By Gary Tilzer
The job of the NYC Controller according to the NYC Charter is to safeguard the City’s fiscal health, root out waste, fraud, and abuse by auditing and correcting the performance of city agencies and all the vendors they hire, especially non-profits, and keep the public informed on the health of the city’s economy by issuing yearly reports.
If you watch the two NY1 reporters/anchors’ Jamie Stelter and Shannan Ferry interview Comptroller Brad Lander, you will not see the NYC’s top auditor protecting the fiscal health of the city, as the City Charter requires him to do or informing the public about the weakness of the city’s economy and budget. Instead, you see an ideologically driven politician, acting like Tony Roberts, the nation’s top life coach and an expert on leadership control psychology. Roberts, and apparently Controller Lander, believe that “[t]he power of creative thinking is the ability to generate a feeling of certainty in yourself and others when nothing in the environment supports you.”
Lander and his fellow progressives in the Working Families Party, the Democratic Socialist of America, and the media, created a Potemkin NYC–a fictional city with unlimited funds for programs solving every problem the city faces. The lack of critical reporting on the Comptroller and the city budget, like we witnessed in the Lander NY1 interview, convinced a growing block of voters that Potemkin NYC with an unlimited money supply is real.
One has to wonder if the Comptroller, progressive elective officials, and the liberal media understands or ever read the NYS Financial Emergency Act of NYC, that requires the city to balance its budget every year. If there is a recession and or if the costs of housing migrants continues to rise without federal help, a state board like the one in the ’70s that was headed by the Wall Street powerhouse Felix Rohatyn, will soon cut city services to the very people the progressives are trying to help and jobs to city union workers they support. Lander’s job is not only to balance the budget, but to keep NYC’s economic engine strong to pay for the expanded social services, nonprofit programs and to build the affordable housing he and his fellow progressives support.
If the NY1 reporters Stelter and Ferry read the City Charter description of the job duties of the NYC Comptroller or Lander’s charter-required 2022 report on the state of the city’s economy, they would not only see that Lander is lying when he is optimistic about migrants saving the city’s economy. If they read the Comptroller report, Stelter and Ferry would have followed up their questions about the mayor’s concerns that the city’s budget is at the breaking point with Lander’s own words from his report showing the same weaknesses in NYC’s economy as Adams describes. Lander has legal fiduciary responsibilities to include accurate economic annual forecasts, informing municipal bondholders of the true conditions of the NYC economy. He uses the media that does not bother to do their research, to send out a completely different message—that NYC has unlimited funds, a dog whistle, to build his progressive voting base, while confusing voters on the need to elect politicians who understand the city’s budget limits.
Lander used the lack of journalism skills of the NY1 reporters to ignore their questions about the city’s economy and spin his ideological support for migrants. NY1 anchor Stelter sabotaged her own question to Lander on the state of the city’s economy when she combined his vision for the city with her question about the condition of the city economy.
Stelter helped Lander communicate to his progressive base when she included his vision for the city in the middle of her question to him about the city’s economy. Lander’s vision as described by Stelter is “Google employees and migrant children attend 3-K classes together on the Westside.” Lander’s vision is irrelevant to the reality of the weakening of the City’s economy as described in his own report. Lander is not a King to communicate his vision. His job, according to the NYC Charter, is to report to us truthfully, on the condition of NYC’s economy.
The city’s chief auditor said during the NY1 interview that “If we cut 3-K for New Yorkers and migrants we won’t help solve the affordable crisis if we lean in and help the economy grow, and help families, that is how we can thrive.” -Comptroller Lander.
Lander’s statement to New Yorkers, as to how the NYC’s economy “can thrive,” obfuscates the reality of the NYC economy crisis, described in Lander’s report, and uses the NY1 to mislead the public, on the reasons Lander provides in his report for the NYC financial collapse. Lander’s vision statement, included by Stelter in her question, sounds more like a campaign advertisement for the Lander 2025 mayor race, than a question by a journalist trying to inform the viewers on the condition of the city’s economy.
