, compared with just $26,000 across the river, or 6.9 times more.

Part of the problem, usually, is that New York pols bow to union leaders on generous terms and work rules. Thanks to the pro-union “prevailing wage” law, public projects in the city can cost up to 25 percent more. Yet the Jersey City school also paid “prevailing wages” and used union labor, officials said.

A 2019 report by the Citizens Budget Commission called school projects overseen by the city’s School Construction Authority “slow” and “expensive.” Others point to onerous government regulations. Some cite corruption.

But the bottom line is obvious: New York pols simply don’t consider costs a high priority. When they impose green regs or pricey work-rule requirements (like paid leave), or pay vendors slowly, or require endless paperwork, they rarely think about costs. A mile of subway track here similarly costs as much as seven times the price in other big cities.

Mayor-elect Eric Adams has called for a CompStat-like system (the data system the NYPD uses to target resources) for city agencies, to control costs and get more services for the buck. That kind of cost-conscious thinking clearly needs to apply to public projects.

New York is set to reap billions in COVID “relief” and infrastructure funds. It sure would be nice if that kind of cash isn’t wasted.

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Dunkirk Evening Observer. November 29, 2021.

Editorial: NOURISH NEW YORK A shining moment for state, Borrello

Sen. George Borrello’s pre-Thanksgiving trip to New York City was far from a sight-seeing trip.

The Sunset Bay Republican spent Sunday in Queens to see Gov. Kathy Hochul sign legislation Borrello sponsored making the Nourish New York farm-to-food bank program permanent.

It’s a notable accomplishment for Borrello, who has earned a reputation for his tough questions and harsh criticism of many Democratic Party priorities in the state capitol. Residents of the 57th Senate District should be glad Borrello is in Albany asking those tough questions, but his outspokenness could be seen as a hindrance to getting his own legislation passed.

But Borrello, the ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, worked with Sen. Michelle Hinchey, D-Kingston and Senate Agriculture Committee chairwoman, to progress the bill through the state Senate while also working with Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz, D-Corona.

The Nourish New York program is good for New York farmers and families who need access to fresh food. It’s good policy. It’s also good policy for Borrello to show he can work across the aisle on legislation so that Democrats see the local senator is more than just a one-trick pony who spends his days lambasting Democrats but accomplishing little.

Notching legislative wins like the Nourish New York bill is good for Borrello — and by extension, good for the 57th Senate District.

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Jamestown Post-Journal. November 26, 2021.

Editorial: Are You Prepared For The Rising Cost Of Home Heating This Winter?

With the exception of those hardy families who stubbornly hold out as long as possible before turning on the heat for the season, many of us have probably flipped the switch by now. Nights in the lower 40s will do that. If recent reports are accurate, keeping that heat on is going to be more expensive this year.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Agency’s Winter Fuels Outlook, an increase in average heating prices is forecast this winter for all parts of the country, and all heating fuels.

Compared with last winter, EIA forecasts U.S. households will spend 54% more for propane, 43% more for heating oil, 30% more for natural gas, and 6% more for electric heating. Of course, if this winter fulfills expectations and is also colder than last year’s, costs will escalate even more.

“We’re getting ready to go into the winter months, and it’s predicted by independent analysis that the cost of home heating will jump 54% this year,” said U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va. “When I think about my fellow West Virginians, many of whom are on fixed incomes, they are going to have to make choices about how warm they can stay, if they can go out, if they can go to a restaurant or if they can buy enough food in their own home. They are going to have to make these choices because of the rise (in costs). People have problems paying their bills in those cold winter months anyway.”

The same can be said for many families here in Pennsylvania and across the areas of the country that must heat their homes in the winter months.

Among the reasons for the increase, according to Capito, are rising inflation and the Biden administration’s energy policies. Certainly Biden’s effort to restrict the energy industry in the U.S. while asking foreign producers to increase output is puzzling — and concerning.

The rising energy prices may mean more households need to seek out utility assistance resources. It also makes it even more important to check up on neighbors who might be trying to get by using less heating fuel than usual.

We know the higher costs are coming, folks. While policy makers sort out how to address them, those of us living in the real world must prepare.

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Advance Media New York. November 28, 2021.

Editorial: NBA’s bogus birthday sweeps Syracuse’s contributions under the confetti

The NBA has a math problem, and Syracuse’s rich basketball history is in danger of being erased because of it.

The league is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. Except it’s only been around for 72 years.

Syracuse University basketball beat writer Mike Waters explains in the accompanying video by editorial board member Katrina Tulloch. “The anniversary is bogus,” Waters says. “The league has its own birthday wrong.”

The NBA says its first game was Nov. 1, 1946. That was the first game played by the Basketball Association of America.

Three years later, in August 1949, headlines in The Post-Standard and other papers around the country trumpeted the merger of the BAA with the upstart National Basketball League, a group of small-city teams that included the Syracuse Nationals and Buffalo Bisons. Their union created the National Basketball Association. Even the NBA’s official historian says so.

Celebrating the wrong date is not just a quirk of math or marketing. It erases the contributions of NBL impresario Leo Ferris — a man with deep connections to Buffalo and Syracuse — from the history of professional basketball.

As Waters explains, Ferris played a key role in forcing the merger of the NBL and BAA. Ferris also deserves credit for his role in inventing the game-changing 24-second shot clock, alongside Nats president Danny Biasone. And he signed Black players at a time the BAA would not.

In short, the NBA as we know it today would not exist if not for Leo Ferris. And while the “NBA 75″ train has left the station, it’s not too late to recognize Ferris.

We join Waters, Ferris’s surviving relatives, our former colleague Sean Kirst and many others in urging the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame to honor Ferris at last with a place among the game’s greats.

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