Proposing the Use of Computer Mapping to Improve School Accountability


 Following are excerpts from an interview with Mark Green, the
 public advocate and a Democratic candidate for mayor. The interview
 was conducted yesterday by editors and reporters of The New York
 Times, and it is the fifth in a planned series of interviews with
 each of the major candidates.

 Q. You've become familiar to New Yorkers over many years as part
 of a wing of a party that in the last few years has become
 associated with high crime, high welfare, squeegee men, all kinds
 of things. And you've gone to some lengths to say that you're not
 the guy who brought those things. Why should people believe that?

 A. I plead guilty to being in the Roosevelt- Kennedy Democratic
 Party, which has over the last half century helped revive the
 economy and tried to breach racial divides. It was the Clinton-Gore
 administration, allow me to remind you, that sent up to 100,000
 more cops to our streets and turned federal red ink to black ink.

 First, I'm a proud progressive Democrat on issues like social
 justice, choice, gay rights — without ever having to shift
 positions because of an election year. I am very tough-minded on
 criminal justice issues and economic issues. . . .

 Q. Can you talk policy-wise the way a Green administration would
 be different than a Giuliani administration? . . .

 A. My candidacy and mayoralty are and will be relentlessly focused
 on educating children and protecting families. . . .

 On educating children, I think the Giuliani administration gets a
 failing grade. Instead, I would focus primarily on investing ideas
 and resources K through 3, so no child is in a class larger than
 20. It's not easy, it's not cheap. But all the pedagogical studies
 show that is the best way to convey literacy and numeracy skills at
 the biological moment kids are ready. . . .

 Second, I want to — if this mayor won't, I will negotiate a
 big deal with teachers where they will get more pay, a lot of it
 incentive pay for more performance, will get more professional
 development, will get smaller class sizes, which they are as
 interested in as more pay. But in exchange for more performance.
 . . .

 Q. Talk to me . . . about the performance side of

 A. . . . The city has to pay more to assure that the
 best teachers don't flee to the suburbs. But we should expect more.
 For example, if principals agreed to a contract that they could be
 canned, after due process, in 60 days for poor performance or 90
 days for malfeasance, why not teachers? . . . Finally,
 you can have incentive pay, which is not test- based and
 classroom-based. . . . Incentive pay means that —
 or bonus pay means that you pay more for more: if a teacher tutors
 younger colleagues, if a teacher spends more time in the summer, if
 a teacher gets more credentials. If the whole school's scores go
 up, you have bonus pay for the team. . . .

 And second, on protecting families, we're all thankful that
 because of certain national trends and Giuliani-Bratton strategies,
 crime is down in New York City substantially more than in other
 urban areas. But I'm not satisfied. And there's a whole crime
 agenda that can now — it's not instead of smart
 quality-of-life policing, which I would continue, but it's in
 addition to it. And it involves more community policing, as other
 cities are doing better. It involves stopping the hollowing out of
 our Police Department by providing more pay and better precincts
 and tuition assistance for cops who need it. And it involves
 smarter preventive policing. . . .

 Q. Are stop-and-frisk policies under Giuliani and things like
 Operation Condor among the policies that you support in continuing

 A. No. Of course every police department in world history has some
 version of stop-and- frisk. And I'd continue that consistent with
 Fourth Amendment standards.

 At the same time, there is extraordinary anecdotal and statistical
 evidence that there is a level of racial profiling on the streets
 of New York. . . . And so I would revisit stop-
 and-frisk procedures to make sure that they were bona fide and not
 racially motivated, de facto. I don't believe there's racial
 profiling de jure. I don't believe the mayor or the police
 commissioner has ordered it. . . .

 Now Commissioner Kerik has acknowledged this and is trying to
 change it by at least requiring that officers explain after a
 stop-and-frisk that led to nothing why that citizen was stopped.
 And I'd encourage that.

 Q. And Condor?

 A. That crime is down doesn't mean: A) it can't go down further;
 and B) that the department is being well managed. . . .

 So among the things I worry about is inheriting a hollowed, as I
 said, a hollowed- out Police Department. Where I want to continue
 the good strategies of Giuliani and Bratton that have worked on
 precinct accountability, computer mapping, quality-of- life
 policing. But take a fresh look on those that have caused enormous
 social divisions and have hurt law enforcement. . . .

 Q. Condor you'd put in that category?

 A. I want to take a fresh
 look at Condor. I think Condor is largely responsible for the $300
 million overtime budget. And I think there are more effective ways
 to deter drug use and criminal conduct than the current method of
 Condor and the overtime budget that we are now paying for.

