Capital & Main’s interviews with newsmakers echoed with warnings and hope.
Co-published by the American Prospect
Supporters say vacant-property taxes keep speculators from sitting on properties until they can rent or sell them for more money.
Aided by an incurious media, most Democratic presidential contenders have been allowed to slide around charter school issues.
“We must nominate a solid progressive,” says New York’s mayor about the Democrats’ next presidential candidate. “That’s the only way we can change the country. It’s also the only way we can win.”
The problems are well documented. Northrop Grumman botched the upgrade to New York City’s 911 systems while billing the city $300,000 to $430,000 annually for each of their 137 consultants. A $132 million dollar contract to upgrade phones and Internet services for municipal agencies in Orange County, California is already $13 million over budget while municipal employees report repeated outages and failed solutions from the contractor, Xerox. And who can forget all those failed Obamacare exchange websites brought to us by mega-information technology contractors such as CGI and Oracle?
For too long, local and state governments have turned over control of their critical digital infrastructure to companies claiming they could do the work cheaper and faster than public employees. But after the last few years of failures, cost overruns, and plain old shoddy work, local leaders are finally realizing that in this digital age,
I recently interviewed one of the country’s unabashed progressive leaders, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio. Our discussion ranged from Ronald Reagan’s legacy to the failures of contemporary Democrats to stand up for their values. “We have an income inequality crisis in this country that will endanger the future of the entire United States of America,” de Blasio told me. We present here the first in a series of clips from that interview. (Full transcript here.)
Capital & Main: Do you see risk in Democrats running away from a populist progressive agenda?
Mayor Bill de Blasio: Absolutely. I think the biggest development we saw [in the midterm election] was Democrats not standing up for the ideals of the Democratic Party, not talking to the economic realities of our people, not being willing to offer real progressive solutions. I think there’s another model of Democrats who actually addressed these issues, who were willing to take on big corporations, who were willing to challenge the status quo, who were willing to ask those who are wealthy to pay their fair share, who were willing to talk about how we create living wage jobs and better benefits….
People are looking for answers to what is now a fundamental structural economic crisis. The middle class has been collapsing, people’s earning power has been declining rapidly…. I love that the conventional wisdom [about the recent election] is about a conservative tidal wave.