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Maya Wiley’s radical mayoral bid threatens an already crisis-ridden NYC

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Maya Wiley's radical mayoral bid threatens an already crisis-ridden NYC

Now that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Elizabeth Warren have both endorsed Maya Wiley’s mayoral bid, we should take a closer look at the panoply of awful ideas these progressive stars are happily embracing. 

We can hope that Wiley’s candidacy won’t succeed — but we must fear that it just might. A new poll puts her in second place, with 17 percent of the vote after rocketing up 8 points. Even if she loses, Wiley’s tsunami of bad proposals might engulf the mayoralty of even a nominally moderate candidate, much as Warren’s and Sen. Bernie Sanders’ ideas have infiltrated the Biden administration.

Reducing the size and budget of the NYPD amid a crime wave is only her most obviously wrongheaded idea. New Yorkers consistently tell pollsters that public safety is their No. 1 issue, and Wiley’s radical anti-anti-crime vision would leave an already-strapped police force overwhelmed by bad guys who are already bathing the city in blood.

But there are plenty of other bad Wiley ideas. Consider her proposal to “keep public housing public.” It’s an ideological response to a $40 billion backlog in capital repairs that leaves New York City Housing Authority residents shivering in winter and flooded in the summer.

She is pushing back against the most practical way to fix NYCHA that’s come along in years: CEO Greg Russ’ plan to establish public-private partnerships to renovate and manage 110,000 crumbling units. Private management doesn’t mean housing projects won’t remain public, but it might fix the leaks and take down all the sidewalk sheds that shield criminals.

In Wiley’s dreamland, NYCHA residents will set priorities and do repairs themselves, and she can find only $2 billion for NYCHA repairs. Get out your toolboxes, NYCHA residents!

Then there is her misconception that “housing affordability and homelessness are two sides of the same coin.” No, those sleeping on the street and troubled souls plagued by drugs and demons need care; most aren’t homeless only because they can’t pay the rent.

Dealing with the street-homeless problem requires addressing serious mental illness and aggressively using and expanding Kendra’s Law to provide involuntary care for those whose illnesses prevent them from caring for themselves. Expanding Kendra’s Law isn’t part of Wiley’s agenda.

And she mistakes the family shelter population as evidence of “an eviction crisis” — embracing the latest, COVID-inspired progressive idea to ban eviction altogether.  

Denying small-property owners the right to evict is to deny them income they need themselves — and to deny other tenants the safety that comes with slamming the door on those who commit “lease violations,” such as drug dealing and illegal gun possession.

Wiley, like Warren in her presidential campaign, has a plan for everything (New Yorkers apparently need a mayor who will plan their lives). That includes extending health insurance to the 600,000 New Yorkers she asserts lack it, presumably including many non-citizens.

Her ballyhooed “New New Deal” would target capital projects to low-income neighborhoods and reserve the construction jobs for neighborhood residents. Yet the idea that low-income neighborhoods will provide jobs for their residents misunderstands how the urban economy works.

Residents, whether of the city or suburbs, generally have to travel to where the jobs are. The key to reviving poor neighborhoods lies in improving the job skills of residents, along with reliable public transportation, so they can work construction wherever those jobs are or make their way to restaurants that are desperate for workers.

In assuming that poorer communities will be better off with self-contained economies sustained by the government, Wiley inherits the perspective of her late father, George Wiley, whom she often cites as an inspiration. Though she describes him as a civil-rights pioneer, the elder Wiley was also a skeptic of capitalism, leading the National Welfare Rights Organization and helping the city’s population on public assistance balloon to more than 1 million.

Memo to Wiley and the other progressive candidates: The city faces a tax revenue cliff as revised assessments on commercial properties inevitably reduce their bills. This is not the time for grand promises, but rather for City Hall to do the basic things right and, in that way, to provide the framework for renewed prosperity.

Howard Husock is an adjunct scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a contributing editor of City Journal. 

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Opinion

Supreme Court decisions expose Dems as half-baked hysterics

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Supreme Court decisions expose Dems as half-baked hysterics

When President Donald Trump nominated Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court last fall, hysterical Democrats declared millions of Americans would lose health coverage with her vote against ObamaCare — and immediately started talking about packing a court they called hopelessly divided.

Two big Supreme Court decisions last week proved reality turned out to be nothing like Dems’ fever dreams.

In a 7-2 decision in California v. Texas, the high court rejected a Republican bid to invalidate ObamaCare — and Barrett was not one of the two dissenters. It ruled that Texas and 17 other GOP-led states didn’t have standing to challenge the law’s individual mandate. The Trump administration had taken their side, while 20 Democratic-run states including New York and California, along with the Dem-controlled House of Representatives, took the other. Only Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch dissented to the majority opinion the liberal Stephen Breyer authored.

How could this be? Last year, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez declared, “Confirming Amy Coney Barrett will be the end of the Affordable Care Act.” In her opening statement at Barrett’s confirmation hearing, then-Sen. Kamala Harris held up a picture of an 11-year-old constituent and accused Republicans of trying “to jam through a Supreme Court nominee who will take away health care from millions of people during a deadly pandemic.”

