Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Steve Barrison details how Michael Bloomberg has damaged small businesses in NYC in his latest blog posting......

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Third Term Mike: Nostradamus (Three Term Monty)

Steve adds>{Americans like to play by the rules and those rules must apply equally to everyone, including the wealthy. The rule busting billionaire shouldn't be excused and the only way to set straight his arrogant self serving $200 million spent as an incumbent, on endless puffery advertisements, is to vote YES for the Democracy idea above all, even the billionaire, and say NO to a third term, period. The rest of the claims are frankly misleading, distortions of reality in 60 second snips. The education claims, the crime credit, the job creation(LOL), the concern for the middle class, small business or main street, or our economic climate are all frankly untrue. For example: We are loosing over 11,000 small businesses alone each year under Bloomie, with at least 5-7 jobs per store for eight years! THAT'S APPROXIMATELY 500,000 lost small business jobs gone! Why doesn't the press report this?
Look at all the empty store fronts in ALL 5 BOROS! Progress or politics? Really, Mike? And Really New Yorkers, we all know better than this.....as they say in Brooklyn, "Think about it!"}
end steve
Mike Bloomberg is proving to be more than a mirthless technocrat and businessman-he's now become a seer. And his remarks yesterday at NYU envisioning the city in 2013 are truly inspiring; if you are someone who is inspired by the musings of a fellow who has spent a little bit too long in his own echo chamber: "I’m so proud of what we’ve done over the past eight years, but I’m running because I believe the next four can be even better. So let’s fast forward four years...By 2013, we will also have created - far and away - the best - public - school system - of any big city in the country. Not only will more middle class families be staying in the City and sending their kids to school here, I believe we will start to see an entirely new phenomenon: Families from around the nation and the region will be moving into the City for the schools."

Is this unhinged, or what? Let's juxtapose this simplistic vision with a sharper dose of reality-like what's in this morning's NY Post: "New Yorkers are fleeing the state and city in alarming numbers -- and costing a fortune in lost tax dollars, a new study shows. More than 1.5 million state residents left for other parts of the United States from 2000 to 2008, according to the report from the Empire Center for New York State Policy. It was the biggest out-of-state migration in the country. The vast majority of the migrants, 1.1 million, were former residents of New York City -- meaning one out of seven city taxpayers moved out."

So the schools with be so outstanding that they will stem the exodus of tax payers? Sounds like a psychotic break to us-and Bloomberg's vision for 2013 conveniently avoids the harsh economic reality-one that, as Nicole Gelinas points out, he deserves a great deal of credit for fostering: "Mayor Bloomberg, you presided over the biggest economic boom that the city has ever seen. But you also presided over the biggest spending boom that modern New York has ever seen. When you took office, the portion of city spending paid by local taxpayers, as opposed to federal and state subsidies, was about $26.3 billion annually. Today, it's $41.5 billion, a 31 percent jump after inflation, and more than 20 percent higher, adjusted for population, than under Mayor John Lindsay. Much of that spending went to higher benefit costs for public employees, as well as for Medicaid."

And the NY Daily News, avoiding the finger pointing that the mayor deserves, makes a similar point today: "From 2000 to 2008, 1.5 million people left the state, including 1.1 million from the city. Most went to the Sun Belt, but it wasn't the weather that drew them. What stole them away was the promise of a better life at lower cost. And, make no mistake, the departees were not down-on-their-luck types. They were solid wage earners with average adjusted gross incomes in 2006 and 2007 of $57,144, according to Internal Revenue Service statistics analyzed by the Empire Center for New York State Policy. This migration is a result of an economic squeeze that has become unendurable for working- and middle-class families. While a lucky few at the very top have prospered handsomely, the broad middle has suffered wage stagnation and a rising cost of living."

And this happened under whose watch? Funny, but this didn't even get a brief mention yesterday when Bloomberg did his P. T. Barnum sucker act over at NYU. Third term Mike did, however, get to try out his newly honed comedy routine.

As Clyde Haberman tells us: "Buoyed by the polls and his own astonishing campaign spending, Mr. Bloomberg seems confident that four more years at City Hall are in the bag for him. Monday morning, he spoke about the New York that he envisioned in 2013, when his third term would end. This was in a speech to students attending New York University’s Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service. He was pleased, he told them, to speak at a school named for “a distinguished three-term mayor.” That produced thin laughter. Maybe the students had the Monday morning blahs. Or maybe they simply didn’t think it was funny. “I thought I’d get a better laugh than that,” Mr. Bloomberg said. “It’s not easy to do three-term jokes, folks.”There’s a reason for that."

