Opinion | Mayor Adams and Others: Ideas for New York

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To the Editor:

Re “What New York City Needs to Defy the Odds Again” (editorial, Aug. 6):

The editorial board accuses our administration of lacking the vision to tackle the issues facing our city as it emerges from a once-in-a-century pandemic. The board misses the point. Big ideas are easy. But running a city effectively means making sure that the basics work better than ever — especially in the aftermath of tragedy.

Today, overall crime is down, our streets are cleaner and we have brought back a staggering 99.9 percent of private-sector jobs. Daily subway ridership has surpassed the four million mark — not once, but five times since April 20 of this year.

Office-to-residential conversions and congestion pricing — a first-in-the-nation policy — will become a reality, along with the many ambitious efforts we are already implementing from our “New New York” plan.

This is the result of a steadfast commitment to getting big and small things done — despite this paper’s frequent assertions to the contrary.

Our work is never finished. But when it comes to running a forward-looking city that New Yorkers can rely on, we have made a measurable, positive impact.

We’ll leave others to debate whether this is a big idea or not.

Eric Adams
New York
The writer is the mayor of New York.

To the Editor:

While it’s infuriating that the critical issues raised have yet to be addressed, the editorial did not mention one of the biggest challenges of our time.

According to the state comptroller, one in 10 New Yorkers is food insecure. Yet despite this shocking figure, little is being done to solve the crisis. Time and again, food insecurity is treated as an issue that charity can solve and, sadly, the editorial’s omission of it is representative of the city and state’s overall neglect, leaving nonprofits to pick up the slack.

Since the start of the pandemic, New York nonprofits have worked tirelessly to provide emergency food support. In 2021 alone, the Roundtable: Allies for Food Access distributed 14.3 million pounds of fresh produce and worked to reduce food procurement costs. Meanwhile, City Hall proposed reducing funding for meals for seniors while countless New Yorkers face reduced SNAP benefits.

Inflation, which has sent food prices soaring, is only pushing already vulnerable people into deeper need. If nothing is done soon, no amount of big ideas will dig New York out of this hole.

Greg Silverman
New York
The writer is executive director of the Westside Campaign Against Hunger.

To the Editor:

One more big idea for New York City? Child care.

Over half of New York City’s neighborhoods are infant care deserts — and even when families have access to child care, most can’t afford its steep price tag. According to one report, only 14 percent of families with young kids can afford center-based child care for a preschooler; just 7 percent can afford the same for an infant or toddler.

Working families, and particularly moms, are making the impossible choice between caring for their kids and advancing their careers. And the cost compounds: The Department of Labor recently found that caregiving costs the average woman $295,000 over her lifetime.

Meanwhile, child care providers are in the bottom 3 percent of New York City earners. And, as a New York Times investigation recently found, even universal pre-K — a lifeline for parents — suffers from mismanagement and risks losing funding.

In short: everything about our city’s child care infrastructure is broken. We need leaders to put families first, not last. They can start by making major investments in care.

Reshma Saujani
New York
The writer is the founder and C.E.O. of Moms First, an advocacy group for mothers.

To the Editor:

The editorial board’s survey of worsening conditions in New York City does not mention its most fundamental problem: one-party rule in local government.

Democratic control of local government is so absolute that Democratic primaries have displaced elections. Participation in those primaries, already limited to registered Democrats, is low. Outcomes are the product of deal-making among professional politicians whose agenda is not the product of public consensus, and is not always aligned with the public good.

The editorial’s suggestion that “the mayor would do well to ask members of the public” how to solve the city’s problems will not bridge the disconnect between the political class and the people whose interests they were elected to serve.

To fix this for now and for the future, give young people the politically neutral civic education they deserve. Create low-cost, high-impact formats, like a Model City Council, in which students citywide consider their neighborhoods and advocate for them, interact with students from other neighborhoods, and acquire the knowledge to participate in local government, rather than consider it an insider’s game.

Neil Saltzman
New York

The Media’s Coverage of Hunter Biden

To the Editor:

Re “Prosecutor of Biden Son Is Now Special Counsel, Making a Trial Likelier” (front page, Aug. 12):

I experienced a horrid flashback Saturday morning, seeing that both The New York Times and The Washington Post featured the Hunter Biden story on their front pages. It reminded me of the Hillary Clinton emails story from a few years ago.

Like Hillary’s emails, the Hunter Biden saga is a nonissue for Americans. It is nothing more than a crucible used by Republicans to control the narrative. And they succeed, every time.

The emails story was a major factor in the election of Donald Trump. And while we have explored the rationale for the Donald Trump vote ad nauseam, there has been much less focus on the media’s elevation of non-stories to the same level as real issues in a feeble, destructive attempt at “balance.”

A good first step would be to stop treating a private citizen like Hunter Biden as if he were a senior White House adviser, you know, like Jared Kushner or Ivanka Trump. Let’s see their deals take over the front page. There’s much more of a story there, with very real implications for America.

Christine Thoma
Basking Ridge, N.J.
The writer is a former producer for NBC News and a former senior producer for Fox News.

To the Editor:

While Hunter Biden’s possible transgressions continue to come before the public and certainly will be fodder for Republicans in their effort to discredit his father in his bid for a second term as president, it seems to me that there is one thing that President Biden can, and should, do at this time.

There is much speculation that should Donald Trump be elected to the presidency, he will pardon several of his supporters who have been convicted of crimes.

President Biden should publicly state that should his son be found guilty of any of the crimes for which he is being investigated, as president he will stand behind the court’s decision. If Hunter is found guilty, there will be no pardon. Tough love.

Michael Kaplan
Princeton, N.J.

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