New York Mayoral Hopeful Discusses Father’s Suicide

Why the New York Knicks Made a Big Mistake with Grunwald Demotion

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“Other cities don’t have Rikers Island,” said Martin F. Horn, who in 2009 resigned as the city’s correction commissioner, noting that hundreds of millions of dollars are spent a year to run the 400-acre island in the East River next to the runways of LaGuardia Airport that has 10 jail facilities, thousands of staff and its own power plant and bakery. The city’s Independent Budget Office annual figure of $167,731 – which equates to about $460 per day for the 12,287 average daily New York City inmates last year – was based on about $2 billion in total operating expenses for the Department of Correction, which included salaries and benefits for staff, judgments and claims as well as debt service for jail construction and repairs. But there are particularly expensive costs associated with Rikers. The department says it spends $30.3 million annually alone on transportation costs, running three bus services that usher inmates to and from court throughout the five boroughs, staff from a central parking lot to Rikers jails and visitors to and around the island. There were 261,158 inmates delivered to court last year. A way to bring down the costs, Horn has long said, would be to replace Rikers Island with more robust jails next door to courthouses. But his attempts to do that failed in part because of political opposition from residential areas near courthouses in Brooklyn, Manhattan and elsewhere. “My point is: Have you seen a whole lot of outcry on this? Why doesn’t anything happen?” Horn said of the $167,731 annual figure. “Because nobody cares.” “That’s the reason we have Rikers Island,” he said. “We want these guys put away out of public view.” New York’s annual costs dwarf the annual per-inmate costs in other big cities. Los Angeles spent $128.94 a day, or $47,063 a year, for 17,400 inmates in fiscal year 2011-12, its sheriff’s office said. Chicago spent $145 a day, or $52,925 a year, for 13,200 inmates in 2010, the most recent figures available from that county’s sheriff’s office.

New York City Democratic mayoral nominee Bill de Blasio speaks after receiving the endorsement of former mayoral candidate and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn during a press conference at City Hall in New York September 17, 2013. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

The government branches and services affected by the shutdown. Slideshow New York City Democratic mayoral nominee Bill de Blasio speaks after receiving the endorsement of former mayoral candidate and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn during a press conference at City Hall in New York September 17, 2013. Credit: Reuters/Shannon Stapleton NEW YORK | Mon Sep 30, 2013 7:38pm EDT NEW YORK (Reuters) – New York City Democratic mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio revealed on Monday that his father took his own life in 1979 after a long struggle with alcoholism and late-stage cancer. Speaking about a difficult personal situation weeks before the November 5 general election, de Blasio, who has a wide lead in the race to follow Mayor Michael Bloomberg in City Hall, said he had learned “very powerful personal lessons” from his father’s demise but that it was “tough stuff to make sense of to this day.” De Blasio, the city’s public advocate, issued a statement about his father’s death to pre-empt a New York Post article about the suicide, which was published soon after. He gave a long interview to New York’s public radio station afterwards. “We knew his life was going to come to an end. We didn’t expect it to be this way,” he said. “And there had been such sorrow around it.” De Blasio said he did not intend to discuss it further. “I think some things still need to be respected about families and I think it’s fair that I that I would answer these questions for one person and explain the situation for one person,” he said. “But after that I don’t have any intention to talk about it any more.” “This particular piece is just particularly painful and difficult and wasn’t something I felt real comfortable talking about,” he said. De Blasio is due to face Republican Joe Lhota, a former deputy under Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. Recent polls show that de Blasio is favored by about two-thirds of city voters. De Blasio’s father, Warren Wilhelm, volunteered to fight in World War Two and was at Okinawa, one of the war’s bloodiest episodes. De Blasio said he saw little of his father after his parents separated and described his father’s drunkenness as a “consistent reality.” Wilhelm, 61 and sick with late-stage cancer, shot himself in a Connecticut hotel in 1979. De Blasio was 18 and had just finished high school.

New York inmate almost as costly as Ivy League tuition

This offseason alone proves Grunwalds worth to New York. Despite financial restrictions, the former general manager brought in seven new players and re-signed three. While some of Grunwalds moves can be considered risky, such as the acquisition of Andrea Bargnani in a deal centered around a 2014 first round pick , most of his decisions seem to be low-risk, high-reward. Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports Glen Grunwald was demoted after putting together New York’s 2013-14 roster. He decided to bring in Metta World Peace to serve as a defensive stopper alongside Iman Shumpert. Grunwalds decision to sign point guard Beno Udrih to back up Raymond Felton and Pablo Prigioni gives New York a proven ball-handler and game manager. He also signed two big-men in Jeremy Tyler and, more recently, Cole Aldrich to increase New Yorks frontcourt depth. Aside from the Bargnani trade, Grunwald made smart, savvy decisions to improve a Knicks roster that was ousted in the second round of the playoffs against a more physical Indiana Pacers team. He did what he needed to do to make the Knicks a more physical team capable of matching up against big, strong teams such as Indiana and the Chicago Bulls . Not only has Grunwald improved the Knicks roster during his tenure with New York, but he has also helped the team advance to the second round of the playoffs, which no general manager had done in New York in over a decade, as Frank Isola of the New York Daily News said via twitter. Glen Grunwald did a lot with the little he had to work with.