Democrats boycotted the final committee vote, filling their seats instead with posters of ObamaCare recipients, implying a vote for Barrett would put those lives at risk.

During the whole childish circus, they insisted Trump had picked Barrett and sped up her confirmation just so she’d be seated in time to hear arguments in the case and dismantle the law. They didn’t bother to look at her record and examine her judicial philosophy — they assumed this well-qualified woman would be the president’s puppet.

In the second important decision, Fulton v. Philadelphia, the court ruled unanimously that the city violated the Constitution’s free exercise clause by suspending Catholic Social Services’ contract because the group wouldn’t certify same-sex couples as foster parents.

Yes, all nine justices ruled in favor of religious freedom — putting paid to Democratic complaints the court is out of balance with too many conservatives. It’s far from the only unanimous decision already this term, either. Every justice signed on to decisions written by Gorsuch, Breyer, Clarence Thomas and Sonia Sotomayor, with two of the cases involving immigration issues.

That people of varying political stripes can agree on the law shouldn’t come as a surprise. Supreme Court justices take their jobs seriously — which is more than you can say for Democrats charged with helping choose them.

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Opinion

The undying myth of GOP ‘obstructionism’

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The undying myth of GOP ‘obstructionism’

The media have spent the Joe Biden presidency thus far pressuring moderate Democrats to join the left’s efforts to destroy the filibuster.

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Opinion

Big Labor’s gift to itself and other commentary

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Big Labor's gift to itself and other commentary

Libertarian: Unions’ Gift to Themselves

Big Labor spent millions getting President Biden elected — and now it’s seeking to enact a law “directing federal power and resources to boost flagging” union rolls, laments Reason’s Eric Boehm. The so-called PRO Act “is a grab bag of Big-Labor agenda items that would extend some of California’s awful independent contractor regulations nationwide” and “abolish so-called right-to-work laws in the 27 states that have passed them.” Biden and the unions insist this is about empowering workers, “but if workers were as eager to join unions as [they] seem to think, they wouldn’t need a powerful federal bureaucracy to encourage that outcome.”

Centrist: United Supremes

The most striking aspect of the Supreme Court’s recent rulings on ObamaCare and religious liberty was the “absence of ideological divisions” from a high court that “Democratic leaders have declared hopelessly divided along ideological lines,” observes Jonathan Turley at USA Today. The largely united decisions mark “the final collapse of the false narrative that has been endlessly repeated like a mantra in Congress and the media.” Critics may continue to insist that the court is “dysfunctional, divided and needs to be radically changed,” but the justices aren’t “cooperating,” issuing instead an “inconvenient line of unanimous decisions.” Yet even as the court “seems to be saying a lot in one voice not just about the law, but about its own institution,” the media will undoubtedly continue to denounce it, “because politics demands it.”

Crime beat: A Wake-Up Call in Atlanta

The “mind-numbing randomness, brazenness and, even worse, casualness of violence afflicting Atlanta” has the upscale Buckhead neighborhood “wanting to break away from Atlanta to form its own city” with “its own police force,” writes The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Bill Torpy. Atlanta shootings are up 40 percent this year, but police often see “the same ne’er-do-wells walking the streets the next day,” thanks to a “broken” criminal-justice system. “Buckhead is almost three-quarters white,” yet “in black neighborhoods across the city, victims are widespread, and residents there want police to protect them, too.” But Buckhead can get attention, because its departure would “take away 40 percent of the city’s income.” It should be “one loud wake-up call.”

Culture critic: RIP, Janet Malcolm

At First Things, Helen Andrews assesses the complex legacy of veteran New Yorker magazine scribe Janet Malcolm, who died last week — and whose “cold, precise, unsparing” journalistic style recalled that of the great Russian writer Anton Chekhov. She was born to a psychiatrist father, and “psychoanalysis was a constant presence in Malcolm’s journalism.” The shrink’s couch formed her “eye for the telling detail” and “taught Malcolm a certain bleakness” about the world — and her own profession. Yet her “most famous line” — that “every journalist who is not too stupid or full of himself to notice what is going on knows that what he does is morally indefensible” — helped spread cynicism about reporters. The result, Andrews laments, is that now “every trace of authenticity has been scrubbed from press interviews.” 

Media watch: Suppressing the Truth

“From the lab-leak theory to the Lafayette Square tear-gassing, anti-Trump bias blinded our news media,” declares Wilfred Reilly at Spiked Online. “Except perhaps for the Hunter Biden story,” there was no “potentially major and obviously newsworthy story more intensely suppressed than the lab-leak explanation for COVID’s origins,” but it was just “revealed quite possibly to be correct.” Pols and press called then-President Donald Trump “reckless” for touting hydroxychloroquine, yet “a major study” has found “it increases survival rates for COVID patients by almost 200 percent.” And the claim “Trump had ‘tear-gassed peaceful protesters’ ” to stage a photo-op turned out to be “complete nonsense.” Tellingly, all these facts only came out when Joe Biden became president. This “mainstream-media swiveling” causes “latent social distrust that has no imaginable upside.”

— Compiled by The Post Editorial Board

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