As a Libertarian, Kenny Kramer embraces the absolute truth that our founding fathers formed this country and our constitution to guarantee and protect the principle that all people have an equal right to liberty and freedom. Thus Kenny and all Libertarians seek to promote the maximum rational degree of freedom and liberty for all citizens, as our founding fathers intended.
1. Drugs - A NEW Direction
Stop the insane "Drug War" being forced upon New Yorkers!
It has proven to be a disaster for the community and a failure in tackling the distribution and use of drugs. Drug usage will continue whether it is legal or not. The issue is how it is viewed by the community and treated by the law and by government. The current "Drug War" causes far more problems than it solves, and the heavy price we have all paid through the loss of our liberties and freedoms is a direct violation of the constitution.
The government's failed drug war has now ruined tens of thousands of lives in New York City. Over the past decade, marijuana arrests alone have skyrocketed from about 600 each year to over 60,000 in 2000. Many of those arrested are our city's youth, who as a result may be shut out of financial aid for college and denied employment opportunities, in addition to facing stiff fines, probation and even incarceration. We are harming their future for no foreseeable gain.
Not to mention the enormous waste of our already stretched police and court resources.
Instead of focusing on treatment for people who may have serious drug problems, our political leaders cynically emphasize prosecution and persecution of our fellow citizens, who by using drugs are in most cases hurting no one but themselves.
It is time for a NEW approach and for New Yorkers to wake up to the fact that drug usage is a health issue, NOT a criminal issue. As Mayor, I cannot change the law (although I will use my bully pulpit to lobby for legislative reform), but I can and will order a complete de-emphasis on the enforcement of victimless crimes, including drug usage.
Under the Kramer administration, the NYPD will focus on the prevention and prosecution of crimes with real victims. The de-emphasis on pursuing and prosecuting drug usage will free time, money and resources for the overworked police and justice system to dedicate to more worthy causes and may lead to a sustainable long term reduction of wasted expenditure.
2. A NEW School System
The only way to enjoy a truly successful education system is to break the monotonous and archaic monopoly of the public school authoritarian dictatorship sponsored by current government policies.
We must have the courage to be bold and creative to solve these problems. We need NEW solutions to old problems.
I advocate all tenets of "school choice". They include, new privatization efforts, charter schools and vouchers to deliver greater freedom and empowerment for students, parents, teachers, and administrators. Teachers will receive the wages increases dictated by market forces for their skills and experience. Wasted administration costs will be identified, reviewed and slashed.
You don't have to be a 'Rhodes Scholar' to know that the New York City public school system is a mess. It has been that way for years, and it is only getting worse.
Barely half of our high school students receive a diploma or GED within four years. At the elementary and middle school level, only 41% of students scored at an acceptable performance level on standardized citywide reading tests in 2000, and only 33% scored acceptably on standardized citywide math tests. School chancellors come and go, school boards come and go, mayors come and go, and the students educated or not, come and go. All this and it is currently costing the City more on education per child than it would to enroll them in a private school. This is simply bizarre.
What can be done to end the failure?
Ideally, we would separate school and State completely and immediately, for the same reasons we separate Church and State. Unfortunately, our hands are somewhat tied because the New York State Constitution mandates a government-run school system. However, there are steps we can take to erode the government's monopoly on our children's education.
Vouchers can help middle class and poor parents to realize the same school choice that wealthy parents enjoy. As Mayor, I will pursue for a voucher program similar to Milwaukee's successful system.
Beyond that, charter schools can give our educators freedom from the centralized control that currently exists through the Board Of Education. In return for this autonomy, charter schools will be held to the highest standards of excellence by community panels that embrace academics, administrators, teachers, parental and student representatives. Home schooling - a growing group in New York City -will be encouraged and relieved from burdensome regulations.
Woven throughout my education policy will be a real emphasis on promoting passionate parental involvement, which is the only proven way I know to ensure that children are educated.
3. A NEW View on Race Relations
Implementing the drug and education policies mentioned above would alleviate much of the racial tension in New York City, since minorities are disproportionately the victims of the drug war and the lack of school choice.
The NYPD's own statistics show that an alarming 88% of people stopped and frisked in New York City last year were Black or Hispanic. The government's drug war has unfortunately become a dedicated war on specific communities and the poor, creating new issues. Such blatant bias fosters mistrust and resentment between minorities and our police officers. The police have no choice but to enforce the law as dictated by the stupid policies and direction of politicians and the bureaucracy.
