City Council Votes for Cheap Gas and More Parking

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Christine Quinn’s City Council overrode its first mayoral veto yesterday. According to the Gotham Gazette:

After evidence of price gouging arose in the days after Hurricane Katrina, the council began working on a bill to prevent such behavior in the future. In July, it approved Intro 296, which says that gas stations must keep their prices the same for a 24-hour period before they can change them again. The Department of Consumer Affairs would enforce the regulation.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg vetoed the bill, saying that existing fraud protection laws were sufficient. "Telling a business how often it can change its prices is just not something that the City should do," said the mayor in his veto message. "It does not address the real issue, and unduly interferes with private enterprise."

The council overrode the veto by a vote of 43 to 6. Democratic council members Simcha Felder, Daniel Garodnick, and Helen Sears voted no, as did Republican council members Dennis Gallager, Andrew Lanza, and James Oddo.

The council also passed a measure to rezone a four-block area of Northern Tribeca currently zoned for manufacturing. Under the plan, the area would be opened for the development of apartment buildings and 180 spaces of parking in the area bordered by West, Watts, Washington, and Hubert Streets.

  • Get your cameras ready for long lines at gas stations and spot shortages of gas throughout the city when there is another price spike.

    It’s basic geology folks, not policy, that is making gas prices higher.

  • I’m disappointed in my council rep for not voting against this, and will surely be letting her know.

    I’m also disappointed that the community that just got more parking wasn’t opposed to it, but that seems to be a sign that more education is still needed on these issues.

  • Kudos to Garodnick. Anyone know his reasons for voting "no" on the veto?

  • Because he’s an independent thinker and knows how the free markets work.

    He’s doing some great work right now on the Stuy town / Peter Cooper Village sale, helping the tenants buy their own buildings.

  • Nicolo Macchiavelli

    Education? How about leadership? Most of these people are educated enough. Nationwide politicians can excuse themselves from not increasing the tax on fuels because after all they have to get re-elected. But you can’t say that with the city council, they are term limited and still vote for polution. They are always looking out for their next position. So much for term limitations and local political leadership

  • ddartley

    Having found his office pretty responsive to queries, I e-mailed CM Garodnick asking why he dissented in the veto-override and got the following response–I tend now to agree with Glenn’s “independent thinker” assessment:

    Thank you for contacting my office regarding Intro. 296-A, a local law that regulates changes in gas pricing. I voted against the bill because I believe this policy has the potential to negatively impact New Yorkers, rather than protect them.

    Although Intro. 296-A intends to shield consumers from price-gouging, there has been no evidence that price-gouging has actually occurred. Because stations will not be able to respond to the fluctuating cost of gas, consumers may see dramatic shifts in prices from one day to the next. Also, gas station owners should not be faced with the decision of charging below market-rate or closing for the day. This would hurt both gas station owners and consumers.

    Thank you for your interest. Should you have any further questions, please contact my legislative office at (212) 788-7393.

    Best,
    Dan Garodnick

  • Now that’s as well reasoned a policy perspective as I’ve ever heard. We need more folks like him in government.

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