Mike Scala for Congress

Tuesday, 19 June 2012 12:29

On Sunday, June 17, I participated in the Silent March to End Stop and Frisk.  Dr. Edward Williams, president of the Far Rockaway NAACP, was kind enough to allow me to travel on their bus.  We were joined by Milan Taylor and the Rockaway Youth Task Force, who also played a role in organizing the trip to the march, as well as Councilman James Sanders and Chief of Staff Donovan Richards.

The march began on 110th Street in Manhattan and proceeded down Fifth Avenue to 79th Street.  Appropriately, it ended near Mayor Bloomberg's residence.  In response to criticisms of the policy, the mayor has recently been calling for Stop and Frisk to be "mended, not ended."  Although this was a silent march, thousands of us spoke loudly:  end Stop and Frisk.

I have been calling for an investigation.  Constitutional law requires officers to have reasonable suspicion anyone stopped and frisked is armed and dangerous.  According to the NYPD's own data, 88% of those stopped and frisked last year were innocent.  If they're wrong almost nine times out of ten, it's clear they're not only stopping and frisking with reasonable suspicion.  What, then, is their basis for determining it should happen to someone?

Aside from the legal implications, the policy is immoral and ineffective.  It's a form of psychological warfare.  It makes people feel guilty and unwelcome in their own neighborhoods.  It makes people distrust police.  Let's be honest:  it furthers racial stereotyping.  The mayor attributes a decrease in crime to the policy.  That claim is dubious in itself; a correlation does not establish causation.  However, even assuming the claim is accurate, it will have devastating long term effects.  When someone is abusive, we don't celebrate that the victim modified his or her behavior in response to being abused.  We condemn abuse because of the long lasting harm it causes.  Stop and Frisk is as abusive as it is unconstitutional.


We as a people should demand legislation to end profiling.  There was recently a bill in the House that would "prohibit any federal funds from flowing to law enforcement organizations that engage in any form of racial, ethnic, or religious profiling."  I lend my full support to this and measures like it.  Unfortunately, the bill failed on the House floor:

"The bill failed on a mostly party line vote of 193-232, but all of the city's Democratic representatives [who were present] voted in favor of the bill.  Three New York Democrats from outside the city -- Kathy Hochul, Brian Higgins and Carolyn McCarthy -- were among the eight Democrats who voted against it.  (Gregory Meeks and Louise Slaughter, who is recovering from a broken leg, didn't vote.)" - Source:  http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/politics/2012/05/5884382/city-dems-vote-house-bill-would-defund-nypd-profiling-king-loudly-o

And so the march continues.

Wednesday, 06 June 2012 01:02

Emigrant BankShould wealthy campaign contributors be able to get laws passed through Congress that only benefit their own companies?  A piece of legislation that recently passed through the House Financial Services Committee would do exactly that.

“A bill to amend the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act to adjust the date on which consolidated assets are determined for purposes of exempting certain instruments of smaller institutions from capital deductions” is actually a bill that would do nothing more than keep Emigrant Bank of New York from losing $300 million in Tier 1 capital.  The bill’s co-sponsors include Rep. Michael Grimm, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, Rep. Gregory Meeks, and Rep. Carolyn Maloney – all of whom received at least $2,000 from Emigrant Bank owner Howard Milstein and his family.

Under the Collins Amendment to Dodd-Frank, banks above the $15 billion asset threshold cannot count trust-preferred securities towards their Tier 1 capital.  Emigrant Bank was above the threshold for two years.  The new legislation would change the effective date of the amendment to March 31, 2010, by which time the bank fell below the threshold.  Out of 7,307 banks in the nation only Emigrant would be affected by this legislation.  In other words, the law would exempt one campaign donor’s bank from financial reform provided by the Dodd-Frank provision.

During the hearing on the bill – a hearing the bill’s co-sponsors attempted to avoid, and not all attended – Emigrant’s chief regulatory officer claimed failure to exempt the bank would result in less available credit to individual borrowers.  “Cops, teachers, and firemen” were cited as those who would suffer if the bank were not exempted.  This is the same claim fiscal conservatives make when arguing the wealthy should receive continued tax breaks:  those at the top need more so they can support the regular people.  Time after time, we’ve seen the world does not work that way.  Legislation should directly support the working class instead of benefiting financial institutions in hopes that it will trickle down to the working class.

Many were angered when the banks were bailed out in 2008.  We’re now witnessing an attempt to legislatively provide aid to a bank that doesn’t need saving.  Emigrant currently has $10.5 billion in assets.  The fact that Emigrant’s officer was questioned at the hearing about the impact the bill would have on Emigrant further highlights this legislation is catered to that one particular bank.  I’m hopeful the bill will come under heavy public scrutiny before its vote on the House floor.  We simply cannot afford more of this political irresponsibility.

More information:

Why Did Congress Help Out One N.Y. Bank? - abcnews.go.com
Campaign Contributions Stir Unease on Emigrant Bank Bill - americanbanker.com
Bill would give bank a $300M benefit - politico.com
What a Few Thousand Dollars Will Buy You in D.C. - wallstreetexaminer.com
Outrageous Corporate Earmarks Stage a Comeback - thefiscaltimes.com
New York’s Emigrant Savings Pushes Dodd-Frank Tweak - blogs.wsj.com

Tuesday, 15 May 2012 23:29

Recommended Video: HPC 99% Club (Hollis Presbyterian Church) - Abandoned Houses on Hollis Ave

June 26 - New York Congressional Primary