And that reason lies with the underlying cause of why the folks are fleeing this "luxury item" city-as the News cogently observes: "This migration is a result of an economic squeeze that has become unendurable for working- and middle-class families. While a lucky few at the very top have prospered handsomely, the broad middle has suffered wage stagnation and a rising cost of living."

The paper goes on to hold the governor accountable, while not even giving a passing shout out to Third Term Mike. But isn't that basically unfair? After all, most New Yorkers feel that Paterson is really over his head with this governing thing; but Bloomberg? Isn't he Mr.Indispensable, the guy we simply can't do without in this most serious of economic crises? You know, we're staring to feel some sympathy with Paterson's complaints about unfair double standards.
Posted by Neighborhood Retail Alliance at 8:19 AM
Steven Barrison,Esq.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Chinatown's defacto Skate Park - Thanks Department of Transportation, you've made us less safe.

A skateboarder about to make the leap on what seems to be a newly cemented ramp retrofitted for exactly that purpose. The Parks Department in 1999 laid a sturdy foundation for making jumps in this public park, the skaters took the initiative to "tweak" it a bit by smoothing it out.

Who knows what happens at Chatham Square in the dark of night? Rogue cementing apparently....... if we can only get them to fix all the potholes in Chinatown while they're at it.
Here is a blog post from a tipster, this is from www.bigappleskate.com :
Chinatown Banks is the new hot spot now thanks to Jimmy who dressed up as a construction worker and paved it in the wee hours of the morning!

This is a 1:28 clip featuring the skating of Ben Gofayzen, Yaje Popson, Kevin Tierney, Pat Hoblin, and Pedro Claro. Filmed by Ben Gofayzen and Pedro Claro.
3/23/07 Would've came out cool if i wasn't filming high on crystal meth in the heat of the summer. : (http://www.bigappleskate.com/backgroundindex.jpg

www.curbed.com reports that the non-sanctioned skateboard and bmx bike park under the Brooklyn Bridge is going to be closed due to the renovation of the Brooklyn Bridge. The story originates from the Downtown Express.


">Chinatown already has a problem with skate boarders and bmx bikers using Chatham Square as their own skate park. The planned closure of the Brooklyn Bridge park will surely bring more of these "enthusiasts" three blocks north to Chatham Square and nearby residential properties that have already been plagued by skateboarders leaping off their property at all hours of the day and night.

The owner's of the Everest Diner tell CCRC that they have had to replace the glass door to their diner several times because skaters and skateboards have crashed through it. They explain that there is simply too many of them for the local police to enforce, and the police in fact, have "just stop coming" according to the owners.

The Department of Transportation has, in its infinite "wisdom," created a hazard right in our neighborhood, and done nothing to address this problem. BMX bikes, and skateboards have been around a long long time, surely in 1999 when this "feature" of Chatham Square was implemented, someone should have known this would become an immediate pedestrian hazard. WHO would intentionally design planters with the perfect curvature for skateboarders and bmx bikers? Likely the D.O.T. will blame the Parks people, Parks will blame City Planning, and the blame goes on..... meanwhile for the last ten years Chatham Square is a hazard and not at all the "peaceful sanctuary" envisioned by the city. With this type of activity -- would you allow your grandparents or children walk through or sit without a defensive guard running interference ahead of them?

This woman was nearly hit by this inconsiderate skateboarder, or was she inconsiderate enough to stand in the way of skateboarding at this "pedestrian plaza" designed by the D.O.T. and Parks Department?

The $50 million redesign of Chatham Square which the city tried to ram through the community without sufficient notice or input in late 2008 was fiercely opposed. The Chatham Square redesign as proposed by the NYC Parks Department has remarkably similar low walls, ramps, steps and even a fountain -- perfect for the same skateboard activity and bmx biking as the current design. At a Community Board #3 Parks committee meeting this spring where the Parks Department unveiled their drawings of the intended renovations to Chatham Square, coincidentally about 40 skateboard enthusiasts were crowded into the room. They could be seen snapping pictures of the drawings, and tracing the outlines of ramps with their fingers as if to plan their high speed jumps.

The skateboarder's enthusiasm over the new design, below, for Chatham Square is precisely the reason why it should not be built, and if it is built, it must have features that DETER rather than ATTRACT skateboarders and bmx bikers, both of whom use ramps and steps as jump off points, endangering passersby, and especially our senior population in Chinatown. The Parks department never consulted with the community on what features it would like to have in the park, obviously taking a cue from the D.O.T. in successfully excluding the opinions of the residents, businesses, and people who will be using the park.

