Content posted by Henry Stern

The political issue of the year in New York State is redistricting following the 2010 census. New lines for legislative and Congressional districts must be drawn in time for the 2012 elections. New York is on the path to being one of the slowest states to adopt new lines.

While national attention focuses on the Presidential race, now in the early stage in both parties, New Yorkers should remain concerned about how the cosmic plans of aspiring leaders of the Free World will affect our burgeoning metropolis.

Fifty years ago today, I was appointed and sworn in as Secretary of the Borough of Manhattan. That elegant title did more than justice to my actual duties, which were those of a staff assistant to the Borough President of Manhattan, at the time Edward R. Dudley.

The recent flurry of criminal trials and convictions of public officials for a variety of offenses causes one to think of why it is that people who are elected to represent their communities in city, state and federal government appear so often before the bar of justice.

The election of Republican Robert Turner to Congress is significant for several reasons. One is that the result will be widely perceived as a rebuke to President Obama and the Democratic Party, which it is. For some, the issue was jobs and the economy. For others, the administration's hostility to Israel is an important issue, which affected Catholic voters as well as Jews.

As you all presumably know, there has been enormous press coverage of a possible scandal based on Internet communications, allegedly from Congressman Anthony Weiner and addressed to a college student in Washington State.  Both parties deny that they ever met, but that deepens the mystery of why a public official would send a bizarre photograph of his own amply filled underpants to a woman, an event which is considered unlikely to have occurred in the manner depicted.

Twenty years ago, crime was New York City's most serious problem. In the year 1990, the first year of the Dinkins mayoralty, the number of homicides recorded in the five boroughs was 2,245, an historic high. The murder total declined by about 10 percent during the remaining three years of the Dinkins administration, and fell sharply (about 50 per cent) under the eight years that Giuliani was mayor.

Swift action followed yesterday's report of the indictment of six people accused of an $80 million fraud against the City of New York. You can read the U.S. Attorney's office and Department of Investigation's joint press release on the federal indictment here. To get the full indictment, call either telephone number at the top of the release.

As another scandal-scarred year in state politics draws to an unseemly close, the fight for good government in New York City and Albany is more important than ever. Since 2002, New York Civic has tried to serve as a nonpartisan voice of reason and social responsibility.

Recent days have seen a flurry of activity on a previously quiet front: the naming of bridges and tunnels.  Mayor Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn announced Wednesday evening at a party in Gracie Mansion to celebrate former Mayor Ed Koch's 86th birthday that legislation would be introduced in the City Council to add the name "Ed Koch" to the Queensboro Bridge, also known as the 59th Street Bridge.