Tag Archives: Labor

In Memoriam (Mr. Basil Paterson)

One of New York’s greatest citizens passed away earlier this week, and for me, it hit home on a personal level.

Basil Paterson was a power in the politics of New York City and State. He was one of “The Four Horsemen“, the men generally credited with ruling Harlem and black New York for several decades — a matter of controversy, even today, amongst media critics.

The Four Horsemen
The Four Horsemen

 

I have had the pleasure of knowing all these icons, and worked for one them. Yet Basil Paterson was a true inspiration to me throughout my 40 year career in radio.

It was many, many years ago, at an event the fog of memory obscures. I was there covering it, with my trusty tape recorder and microphone with the WLIB-WBLS logo. I was at the time, still a kid, a bit wet behind the ears. At the end of the event, Basil Paterson called me over for a private chat. He said that he’d been following my work for a while, and he liked what I was doing. He urged me to continue to hone my skills, and he predicted great things for me.

I left that room on Cloud Nine. This was, after all, Basil Paterson!

During his life, he served as a New York state senator, deputy mayor of New York City, a labor negotiator, federal mediator, and New York’s secretary of state.

Even these impressive accomplishments don’t tell the whole story of Basil Paterson.

He had, as many might describe it, the common touch. For many years after he first encouraged me to move forward in my career, I would see him at events or press conferences. After a time, our handshakes turned to hugs. More often than not, he would talk to me about issues that were brought up on my talk show, and his insights weren’t just valuable, they were precious. I was among the many who were disappointed when he decided not to run for mayor against Ed Koch in 1985. There was a widespread belief that he could have beaten Koch that year. Four years later, ironically enough, another member of the Four Horsemen, David Dinkins, toppled Koch in the 1989 Democratic primary.

During that same period, I met and became friends with Basil Paterson’s son David. In fact, I was the first person to interview him after he announced he would run for the state senate seat his father held more than a decade earlier. I saw the pride in the elder Paterson’s face when his son became Lieutenant Governor, and later the state’s first black Governor.

David Paterson sworn in

 

David Paterson inherited his father’s concern for the plight of the poor, and his time as Governor spoke to that more than  most would admit, even now.

I saw Basil Paterson a few times last year at various events. His warmth toward me was the same as it was decades earlier. His passing is only partly about the four men who dominated Harlem politics for a generation. It’s about a kind, sophisticated, insightful human being who touched the lives of many, many people.

Basil PATERSON.

I am only one of them. Rest in Peace, Mr. Paterson.

http://www.markrileymedia.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/digg_48.png http://www.markrileymedia.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/reddit_48.png http://www.markrileymedia.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/stumbleupon_48.png http://www.markrileymedia.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/delicious_48.png http://www.markrileymedia.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/google_48.png http://www.markrileymedia.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/myspace_48.png http://www.markrileymedia.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/facebook_48.png http://www.markrileymedia.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/yahoobuzz_48.png http://www.markrileymedia.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/twitter_48.png
Did you like this? If so, please bookmark it,
tell a friend
about it.

Should Bad Cops, Firemen Keep Their Pensions? They Can Now!

In late September, NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill that essentially allows New York City cops and firemen to hold onto their pensions even when convicted of a crime.

Public protest against criminal cops keeping pension.

Understand that the bill started as a home rule message from the City Council.

It passed 49-0, without a word of dissent at a public hearing.

It then went to the state legislature, where it passed by votes of 128-14 in the Assembly, and 61-1 in the Senate. What it means is cops and firemen will have to be convicted of a felony before their pensions are at risk. In fairness, corrupt politicians, even those convicted of felonies are still getting paid. The Governor did try to close that loophole with the introduction of a bill after the conviction of former state comprtoller Alan Hevesi.

Also to be fair, cops and firemen in other jurisdictions in the state already get to keep theirs unless convicted of a felony. However, with the spate of corruption investigations, indictments, and convictions of NYPD officers lately, you have to wonder whether everyone in the food chain thought this through. For example, former cop Kenneth Moreno was sentenced to a year in prison for official misconduct in connect with the infamous “cop rape” trial.

That happened in August.

If the bill Gov. Cumomo signed had been in effect then, Moreno, assuming he’d served for 20 years, would have kept his pension. That’s because official misconduct is a misdemeanor. With government workers’ pensios coming under increased scrutiny, does this pass the smell test?

Brutal cops thrown off the force, or even charged, tried and convicted for acts of brutality will keep their pensions. Now any cop facing even felony charges will be advised to retire from the NYPD between the time of arrest and verdict.

The ticket fix cops, and many others recently charged with crimes, will walk away with a pension if not convicted of a felony. This whole thing seems to have flown under the radar, save a couple of articles in the tabloid press and an op-ed from Arnold Kriss in the Daily News. He’s a former NYPD Deputy Commissioner, and sees the long term impact of taking away a police commissioner’s discretion in punishing rogue or criminal behavior.

Mayor Mike Bloomberg was on the right side of this issue.

He urged the Governor not to sign the bill. He lost on this one. By the way, at about the same time Gov. Cuomo signed this bill into law, he evtoed a measure that would have extended health benefits tomworkers laid off after OTB closed its doors.

So let me see if I’ve got this straight. Crooked cops?  Pensions. Laid off OTB workers? No health benefits.

What’s wrong with this picture?

Listen to me Monday through Friday from 6 AM – 9 AM EST on WWRL AM 1600.

http://www.markrileymedia.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/digg_48.png http://www.markrileymedia.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/reddit_48.png http://www.markrileymedia.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/stumbleupon_48.png http://www.markrileymedia.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/delicious_48.png http://www.markrileymedia.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/google_48.png http://www.markrileymedia.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/myspace_48.png http://www.markrileymedia.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/facebook_48.png http://www.markrileymedia.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/yahoobuzz_48.png http://www.markrileymedia.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/twitter_48.png
Did you like this? If so, please bookmark it,
tell a friend
about it.