In short, Chinatown already has a dangerous illegal skate park, and the best the DOT and Parks Department can do is design another one? Community support - no way!

RECENTLY received:

comments posted to DownTown Express Oct 28th 09, letters to the editor:
To The Editor:
I just read the article in the Downtown Express about how the banks are closing. That isn’t a smart move for the city because now skaters and bikers are just going to go to other spots around the city and end up getting in pedestrians’ way and getting kicked out of spots that they aren’t allowed to be. I think the Banks is the one spot in N.Y.C. where skaters/bikers can hang out and ride without getting in trouble or wrecking ledges and benches and getting in people’s ways. Not only that, but the Banks are a historical spot for us. I mean just look at some of the things that happened there.
Joe Karlson

To The Editor:
I concur fully with the opening sentence of the news article on the Brooklyn Banks park (“Don’t let the Banks collapse, skaters say,” news article, October 23 - 29), which states “The Brooklyn Banks is a place with no rules except gravity.” Therein lies the problem for those who live next to it at Southbridge Towers.
There are no curfews, so skaters/bikers remain active well after dark. There is no supervision so some build wooden “jumps” which could be dangerous. The noise of skaters/bikers, because to the proximity of the “jumps” to St. James/Pearl St. is magnified by and echoes through the Brooklyn Bridge arches into the apartments of Southbridge residents. Your ample photos demonstrate the graffiti, and one quote in the article states, quite matter-of-factly, that the park is filthy.
Many skaters on their way to the park elect to travel on sidewalks, posing a danger to everyone, but especially to seniors, who frequently complain to me, thinking that as a member of Southbridge’s board of directors, I can solve this type of problem — I cannot. Worse, the park is actually in Community Board 3, so our local Board 1 had no input in the decision to locate it there.
In short, this type of park would be best in a non-residential area, perhaps on Randall’s Island.
John Ost

City Hall News reports on the City's discontent with the D.O.T. commissioner

For quite a while now we've heard that inside City Hall the administration isn't as thrilled with Sadik Kahn as they say they are in sound bites and printed material. This article exposes some reasons why that may be. Can she cost the Mayor the election? probably not, one thing is for sure though, she's not helping.

So far Bloomberg's picks for commissioners have been dubious, most have resigned (some in advance of an indictment), with an embarrassing track record of failure, corruption, and favoritism to special interest groups. Jannette Sadik Kahn, whose mother sits on Community Board 2 advising on , of all things, transportation, has yet to come clean with her own failures in judgement. She relies instead on her cadre of trained seals whom she pulls out to applaud everything she does, even if it clearly doesn't work. Here's the article from City Hall news:

Road Rage In Mayor's Race

Sadik-Khan a menace to some, magnet to others

By Andrew J. Hawkins
Benjamin Lim, a 26-year-old web developer in Midtown, is an avid cyclist who says he votes Democratic “99.9 percent of the time.” For months, Lim paid little attention to the mayor’s race—until he heard Comptroller Bill Thompson say he intended to fire Janette Sadik-Khan, the plucky, bikefriendly transportation commissioner, if elected in November.
Suddenly, Lim had a stake in the race. “Many of my friends have expressed the same sentiments and many of them are registered Democrats,” he wrote via e-mail. “Even some of my friends who don’t ride bikes love [Sadik-Khan] and are voting for Bloomberg as a result.”
Lim created a Facebook page called “I’m voting for Bloomberg because I love Janette Sadik-Khan,” which has grown to over 100 members so far.
“That’s obviously not going to swing an election,” Lim noted, “but it was nice to see that I wasn’t the only person who felt this way.”
Since Thompson vowed to ax Sadik- Khan in the first Democratic primary debate, he has escalated his rhetoric, promising to remove some of the bike lanes that Sadik-Khan has made a linchpin in her effort to transform the city’s streetscape.
“I favor bicycle lanes, however, you are hearing the complaint all over the city of New York, because the communities have not been consulted,” Thompson said.
Thompson’s comments ignited a firestorm of disbelief and anger among transportation buffs across the city, many of whom view Sadik-Khan not as some dispensable government hack, but as a visionary who understands the importance of sustainable, liveable streets.
But Thompson’s stance has earned him praise in other circles. Sean Sweeney, the director of the SoHo Alliance, a civic group, says that those who believe that bike lanes are being “shoved down our throats” will undoubtedly look more kindly on Thompson.
“That’s wonderful,” Sweeney said of Thompson’s promise to remove Sadik- Khan. “It has invigorated me to work harder for Mr. Thompson’s election.”
Sweeney says he doubts fans of Sadik- Khan like Benjamin Lim will make much of a difference at the ballot box.
“There is no vast public outcry for bike lanes or public streets or closing off Times Square,” Sweeney said. “Why this crazy emphasis on turning the Big Apple into Portland?” The Bloomberg campaign accused Thompson of playing politics. “Mr. Thompson continues to criticize without offering vision or coherent strategy for how he’d tackle small business—killing congestion or air pollution” said campaign spokesperson Andrew Doba.
Iris Weinshall, Sadik-Khan’s predecessor, was never such a political lightning rod, and the idea that a number of votes may hinge on whether the transportation commissioner remains in her job is still unusual and hints at the over-sized role Sadik-Khan is playing in New York politics.
George Arzt, a veteran Democratic political consultant, said Thompson appears to be making a grab for working class, outer borough votes with his calls to remove bike lanes and dump Sadik- Khan.
“It’s a 718 issue, as we used to say,” said Arzt. “He sees this as an advantage to do something for the car drivers, many of whom hate the bicycle lanes and are fearful of running over a cyclist.”
Ross Sandler, a New York Law School professor who served as transportation commissioner under Mayor Ed Koch from 1986-1989, said that vast improvements in public safety over the past 20 years have increased competition for public space, which goes towards explaining Sadik- Khan’s controversial role in the political landscape, as well as the growing clamor for her removal.
“Everybody wants that space,” Sandler said. “Parkers, truckers, drivers, cyclists, skateboarders. It is the most competitive space in the city.”
Sadik-Khan’s successful efforts to transform streets into pedestrian plazas and create hundreds of miles of bike lanes has also earned her the enmity of a growing number of politicians and community groups who claim these projects have not been properly vetted in the community. And some of these criticisms have blossomed into outright hostility toward Sadik-Khan.
“The commissioner is playing games,” said Jan Lee, a small-business owner and executive vice president of the Civic Center Residents Coalition in Chinatown. “This woman thinks she’s god.”
Lee supports Thompson’s bid for mayor because he believes the comptroller will be more transparent in his efforts to improve the flow of human and vehicle traffic.
“He will have a new commissioner,” Lee said. “I would encourage Bill Thompson to expose the fact that all the agencies have a lack of transparency.”
While the debate rages on, the Council is taking steps to throw some roadblocks in Sadik-Khan’s path.
Council Member Alan Gerson, who lost his bid for re-election in last month’s primary, says that while Sadik-Khan has made some truly visionary improvements to the city’s streets, her aggressive methods have inspired him, as one of his last acts as a Council member, to introduce legislation that would curtail some of the DOT’s ability to initiate street construction projects without first consulting with Council members and community boards. Another bill would require the department to publicize certain details of its plans and to submit them for community board approval.
Sadik-Khan declined comment through a spokesperson, but some DOT employees privately grumble that most of these criticisms are coming from politicians who have either lost their jobs, like Gerson, or vying for jobs that are out of reach, like Thompson. Nonetheless, a great deal of administration time and effort has been going to soothe local politicians whose constituents are unhappy with the bike lanes and other changes. Top officials have been dispatched to make peace in neighborhoods across the city. With his bid for a third term already steeped in some controversy, having voters feel that the government is making changes without their input and giving local leaders a point of contention is precisely the kind of political issue Bloomberg does not need.
But hundreds of community hearings and public meetings are held every month to discuss new and ongoing projects, DOT staff say, as well as to assess the efficacy of completed projects, such as new bike lanes and pedestrian plazas along Broadway.
The ascendency of cycling in the city’s consciousness has been remarkable, said Teresa Toro, chair of the transportation committee in Community Board 1 in Brooklyn. But the DOT still has not done enough to tie cycling to a larger effort to promote safe, liveable streets, she says. And this may account for much of the vitriol that is being lobbed at Sadik-Khan.
“More people would understand if it applied to more people,” Toro said. “If [Bill Thompson] really understood the goals of the liveable streets movement, I actually think he would embrace it as well.”

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

CWA' local campaign against Bloomberg

Here is one of the anti-Mayor Bloomberg TV ads that will be hitting the airwaves tomorrow as part of CWA Local 1180’s $500,000 campaign to assist Democratic mayoral nominee Bill Thompson by giving heft to his claim the mayor is an out-of-touch billionaire.
At a rally later this morning, the union will be handing out “Bloomberg Bucks” that feature a photo of the mayor wearing a (drawn-on) crown and read: “This note is legal tender for buying votes, third terms and the City of New York.”