As the Jewish Voice reported: “Reporters of this generation abandoned the working class they historically belonged to, ascending to the ranks of the elite. The elite reporters of today are using the liberal narrative in their reporting, to distract from how they benefit from income inequality in America. A guilt trip by the privileged generation of reporters has caused the abandonment of the city’s middle-class and its values.” In the Scripted News Era, Journalists & Elected Officials Become Actors, NY Special Interests Pull the Strings.
“A Nation of Sheep (Reporters) Will Beget a Government of Wolves.” Edward R. Murrow, Journalists
By allowing Lander to spin his progressive ideological delusions and outright hallucinations about the city’s state of economy, the NY1 reporters Stelter and Ferry ignored the important historic role NYC journalists played in informing the public as to what the government is doing to them.
It appears that the reporters agree with Lander’s ideological spins, instead of critically questioning the Comptroller’s statements with follow ups, to inform the public of the dangerous shape of the NYC economy as per Lander’s own report to bondholders (see below). The reporters have to understand that failing to accurately report on the need to balance the NYC budget, leads to the election of more irresponsible and clueless ideological elected officials, which is what Lander wants. There are severe consequences if the press allows Lander to use them while continuing to build his socialist political machine. Margaret Thatcher said that “The trouble with Socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.” Socialists like Lander, who run NYC today, are running out of the economic strength built by past generations of New Yorkers: destroying the city’s business and real estate industry with crime, regulations, and bad policies such as congestion pricing. If NYC falls into a recession, its services and programs will be drastically cut back by a new NY State Emergency Control Board, as they were in the 70s. The Board will shock this generation of city leaders with drastic cuts to health care and social services that will cause people to die, NYC children’s education and future will suffer as teacher positions are cut, and cuts in government subsidies to build new affordable housing will cause more families to become homeless.
The historic role of Journalists informing New Yorkers what their government was doing to them started before America won its independence. John Peter Zenger, a printer and reporter was arrested in 1734, for writing a newspaper telling the truth to NYC residents about how British King George II appointed Colonial Governor William Cosby was mistreating them.
If NY1 reporters Stelter and Ferry did their research, they would have understood that Lander has used taxpayer funded nonprofits to build his new progressive Tammany Hall machine to elect himself to the comptroller position and others of his socialist clones like Assemblywoman Marcela Mitaynes and Councilwoman Shahana Hanif. They would have understood Lander has no interest in uncovering the waste and corruption, which the NY Times discovered last year in their homeless shelter investigation, he has restored some vender suspended. Both Lander and Mitaynes used their positions at the nonprofit, 5th Avenue Committee, to become popular, Mitaynes in Sunset Park and Lander in his first race for City Council in Park Slope and Brooklyn Heights. Lander and Mitaynes used the 5th Avenue Committee Mandatory Including Housing program to help developers to gentrify neighborhoods with progressives, which is the voting base that elects Lander and his fellow socialist clones. Jewish Voice: How Comptroller Lander Built his Nonprofit Progressive Political Machine.
