Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Cory Booker and Community Court

Adam and Jethro seem to be making some headway in Newark -- the momentum seems be be building toward opening both a community court and a youth court. Mayor Cory Booker continues to talk about the idea. Here's a glowing profile of him from the Huffington Post that includes a mention of the community court project.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Manhattan DA Race

Robert Morgenthau's retirement means that the race to be the next Manhattan District Attorney will be a spirited one. This is a link to a group interview with the three declared candidates: Leslie Crocker Snyder, Cy Vance Jr. and Richard Aborn. The interview covers many topics including the death penalty, gun control, white-collar crime and Rockefeller drug reform. One of the things that all three candidates seem to agree on is the need for a more innovative approach to justice from the DA's office. All three voice their support for more aggressive outreach to the community. There is also talk of more community courts for Manhattan.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Lippman Op-Ed on Rockefeller Drug Reform

Today's Albany Times-Union has a good op-ed piece by Jonathan Lippman that mentions both drug courts and the Center for Court Innovation.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

March Madness

In honor of the NCAA tournament, here's a photo of one of my favorite players -- Sherman Douglas of Syracuse, whom I actually played against in high school (with predictable results) -- plus a link to a clever essay by Joseph Epstein on the value of losing (for all those whose teams will suffer gut-wrenching defeats in the weeks ahead).

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Sloan Public Service Awards

Today I was given a rare treat.  Mary McCormick asked me to participate in the Fund for the City of New York's annual celebration of the Sloan Public Service Awards.  Each year, the Fund honors six civil servants for their outstanding contributions to New York City.  The Awards were announced by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and a cast of luminaries at Cooper Union earlier this evening.  I spent the day visiting the honorees -- educators, demographers, engineers, and others -- at their offices.   It was an inspirational day.  My dominant emotion was one of gratitude.  Some of the best public service is basically invisible.   If you're like me, you don't really think much about the water coming out of our faucets or the garbage cleared from our sidewalks, but of course this doesn't happen by accident -- it takes enormous effort by thousands of people.  Kudos to the Fund for working to raise their visibility and honoring their hard work.  

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

An Old Friend in Red Hook

I spent this morning in Red Hook, giving a couple of city officials a tour of the Justice Center. The highlight was running into Wally Bazemore, whom I hadn't seen in I don't know how long.  I first met Wally back in the early 1990s when he was the head of a group called Mad Dads of Red Hook that sought to "take back" public areas in the neighborhood that had become open air drug markets.  He was an intimidating figure in those days -- and he still is, although he seems to have mellowed a bit with age.  I always admired Wally for his devotion for the neighborhood and his courage in supporting our planning efforts in the early days of the Justice Center.  Since then, he's stayed involved with the Justice Center -- he's been one of the leaders of the youth baseball league -- but, for whatever reason, our paths haven't crossed much.   It was a good reminder that the success of projects like Red Hook really is built on dozens and dozens of relationships and contributions from a broad array of people in government, non-profits and the community. 

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Annual Report

It took a couple of months, but we finally finished our annual report for 2008.  Click here to see highlights from the year that was.  Thanks to Rob for his hard work on this. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Sturz Book, Part Two

I attended the book release party for "A Kind of Genius," Sam Roberts' new book about Herb Sturz tonight.  The event was a powerful reminder of the breadth and depth of Herb's influence -- the attendees included a cross-section of the government and non-profit elite in New York City.  I'm only 50 pages or so into the book, so I can't offer a full review, but I'm enjoying it so far.  Already, it is possible to draw a line from Herb's early work to some of the core values of the Center for Court Innovation -- the willingness to question existing practice, the insistence on empirical evidence, the willingness to risk failure, etc.    

Center Alum Makes Good

Carolyn Turgeon, a former staffer here at the Center, has just published her second novel, called Godmother. Check it out.