'Ugly Side' - CWA Local 1180 Ad from Elizabeth Benjamin on Vimeo.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Video montage expressing the outrage over term limit extension by Michael Bloomberg

The sky is falling, the sky is falling.......... no . really ........ it is. here's why

  In New York City, 13 people have died as of May 2008 in construction accidents, compared to 12 for all of 2007. In late April 2008, Lancaster resigned as buildings commissioner.

Last year, the city passed a law that removed the requirement that the buildings commissioner be either a licensed engineer or architect so Robert LiMandri could be appointed to the post. This proved to be an ill-advised move in January of this year when The New York State Society of Professional Engineers filed a lawsuit to remove Robert LiMandri as New York City's commissioner of buildings and void the law that allowed him to be named to the post. The city and the mayor were also named in the suit, which alleges the local law conflicts with New York State Education Law, which defines the practice of professional engineering. It says that the building commissioner can carry out duties which state law says should only be carried out by a licensed engineer.

The new local law does require that Mr. LiMandri have a deputy that is either a licensed engineer or architect.

In a city with nearly 1 million buildings, and about as many vocal and financially motivated constituencies, the job is widely regarded as a difficult and thankless task. The buildings commissioner requires a balance of professional credibility, political smarts, and media savvy. Removing the architectural or engineering license credential requirement dilutes the importance of the skills and training required, and will not benefit the public or necessarily result in greater construction safety--or more ethical building inspectors. 

Registered architects (RAs) and professional engineers (PEs), whose professional responsibilities, by law, are first and foremost to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public, are best suited to lead public agencies that oversee building design and construction. ...

Robert LiMandri in May of 2009 said:

“As accidents increased in 2008, we added more inspectors and more specialized teams,” says LiMandri. “We increased our enforcement to unprecedented levels.”

By October of 2009 The Associated press reported this:

Six former New York City building inspectors, two reputed Lucchese crime family leaders and more than two dozen other people and businesses were indicted Thursday in a sprawling racketeering case that ranges from construction bribes to gun trafficking.
The encyclopedic indictment grew out of a gambling investigation and ultimately spanned from a betting operation in Costa Rica to construction bribes in the Bronx, authorities said.
The charges are the latest in a string of recent cases targeting construction corruption. They include a July indictment accusing a concrete testing company of faking test results on dozens of high-profile projects and a case charging a top city crane inspector with taking bribes to fake inspection reports.
Aided by wiretaps and even a bug in a restaurant, Manhattan prosecutors charged some 29 people and four construction and real estate companies. Together, they engineered about $120,000 in bribes and more than $400 million in profits from gambling and other crimes, authorities said.
"The case mushroomed," said Patrick Dugan, chief of the Manhattan district attorney's investigative division. "We uncovered the corrupt arrangements between all these individuals."
Most of the defendants were due to be arraigned later Thursday on charges including enterprise corruption — New York state's version of racketeering. Authorities still are looking for two defendants.
Three members of the Lucchese organization actually worked at the city Department of Buildings as inspectors, two of them juggling their government jobs with drug and weapons trafficking, loan sharking and illegal gambling behind the scenes, prosecutors said. Three other ex-inspectors also are accused of taking bribes. - A.P. News
Makes us wonder WHERE they hired all those "inspectors" and "specialized teams" doesn't it???
Michael Bloomberg is so busy listening to his Transportation commissioner and her special interest groups putting in bike lanes and plazas, that he neglects our safety by letting unqualified lackies run the Dept. of Buildings. WE ARE NOT SAFE UNDER MICHAEL BLOOMBERG!  

What Bloomberg forgot to mention about the public advocate's office.........

.......The public advocate can sue. 


"You should get rid of the public advocate. It's a total waste of everybody's money. Nobody needs another gadfly, and we have an aggressive enough press," the mayor said during an interview with the editorial board of the Staten Island Advance.

The public advocate can sue the City government, here is a case in point :

New York City Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum filed suit against the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) over its handling of the bidding process for the Hudson Rail Yards. Gotbaum seeks to stop the MTA from selling the right to build over the rail yards to the Jets on the grounds that the process was unfair and the deal is not in the best interests of New Yorkers.

“The MTA failed to fulfill its legal responsibility to transit riders and New York City residents,” Gotbaum said. “The Board of Directors apparently doesn’t get it: subway service is a disaster. It’s time for them to stop playing back room politics and start worrying about the deteriorating state of our public transportation system.”