Lander has gotten his whole family involved in strengthening his nonprofit political machine, which he hopes will give him the votes to win the mayoral election in 2025. Since Lander took over as the city’s fiscal watchdog last January, his comptroller’s office has approved nearly $550 million in contracts with nonprofit organizations that are members of an umbrella organization his wife Meg Barnette oversees. Barnette is the CEO of the Nonprofit New York, which serves as a lobbyist and as an advocate for about 900 member nonprofits across the city. Notably, records show that more than 35 organizations that count themselves as members of Nonprofit New York have contracts that Lander’s office has reviewed and signed off on since he became comptroller in January. Notably, Councilman Bob Holden has requested the Department of Investigation (DOI) to probe Comptroller Lander for possible conflicts of interest in Lander wife’s role as a consultant for nonprofits doing business with the city. Although the DOI confirmed receipt of the Councilman request for an investigation last December, it so far has declined to comment on the matter. Jewish Voice: AOC/Lander Left-Wing Political War to Take Over NY
According to the NYS Comptroller the Mentally Ill and Other New Yorkers are Getting Hurt As Lander Builds His Nonprofit Political Machine
A recent NY State Comptroller DiNapoli’s audit stated that there was no proof that any of the billions the city spent on mental health community-based programs work. The Comptroller report determined that the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) frequently gives scarce rooms in treatment of the city and nonprofit homeless shelters to New Yorkers suffering from mental health issues — failing to transfer the mentally ill to specialized facilities even when beds open up. DiNapoli’s audit discovered that several homeless New Yorkers suffering from mental illness were misplaced by DHS and were perpetrators of high-profile crimes. Jewish Voice January 2022 NYC’s Non-Profit Political Complex Has Recklessly Spent Billions on the Homeless Who Still Occupy Our Streets and Subways Jewish Voice: Political Solutions Have Failed NYC’s Mentally Ill: The City Needs A Marshall Plan for Mental Health Care Run By Doctors
Maria Danzilo Twitter @Maria4Dist6: NY needs to audit all NYC nonprofits. As long as @NYCComptroller Lander is in control of NYC’s finances it won’t happen because The NYC Conflict of Interest Board looked the other way over the fact Lander is married to the head of NY’s largest nonprofit lobbying group.
It is very important that in the lean times NYC is entering, the press pressures the Comptroller to not be a cheerleader of his ideological progressive wishes but to perform the duties the City Charter requires him to do, as the city’s chief fiscal watchman. The press must ask for a report on how the controller is going after waste and corruption to make sure New Yorkers get their bang for the tax bucks, in other words receive as many of the city services, and government programs as possible. The NYC Comptroller should be asked why the budget for the entire state of Florida with 23 million people is $101 Billion while the Budget of NYC with 8.6 million people is also $101 Billion and the budget for NYS with 19 million people is over 200 Billion.
The NY1 Interview of Comptroller Lander: How the Media Confuses the Public by Reporting Ideological Wishes Instead of Economic Realities
NY1 Anchor Jamie Stelter Asked Comptroller Lander a Question: “Some are painting a bleak future for the city’s economy, but Comptroller Brad Lander said he is optimistic that the city can adapt. Mayor Adams sounded the Alarm about the cost of supporting the steady stream of migrants arriving in the city. I am glad you seem Shiny and Bright – Because I feel like the news is not that good in terms of city finances. You were quoted in a Gothamist article about your vision for the future of the city: Google Engineers and the kids from the asylum seekers from Venezuela will wind up in the same pre-K class in a Manhattan public school. You absolutely love that – Mayor Adams Said I’m not sure we have the money to do this anymore. How do the two fit in line with each other?”
Lander’s Non-Answer Reply: “New York has thrived for generations on immigrants coming here and bringing their creativity, their entrepreneurship, their energy.” Lander added that “as long as migrants can secure work authorizations from the feds, and the federal government steps up to “pay its fair share,” he believes NYC can see “a lot of financial growth.” Lander said he went to Washington to pressure Congress and the Whitehouse to send resources for shelters and affordable housing – not just for migrants, but for all New Yorkers.
Lander is right that much of NYC was built by immigrants who brought their creativity, their entrepreneurship, their energy to the city, they still are a big part of NYC local neighborhood economy. In 2022 immigrants comprised 37.2 percent of the city’s population, but 44.2 percent of the labor force over three-quarters (77.5 percent) of undocumented immigrants are in the labor force compared to the city’s U.S. born population (64.9 percent). The secret magic of NYC is that the welcome of the Emma Lazarus poem on the Statue of Liberty did not end with immigrants arriving at the NYC shores. The city helped the immigrants and others who came here to become the best they can be by giving them jobs and the opportunity to open up small businesses, moving their families up the economic ladder to enter the middle class, the American dream. If Lander continues to ignore his job and the city enters a recession, the jobs and business opportunities in areas like tourism (down 100,000 jobs) and food services down (60,000 jobs), since the start of the pandemic, will not be there for this and future generations of the city’s immigrants.
