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City Attorney Jan Goldsmith’s New Pencil Box

After my interview (listen above) with Jan Goldsmith late in the afternoon of his second day as city attorney, I had a flashback memory. I remembered the feeling I had at the beginning of each new school year during my early education at P.S. 62 in Ozone Park, Queens, New York. As I entered my second or third grade classroom, I felt ready to tackle whatever scary challenges lay in store because I was equipped with a brand new, unsullied, untouched, pristine pencil box. Inside were my fresh, not-yet-sharpened No. 2 pencils with no tooth marks from nervous gnawing. With that kind of preparation, I was eager to confront the beat-up desk, tattered schoolbooks, chipped chalkboard, and scribbled-on walls left behind by last year's class.

When Mr. Goldsmith talked about what former City Attorney Mike Aguirre left behind after four years at City Hall, I did not hear dismay in Goldsmith's description of offices with lots of stuff around including boxes of reports and organizational disarray, all framed by stark white walls. He sounded as though he believes his new pencil box, complete with plans to train and reorganize, will be as effective as those No. 2 pencils.

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