THE CAPITOL CONNECTION: DiNapoli knows what we need

I GUESS MY ADMIRATION for New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli is pretty well known by now. The guy really works at his job and we are fortunate to have a consistent DiNapoli looking over New York’s finances. The fact that he has been around all these years serves us all well. He started out in the state legislature and when he was chosen as comptroller, some people didn’t think he could do the tough job he was chosen for. They couldn’t have been more wrong. It turns out that DiNapoli has done a superb job. People know and respect this guy. There was a recent political juncture at which people were calling me and suggesting that DiNapoli ought to be the next New York governor. I don’t know about you, but I think that having him continue in the job he does so well is good for all of us. That doesn’t mean that DiNapoli shouldn’t aspire to the top job, but his steady eye on the state’s finances counts for a lot.

DiNapoli is now taking the lead in one of the most pressing and important agenda items confronting our society. He is demanding that more be done to provide mental health training for school staff. We know how critical this campaign is. One needs to look no further than the most recent school shooting. There are just too many guns within the reach of the people who would kill our kids. I am not telling you anything that you don’t already know. But as each of these terrible mass shootings happen, we keep coming back to guns and mental health.

Mental health is a crisis in this country. Virtually every time we see one of these shootings, the perpetrator is described as mentally ill. It makes a lot of sense, therefore, to devote more resources to helping with this problem. We do know that there are not enough mental health professionals, including school social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists and teachers trained to spot mental health issues. That means that we really can’t address the problem until we have the resources needed to plug the gap in our response time. As always, money becomes imperative so we ask ourselves what the price of a single life might be. Read more…

THE CAPITOL CONNECTION: Do Dems know what people want?

SO NOW WE WILL ACTUALLY SEE whether the ruling class politicians have the wherewithal to finally put an end to the gun violence that threatens us all. It happens again and again. After each crisis, the people rise up and demand that something be done to curb the proliferation of guns in our country and put an end to the havoc they wreak. Unfortunately, the love affair between Americans and their guns makes it extremely unlikely that the carnage will cease any time soon. Can any of us go about our daily business without wondering whether we might well be in the wrong place at the wrong time? Who among us doesn’t fear the worst?

There is hope among New Yorkers that if we select political leaders who want to see legislation that will strengthen gun control, maybe we can worry less and be spared the mayhem. When you think about our children and grandchildren, nephews and nieces, and consider the risk that they are facing every day in the simple act of going to school, how can you not feel helpless? When you turn on the television news and see and hear the grieving parents of children who have been lost to gun violence, it’s impossible not to feel their pain and grief.

The governor of the state and mayor of New York know that every time we witness yet another mass shooting, their personal political fortunes are put at risk. But what can they say? What would you say if you knew that New Yorkers were watching you and expecting you to tell them something that they didn’t already know? Read more…