Jessica Vaughan Twitter @JessicaV_CIS “For NYC to take on the burden of hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers for years of uncertainty under a chaotic open-ended process is not humane. It prevents us from helping the city’s long-term needy citizens, including mentally ill homeless men.”
While Lander talked about finding jobs for the migrants, the NY1 reporters did not ask the Comptroller why NY’s unemployment rate (6.2%) is almost twice as high as the national average (3.5%). The reporters did not ask Lander how we can reduce the 10% Afro-American unemployment rate, 18.5% young Afro-American and 23% young Hispanics unemployment rate. Lander has never been asked how much tax revenue NYC will lose with the loss of 300,000 jobs since the pandemic or the damage the slow recovery is doing to the city’s minority communities whose unemployment rates are twice that of white workers, according to a study at the New School. It is not hard to see how Lander downplays minority unemployment, most of his supporters come from gentrifying neighborhoods that minorities were pushed out of.
If NYC Only Got Crumbs From the Democratic House, It’s Disingenuous to Believe the City Will Get Any Funds From A Republican Controlled House to Take Care of the New Migrants
Now that the cost-cutting and anti-southern border migration Republicans control the House of Representatives, the NY1 reporters Stelter and Ferry should have challenged Lander’s blatant assertion that there a chance Washington will step-up and provide the city with the funds needed to pay for the hotels to house and feed the migrants or speed up the processing, now taking several years, that allows some migrants to work.
The NY1 reporters failed to address or perhaps understand that when Lander went to Congress, Speaker Pelosi and the Democrats were in charge of the House, and they were more willing to help the democratically controlled NYC. Even then, according to NY1 reporter Errol Louis, the city only got crumbs to help the migrants. It is not only NY1 that did not ask how the city is going to get funds from a Republican controlled house. The media outlets celebrated that after attacking Adams’ trip to El Paso on the Southern Border and Adams attacking Lander for failing to properly balance the City budget, Lander finally decided to join Adams’ plea for federal funds to house and feed the 41,000 migrants in NYC. This media excitement is difficult to understand in light of the new GOP House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who is unlikely to give any funds for migrants to any democrats’-controlled city, until Biden closes the Southern Border.
The NY1 reporters should have asked the Comptroller, who spins unrealistic economic visions, whether he is afraid of a state takeover of the city’s budget which is likely if the Comptroller, the progressive City Council, and the Mayor cannot agree on which city programs and services to cut and whether tax increases are warranted in order to balance the budget next year.>
With 64,577 New Yorkers moving to Florida in 2022, more than any prior year in history, even progressives may understand that increasing the taxes of the already highest tax city might not bring in more revenue as it further encourages NYC residents in the higher and middle-income bracket to leave. The city’s top 1% of taxpayers accounted for 45% of the city’s total income tax liability in 2020. Wealthy New Yorkers who fled the city in 2020 took $21B in income with them, double than the average of those who left New York over the previous decade. Between 2010 and 2020, NYC’s share of the nation’s millionaire earners dropped from nearly 13% to just under 9%, the lowest level on record. The Cuomo tax hike on the rich and the pandemic has surely reduced the 9% number even lower.
If the NY1 Reporters Studied Lander 2022 Report to the City’s Bond Holders, They Would Have Known the Right Questions to Ask
Pursuant to the 2022 Report On The State Of The City’s Economy, the Comptroller expects the City’s economy to slow its pace of recovery, which is already the slowest in the nation. Some of the highlights of the report show that the change in average annual payroll jobs are forecasted to drop to 51.3 thousand in 2023 and 38.7 thousand in 2024. Lander’s report predicts that it will cost the City billions more for rising debt payments, and at least six billion more in pension costs during the next three years to cover stock market losses. Wall Street, which is responsible for 16% of the city’s tax revenue profits, is expecting a bear market for the next few years, bonuses are already expected to drop 22%, and labor union contracts negotiated during high inflation will require more city funds than the 1.5% already budgeted. Rising inflation costs for building materials will mean less affordable housing will be built and city costs for existing city services will increase. Lander’s forecast notes that residential and commercial real estate transactions are expected to drop further than previously anticipated, which means, according to the Comptroller, that the tax receipts are going to be down.
