Soul searching at NYC’s specialized HS

Watch via Al Jazeera America Tonight: Soul-searching at NYC’s elite public schools, as Asian-Americans beat out everyone. Bronx Science alumnus Michael Benjamin (@SquarePegDem) offers his perspective.

Sent from my Samsung smartphone on AT&T

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“Affirmative Action” for NYC’s Specialized High Schools? Just Say No

Originally posted on Concourse Expressions:

[UPDATE (11.21.2014): Post republished with minor edits for clarity.]

From the Huffington Post, via Reuters:

The largest U.S. civil rights group plans to file a complaint on Thursday over the admissions test at New York City’s specialized high schools, among the nation’s most elite public schools, citing effective discrimination against black and Latino students…


While more than half [of] the population of New York City is black or Latino, black students made up only 1.2 percent of the Stuyvesant student body last year, while Latino students represented 2.4 percent, city data showed.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, which is filing the complaint, said the highly competitive, 2-1/2-hour, multiple-choice Specialized High School Admissions Test [SHSAT] was at fault for the disparity.(Emphasis mine.)

Oh boy – another “achievement gap” dilemma. So according to NAACP, the disparities in specialized high school demographics mean the SHSAT 

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4 indicted N.Y. pols win re-election – points out NY voters belief in due process and that indicted pols are innocent until proved guilty in a court of law (and not public opinion).


"They may have won their midterms on Tuesday, but for a handful of newly reelected New York lawmakers, their next hurdle is avoiding prison time.

New York voters overwhelmingly reelected four lawmakers — one to Congress and three to the state Legislature — who are under federal criminal indictments."

Read more:

Those who claim that the indictments are racially motivated or disproportionately focused on black lawmakers should note that Rep. Grimm and State Senator Libous are white men.

Michael Benjamin is a consultant, an op-ed contributor and a former state legislator.

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Resignation of Chief Banks: A Sign that NYPD still not ready for real Racial Inclusion under Bratton & de Blasio

Originally posted on BLACK WESTCHESTER:

imageMONDAY- Mayor de Blasio faced something he wasn’t expected,  black leaders blasting his handling of the NYPD and warned of political consequences.

Key Black members of the NYC government brought hard questions towards de Blasio over the departure of Chief of Department Philip Banks III who quit Friday.

It is unfortunate that with all tension between the communities of color and the NYPD that in the time of need, the highest-ranking Black Official, Chief Banks resigns.

Chief Banks should be applauded for not taking a position that was more symbolism that substance with no real effect of changing the culture and policies, procedures that have adversely affected communities of color within the five boroughs of NYC.

“The mayor leads the city, not the commissioner,” Assemblyman Walter Mosley (D-Brooklyn) said during a City Hall news conference.

“So we’re going to ask the mayor, along with the commissioner, to be held accountable…

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A Discussion on Noncitizen Voting, 11/13

Join me @SquarePegDem and other panelists for the Noncitizen Voting Forum which will be at Hostos College in the Bronx on 11/13 @6:30 PM.

Event Page here

Michael Benjamin is a consultant, a freelance op-ed writer and a former state legislator.

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2 of 10 Counts Against Sampson, a Brooklyn State Senator, Are Dismissed |

You Can’t Touch This [Sen John Sampson breaks out his MC Hammer dance moves]!

Federal Judge Dora Irrizary dismissed two "charges [having] to do with Mr. Sampson’s role as a court-appointed overseer for two foreclosed properties in Brooklyn. He was supposed to give the surplus money from the sale of the properties back to the State Supreme Court after those properties sold, which was in 1998 and 2002. Instead, the government said, he held on to the money, then withdrew it for his own use in 2008."

Further, according to the Times report, "If the court considered the date of the embezzlement to be 2008, which would have fallen within the five-year period of the statute of limitations for this kind of embezzlement, the charges would have stood. But the judge, Dora L. Irizarry of Federal District Court in Brooklyn, said on Friday that she sided with the defense, which had argued that the clock started ticking in 1998 and 2002."