Gotbaum’s suit, which was filed in Supreme Court late yesterday, asserts that by accepting the Jets’ bid, the MTA is in breach of its fiduciary duty to make the deal “most beneficial” to the public and to ensure a process “that fosters fair and open competition, is conducted under the highest ethical standards, and enjoys the complete confidence of the public.” It details a series of statements and actions on the part of the MTA that suggest the process was manipulated to favor the Jets.

“Let’s not forget that the MTA didn’t want to have an open bidding process at all until there was a public outcry,” Gotbaum said. “It bent its own rules so the Jets could win. The decision was made before the process began.” - From the public advocate's own website.

This is exactly the kind of thing a Mayor like Michael Bloomberg wants to abolish, oh and he wants to eventually do away with community boards as well.

Step One for Michael Bloomberg - DESTROY ALL CRITICS

Mike advocates dumping public advocate

Last Updated: 6:38 AM, October 13, 2009
Posted: 3:32 AM, October 13, 2009
Mayor Bloomberg thinks the job of public advocate is so useless that it should be abolished -- which, he enthusiastically points out, would save New York taxpayers the cost of running the office.
"You should get rid of the public advocate. It's a total waste of everybody's money. Nobody needs another gadfly, and we have an aggressive enough press," the mayor said during an interview with the editorial board of the Staten Island Advance.
The paper published his comments in yesterday's edition.
The statement was the strongest the mayor has made publicly to date about a position that has virtually no power but serves as a government watchdog -- and that is next in line to succeed the mayor in the event of a vacancy.
Bloomberg softened his stance at yesterday's Columbus Day Parade. He suggested that an appointed Charter Revision Commission should evaluate whether to keep the public advocate, and he insisted that eliminating it was not among his top priorities.
He has, however, promised to appoint just such a commission next year -- to evaluate an overall reorganization of city government.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Under Bloomberg the City is not as safe as he claims it is. - commissioners and inspectors dropping like flies as the spotlight exposes them.

Mayor Bloomber touts his impeccable record in crime reduction.....but his dubious CrimeStat numbers tell one story, while actual safety issues abound all over the City that have nothing to do with muggings and murders but are just as dangerous.
Under Michael Bloomberg the City of New York has had its streets repaved, reconfigured, and reviewed ad infinitum..... the reason? These are VISIBLE changes that are front and center, easy photo ops in preparation for a third term campaign. Less visible are the MOB connected building inspectors, the corrupt crane inspector, the lack of Con Edison oversight which resulted in the steam pipe explosion and electrocutions from exposed wiring. While the bike lanes and lawn chairs are positioned just so, the party inside the correction center (in view of Police Headquarters) tells a different story. Anyone in Bloomberg's administration keep an eye on their commissioners? Apparently not, perhaps this is why they are dropping like flies..... embarrassing isn't it?
The latest casualty, FDNY Commish Scopetta, steps down in 2010, perhaps fearing the wrath of the investigators who have nailed him in a coverup.
And so it goes........ under Michael Bloomberg we are NOT safer if you are walking or working in the shadow of a building crane or a scaffold. Or if you are biking, driving, or walking on or near the Grand Street bike lane. You're NOT safer these days if you live in a building that somehow got overlooked because the few building inspectors the City employs have been paid off, you're also not safe if you work for Nick Scopetta.

With regard to the Chatham Square reconfiguration plans, the Department of Transportation REFUSES to incorporate ANY pedestrian safety studies or statistical data. The DOT's supporters, most of whom are blind lemmings and transients, support this kind of "fare thee well approach" to neighborhoods, opting to support the D.O.T.'s commish in anything she does without any regard for true pedestrian safety. At the foot of the Manhattan Bridge, considered one of the city traffic hotspots and site of many accidents and fatalities -- nothing has been done to alert drivers that they are entering a heavily residential area.
Let common sense and the long memory of NY'ers prevail, there's something rotten in New Amsterdam, and chances are it's one of Bloomberg's Commissioners..... fire them all. CCRC
With 13 people killed in building accidents so far this year and allegations of lax construction oversight, Department of Buildings Commissioner Patricia Lancaster stepped down June 3, 2009
Real estate and political insiders debated whether the embattled agency chief was merely a convenient scapegoat or if the announcement was too little, too late.
"The agency is obviously not what it used to be," said Rudolph Rinaldi, who served as buildings commissioner under Mayor David Dinkins, citing a change in the number of people who make the civil service a career. "If you are not tough enough, everybody in the industry is going to cut corners and take advantage of it."
Lancaster was brought in by Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2002 to reform the agency, and her achievements include a major overhaul of the city building code.
But her term paralleled a period of explosive development, with dozens of Bloomberg-spearheaded rezonings creating a secondary skyline of cranes.
Lancaster herself pointed to that boom as a reason for the spike in accidents. - City building commissioner steps down April 22, 2008 By David Freedlander dfreedlander@am-ny.com
And another one bites the dust............

