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Editorial: ‘Stupid’ fans

When we first heard that Rey Ordonez had called the fans at Shea Stadium "stupid," we thought he was talking about the people who pay $40 a ticket and more to see the hopeless Mets dig their way through the basement floor in the National League East.

Sure, we thought, it does seem kind of "stupid" to spend that much for seats and then to follow it up with some of the worst tasting, highest-priced snack food this side of the Hudson, for the privilege of watching their team self-destruct.

But, no, that's not what the shortstop meant. He thinks the fans are stupid for criticizing the players who led the 2002 Mets to one of the worst seasons in the franchise's history. The "stupid" fans are never satisfied said the player with the $19 million contract. In an interview with the New York Post, he asks, "Are we like [bleeping] machines?"

Let's see if we have this straight. The player who makes more in a year than most of his fans will make in a lifetime thinks those fans are "stupid" for complaining about the way the Mets are playing. Just because they paid through the nose this year to see the Mets lose almost every home game in the month of August, that's no reason to gripe.

Rey added he doesn't want to play here any more. Unfortunately for the Mets, he has one year left on his contract. The way we see it, the Mets organization will be "stupid" if they don't find a way to make his wish come true.

Editorial: Bringing COMPSTAT to school

When he announced that former Justice Department official Benjamin Tucker would be the first to head the new Office of School Safety, the mayor said he was considering using the COMPSTAT system to track school crime.

COMPSTAT revolutionized the NYPD and played a major role in reducing crime citywide. Under COMPSTAT, precinct commanders are held accountable for everything that takes place under their watch.

At the COMPSTAT meeting, the police brass sit at one end of a long table and the precinct commander and his team sit at the other end. Behind the commander are two large computer projections: one shows recent increases in criminal activity and the other shows the precinct response and deployment of resources. For the commanders, it can be a brutal experience.

The question is always: This is the problem, what are you doing about it? The goal in this exercise is not to humiliate - although that often happens - but to create a results-oriented approach to public safety.

Applying the COMPSTAT model to school safety is an excellent idea. The first step in this process is to demand honest reporting. We suspect that principals routinely cover up the real crime problem. Thefts, vandalism and minor assaults often go unreported.

Although the NYPD statistics show crime down by 16 percent, there are hundreds of children in Queens who are afraid to go to school. It is impossible to learn in an atmosphere of fear.

In addition the mayor suggested that students who misbehave should be required to perform community service. Right now the most common punishment for misbehaving is suspension. This is hardly a punishment for kids who don't want to be in school in the first place. When the child does return, he or she is behind in class work and even more likely to become angry and frustrated. The punishment sends the wrong message and does little to change behavior.

It makes more sense to make a problem student mop the halls, clean bathrooms or pick up litter as a punishment for bad behavior.

Much needs to be done to improve the city's public school system. But nothing will work until the schools are safe. The mayor has taken a step in the right direction.

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