Wednesday, November 6, 2013

  • With Wins for de Blasio, Minimum Wage and Tea Party Losses, Voters Signal Rejection of Austerity

    John_nichols00

    Election Day was held Tuesday, deciding state and local races across the country. In Virginia, former Democratic National Committee Chair Terry McAuliffe was elected governor, defeating tea party-backed Ken Cuccinelli, the state’s attorney general. McAulliffe’s victory was seen as a rebuke of the tea party-backed government shutdown that impacted many of the state’s workers. In New Jersey, Republican Gov. Chris Christie easily won re-election, paving the way for a possible presidential run in 2016. New Jersey voters also approved a constitutional amendment to raise the minimum wage by $1, to $8.25 an hour, and add automatic cost-of-living increases each year. Christie vetoed a similar bill last year. Backers of a measure to impose a $15-an-hour minimum wage at Seattle’s international airport and surrounding hotels have also declared victory. After campaigning on a vow to tackle inequality, Bill de Blasio won an overwhelming victory to become the first Democrat mayor of New York City in two decades. In another closely watched race, the union-backed Martin Walsh was elected mayor of Boston. "When I look across this country, I’m seeing results that say people are really ready to look at an alternative to austerity," says John Nichols, political writer for The Nation. "They want something different than just 'cut, cut, cut.'" We also discuss the results of several other ballot measures, including victories for legalized marijuana in Maine and Colorado, and the defeat of a GMO-labeling proposal in Washington state.

  • NYPD Officer Risks His Job to Speak Out Against "Stop-and-Frisk" Targeting of People of Color

    Adhylpolanco

    The New York City Police Department’s controversial "stop-and-frisk" program was a major issue for voters going to the polls in the city’s mayoral election. The issue drew widespread attention in August when U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin found stop-and-frisk unconstitutional, saying police had relied on a "policy of indirect racial profiling" that led officers to routinely stop "blacks and Hispanics who would not have been stopped if they were white." While she did not halt use of the tactic, Scheindlin appointed a federal court monitor to oversee a series of reforms. In a dramatic development last week, those reforms were put on hold. On Thursday, an appeals court stayed the changes, effectively allowing police officers to continue using stop-and-frisk. We get reaction from a police officer who has spoken out about problems with the program he and thousands of others are asked to carry out. Adhyl Polanco became critical of the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy when his superiors told officers to meet a quota of stops, or face punishment. Polanco made audio recordings of the quotas being described during meetings in his precinct and brought his concerns to authorities, but he said he was ignored. He then took his audio tapes to the media, including The Village Voice, where reporter Graham Rayman wrote a series called "The NYPD Tapes," featuring several police officers like him. For several years, Polanco was suspended with pay. He has returned to work on the police force, where he has been put on modified assignment. "You cannot treat the whole black and Latino community as if they are all about to commit a crime," Polanco says. "I’ll handcuff anybody who’s committing a crime. But when you take a male black [and say]: 'Cuff him, he doesn't look like he belongs here.’ Cuff him for what?"

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