Our city's minority communities are also woefully underserved by our public school system. Unlike the wealthy elite families of New York City (represented by the other candidates for Mayor), who can send their children to the best private academies that money can buy, many members of our diverse ethnic and cultural communities often lack the financial resources necessary for private school tuition. They are required by law to then send their children to local government schools, no matter how dangerous or under-performing academically.
As Mayor, I will work to erase the divide between the haves and have-nots by providing real school choice. I shall end the war on drugs and dedicate police resources into the recruitment, training and the deployment of police officers into each community to proportionately represent and reflect the cultural make up of that community. The 2000 Census will be used to allocate the correct cultural and racial mix of police in each geographic area. This will also help foster a trust and respect for the police in each community and gradually end the controversy regarding racial profiling.
4. A NEW Economic Fight
The business people and entrepreneurs in this city are being crushed under the increasingly oppressive and draconian weight of a City, State, and Federal regulatory regime. If we do not quickly return the freedoms and liberties guaranteed by our constitution to the free enterprise endeavors of all citizens then our economy and American way of life will be extinguished forever.
My administration will tirelessly fight other forms of economic injustice, many of which are caused by the misguided policies of our career politicians. As Mayor, I will demand an end to bogus corporate-welfare schemes that benefit the politically connected at the expense of the taxpayer. As a life-long New Yorker, I'm a big fan of all our local sports teams (surely you've noticed my baseball caps), but if the teams want new stadiums, they should come up with private funding. The same goes for new headquarters for the New York Stock Exchange or boondoggles for Fortune 500 companies. Regular New Yorkers don't get these kinds of handouts when they go into business I know because I've been an entrepreneur all my life and it's only fair to treat the big corporations the same way. That's not to say that there are not other entrepreneurial ways that the City can help fund a new stadium, by cutting red tape costs and even considering "special lotteries" designed to raise funds for "specific ventures" to benefit the City. After all what sports fan would not enjoy participating in a special lottery to help raise funds for a sports stadium? We are indeed sports mad.
As Mayor, I will cut the red tape for other entrepreneurs who want to live their own American dream. I'm proof that it's possible to be a successful businessperson in the Big Apple, and I want to help my fellow New Yorkers have that same opportunity. Unfortunately, our city bureaucracy often gets in the way of mom-and-pop businesses. In the outer boroughs, bureaucrats who wish to protect the city's monopoly on mass transit are forcing the operators of "dollar-vans" out of business. At the same time, the Taxi and Limousine Commission limits entry into the taxi industry by artificially fixing the number of medallions and mandating overly burdensome hack licensing requirements. The Kramer administration will aim to put an end to unnecessary anti-competitive regulation in all industries.
I will also block the State from abusing its power of eminent domain for the benefit of one private interest over another. In East Harlem, a furniture company that has been in business for over 40 years is facing condemnation, so that the State can make room for a Home Depot parking lot. In midtown, an entire block of businesses is being similarly targeted for condemnation, so that the New York Times can erect a new building. This is not the "public use" for which the Sixth Amendment allows government to take private property it is nothing less than government-sponsored theft. As Mayor, I will order my City Planning commissioner to block any schemes that would take from the powerless to give to the powerful.
Finally, I will promote economic justice through reduced spending and cutting or eliminating taxes whenever and wherever possible. The City's Unincorporated Business Tax, which unfairly targets small business owners, should be abolished. Property taxes will also go under the Kramer knife. Government will have to learn to live on less income in the NEW New York, so that we can provide better lives for the whole community. How will fund such dramatic tax cuts? There will be incentives and rewards for the identification of ongoing government spending wastage. Once identified, such wasted spending will need to be reasonably justified or it will be cut. The rewards to the bureaucracy will be instant but the waste reduction benefit will benefit the City for years to come.
I shall also lobby Albany for cuts to or the elimination of sales tax and NYC income tax.
These reforms are not only fair, but they will help the city to rebound from the current economic slowdown.
5. Conclusion: Kramer's NEW Vision for New York City
Kramer is for a NEW New York. As a Mayoral candidate, Kenny Kramer offers a NEW alternative, a NEW look at the issues, NEW answers and a NEW style of Government, but most importantly he represents the NEW New York.
Kramer urges the vibrant young population of New York to register to vote and have a voice in their own future by putting an end to the sameness of Republicans and Democrats and the OLD New York attitudes that they represent.
The Kramer administration will be dedicated to promoting individual choice and freedoms, peace and prosperity for all New Yorkers and putting an end to 'politics as usual'.