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Henry J. Stern
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A native New Yorker, Henry J. Stern has served in various capacities in New York City government. In 1973, and again in 1977, he was elected to the City Council as a member-at-large from Manhattan, a position he held for nine years before being appointed commissioner of Parks and Recreation by Mayor Koch on February 14, 1983. He served seven years in the Koch administration, until the end of the mayor’s term, during which he founded the Natural Resources Group, an environmental watchdog for New York City. In 1994, he was re-appointed parks commissioner by Mayor Giuliani and served in that position until 2002.

Mr. Stern has received numerous honors in recognition of his environmental protection efforts, including the National Audubon Society Lifetime Achievement Award and the City Club Earthling Award for Environmental Excellence. In February 2002, in an effort to improve the quality of life for New York City residents, Mr. Stern, along with Alan M. Moss, former first deputy parks commissioner, co-founded New York Civic.

Blog Entries by Henry J. Stern

Come Together

0 Comments | Posted January 20, 2012 | 3:47 PM

While national attention focuses on the presidential race, now in the early stage in both parties, New Yorkers should remain concerned about how the cosmic plans of aspiring leaders of the free world will affect our burgeoning metropolis.

The New York political stage now has two performers who are used to...

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The Bigger They Come

0 Comments | Posted December 22, 2011 | 1:01 PM

The recent flurry of criminal trials and convictions of public officials for a variety of offenses causes one to think of why it is that people who are elected to represent their communities in city, state and federal government appear so often before the bar of justice.

While it is...

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Wall Street Endures

0 Comments | Posted November 21, 2011 | 1:23 PM

The Occupy Wall Street campaign is faltering, despite considerable public sympathy for the social issues which the protesters seek to publicize.

The pickets and other demonstrators focused on a seam of popular discontent at economic inequality in the United States, the difficulty people face in obtaining work, and the failure...

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One Small Step

0 Comments | Posted October 31, 2011 | 2:54 PM

The city's antiquated pension system has long been in need of streamlining and updating. The agreement reached Thursday by Mayor Bloomberg, Comptroller Liu and leading labor unions provides hope that 2012 will be a year of pension reform, but such hopes have previously arisen and been dashed on...

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Big Apple Turnover

0 Comments | Posted September 19, 2011 | 11:42 AM

The election last week of Republican Robert Turner to Congress is significant for several reasons.

One is that the result will be widely perceived as a rebuke to President Obama and the Democratic Party, which it is. For some, the issue was jobs and the economy. For others, the administration's hostility...

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Garbage In, Garbage Out

0 Comments | Posted August 31, 2011 | 11:59 AM

For some years, the City of New York has been planning to construct a marine transfer station (MTS) on the Manhattan side of the East River, with an entrance and exit at 91st Street and York Avenue. There was such a facility on that site until 1990, when it was closed. In...

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September Surprise?

0 Comments | Posted August 25, 2011 | 3:10 PM

The possibility of an upset in the special election September 13 to fill Anthony Weiner's congressional seat should cause Democratic leaders some anxiety.

Although Assemblyman David Weprin, the Democratic candidate, must be considered the favorite in view of the heavy Democratic edge in registration, the Republican nominee, Bob...

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Beware the Gerrymander

0 Comments | Posted August 4, 2011 | 3:02 PM

Writing a blog has many satisfactions. One can share information and opinions with thousands of people who have elected to receive them. One can affect the public's view of issues. On some occasions, one can publish material previously unknown or unconnected to the larger universe of public policy issues.

A blog also...

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Suffer Little Children

0 Comments | Posted July 27, 2011 | 5:46 PM

John B. Mattingly is retiring as commissioner of the Administration for Children's Services (ACS) after seven years in the trenches. At the age of 66, he will return to the child welfare foundation he headed in Baltimore.

His departure is in striking contrast to Jay Walder's jumping ship after 21...

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Jaybird Flies

0 Comments | Posted July 26, 2011 | 2:36 PM

Jay Walder is no Casey Jones.

Unlike the iconic railroad engineer, who kept his hand on the throttle while his train plunged down curving tracks to disaster, and by doing so saved the lives of many people, the MTA chief Jay Walder did not even complete two years at the...

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Four Wheels Bad

0 Comments | Posted July 20, 2011 | 2:37 PM

Yesterday, we were told, was the one hundredth anniversary of the removal of tolls from the East River bridges, which at the time ranged from one to ten cents.

One would think that such an occasion would be a day of celebration, people rejoicing at the...

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Win Some, Lose Some

0 Comments | Posted July 11, 2011 | 2:32 PM

Politics has its ups and downs, as last week's events show.

There was a bright spot. Governor Cuomo reaffirmed his decision, first announced in February, that he would veto any redistricting bill passed by the legislature that did not provide for an independent districting commission to draw the boundaries of...

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A Train Wreck Named Desire

0 Comments | Posted June 20, 2011 | 6:39 PM

Last week we watched Congressman Anthony Weiner's four-minute swan song, in which he showed the skills he had honed over twenty years as a public official. The Council Center for Seniors in Sheepshead Bay was crowded with over a hundred reporters and 40 TV cameras, a larger media...

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Paradise Lost

0 Comments | Posted June 16, 2011 | 3:40 PM

There is a cloud hanging over upstate New York.

Many of the 62 counties which comprise the state are an economic wasteland. The scenery is attractive, but there is not enough business activity to sustain city and county budgets, or to provide jobs for the remaining population.

Last Thursday we attended...

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Brief Encounter

0 Comments | Posted June 3, 2011 | 12:16 PM

As you all presumably know, there has been enormous press coverage of a possible scandal based on Internet communications, allegedly from Congressman Anthony Weiner and addressed to a college student in Washington State. Both parties deny that they ever met, but that deepens the mystery of why a public official would send...

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Greed Rules

0 Comments | Posted May 25, 2011 | 1:54 PM

We turn today to one of New York State's oldest oxymorons: Albany ethics. The legislature, having exhausted itself by adopting a budget on time, appears to be coasting toward a proposed June 20 adjournment. That would leave about three weeks for actions of substance. In the hopper are bills to...

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Conundrum: How Can Chronic Deficits Be Fixed?

0 Comments | Posted May 18, 2011 | 2:37 PM

Writing about city government is, to a large extent, writing about the mayor. The City Charter provides for a strong mayor, in direct control of the executive branch and with power of appoint over much of the judiciary.

To estimate the relative authority of elected city officials crudely and arbitrarily,...

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NRA's Friendly Fire

0 Comments | Posted May 16, 2011 | 5:40 PM

Accustomed as we have become to various scenarios which involve corruption, cronyism, incompetence, foolishness and favoritism, we were nonetheless surprised to learn that last Thursday, a vote was taken by the House Judiciary that defeated an anti-terrorism initiative which we, in our naivete, believed would have been unobjectionable.

The proposal...

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Condemned to Repeat It

0 Comments | Posted April 28, 2011 | 10:24 AM

Councilmember Gale Brewer, who chairs the Council's Committee on Government Operations, held a public hearing yesterday afternoon on an Administration proposal to fold the Department of Records and Information Services (DORIS) into the much larger Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS).

DORIS was created in 1977 by a local law...

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To Do or Not to Do

0 Comments | Posted April 25, 2011 | 12:30 PM

On April 18 we wrote an article on the decision-making process in government. We noted at the time that the great majority of our columns deal with specific situations, generally situations which have gone wrong, problems the authorities have failed to solve, or improper influence being exerted to...

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