Wednesday, April 29, 2009

When Will NYC Government Go GREEN With Their OWN CARS?!?!?!?!?

On Feb. 13th 2009 CCRC reported on Washington D.C.'s progressive and aggressive approach to curtailing abuse of its government fleet of cars. Washington D.C., like NYC, suffers from a plethora of a good thing gone bad - the "good thing" is about to come to an end for government employees in Washington where tracking, online booking and "zip-car-like" technology is employed to cut the government fleet of cars from 360 to just 60 !!
Washington D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty said that the majority of government cars sit for hours and days unused and the City had to pay for that storage time. A much better solution, according to the Mayor was to make a small amount of cars available on an "as-needed" basis. Like Zip Car rental cars, the user, in this case the government employee would have to go on line to "book" a car with a limited amount of time, after which time the car would have to be returned to its "home base".

Here is another article about Washington D.C.'s approach to their government cars.
New York's own Mayor Bloomberg should take some lessons from Mayor Fente and get serious about his GREEN initiative.

When the D.O.T. and Deputy Mayor Skyler met with members of the Chinatown community, the only community to propose this solution to address ourown placard abuse problems, they were met with this statement from the Deputy Mayor "placards are a perk that we believe we owe our employees since we don't compensate them with very much pay".

Big difference in City governance, don't you think? and don't you think NYC deserves better?

It's not a surprise that the Mayor never considered this solution when he and his "sheep" in the City Council proposed congestion pricing as a solution to reducing the number of cars in Manhattan. The Mayor claims to have done a lot to reduce government car abuse by its own employees, but in reality he has left himself an "out" by never proposing a permanent solution.
Placard reduction can quickly and insidiously become placard "growth" once again.

Tracking and online booking of government vehicles provides a permanent solution. Until the Mayor adopts this 21st solution to abuse that even he admits has gotten out of hand, the citizens of NYC will continue to suffer. Taxing the rest of us is not the solution. This is the start of a solution, the City must consider it.

Monday, April 27, 2009, 1:48pm EDT | Modified: Monday, April 27, 2009, 2:04pm
D.C. launches car program for city workers
Washington Business Journal - by Tierney Plumb Staff Reporter

D.C. has launched a vehicle fleet management program for its government employees through Zipcar’s FastFleet service.

D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty and Zipcar chairman and CEO Scott Griffith made the announcement on Monday.

D.C. government employees can access and reserve city vehicles at and select a car type and location. Through a city-issued access card and integrated card reader mounted under the windshield, they can drive the car for official business use.

The D.C. government piloted the program last October with 29 vehicles and four sites. Monday’s launch consists of 58 vehicles at eight sites, which includes 56 hybrid and alternative fueled vehicles.

So far, D.C. has cut about 360 vehicles from D.C.’s motor fleet, yielding an estimated savings of $6.6 million over five years.

“D.C. is leading the way for cities to implement cost effective and sustainable solutions for fleet management,” said Griffith. “We are pleased to partner with D.C. to launch our FastFleet solution and bring the benefits of our car sharing technology to governments across the country.”

The program reduces costs by maximizing fleet utilization on an hourly basis, allowing many trips to be supported by a smaller number of cars. Fleet Share cars average as many as 10 drivers for every one car.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Norman Siegel on the campaign trail in Chinatown - Lin Sing hosts the public Advocate Candidate

Norman Siegel was hosted by the 109 year old Lin Sing Association in Chinatown at 49 Mott St. on Saturday the 25th.

Eddie Chiu of Lin Sing hosted two candidates on Saturday, Leslie Crocker Snyder for Manhattan district attorney, and Norman Siegel for public advocate.

The Civic Center Residents coalition introduced Mr. Siegel to Eddie Chiu, a man who has been featured in the New York Times as a political powerhouse in Chinatown.

“He’s becoming a regular kingmaker,” said Mei Hua Ru, the political director for Councilman John Liu of Flushing, Queens. “Whoever he touches gets elected.” - NY Times 10/8/08

Norman's approximately 30 minute presentation touched on subjects that included the role of the Public Advocate, what he would bring to the office, and how the public advocate can negate the need for Business Improvement Districts in Chinatown. He also talked about how he personally objects to the undemocratic nature of BID's as a whole.

He talked about how he would bring public advocate volunteers into each and every neighborhood to hear complaints on a regular basis to report to the public advocate.

"Problems that are systemic, those which affect groups of people, we will take that fight on as well and we'll do it by trying to persuade people but if that doesn't work, then I'll take them to court and sue them FOR the people." said Norman.

Norman spent a few minutes to talk about his objection to the Chatham Square plan presented by the D.O.T. and he presented a letter which he personally wrote. It was addressed to the Lower Manhattan Development Committee (LMDC) who would be responsible for 50% of the funding for the City's Chatham Square project.. Norman knew about the controversy surrounding the Chatham Square project and assured the audience that he agreed with the Chinatown community in asking the LMDC to reconsider funding a project that was so ill conceived and unpopular.

Jan Lee, a Chinatown resident and business owner shared with the audience his own experience as a defendant represented by Norman. Jan's employee was the victim of false arrest and Jan's office was illegally searched by a D.E.P. officer. Jan said that although he possessed a valid license to deal in antique ivory, a D.E.P. officer interrogated his employee for four hours eventually gaining entry to Jan's office where he found ivory pieces. This, according to the officer, was enough to handcuff and process the employee due to the dollar value of the ivory. Jan's employee spent a night in jail after being led out of the store in handcuffs, an embarrassing and traumatic experience.
According to Seigel, although the license in the display case at Jan's store showed an expired date on it, a simple five minute phone call would have revealed that Jan possessed an up to date license, but since Jan was away on business the new document was not yet on display.
Jan explained that had it not been for Norman's notoriety and reputation as a fighter and defender of civil rights, the charges against Jan would not have been dropped. Jan said that Norman would bring his expertise, his notoriety, and his professional career to the office and that Chinatown would benefit greatly from this.