Office occupancy is stuck at 50% of what it was before the pandemic. Lander believes hybrid work schedules will continue to hurt the city’s commercial real estate industry which he predicted will mean the loss of billions of taxes collected from that business. NY1 reporters Stelter and Ferry should have asked Lander, a progressive backer of the bail law, if he thinks reducing crime in the City will get more New Yorkers back on the subways, office workers returning to their buildings and bringing tourists back to the City and Broadway. If Lander’s answer, that to control crime we need more nonprofit programs for the repeat offenders and mentally ill, the reporters should ask where he thinks the money to run these programs will come from.
Despite admitting in his report that continuing hybrid working schedules will cause the City to lose its tax revenue, Comptroller Lander has his 500+ office staff working two days a week at home. Fewer office workers also means fewer customers for restaurants, stores, the arts, and Broadway theaters, and is one of the main reasons the City is collecting less tax revenue. NY1 reporters Stelter and Ferry should have asked Lander, if JP Morgan’s CEO Jamie Dimon has been telling senior managers that he wants rank-and-file bankers back in the office five days a week in order to drive the reopening of the city why the government workers in the Comptroller’s Office are still working three days a week.
“NYC’s Golden Goose (Real Estate Taxes) isn’t Just Losing its Feathers, it’s Coughing Up Blood . . . The Whole Structure of Govt Will Need to Adjust
The NY Post and others on Twitter are listing how much money the city is losing in revenue as the City enters an economic recession, it is Comptroller Lander’s job to inform the public what services the government will have to cut to balance its budget. It’s strange that the Post with all of its resources does not ask the Comptroller or inform the City Council what they will have to cut as the structure of the govt gets its needed adjustment.
“The total value of Gotham’s commercial real estate — offices, stores, and hotels — is nearly $9 billion short of its most recent high. The Finance Department projects revenue from taxes on commercial transactions to fall nearly 43% this fiscal year — about $465 million. The take from residential transfer taxes will drop 27.3%” — down hundreds of millions more.” New York Post
DSA is destroying NY Twitter @MoisaQuasi “Real-estate taxes are the biggest contributor to NYC’s coffers, covering a third of its $106.4 billion budget.”
Lander is Playing Politics with the City’s Financial Crisis; Repeatedly Attacking Adams’ Attempts to Balance the Budget
Brad Lander Twitter @bradlander: “The Mayor’s trip to Texas does little to deliver the $$ NYC needs to provide shelter & services. Instead, it risks reinforcing a harmful narrative that new immigrants themselves are a problem.” Lander sneered (from his campaign Twitter handle, no less) that the trip risked “reinforcing a harmful narrative that new immigrants themselves are a problem.”
As part of his lifelong dream to become Mayor, St. Louis’s born Lander is attempting to have it both ways. Lander is protecting his progressive base by pushing for migrants’ needs in the media, while ignoring his City Charter job requirement of balancing the budget and informing the public on the true state of the City’s economy. He is even using Dick Morris Triangulation politics, attacking the Mayor’s budget-balancing attempts, while ignoring his job to balance the budget by creating a misleading impression that the City’s funds are limitless. When Adams asked City agencies to cut back their City-funded expenses by 3.0% in 2023, and 4.75% in 2024, because his economic advisors expect a $10 billion dollar budget deficit, Lander issued a report that warned of dangerous staffing shortages at 35 different “essential” city agencies and blamed the Mayor for exacerbating staffing problems by cutting city agencies budgets. When Adams cut the Department of Education budget by 1% because of a 10% drop in school enrollment, Lander was the first to attack Adams’ education cut, demanding he restore the money. Jewish Voice: Brad Lander Will Do Anything; Say Anything for the Sake of Power
Lander and his Fellow City Council Progressives Politically Thrive by Obfuscating the City’s Economic Reality with Fiction, that the City has Unlimited Money, Not Challenged by the Liberal Press, Allowing Lander’s Ideological Followers to Win Elections
“The goal of a Journalist is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable” New Yorkers Journalist Ken Auletta. “A well-informed citizenry is the best defense against Tyranny” Thomas Jefferson. “The way you get democracy to function is by informing the public” Robert Kennedy.