 Q. So you say more emphasis on prevention?

 A. Absolutely.
 . . . Nine in 10 police commissioners around the
 country in a survey said it's essential to invest in safe,
 affordable day care as among the ways to deter crime. And so I have
 plans on how to better reduce gun use, on how better to police in
 precincts where youth violence is up, on how to provide alternative
 youth corps. . . .

 Q. Why, really? Why the statistics are going down everywhere, or
 have been for the last several years?

 A. I think fair-minded criminologists and officials would say the
 predominant reason crime is down so much in all urban areas is the
 abatement of the crack epidemic in the late 80's. . . .
 Second, the age cohort that commits a disproportionate percentage
 of the crime — 14-  to 20-year-olds — did not see
 a population boom in the last decade. . . .

 Mayor Giuliani deserves — Mayor Giuliani and Commissioner
 Bratton deserve their share of . . . credit. But
 neither of them invented parallel processing.

 Q. What? . . .

 A. And so they happily decided to use
 computers and data entry to map crimes per block and neighborhood
 rather than put colored pins to track grand theft auto and rape and
 armed robbery. . . . I support the idea that commanding
 officers have to measure when crime bumps up in a particular block
 and have a strategy for how to reduce it or else they won't stay
 commanding officers. . . .

 Q. What do you think about the whole debate over applying Comstat
 to the school system?

 A. Well, absolutely. Comstat means using computer mapping to track
 things. We need a Comstat in every agency — to measure how
 many people go from welfare to workfare to permanent work. I said I
 wanted a Comstat for kids, for juveniles. . . . Of
 course, entering data into computers should track which of our
 1,100 schools are working, which aren't, which districts have
 superintendents that are successful and which aren't.
 . . . And I believe in accountability. I want more
 mayoral control. And so my chancellor and superintendents and
 principals will report, ultimately, to me as mayor on how they're
 performing. And the only way to know that is by data and by
 conversation. . . .

 Q. Can we talk about money a bit?

 A. Sure.

 Q. I think everybody agrees the next four years the
 next mayor's going to face probably a decline in revenues and quite
 possibly an increase in demands for services . . .

 A. I have laid out, I believe, the largest fresh economic
 framework of any of the candidates running. And first, instead of
 just focusing on saying, `Let's raise taxes,' or `Let's never raise
 taxes,' which is a stale bipolar conversation, I focus on how
 — on a thing called better management, and laid out in a talk
 a year ago how I think I could save several hundred million dollars
 by pursuing gain sharing, smart procurement and more electronic
 government. . . .

 Second, I want to build out downtown Brooklyn in the way the state
 and city had a development corporation that built up West 42nd
 Street. . . .

 Third, it is essential to invest in information technology
 training. That's the future for New York workers. That's —
 computer technician jobs are the new middle-class jobs now that we
 don't have and will never again have 800,000 manufacturing jobs in
 the region.

 And fourth, I want to help revive the economy . . . by
 spending scarce economic development dollars, not in building more
 stadiums, but in investing in more community-based organizations
 bottom up. . . .

 Finally, fifth, I want a whole new relationship with the Port
 Authority. I've been a pretty strong critic of how they've
 underinvested in the New York side of the port, given our
 population and profits. But at the end of the day, instead of
 trying to blow them up we have to have a cooperative relationship,
 which I believe I will have. And we will have more lease payments
 for our airports, and they have billions of dollars that we need to
 invest in a cross-harbor freight tunnel, in an expansion of the
 Javits Center, in a Second Avenue subway. . . .

 Q. At the risk of being stale and bipolar, do you have anything to
 say on the tax side?

 A. Sure. . . . I have my own tax package, which had
 other tax cuts that were not pursued by the mayor or speaker. I
 wanted to eliminate the utility of gross-receipts tax, the energy
 tax, because it's regressive and hurts large families and because
 it discourages technology companies from coming into New York. I
 wanted to increase the earned-income tax credit so a working person
 earning let's say 20,000 a year who doesn't now pay federal and
 state taxes then wouldn't pay city taxes. . . .

 Q. If you have an economic downturn, would any city services be
 inviolate from cuts? . . .

 A. Of course the answer is no, because if there's a depression,
 you have to be open- minded to all sacred cows. Now having said
 that, I want to maintain the force level of the Police Department
 and not reduce teachers. . . . The three public
 functions I would first hold harmless are police on the streets,
 teachers and senior centers. . . .

 Q. Bill Bratton had said that he thought the Police Department had
 grown too large. And I know he's advising you on some of these
 issues. Do you disagree with him on that?

 A. Yes. I want to maintain the current — actually, we're
 short of the desired level of 41,000-plus because of extraordinary
 recruitment problems. But my goal is to maintain that 41,000-force
 level, but my essential focus is more cops on the streets.
 . . .