June 3, 2009 - NY Times
The commissioner in charge of New York City’s jails and its probation department said Tuesday night that he would announce his resignation on Wednesday.
The commissioner, Martin F. Horn, said he would not answer questions about why he was stepping down until after the announcement, because “I think that would be unfair to the mayor.” The commissioner is also leaving a month after a suspect in an attempted burglary died while being held at Rikers.
The resignation is the latest high-level departure from the Bloomberg administration, which prides itself on low turnover.

even more under Mike's "watch"

Oct 17, 2009 - NY Daily News.
Three key officials at the Department of Correction resigned Friday, just months after several prisoners held religious parties and a jailed female rapper posed for a magazine photo shoot.
Chief of Department Carolyn Thomas and Frank Squillante, assistant chief of special operations, both turned in their resignations effective Oct. 31, sources said.
George Okada's resignation as warden of the Manhattan detention complex is effective the middle of next month, sources said.
"I'm sincerely happy to see [Thomas] go," said Patrick Ferraiuolo, president of theCorrection Captains' Association. "I don't believe she did a good job. We need a strong leader."
The union leader also expressed enthusiasm for Okada's departure.
"He allowed his deputy wardens to run his jails," Ferraiuolo said.

Partying on our dime.....

Published: June 15, 2009
A top Correction Department official who is suspected of approving a bar mitzvah at a New York City jail last year has submitted his resignation and told the department he plans to retire, a spokesman for the department said Monday.
The official, Peter Curcio, has been the department’s bureau chief for facility operations, with responsibility for security in all city jails. The spokesman for the department, Stephen Morello, said Chief Curcio was promoted to that job a month before the bar mitzvah in the gymnasium at the Manhattan Detention Complex, on White Street in Lower Manhattan. Some 60 guests attended.
Mr. Morello would not comment on whether Chief Curcio was offered a choice of resigning or dismissal. Chief Curcio was one of three bureau chiefs in the department’s uniformed service but within the department was considered first among equals. He earned $162,000 a year.
Mr. Morello said Chief Curcio
“failed to report the situation” about the bar mitzvah “to his supervisors at the time.”

DOB Inspectors Arrested on Bribery Charges, Mob Connections

It’s no wonder opening a restaurant in New York is such a flustercluck. First there was news, back in April, that the State Liquor Authority was taking bribes, and now it turns out that Department of Buildings employees have been doing the same. That’s not exactly shocking (we’ve long wondered how “expediters” work their magic to get their clients Certificates of Occupancy that might otherwise take months), but the kicker is: The DOB was all mobbed up! The Times reports that a two-year-old investigation into the Luchese family’s connections with illegal gambling has led to the arrest of 27 people, six of whom are DOB employees suspected of bribery. Three of the building inspectors are Luchese family associates who also dealt in gambling, drug trafficking, extortion, and loan sharking. Good times!

NY'ers weigh in on term limits extension

This comment is lifted from the City Room Blog of the NY Times.
The subject is term limit extensions. Mayoral Candidate Bill Thompson had a rally at City Hall to give NY'ers a chance to speak out once more on the anniversary of the overturning of term limits.
This comment sums it all up, doesn't it?

"It’s not just about how Mayor Bloomberg ordered by mayoral fiat the overturning of term limits laws, but also how he has run this city into the ground. How many accidents have taken place regarding the collapse of our infrastructure ? The Queens Blackout of 2006, the steam pipe explosion on Lexington Avenue, how many cranes keep collapsing on the streets, how many people keep getting electrocuted by Con Edison manhole covers, how many buildings and churches does NYU get to tear down, for how many more weekends will the MTA be allowed to practically shut down the entire system, for how many more years will Ground Zero remain just a pit ? What has Mayor Bloomberg done in 8 years ? What makes him think he needs another 4 ? 8 is enough ! Only someone driven by greed, selfishness, and an over-inflated ego would think he deserves more and more and more and more and more . . . ."
— Louis F.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Congestion taxing to rear its ugly head once more - if Bloomberg Gets in - Here's what we're in for

As if trampling New York citizens' right to chose by referendum (re: term limits) isn't enough, this out-of-touch billionaire's pet congestion pricing tax is again looming within view with the upcoming election.

