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It’s time for a tech revolution | NY Daily News

It’s time for a tech revolution | NY Daily News

New York City is quickly becoming the destination of choice for emerging tech companies, and countless young tech entrepreneurs are moving here every year. And while the economic growth in the tech sector has been significant, it’s important to recognize that other, smaller towns are trying to take some of that business away from us.

Chattanooga, Tenn., is not the first place people think of when they imagine a tech capital, but economic development officials there are working hard to transform that city’s economy and position as a destination for startups. It is now advertised as having the fastest Internet speeds in the Western Hemisphere — more than 200 times the national average — and capable of offering “one-gigabit-per-second fiber Internet services to all residents and businesses.”

Young talent is flocking to Chattanooga to take advantage of programs like “GeekMove” and “GigTank,” which incentivize relocation there for developers and system administrators, and offer techies up to $11,250 in relocation costs. A consortium of public and private entities have joined together to form “Gig City,” a creative program that seeks to reinvent the city’s economy and draw tech workers to specific neighborhoods that need revitalization.

Kansas City, Kan., and Kansas City, Mo., are also becoming players on the tech front with the installation of the Google Fiber project. The cities won a competitive project to become a guinea pig for the new high speed broadband Internet service that is capable of delivering one gigabit per second. Now, tech companies are flocking to the area and bringing economic benefits to both cities.

Similarly, Lafayette, La., decided a decade ago to build 800 miles of fiber-optic cables that can deliver exceptionally fast Internet speeds.

New York City has approximately 1,000 tech companies operating within the five boroughs, according to a report from the Center for an Urban Future. The report cites that New York tech companies have seen a 35% increase in Venture Capital funding, surpassing all other tech regions including Boston and Silicon Valley. According to the New York State Department of Labor, technology jobs have risen by a whopping 60% since 2007 and the New York City Economic Development Corporation has reported employment gains of 30% since 2005.

The tech revolution is not just hype. In fact, New York City has had a handful of successful tech startups, including online fashion sites Gult Group and Ideeli, as well as Tumblr, ZocDoc and Foursquare. The city is making strides with plans for a Cornell University technology campus on Roosevelt Island and a Google initiative to bring free WiFi to parts of the West Side.

These gains, however, can quickly be reversed if we’re not paying attention to the industry’s needs. If the cost of living continues to rise faster than compensation, many companies will give birth here and seek to move to places like Chattanooga, Kansas City or Lafayette.

New York currently has a thriving ecosystem of major multinationals, emerging startups and a talented workforce of developers, designers and engineers. We must explore “tech communities” — places where employees can live and work — which have been successful on the West Coast.

As we saw in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, our telecommunications network is not indicative of a world-class city. With federal dollars coming to the area to improve our disaster readiness, let’s take the time to explore how improving our emergency communications network can have a rollover effect on our city’s thriving tech community.

Imagine outer-borough neighborhoods like Red Hook, Brighton Beach in Brooklyn or Howard Beach in Queens becoming tech centers. It’s possible if we think big.

We must invest in our communications infrastructure now while we still have the chance or we’ll soon be playing catchup to Chattanooga and Lafayette.

Be Our Guest: New York City must become more ‘tech friendly’ or risk losing out to other U.S. cities   – NY Daily News.

Nassau and Westchester County Executive Races Critical for GOP | City & State

Nassau and Westchester County Executive Races Critical for GOP | City & State

The political tide in 2009 was changing. Fresh off the historic victory of Barack Obama, Democrats, confident that they could win any contest at any level of government, fell asleep, allowing the nascent Tea Party to gain steam and captivate the Republican base. That summer, Tom Suozzi, a popular incumbent Nassau County executive, was focusing on the 2010 statewide election, anticipating a possible run for governor. He expected to coast to victory and win reelection without any serious competition.

Suozzi didn’t pay much attention to his challenger Ed Mangano, a virtually unknown county legislator, and it wasn’t until about two weeks before the election that Suozzi began to mount a serious campaign. Even with more than $1 million in his campaign account it was too late to resuscitate the contest. The race went on well after Election Day, with recounts and court challenges, and Mangano was eventually declared the winner several weeks later.