The presentation was attended by approximately 75 Lin Sing members, Chinatown business owners, and residents from the Chinatown and lower East side area. Representatives from Chatham Towers, Chatham Green, and Southbridge Towers were also present.

Norman Siegel's words were punctuated enthusiastically by Eddie Chiu's translation. Mr. Chiu's energetic delivery often times caused raucous applause by the mostly Chinese speaking audience.

After the presentation many audience members clambered to pose for pictures with the candidate, Mr. Siegel obliged while answering questions, even pausing to kiss a woman on the cheek.

Chiu and Siegel stood in the middle of the crowd and discussed Chinatown issues, politics, and the race as Lin Sing members prepared the room for the next order of business , the singing club. Within moments after the picture taking the room broke into Chinese folk songs. Siegel was being guided away from the singers with an audience member as they continued to talk about Chinatown.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Mayor Bloomberg's GREENING of buildings is NOT NEW and NOT his IDEA!! BILL Clinton had suggested this in 2007

Mayor Bloomberg and Christine Quinn are on Charlie Rose tonight proposing the idea of a green initiative and retrofitting buildings as a way to reduce carbon emmissions and to create jobs in NYC.

Bill Clinton suggested this in 2007 as an answer to CONGESTION pricing, a poor excuse to tax drivers.

It's disgraceful that Michael Bloomberg is finally doing something about inefficient buildings in NYC and taking credit for it as though it was his idea. It's clear that he's doing this because he's running again.

Let's give credit where credit is due, Bill Clinton, a much more civic minded individual saw this years ago, and he suggested it to us NY'ers without any election on the horizon.

THIS should have been recommended prior to any suggestion of congestion pricing. Charlie Rose asks this question of "why wasn't this suggested during the congestion pricing discussion?" Mayor Mike dodged that question. Perhaps he was "saving" this suggestion for election time because he knew he'd rewrite the law to suit his run for a third term. This is not leadership.

see below:
June 15, 2007, 8:13 pm
Bill Clinton on Congestion Pricing
By Carolyn Ryan

Is there anyone at this point who hasn’t weighed in on Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s plan to impose weekday traffic fees in Manhattan?

Former President Bill Clinton mentioned Mr. Bloomberg’s congestion pricing proposal today during the annual luncheon of the National Partnership for Women and Families in Washington. Mr. Clinton did not explicitly endorse or criticize the plan, but he suggested that traffic fees would be “slightly regressive for lower-income working people that have no option but to drive.” He focused on the potential for creating jobs by making buildings more environmentally friendly.

An excerpt of Mr. Clinton’s remarks, from a transcript provided by the partnership:

If you just look at New York, where I work now, the mayor has proposed an ambitious plan for fixing the greenhouse-gas emission program in New York, even though we are already more than half as efficient as the average American, mostly because the people who live there are all packed together.

But in New York –- in America, about a third of our emissions come from transportation, a third from manufacturing and electricity generation, and a third from buildings of all kinds. In New York, where there is not much manufacturing anymore, it’s 20 percent from transportation and 80 percent from the buildings and the power needed to heat, cool and light them.

So all of the publicity, for those of you who come from New York, come from the mayor’s proposal for a congestion fee so that we have to pay if we go into Midtown Manhattan, another $8 a car a day. And there is a lot of concerns about it. It’s slightly regressive for lower-income working people that have no option but to drive. On the other hand, if you’ve ever waited an hour in New York City traffic, you pay $80 dollars just to be able to go another block or two.

But 80 percent of the problem is within buildings. Now you just think of how many jobs would be created. There are 950,000 buildings in the city. Let’s just assume 50,000 are maximally efficient, and 50,000 are unfixable. So you had — let’s suppose we said within the next three to four years, we’re going to green 850,000 buildings in that small piece of land. How many jobs would be created putting in all the lights, fixing the insulation, putting in new windows, greening all the roofs? How many manufacturing jobs would be created doing that? How many new small businesses could we create? And these jobs could not be easily outsourceable. You’ve got to be on the roof to green it; you can’t be in India.

As I said, this is not within the direct purview of what you are concerned about as an organization, but it relates to the success of the other policies. I think it is, if we created more jobs, I think we should also look at increasing the wages and the benefits of jobs which cannot be outsourced.

I think it would be a good thing if there were more unionization among public employee workers, hotel and restaurant workers, all the service jobs that cannot be outsourced. Many of us who access those jobs are above average income. I think about it every time I give a speech to a charity banquet in New York City. I think about how wealthy those of us are who are there participating in the charity, and I wonder how much money do people make who have to clean up after us after we leave and who serve and prepare the food while we’re there. So that’s a strategy that we ought to embrace.

And then we need to, finally, get back on this paid leave issue. I think there’s more support for it than ever before, and there’s lots of evidence that it increases productivity. Any time you can create an environment where people at work are not worried sick about their parents or their kids, they’re going to do better at work.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Petition Drive in Chinatown - LMDC funding for Chatham Square must stop now

CCRC has started its petition drive today, Sunday April 19th. The LMDC must understand that the DOT and Mayor's plan for the reconstruction of Chatham Square has no support in Chinatown.
Business leaders, community leaders and organizations will be canvassing the Chinatown area to gather signatures on the petitions shown here.
These petitions may be printed, signed and mailed back to the addresses shown at the top, or dropped off at Lin Sing association at # 49 Mott St. 2nd floor - Attention Eddie Chiu.