Thursday, April 3, 2008

Congestion Pricing , Keeping Up With London, Leaving New York Behind

Mayor Bloomberg's latest cause is congestion pricing. To cut down on traffic, he has strong armed the City Council into approving an eight dollar a day fee for bringing a motor vehicle into Manhattan. It has not been accompanied by price relief and increased service on public transit. Multiple passengers in a car do not get a break. What the impact will be on restaurants, shopping and entertainment has not been determined. A controversial program was pushed through the City Council with a kinder, gentler but still Spitzerian steam roller
Far more insidious is the illusion that New York has solved its most serious problems. Violent crime in the outer boroughs is creeping up. The word on the street in places such as Crown Heights and Brownsville is that crime statistics are inaccurate. Trying to get crime accurately tabulated and getting a complaint taken seriously brings back memories of the fearful days of Mayor Lindsay.
People are losing their houses at a frightening rate. Renters and homeowners alike struggle to pay skyrocketing rents that are a byproduct of overpriced dwellings. The stress on homeowners who are slaves to housing expenses is a pervasive feature of urban living.
Punitive taxes been levied on cigarettes. Trans fats are now being legislated out of restaurants. Predatory swarms of parking cops squeeze inflated fines out of minor parking violations.
Government can not deliver the solution to a city's woes. But government does control many factors of the economic climate. Housing needs to be built and maintained. Infrastructure must be kept in working condition. Parts of the water system are over a hundred and fifty years old.
Viewed through Mayor Bloomberg's green coloured glasses, New York has solved so many basic problems that it now has the luxury to police our health choices.
The lies our government here in New York tells us are blighting and shortening our lives. Real New Yorkers are more afraid of smoke from the barrel of a gun than from the end of a cigarette.
Voters need education , not legislation. If you want to cut down on traffic to Manhattan, build up business in the outer boroughs. Promote it and facilitate shopping and entertainment in Brooklyn,The Bronx, Queens and Staten Island. Don't slap an inflated parking violation on top of the highest sales tax in the nation. America clothes its citizens. It is a well fed country. There is no reason that a reasonably priced home should remain but a dream for millions. The middle class is faced with skyrocketing health insurance expenses. Government controls some of the factors in which private enterprise functions. Finding solutions to our city's problems requires an honest assessment. Painting over New York's problems with green rhetoric has accomplished nothing. Bloomberg is half way into his second term. Real New Yorkers are waiting for real solutions.

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