Overriding concerns: City Council has the votes, but not the better argument on solitary and cop reporting

Council Speaker Adrienne Adams must know that she has the needed number of votes today to override two vetoes by Mayor Adams, otherwise she wouldn’t schedule the roll calls. So she and the Council will succeed on enacting two bills despite the mayor’s objection, one on banning solitary confinement in the jails and another directing when cops need to fill out forms after they have had certain encounters with the public.

But the speaker’s strength in numbers still doesn’t make sound policy.

We’ve called the solitary bill well-meaning, but it has no actual value, as dissected by Steve Martin, the correctional expert brought in by the federal courts to monitor Rikers Island. Martin is opposed to solitary confinement, but in evaluating the legislation’s language, found it flawed and wrote that it should not be passed.

That’s good enough for us and it should be good enough for the Council, but that seems doubtful.

On the police reporting measure, the mayor’s administration has offered to set up a pilot program for a limited time in a limited area to see if the information desired by the Council for statistical purposes can be effectively collected. But that suggestion went nowhere and the bill was pushed through last month.

The proponents, led by Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, say that they don’t want to bog down police and want to work cooperatively with the NYPD. Well, forcing this on the mayor and commissioner isn’t the best way to achieve their goals.

The Council can pass whatever it pleases, like they did with a foursome of bills to expand the CityFHEPS housing vouchers last summer. Mayor Adams correctly vetoed those, but Speaker Adams mustered four overrides, without creating more money or more housing. The Council is now claiming it will sue unless they get their way and the mayor starts implementing the new laws.

Good luck with that, because even a judge can’t create more money or more housing either.

Instead of making empty political statements, why doesn’t the Council make some workable laws?

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