Full Episode Dec. 19: Public Pensions, Mirta Ojito, E-Waste Recycling

December 18, 2013 at 3:32 pm

On this edition of MetroFocus, in the wake of Detroit’s bankruptcy, a look at what the eight billion dollar cost of public pensions in New York City may mean for Mayor-Elect Bill de Blasio. It’s part of a new project called “The Pension Peril” that will examine public pension shortfalls and the impact on governments, workers, retirees, and taxpayers.

Host Rafael Pi Roman asks Nicole Gelinas of the Manhattan Institute and James Parrott, deputy director and chief economist at the Fiscal Policy Institute if New York City could be headed to financial ruin as Mayor Bloomberg implied a few months ago. “We’re not on the road to Detroit, in that we’re not going bankrupt anytime soon,” Gelinas said. “The problem is if we don’t think about this as a serious issue, it’s something that could happen 5 years, 10 years, even longer down the road.”

In November 2008, a gang of white teenage boys attacked and murdered Ecuadorian immigrant Marcelo Lucero in Patchogue, Long Island. The crime brought to light a culture of hate crimes and attacks on Hispanic residents that still affects the residents, government officials and police in the Suffolk County town. And this month, a new report shows hate crimes are on the rise all across New York, up thirty percent from 2011 to 2012. In her new book, “Hunting Season: Immigration and Murder in an All-American Town,” Pulitzer-prize winning reporter and Columbia School of Journalism professor Mirta Ojito re-examines the Lucero murder and what still needs to change.

Before upgrading your electronics this holiday season, check out where the old devices end up. Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism student Thomas Shomaker visits an e-waste recycling center in the Gowanus neighborhood of Brooklyn. The Lower East Side Ecology Center E-waste Warehouse expects an uptick in drop-offs of everything from keyboards to computers now that a new law will ban dumping many electronics into landfills.

And a story about art in the public domain. Author and painter Glenn Palmer-Smith and photographer  Joshua McHugh, bring the stories of 33 of New York’s public murals to life in “Murals of New York City: The Best of New York’s Public Paintings from Bemelmans to Parrish.”  Palmer-Smith says New Yorkers sometimes miss the murals all around them, “You walk through the streets and through these buildings surrounded by these incredible works of art and they become like wallpaper.”