Strictly Stasi
by Anthony Stasi
Nov 24, 2009 | 6740 views | 0 0 comments | 64 64 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Dan Halloran winning in the 19th Council District is one of the three big victories for Republicans in Queens this year, but legislation may only be part of his task.

The 19th District, while it is considered a swing district as it can go to either party, is not an easy one in which to remain on top. Halloran knows that his party stuck with him when some press highlighted his religious beliefs, but just as there were many Democrats vying for Tony Avella’s former seat, there are plenty of Republicans that are looking to run for offices in that region.

Halloran needs to stay on top of party-building in that part of the city. Eight years ago, Dennis Saffran ran for the City Council seat against Avella, and the election was decided by a little more than 500 votes. In contests like these, and they are becoming more and more common, one needs complete party support.

Some say that Democrat Kevin Kim lost due to other Democrats not coming out for him as hard as they could have. They may want their shot at Halloran in four years. Halloran is in a good position to make inroads for his party, especially since the Queens Republican Party chairman lives in his district.

Citistat and Smart Government

Citistat is an innovative tracking system that is used in many city governments, sometimes referred to under different names. You don’t hear much about it because articles are written about policy itself, and not the implementation practices. But the way government implements policy now, can and will produce results that will ultimately drive our politics.

New York City and Baltimore are the two cities that started this innovative technique of tracking policy. New York’s police department began tracking crime in the late 1990s, while Baltimore tracked education statistics.

How policy is analyzed is never a sexy story, but still very important. In a time when cities and states are hoping to save money however possible, avoiding wasted resources is a good idea. A few years ago, while visiting Baltimore, my cousin told me about their young mayor who was also in a band that played in the city. Martin O’Malley, the then-mayor of Baltimore, is now the governor of Maryland.

O’Malley is not a sure bet for re-election next year, but only because Maryland is a tough state politically. It is the wealthiest state in the country per capita, yet has poor neighborhoods that are the things of television dramas.

O’Malley is bringing the Citistat approach to the state level as a way to make government agencies more connected – so there is no overlapping work and a more streamlined way of doing things. And it is no time too soon, since Maryland is considered the easiest state for illegal aliens to blend into without being documented.

It’s a successful way of engineering policy, that has now been picked up in smaller cities, such as Buffalo. Buffalo is using Citistat as a way to cut down on graffiti. In 2004, Baltimore was awarded Harvard University’s Innovative Government Award.

Will politics change along with how we track and implement policy? Will candidates be facing questions in the future about how they will focus on a certain issue? It may not be enough to have a plan, but somewhere in these very expensive campaigns, you may want to know what the strategy is should this person actually get elected.

Perhaps younger candidates have a little more of an advantage in possibly having an understanding of these types of governing systems. We could see a change in the kind of elected officials we get due to this kind of innovation. Maybe the “politician as showma”’ is soon to fade, as the technical policy wonks begin to take over. Either way, you still need a good haircut.

Are You The Next Wildcard for the Mets? The Flushing Business Improvement District announced last week that they are actively looking for college students to intern with the New York Mets in 2010. One would think that if any applicants are familiar with pitching in mid-relief, they would go to the front of the line.

Peter Criss’ New Journey

Kiss guitarist Peter Criss recently announced that he has male breast cancer. Male breast cancer is not as widely talked about as it is for women. Criss claims that men are slow to admit that they might have this because it is embarrassing. The word breast seems to be what makes men slow to get help. But letting a lump linger around in your chest is far worse.

A few years ago, a friend that does a lot of hiring for companies explained why there were so few male nurses.

“The word nursing,” he said “brings to mind the image of a woman holding an infant to her chest. It does not make men want to enter the field. They don’t go into nursing because they call it nursing.”

Maybe that is true, but if re-labeling something is what is needed, it seems like a quick fix to get people moving in the right direction. Maybe male breast cancer can be referred to as chest cancer, or some other scientific expression. Vanity is not worth dying for.

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