By not challenging Lander about ignoring the duties of his office of informing the public on the real conditions of the City’s economy, NY1 reporters Stelter and Ferry enable the Comptroller and his fellow progressives to continue spinning the fiction of the City’s unlimited funds, thereby misleading the public and interfering with the ability of voters to elect next City Council Members who can work to repair the City’s damaged economy. The NY1 interview of the Comptroller enabled the Comptroller and the majority of the City Council to push for more services during their campaigns over balancing the City’s budget, which they are required to do by the City Charter. The media’s continuing failure to educate the public about the real economic issues that the City faces allows the City Council candidates running in the June 2023 primaries to take advantage of the economically and politically uneducated voters to promise services and programs regardless of the City ability to afford them. The media’s failure to inform, interferes with what Jefferson said is necessary for fair democratic elections: the City Council leaders are already spinning their unlimited funds myths to confuse the voters and win elections.
Council Speaker Adrienne Adams and Finance Chair Justin Brannan attacked the budget vision put forward by the Adams’ Administration seeking to cut funding for CUNY, libraries, social services, early childhood education, and other essential services for New Yorkers as cuts this Council cannot support. The city is facing multiple crises that require smart investments, and the approach in the November Plan only undermines the health, safety, and recovery of our city. We also reject the false choice in this budget modification of having to choose between cuts to city agencies or cuts to non-profit organizations providing services on the frontlines in our communities to underserved and vulnerable New Yorkers. Nowhere in the op-ed did the Council Speaker or Finance Chair state where they or the mayor would find the funds to balance the Budget.
Paul Starr, the distinguished Princeton scholar, maintains that the dying of the newspaper business fragmented the public’s understanding of current political events, including the economic reality of what the City budget can accomplish. The average voter in NYC is sorely uninformed about the limits of the City’s economy. Incredibly, NY1’s Political Director Bob Hardt allows his reporters to claim in their self-serving promotional ads that watching NY1 gives New Yorkers the information they need to be inform voters. Many of today’s elected officials grew up after the 70s near bankruptcy, during NYC’s robust economic growth when the City budget was flushed with cash and there was always money available for new projects. In contrast, we are now entering lean times, where a number of factors can crash NYC’s economy and force the city into bankruptcy, triggering a 70s-like State takeover of the City’s spending and budget. The unwillingness of Lander and his fellow progressives to compromise and cut the budget, makes a 70s like bankruptcy a real possibility.
Lander and His Fellow Progressive Elected Officials are Risking Another Emergency Financial Control Board Take-Over Of the City Government, As the Board Did in the 70s
If the City Council continues to refuse to cut the budget or increase the tax base to restore the City economy, and the press allows them to get out their progressive talking points without challenging them, NYC is headed to bankruptcy and a state takeover.
Even when NY1 reporter Ferry asked Lander later in the interview: “But What the Mayor is saying at a certain point we are bursting at the seams our other City services are going to be impacted by that,” The Comptroller again ignored her question and repeated his previous non-answer: “what you want is a growing economy. That’s why immigration has been such an important driver for the city.” NYC progressive politicians like Lander, who continue to refuse to acknowledge there’s a problem and are even clamoring for more taxes, are quickening the time it will take to collapse the City’s economy. As George Orwell said, “Sooner than later a false belief stands up against solid reality, usually on the battlefield.” The battlefield in NYC is the economy, the reality is the balanced budget limit. The budget battlefield is the last chance to expose the irresponsible cult-like progressive-left elected officials like Lander before they gain complete control of the City. Stay Tuned.