The below is extracted from Bloomberg's own news website. We're certain if re-elected, Bloomberg will ensure that New York will be a mirror of London and the divide between the middle-class and rich will widen due to congestion pricing. How many more small businesses will Bloomberg kiss goodbye to? Congestion taxing is COSTING London businesses almost $500-million dollars a year, and we can bet it's the small businesses that are most affected.

[Bloomberg News] The London Chamber of Commerce and Industry says it all - as they have said in the past (accents are mine):

[ London's Mayor to Increase Underground, Bus Fares
The city's traffic-congestion charge also increases next year, to as much as 10 pounds a day from 8 pounds, the mayor said. “We are in desperate need of ... ]
London will introduce a new automated direct-debit system for collecting the congestion charge, and the fee will increase to 10 pounds [ that's $15.97 U.S. dollars!! ] by December 2010 for drivers who don’t use the system, and 9 pounds for those who do, he said.
The higher congestion charge “will mean less money in businesses’ bank accounts and fewer customers in the capital’s shops,” Helen Hill, director of policy at the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said in an e-mailed statement. The higher fares will place “even more financial pressure on London’s businesses and their employees as we try and make the jump from recession to recovery.”
Cost of Decline
The economic decline will cost Transport for London, the city’s transportation agency, a total of 300 million pounds this year [ that's $ 479,171,235 U.S. dollars!! ], mostly through lost ticket and advertising revenue, an aide to the mayor said. Passenger traffic is expected to fall by as much 6 percent in 2010 and won’t pick up before 2012, said Peter Hendy, London transport commissioner.

London Chamber of Commerce and Industry in 2005.

Bloomberg touts London as fine example of the benefits of congestion pricing. (New Yorkers, you have to be crazy to go for this, please read the numbers below - And, I've not news for you, it does not get better in 2006)

[Impact of the scheme on business

Our Findings

The LCCI firmly believes that any system to address congestion within London should
not have an adverse effect on London's businesses.

In order to ascertain the impact of the scheme on the capital’s key retail sector, we carried out three surveys of retailers, after
six, twelve and eighteen months of the scheme’s operation. Our results have shown that
congestion charging has created many problems for businesses.

The findings of our most(12)
recent survey show that:

• 84.2% of retail businesses have reported that their takings are down year on year
• 62.7% of retailers recorded a fall in customer numbers since the introduction of the charge

• 37% of respondents stated they had laid off staff specifically because of the
effects of the charge

• 33% of retail businesses within the zone say they are planning to re-locate because of reduced takings while 28% said they were considering closing their business

92% of retail businesses do not believe the congestion charge has benefited their business

The London Chamber is very concerned that the current congestion charging scheme is
damaging businesses, and is, therefore, extremely worried that to increase the charge by
60% will only serve to increase the difficulties encountered by business. - From the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry - "Response to the Consultation on the Proposed Cost Increase to the Congestion Charging Scheme"Campaigns Team

It seems our local papers, Downtown Express and Villager are supporting Bloomberg - I thought local papers were supposed to reflect the voice of people! Where were DTE and Villagers when it came to Bloomberg's shredding of term limits??

-Geoff Lee, Chinatown resident

Bill Thompson rally at City Hall - One Year anniversary of the hijacking of democracy in NYC

FRiday Oct. 16th 2009 marks the anniversary of the removal of term limits.

 This video is from the www.Thompson2009.com website.
Jan Lee of the Civic Center Residents Coalition spoke at the rally:
 Bill Thompson, today is the anniversary of the hijacking of democracy

It was an honor to stand with the democratic Mayoral Candidate Bill Thompson today at his rally to mark the anniversary of the day Michael Bloomberg hijacked democracy from the people of New York. Fire fighters and council members, residents and business owners stood strong in the frigid weather today chanting "RESPECT TERM LIMITS" and "EIGHT IS ENOUGH".

"When billionaire bosses "bend the rules" or ignore them completely for their own personal gains in the private sector we blow the whistle on them.  We won't stand for it in the private sector, why should we stand for it in the public sector? When a billionaire boss gets away with it by going around the rules once, they do it again and again. The proof is that virtually every fortune 500 company has been in court for doing exactly that. Where does it stop?  The practice needs to stop now, and we're speaking out on Nov. 3 to do just that". - Jan LeeThe Civic Center Residents Coalition