It’s stunning to realize that Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly have built their low-crime legacy without adding a single police officer to the force. Indeed, during his first term the Mayor actually cut 3,600 positions, through attrition, to help close a dangerous budget deficit. Yet even under such reduced circumstances, the Mayor and the Police Commissioner have continued to reduce the level of mayhem in our streets. Last year, crime was down for the 17th straight year, with the number of murders at its lowest level since 1963. No other city in America has been able both to bring crime down so profoundly and to sustain those levels over such a long period of time.
But the Mayor understands that this is not the time for complacency. If crime rates start to climb, historically it’s been very hard to reverse direction. Which is one reason why his announcement last week that the city will be hiring 800 more police officers is welcome news. Mr. Bloomberg’s goals in hiring more cops include a new push to get illegal guns off the streets, a continued effort to saturate high-crime neighborhoods with more officers, and a way to grapple with the fact that the city will be gaining an estimated 200,000 people in the next five years. With that kind of population growth, adding resources to crime prevention is smart government. The increased force will also strengthen our anti-terrorism abilities.
The new police officers, who will be in their uniforms by next summer, will cost some money. Unlike other cities, which are vainly pursuing federal grants to increase their police forces, New York will be paying for its new officers itself, rather than wait for any help from the myopic Bush administration. As Commissioner Kelly said, “We don’t need to wait for the cavalry, because we are the cavalry.”
Even with 800 more men and women in blue, the NYPD, at 37,838 officers, will be smaller than it was prior to 9/11. That Mike Bloomberg and Ray Kelly have continued to make our streets safer with fewer resources is a testament to inspiring leadership and the daily dedication of the officers who risk their lives for the well-being of all New Yorkers.
N.Y.U. Beats Ivies (Again)
If you were to give a high-school senior a choice to attend any college in the country he or she would like, and added that being accepted and paying tuition would not be obstacles, then surely the student’s answer would be one of the Ivy League’s “Big Three”—Harvard, Yale or Princeton—would it not? After all, conventional wisdom indicates that an education at one of those schools has always given American youth a leg up into the upper reaches of professional and personal success.
But results from the latest nationwide Princeton Review “Hopes and Worries Survey” tell a different tale. When asked “What ‘dream college’ would you most like to attend, were prospects of acceptance or cost not issues?”, more high-school seniors chose New York University than Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, Yale, Brown, Columbia, Duke or Cornell.
The results were no fluke: This is the third year in a row that N.Y.U. has come out on top in the survey. High-school students now understand that N.Y.U. can provide an academic experience to rival that of the Ivies—schools that occasionally coast on their reputations instead of building on them.
Thirty-five thousand students applied for admission to N.Y.U. last fall, more than any other private university. Back in 1990, just 10,000 students applied. What’s changed to create the surge of interest?
N.Y.U. has flourished under extraordinary leadership, a remarkable legacy left by Larry Tisch and now maintained by chairman Martin Lipton, president John Sexton and dean of the faculty of arts and sciences Richard Foley. Under their guidance, the university has invested in faculty who are the best and brightest in economics, math, the humanities, urban policy, finance and neuroscience. N.Y.U. has focused its energy on Washington Square, building dormitories so that it could evolve from a commuter school into a truly residential campus. Students have many of the world’s greatest museums and theaters a subway ride away, and a front-row seat at the country’s power centers of art, finance, media and politics.
New Yorkers may not always realize how much N.Y.U.—the largest private university in the country—gives back to the city. Its graduates are essential to the arts and entertainment industries—recent Oscar winner Philip Seymour Hoffman, for example, graduated from the Tisch School of the Arts. Many of the city’s leading attorneys are graduates of the N.Y.U. School of Law, while the Stern School of Business produces much of the talent that drives our financial-services industry. It’s also worth noting that N.Y.U. is one of the top five employers in New York City, and its medical school plays a central role in providing first-rate health care at Bellevue Hospital Center, the flagship of the city’s public-health network. Not to mention that N.Y.U.’s bustling Greenwich Village campus has transformed the quality of life around Washington Square Park.
New York University is one of the city’s great success stories, especially for the tens of thousands of gifted and ambitious students who pass through its doors.
Corzine Cleans Up Jersey
Most New Yorkers might hate to admit this, but there’s no denying that the city’s economy is affected by what happens in New Jersey. High-earning commuters from the Garden State fill our office buildings, and the day-trippers who come to Manhattan for theater or a ball game or a stroll through Central Park fill our coffers.
That’s why New Yorkers ought to be following the budget crisis in Trenton very carefully. If New Jersey’s economy begins to fray, we will feel the effects.
Jon Corzine knows all about the close relationship between New Jersey and New York City. As the C.E.O. of Goldman Sachs, Mr. Corzine was one of the city’s most important machers—even though he lived across the Hudson River in Summit, N.J. Now, as governor of New Jersey (and a resident of Hoboken), Mr. Corzine faces an immediate budget crisis and long-term problems that threaten his state’s fiscal health.
Upon taking office in January, Governor Corzine confronted a $4.5 billion deficit and a political culture that embraced gimmicks, borrowing and shady dealmaking. Several of his predecessors paid lip service to the notion of reforming the state’s finances, but they left the state worse off financially when they left office.
Mr. Corzine delivered his budget message last week, and it was a stern one. New Jersey, he said, cannot balance its books without tax hikes. That’s a dangerous tactic in a state that ran Jim Florio out of town when he dared to raise taxes in the face of another fiscal crisis.
Mr. Corzine has proposed raising the state sales tax from 6 percent to 7, and applying it to some services that are currently not subject to sales taxes. He also proposed tax hikes on cigarettes, luxury cars and alcohol.
Several Republicans immediately attacked the governor for his proposal. No doubt they’re hoping to stir up the same passions that sank Mr. Florio, perhaps leading to a revival of the G.O.P.’s fortunes in New Jersey.