Now, after three years to reflect on his loss and the campaign mistakes he made, Suozzi is eager for a rematch and recently announced that he’s running for his old job again. This time around the stakes are incredibly high for the GOP.

It’s no secret that the New York State Republican Party is in a state of crisis. The last time the GOP won statewide office was in 2002 when Gov. George Pataki cruised into his third term. Now, with 2014 on the horizon, it’s unclear if anyone can run a viable campaign against the widely popular Democratic governor, Andrew Cuomo.

Part of the problem has been candidate selection. In recent years the GOP has run Wendy Long, Joseph DioGuardi, Jay Townsend and Carl Paladino—people who lack name recognition and who were part of the party shift to the right in statewide races. (Harry Wilson, who ran a very strong campaign for state comptroller in 2010, may resurface again but it is unclear in what capacity.)

In order to rebuild the party the GOP must hold onto some of the gains they have made in recent years—particularly the badly needed county executive position in Nassau, with Ed Mangano, and Rob Astorino’s county executive seat in Westchester. For Republicans, these seats are great springboards for runs for higher office. But holding the suburban executive positions is going to be tough this time.

Suozzi is a proven vote getter and is capable of raising substantial cash. He starts out his election with at least $1 million in the bank and pledges of substantial future support. He may be facing a significant challenge in the Democratic primary from newcomer Adam Haber. The financier and restaurant owner has pledged $2 million of his own money for the campaign. With seven months until the primary, Haber has an opportunity to distinguish himself among the party faithful in Nassau.

Further complicating matters is the possibility of North Hempstead Town Supervisor Jon Kaiman throwing his hat into the ring, though I strongly believe he will step aside and run for his current position. The prospect of a Democratic primary in Nassau is not too palatable to party leaders and they will do everything they can to avoid a nasty intraparty contest.

Democrats clearly underestimated Mangano in 2009, but this time they are eager to reclaim the seat and they sense that he is vulnerable. Despite record high approval ratings after his handling of Hurricane Sandy, Mangano is going to need to motivate Republican and independent voters to support him. In the last ten years Democrats have seen their enrollment swell in Nassau and the growing African-American community in western Nassau is likely to support the Democratic candidate. If Mangano is capable of holding onto his seat then he will no doubt get the attention of state Republican leaders.

Westchester is also incredibly important for Republicans to hold. County Democrats, in an effort to avoid a messy and costly three-way primary, have now cut a deal to allow local district leaders to choose at their upcoming party convention who will run against County Executive Rob Astorino.

Democrats will have extra incentive to take the seat from Astorino as he has been an outspoken critic of Andrew Cuomo and mentioned as a possible candidate for governor in 2014. Knocking Astorino out of office will inevitably hurt his chances of running for higher office in the future.

The New York City mayoral race will gain a lot of media attention, but the Nassau and Westchester races will be just as unpredictable.

Nassau and Westchester County Executive Races Critical for GOP | City & State

Stimulating New York’s Economy | The Huffington Post

Stimulating New York’s Economy | The Huffington Post

For many years New York has had a reputation of being a state that was openly hostile to business. Prohibitive taxes, numerous regulatory hurdles and a high cost of business kept major companies from moving to the state. find domain owner . More importantly, perhaps, is that these economic forces prevented many businesses from opening in New York in the first place. Sorpwhiffwangworkjam Successful businesses eager to grow and stay local were forced out of state as government officials failed to recognize that retaining these businesses should be the state’s number one a priority.
Continue reading “Stimulating New York’s Economy | The Huffington Post” »

Kremer: I’m probably not the first to say good riddance, 2012 |

Kremer: I’m probably not the first to say good riddance, 2012 |

Unless I hear some credible dissenting voices, I’m going to vote for 2012 as one of the worst years in recent history. You can pick just about any topic — the weather, politics, the economy, sports — and there isn’t much to brag about, at least for me and many of the people I talk to.
Continue reading “Kremer: I’m probably not the first to say good riddance, 2012 |” »

L.I. is consistently inconsistent at the polls | City & State

L.I. is consistently inconsistent at the polls | City & State

If ever there were a region with a political split personality, it would be Long Island. This year’s presidential election, against the backdrop of Superstorm Sandy and its aftermath, proved that Nassau and Suffolk are consistently inconsistent. Polling data showed a dead heat between President Obama and Gov. Romney, and the incumbent won Nassau and Suffolk counties by a small margin.

