Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Mayor Malloy on NPR

Mayor Malloy appeared on WNPR's "Where We Live" on Monday morning as part of their State of Our Cities series, where they're talking with the mayors of Connecticut's cities.

Here's the show's site: http://www.cpbn.org/program/%5Bfield_episode_cpbi_program%5D/episode/state-our-cities-stamford

To download the MP3 of this episode: Download.

Here are some of the things he discussed:

He expects to see further layoffs in the financial industry, which, as we all know, comprises a large portion of Stamford's business sector. Financial sector employees in CT should be spared the worst of it because the cost savings of being in CT make them less vulnerable than people in more expensive cities like New York London. RBS is still coming, with employees expected to be in the new building on April 1. GE Money will see "changes," though their operations are more centered in London, so we'll see.

He expects the next state budget to be "disastrous" for CT's cities and poorer areas, and criticizes the "lack of leadership in Hartford," specifically targeting Governor Rell's budget projections and her failure to react to this "predicted" financial situation.

CT is last in job production and growth, and 80% of CT's best students leave the state. The host asks how recent graduates can afford to live in Stamford. Mayor Malloy mentions the old "10 percent of new housing must be affordable." (I have to add my two cents here. To qualify for affordable housing, you need to be at or below 50% of the area's median income, which was $75,840 in 2007. That means that you need to earn less than $37,920 to qualify. Granted, there are people who need this assistance more than I do, but even if either my wife quit her job or I quit mine, we'd still make too much. Thankfully, we got a great deal on our current apartment, because we don't make enough to afford Stamford's inflated market rate rents, let alone buy something, even with the current real estate crisis.)

On education: We need to concentrate on math and sciences, where America trails the world, as well as close the achievement gap between blacks and Hispanics and the rest of the students.
He'd like it to be easier for people to move to CT and become teachers. He thinks that because so many of the people running CT's educational system are UConn grads, there's a lack of diversity of opinions.

On Obama's proposed new infrastructure spending: How do you prioritize infrastructure projects (needed vs. "shovel-ready")? He advocates direct allocation of federal money to cities, to cut out the state-level bureaucracy. Governor Rell wants the state to get the money, but Malloy says to take a ride on 95 or the Merritt to see how well the state is tending our infrastructure, and that most driving is on local roads, not interstates.

That said, he would also like to see state-level projects such as longer train platforms: the new train cars (340 of them) each hold ten fewer people than the ones they'll be replacing. Some underpasses are over 100 years old, so they make traffic flow difficult. We also need improvements on 95, the Merritt, and Route 1 to create freer traffic flow.

Good question from a caller: How would he close the disparity between the West Side and North Stamford? He mentions a $4 billion remake of the South End (Antares, etc, adding 4000 units of housing, 400 of which will be affordable, and the two buildings on East Main, both with 10% affordable. He says the disparity was much greater twenty years ago.

One interesting tidbit: he says he lives close to the New York border. I thought he lived in Shippan - maybe that BB drive-by incident convinced him to head for the hills.


Anonymous said...

Dan Malloy has a very skewed perspective on where he should be focused. He has been lucky (rather than good) that Stamford happens to sit at a good distance from New York -- enough to be less expensive than the city but not far enough for commuters to rule it out. That attribute alone I what draws people to Stamford.

When compared to the surrounding areas, Stamford residents get far less for their money. The school system has an appalling reputation -- only partially deserved -- but he has done nothing to improve it other than idle chatter about needing to focus on math, science, and diversity. He lacks any kind of creativity in fixing these issues other than to raise taxes. His assumption is that everything costs money and allows his administration to avoid annual productivity requirements. The majority of Stamford government workers have lost sight of the fact that they are there to serve the people that pay their paychecks and Malloy not only does nothing about it, but then praises their bureaucracy, thereby cementing it.

Simply put, he has been a mediocre bureaucrat and has led Stamford into a groove which he is incapable of resolving. It is clearly time for some new leadership. The problem is, with an education system and government management that is not on par with the taxes ("revenues"), how can the town attract the talent to run it more efficiently and refocus it on its residents. Malloy is not the guy to figure this out, whether or not his arrogance tells him that he is.

Anonymous said...

It seems that Anon #1 (5:27am 12/17) knows little about the way Stamford's government is arranged. Stamford's mayor (Malloy or anyone else) is kept out of school business; the elected board of education sets policy, approves curricula, etc. Malloy is interested enough, it seems, in education that he got himself a nonvoting seat on the board, but in the end, those 9 people are the ones we the voters need to be holding accountable for education failures or congratulate when things go well (plus the superintendent, teachers, staff, and building principals). Most of the time, we just elect whoever's familiar--I'd prefer a NYC-like system where one person is accountable. We think the system stinks, and we vote the mayor out next time around.

Your comments about entitled city workers are certainly on point, but your idea of Malloy's efforts around that are waaaaay off base. Many things go unreported.

I may not agree with him on every issue, but he's far from a "mediocre bureaucrat"--in fact, I consider him one of the smartest mayors we've had in decades. And I do like that he surrounds himself with a qualified senior team instead of rewarding political hacks or doing favors for someone's kid.