Read more about this bizarre ruling here =>

Michael Benjamin, a consultant and contributing columnist at the NY Post and City and State NY, is a former state legislator.

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In New York State Senator’s Case, Defining ‘Embezzlement’ –

Late last month, the NY Times reported that defense lawyers for State Senator John Sampson argued that although "guilty" of embezzlement (for purposes of their legal motion), Sampson cannot be prosecuted because the statute of limitations had expired before his indictment.

What a crock of bullsh!t!

According to the Times:

"State Senator John L. Sampson, who handily won his primary last month despite being under indictment, returned to court on Thursday [September 23] to seek dismissal of two of the 10 counts against him.His lawyers did not argue that he did not embezzle from the government, but rather that he did it earlier than prosecutors have said.

The issue, laid out before Judge Dora L. Irizarry of Federal District Court in Brooklyn, hinged on what action constituted embezzlement: Mr. Sampson’s transfer of the money, or his use of it?

Federal prosecutors have accused Mr. Sampson of embezzling funds from sales of foreclosed properties, which he was overseeing as a state court-appointed administrator of foreclosure funds. He is also charged with obstruction of justice, witness tampering, evidence tampering and making false statements."

[Insert Photograph] Senator John L. Sampson MICHAEL NAGLE FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES

"Mr. Sampson’s lawyers argued on Thursday that the five-year statute of limitations on the embezzlement charges expired well before he was indicted.

Mr. Sampson was supposed to promptly return surplus money from the sale of two foreclosed Brooklyn properties to the New York State Supreme Court, according to the indictment. He did not. The defense agreed, for the purposes of the motion, that the embezzlement took place in 1998 and 2002, when Mr. Sampson transferred the money to escrow accounts he controlled."

Read more:

Michael Benjamin, a consultant and freelance contributor for the NY Post and City and State NY, is a former state legislator.

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The phony cure for New York corruption | New York Post

Earlier in September, the Manhattan Institute’s Stephen Eide wrote an op-ed critical of public campaign financing as a cure for political corruption. He also took a critical shot at the exemption afforded labor union PACs.

"More important, public financing definitely has not eliminated corruption from New York City government. All the local officials caught in scandal in recent years (Miguel Martinez, Larry Seabrook, Dan Halloran) had participated in the matching-funds program.

Matching funds have even been the cause of corruption.

In 2003, Sheldon Leffler, a former candidate for Queens borough president, was found guilty of attempting to divide a large contribution into a series of small ones that would qualify for the public-funds match.

Al Baldeo and Ron Reale, unsuccessful candidates for City Council and Public Advocate, respectively, have also been convicted for attempted straw-donor schemes.

In May, a Queens grand jury indicted City Councilman Ruben Wills for stealing $11,500 in matching funds via a shell company supposedly created to do campaign work."

Michael Benjamin (@SquarePegDem) is a former state legislator turned op-ed writer, blogger and consultant.

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Assemblyman co-sponsors job fair charging unemployed workers $20 | New York Post

A Brooklyn lawmaker co-sponsored a jobs fair that charged unemployed workers a $20 entrance fee.

The event in Midwood was jointly promoted by the Orthodox Union and state Assemblyman Dov Hikind.The $20 admission fee — requested of people who failed to register in advance — shocked other politicos.

“I’ve never heard of an elected official holding a for-pay job fair. That’s not helpful to people who are unemployed,” said former Bronx Assemblyman Michael Benjamin.

“If you don’t get a job, you’re out of $20.”Hikind, who has $792,691 in his campaign treasury, defended the fee.

“There are expenses involved. It takes money to put this together,” Hikind said of the Jobs Fair held at Young Israel of Midwood on Thursday.


Michael Benjamin

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Dem leader considers retiring from politics to be county clerk | New York Post

Harlem Assemblyman and Manhattan Democratic Party leader Keith Wright is considering retiring from politics — to take a plum job as the $174,000-a-year borough county clerk, The Post has learned.

Previously, Assembly Members Audrey Pheffer and Luis Diaz left elected office to become County Clerks of Queens and The Bronx, respectively.

Michael Benjamin

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