 Q. When you say they're underpaid, do you believe that they
 deserve a raise that's beyond what the rest of the uniformed
 coalition has gotten?

 A. That's a very hard question. We've had pattern bargaining for
 years. And there are reasons of convenience, stability and
 continuity to pattern bargaining. So my presumption's in favor of
 it. But again, that's a sacred cow I really want to think hard
 about. . . . And so I intend to appoint a commissioner
 of work force development and labor who is more a czar, looking at
 whether we should adjust pay based on gain sharing, based on
 bargaining with individual unions rather than merely pattern
 bargaining, on work force development so companies now follow a
 trained work force rather than workers follow companies in the
 modern era. . . .

 Q. I just want to clarify, you don't know now whether you want to
 break the pattern bargaining for the police?

 A. Right. What I said was my presumption is in favor of pattern
 bargaining. . . .

 Q. . . . I suspect you hear this but if you don't I
 think I can speak for many of us who do, about Mark Green,
 anecdotally people say this off the record when we're interviewing
 them . . . "Mark Green: nice guy, very smart, knows
 government inside out, but he's mired in the 70's. I don't care if
 Bill Bratton is supporting him, I don't care who's supporting him,
 when he gets in there he's going to handcuff the police."

 . . . How do you strike a balance when it comes to the
 stops-and-frisks and other strategies? Do you have to violate civil
 rights to some degree? . . .

 A. . . . I totally — I've been warned against
 this, but here it goes — it is true I was a founder of and
 the editor in chief of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law
 Review. We're not going to become — we are not a Cincinnati,
 and when I'm mayor we're not going to become a Cincinnati or an
 Iraq because we are not going to allow police to violate civil
 rights and civil liberties as a precondition to reducing crime
 because it's not a requirement. . . .

 And so I don't need a law to stop racial profiling. As mayor I'll
 issue an executive order. . . . If there is credible
 testimony describing a perpetrator and it's a 5-foot-6 black man
 with a goatee, if the police in and around that area see someone
 running who fits that description, yes, they can stop them. But you
 can't stop every black person in that area. . . .

 Q. Outside of the Police Department and schools, what are the city
 agencies that you might mention that you think need the most work?
 And what are some of your specific ideas as to what you'd do to fix

 A. . . . All of them have to be better in terms of
 delivering services and data on line. This takes time. And so the
 Department of Buildings is probably the least competent department
 at delivering the service intended. I want them to get in the habit
 of building again rather than frustrating building.
 . . .

 Q. Do you think destitution is up as a result of welfare reform?

 A. Probably. The reports of increasing numbers of people going to
 food kitchens is one measure how — is one corollary result of
 the reduction in welfare. The reduction in welfare is desirable so
 long as people who are actually destitute and entitled to help get
 it, and so long as people on welfare get the training and day care
 they need to get off it.

 Q. Is there anything that the city can do to make sure that there
 are jobs for these people?

 A. Probably. One of the things I want a commission of work force
 development and labor to look at is to what extent the city can
 help provide transitional jobs for people who need it.
 . . .

 Q. I don't want to let you out of here without talking about
 housing. . . . Everybody seems to agree there's not
 enough of it and it's too expensive. What are you going to do about

 A. . . . First, you reform the Buildings Department.
 You take a totally zero-based look at the zoning resolution since
 so much has changed in the 40 years since. And I'm appointing a
 panel . . . to figure out how to reduce the probably 10
 percent mob tax on the contracting industry.

 So Step 1 is to reduce costs by smarter governing. Step 2 is how
 to have smarter preservation policies. . . . Step 3 is
 to find fresh revenues, bond it and put up at least 50,000 units of
 new housing in the next five years and rehabilitate —
 renovate or rehabilitate 75,000 new ones.

 Q. And where does that money come from?

 A. Give credit to
 advocacy groups who are smart and focused on it. Housing First
 proposed a housing trust fund and it's good news . . .
 that candidates agree on something rather than disagree on
 something. And all of us have looked, rightly, to taking Battery
 Park revenues, which were promised to be spun off for low- and
 middle-income housing and applying it to it, looking to future tax
 revenues from and sales of city property. There's less city
 property to be sold off but there's still some more to be sold off.
 . . .

 The revenue from property taxes will go from 8 to 10 billion, 2001
 to 2005. You can't spend that money twice and there's a lot of
 demand for it. But there is some money available in the next four
 years that could be segregated into a housing trust.
 . . .

 Q. Do you, on housing, think that rent regulation is a significant
 contributors to the housing problem to the city?

 A. It may be a marginal contributor, but I want to maintain rent
 stabilization and control other than the decontrol. And a person or
 a couple has 175,000 in income, it should go to market rate.
 . . .

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