Advice for the New Mayor

Stern, William

Cove, Peter

Kotkin, Joel

Savas, E. S.

Biederman, Daniel

McCaughey, Elizabeth

Heinemann, H. Erich

Brooke-Hitching, Harley

Moss, Mitchell

Nathan, Richard

Zuckerman, Mortimer

Cornuelle, Richard

Mahoney, Margaret

Berger, Stephen

Wriston, Walter B.

Morris, Charles

Crouch, Stanley


Charles Morris Author, The Cost of Good Intentions


Recovering streets and public spaces, now threatened by the violently mentally ill, must rank as a priority. Toward that end, you should convene a task force of legal experts to recommend revisions in civil commitment laws, with the goal of substantially broadening current criteria for commitment to state mental institutions and reversing the downturn in the institutional population. I believe the key criteria are legislatively, rather than constitutionally, defined. Assuming that some of them have come to be constitutionally defined, you should form a small task force of able lawyers to develop and pursue a litigation strategy aimed at reversing the worst of the relevant decisions.

You should also develop some form of triage for separating the "homeless" into the truly homeless (I believe there are a substantial number), the addicted, the mentally ill, and so forth, so that people will get the kind of help-including commitment, when appropriate-that suits their individual needs.

  • This document was created from the article, "Advice for the New Mayor" by Walter B. Wriston, Stanley Crouch, Stephen Berger, Charles Morris, Margaret Mahoney, Richard Cornuelle, Mortimer Zuckerman, Richard Nathan, Mitchell Moss, Harley Brooke-Hitching, H. Erich Heinemann, Elizabeth McCaughey, Daniel Biederman, E. S. Savas, Joel Kotkin, Peter Cove, and William Stern for the Winter 1994 edition of ... read more
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