Rich Calder, New York Post, October 7, 2023
The Adams administration says it conceptually supports a controversial bill weighing whether black New Yorkers deserve reparations for slavery, roiling critics who ripped the measure as one of the most “divisive” to ever emerge from the City Council.
Sideya Sherman, commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Equity, told a City Council hearing on Sept. 19 that a bill by Councilwoman Farah Louis (D-Brooklyn) to create a task force to study the effects of slavery and racial discrimination on the city — and potentially award payments — should be reworked to address “overlap” with both a comparable state bill awaiting Gov. Kathy Hochul’s signature and another by Councilwoman Crystal Hudson (D-Brooklyn).
Hudson’s legislation would mandate the city’s Commission of Racial Equity create a “Truth, Healing, and Reconciliation” process to establish “historical facts” about the city’s past use of slavery and then recommend changes for local government and institutions to “prevent recurrence.”
It’s unclear how much a reparations plan would cost New York, but some economists estimate California’s plan could cost that state more than $800 billion to pay black residents — more than 2.5 times its annual budget.
The measure and Hudson’s were part of an eight-bill package of controversial City Council legislation introduced in June seeking to remedy so-called “racial injustices.”
Sherman said some of the bills need to address technical glitches, government overlaps, and overzealous timelines that could drive up costs.
But Mayor Adams and her office still “support the spirit and intent of these bills” – including another aimed at removing monuments and other artwork honoring controversial historical public figures from public property, she added.