The island used to be a Republican haven where local GOP leaders harvested bushels of votes in presidential elections and produced major margins for Nixon, Reagan, Bush 41 and Bush 43, but strong enthusiasm for Obama proved to be a difficult hurdle for island Republicans. It’s too early to tell, however, if Obama’s re-election means that the suburban counties are trending Democratic.

The 1st Congressional District race—arguably one of the most exciting in the state—did not disappoint. Congressman Tim Bishop benefited from strong turnout for the president and won a bitter re-election rematch against the well-financed Randy Altschuler. Bishop was pummeled by hundreds of campaign ads from Republican super PACs that questioned his ethics, but nonetheless his margin of victory against Altschuler this time around was more comfortable than in 2010, when the race dragged on for weeks after Election Day with recount after recount.

The congressman, despite never winning by overwhelming margins, has proven resilient and managed to defeat strong opponents. Recycled allegations and smears against him seem not to have swayed voters, and he is approaching Teflon status. (For pundits, the 1st district is a fascinating case study, as it rarely toes the party line and has regularly changed hands over the last several decades.)

A number of state Senate races became unexpectedly close contests due to the large number of votes cast on the Democratic line. The GOP looks increasingly vulnerable in at least three Senate seats on the island, with Phil Boyle, Kemp Hannon and Jack Martins only narrowly squeaking past their opponents. In fact, at the time City & State goes to press, Martins’ race against Daniel Ross is not yet over, with published reports suggesting that Ross still holds an outside chance of taking the seat due to the large number of absentee ballots yet to be counted.

If the Democratic challengers had had more money and better get-out-the-vote operations this cycle, they could have snagged a seat and ended Republican hegemony over Long Island’s Senate districts.

Democrats in both counties also had much to cheer about with the election of five candidates to the Supreme Court. Over the years the Republican Party has enjoyed great success in electing their judicial candidates, but with Obama driving turnout the GOP fell short this time.

Next year, considered an “off” year electorally in many parts of the state, is going to be very interesting for political observers on the island. The Republican Party controls the county Legislature in Nassau by a single vote, though historically in off-year elections the GOP has managed to hold on to its power in the towns of Hempstead and Oyster Bay.

Suffolk County off-year elections historically have been the best time for a Republican to win a town board position. Two years ago the Republicans unseated a Democratic incumbent in Islip, even though the Democrat was well financed and had no real pre-election problems. Next year promises to be just as fruitful for the GOP, which will be competitive in races for the county Legislature and other town contests.

The biggest and most unexpected political wild card of all, however, may be Superstorm Sandy.

The two luckiest men on Long Island might be Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano and Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone. The public, upset with the response to Superstorm Sandy and particularly with the failures of LIPA, is looking for a scapegoat, and the county executives could have suffered at the polls had the election been held this year.

The storm has touched virtually everyone in the region, and candidates in the future will be asked long-term questions about electricity grids, emergency planning, gas rationing and infrastructure. Patchwork solutions to fixing antiquated infrastructure can no longer be par for the course. Island leaders have successfully ignored these problems for decades, but Sandy will now bring them to the forefront.

All of the modernizations that are needed will come at a steep price tag for two counties that already have among the highest property taxes in the nation. It remains to be seen how much money the federal government will contribute to the recovery, but residents can surely expect increases in taxes or utility rates.

Jerry Kremer says Long Island is consistently inconsistent at the polls | City & State.