In a Convocation speech to Wagner's Class of 2009, U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan said he attended the 1977 World Series game when sports commentator Howard Cosell, observing a column of rising smoke in the vicinity of Yankee Stadium, told a national television audience, "Ladies and gentleman, the Bronx is burning." The wave of arson, crime, and abandonment afflicting much of New York City less than two years after the city government had narrowly avoided municipal bankruptcy captured Donovan's attention even then, as an 11 year old baseball enthusiast. And it's probably no accident that as someone who came of age in the 1970s and '80s in New York, he went on to devote his education and distinguished public career to understanding and innovating policy steps that helped rescue and transform New York and many other American cities in the wake of that "urban catastrophe."
Donovan quoted former U.S. Rep. Lee Hamilton in addressing the proud and excited graduates and their families gathered at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on May 15: "Public service is not just a way of life, it is a way to live life fully."
According to Donovan, the rise of New York and the restoration of its once-strained civic bonds show that public-sector work - his own path-has enormous potential value, even though the challenges were amply demonstrated by the government's response to Hurricane Katrina. Citing President Obama's call to service, as well as his recently signed national service bill, Donovan said the mission of public employees and others embarked on public service work of all kinds is to give us "a reason to believe in public service again" in our neighborhoods and across the nation and world.
"Wagner Class of 2009," Donovan said, "we need you to make it possible to believe again!...Together, we can put our shoulder up against the wheel and change the course of history."
Dean Ellen Schall enumerated the impressive accomplishments of the graduating students and faculty members, including Professors of the Year Shanna Rose and Anthony Kovner.She contended that the work of public service requires more than technical and analytical capabilities, as critical as those are, but also "artistry," saying, "Public service is as much about art as about science." Artistry is what is required to find bold new answers to problems that resist technical solutions, whether those are ending poverty, overcoming racism, ensuring equal health outcomes for all, creating public school systems that work, or building cities that are sustainable.
The dean told the graduates that she wrote an essay for the Convocation as if she were applying for admission to the school. She based her thoughts on a photograph she selected from a catalogue of visual images, just as many Wagner applicants are asked to do. The image she selected was that of a person bringing a pot to life on a pottery wheel, as it reminded her of an introduction to pottery class she took last fall.
"I showed up every Monday night from 6-9, much the way you showed up for a class," she told the graduates. "And it was very hard. It was the worst in the class, a fact clear to me and to everyone else. Yet I stayed and kept on trying. I knew there was learning in the trying, in sticking with what didn't come easily. I never actually cracked the code or became a potter. Yet at the end, I have these small little pieces of ‘pottery' in my house and the odd thing is, I display them...and they make me smile when I walk in. They remind me to take myself seriously, but not too seriously, to stretch even in the face of initial resistance, mine or others, to find pleasure in small wins."
She referred to the image on a large screen on the BAM stage.
"This captures a simple visual image that I wish for each of you as you go forth. That you embrace the boldness of seeing yourself as artists, as creators and change makers, as people who bring passion and the fullness of yourselves to the critically important challenges of public service. And that you have the discipline and energy and commitment to keep on going, even if you don't get it right the first time around, that you learn from what works as well as what doesn't, and that you find joy in small things as well as big moves."
The New York State Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) has designated a three-person public arbitration panel -- including Professor Dall W. Forsythe of NYU Wagner -- with power to determine terms and conditions of employment for New York City's 36,000 transity workers.
PERB designated John E. Zuccotti as the public member of the panel after the New York City Transit Authority (TA) and Transport Workers Union Local 100 (TWU Local 100) jointly appointed him to serve as the panel chairman, in accordance with provisions of the State's Taylor Law.
The panel that Zuccotti will chair is tripartite in nature, and includes, along with the chair, one member selected directly by the TA, and one directly by Local 100. PERB designated Professor Forsythe as the public employer panel member and Roger Toussaint as the employee organization's panel member. Forsythe is a former Director of the Budget for New York State. Toussaint is the president of TWU Local 100.
The panel is empowered to hold hearings on all matters related to the dispute, and is charged with making a "just and reasonable" determination in accordance with criteria set forth in the Taylor Law. The panel's determination is final and binding upon the parties, except for any provision which requires an enactment of law for it to be implemented.
Dr. Allison C. de Cerreño talked to the Connecticut Post about the need of a national vision on transportation policy. She said the funding problem (related to Highway Trust Fund) is "worrisome but not as much as the lack of not having a vision." She continued a national vision on transportation infrastructure should be comparable to the ideas that sparked the interstate highway system and the intercontinental railroad.
Dr. Allison C. de Cerreño talked to the Philadelphia Daily News about the Democratic Presidential Candidates' Transportation Policies. She said that while more infrastructure money is badly needed, throwing money at the existing system without having a clear vision will not solve the crumbling systems.
The article also mentioned the presidential forum on transportation issues, hosted by the Wagner Rudin Center at NYU in January, where experts pondered how to best invest in the nation's overall transportation system and stressed a need for more high-speed rail. Dr. C. de Cerreño pointed to Asia and Europe as areas investing in infrastructure.
The U.S. News & World Report rankings of policy schools, which come out only every three or four years, were released March 28, 2008 -- and out of 269 master's programs across the country, NYU Wagner ranks in the top 10 overall this year!
NYU Wagner Rudin Center Director Allison L. C. de Cerreño was one of the panelists at a New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) Public Forum on Congestion and New York's transportation needs, held at the College of Staten Island on March 5, 2008. The session was one of several that have been held around the state to review NYSDOT's 20-Year Needs Assessment.
American Public Media's "Marketplace" interviewed NYU Wagner Rudin Center for Transportation Policy & Management Director Allison C. de Cerreño about the New York Traffic Congestion Mitigation Commission recommendation due January 31, 2008. She said that the commission had reviewed a variety of pricing schemes and that a final proposal was likely to call for drivers to pay higher tolls in contested areas.
Dr. Allison C. de Cerreño talked to Boston Now about Presidential Candidates' Transportation Policies. She said strategies to deal with growing cities that need new transportation systems, and old cities' crumbling systems should be identified.
Gov Cuomo Shows No Urgency In Appointing Next Chair Of NY MTA
- Mitchell L. Moss in WNYC
1 a.m. Is As Busy As Rush Hour at the Bedford Stop
- Carson Qing in The L Magazine
On the night train! Bedford L station as busy at 1 am as it is at rush hour
- Carson Qing in The Brooklyn Paper
â€˜Organicâ€™ Dry Cleaners Can Serve as Barometer of Gentrification
- Mitchell L. Moss in The New York Times