Sadik-Khan Press Conference Coverage

New York 1 covers the Mayor’s announcement of New York City’s new transportation commissioner, Janette Sadik-Khan.

"No matter what you call it, environmentalism, sustainability or a
greener New York, we all want a healthier city for our families and
kids and it is that shared desire, it’s a necessity really, that brings
us together," said Sadik-Khan.

During the press conference, the mayor also spoke on his much-debated
plan for congestion pricing. Bloomberg says the public will get behind
the program once they understand its benefits.

"When you say that that there are a lot of people objecting, number
one, I don’t see it and number two, if they are it is only because you
are not explaining the great benefits that most of them will not pay
anything and get the value of all the revenues generated," he said. 

  • L

    “No matter what you call it, environmentalism, sustainability or a greener New York, we all want a healthier city for our families and kids and it is that shared desire, it’s a necessity really, that brings us together,” said Sadik-Khan.

    Okay. I feel better.

  • L

    I’m just curious: Why are you using “Janette watch” instead of “Sadik-Khan watch” as you did with “Weinshall watch”?

  • I think “Janette Watch” sounds better.

  • I’m not sure we are celebrating enough here. Hip, hip…hooray!

    But as always actions speak louder than words. She’s got a lot to do in just about 2 years and hopefully is popular and productive enough to survive to the next administration.

    Good luck Janette!

  • Rick Stagg

    The advocate types need to start working twice as hard to move public opinion. We need marches of ten thousand people yelling for clean air and green streets. The state legislature needs to hear about transportation reform. On top of congestion pricing the mayor is looking for more red light cameras, new speed cameras and new bus enforcement cameras from the legislature. It took fifteen years to get 100 red light cameras. The mayor wants much more, much faster from the do-nothing legislature.

  • Angus Grieve-Smith

    I know you’re not doing this on purpose, Aaron, but I agree with L. Referring to someone on a first-name basis in a public forum, especially a relatively young woman, implies that they are to be taken less seriously.

    Sadik-Khan is a woman, she’s young (for a city commissioner), and she’s an academic instead of a traffic engineer. She’s taking over a department full of traffic engineers that have shown themselves to be arrogant and resistant to change. From what I’ve read, she sounds like she’s strong enough to control the department, but she’ll get a lot of resistance. Referring to her by first name on this blog will only make it harder.

  • MD

    Rudy, Hillary, Marty, Chuck, Randi … Not that I take any of them seriously, but doesn’t the use of the first name in headlines (or conversation) just imply familiarity?

    [And, of course,”Clarence”]

  • Angus Grieve-Smith

    A first-name basis can connote either familiarity or lack of status. It’s a widespread phenomenon that women tend to be referred to by their first names much more often than men with equivalent status and familiarity; this was observed by Robin Lakoff (ex-wife of George Lakoff) in 1975; she used the examples of “Gloria” vs. “Mailer.” Think of the President’s high-level advisors: Cheney, Rove, Gates, Gonzales and … Condi.

    It took me a while to think of who “Randi” might be, but I’m guessing Weingarten. “Marty” and “Chuck” are Markowitz and Schumer, probably, but I’ve never heard them referred to by first name alone. Giuliani is an exception, because a lot of people seem to feel particularly close to him. Clinton proves my point: when someone says “Hillary” in a political context you know exactly who they mean, but if they say “Bill” without any previous clues you might be floundering for a while. (And I’m honored to say that I know Clarence personally.)

    It’s true there are some big-name politicians who get (and often seek) first-name recognition, like Giuliani and Clinton. But Sadik-Khan is not a big-name politician; she’s an incoming department commissioner. What other city commissioners, or even deputy mayors, have been referred to on a first-name basis? Tom? Matt? Jeanne? Adrian? Ray? Nick? Dan?

    Aaron may in fact know Sadik-Khan well enough to be on a first-name basis with her, or he may do it because he feels that she’s practically “one of us.” I’m not questioning his right to refer to her as he chooses, I’m arguing that in a public context it can create an image of her as a lightweight among politicians, bureaucrats and the press.

    Finally, Aaron, wouldn’t “Mike Watch” have sounded better than “Horodniceanu Watch”?

  • Anne

    for what it’s worth, in Brazil the presidents (all men to date) are publicly referred to by their first names: Lula, Enrique, Getulio, etc.

    i’m just sayin’.

  • Clarence

    Wow, I can’t believe it, I am being honored by being talked about in the same article about the great new DOT comish!

    I’ll chime in: I’ll concede I think Angus is right if you look at it as a historical whole, but I also think that is changing. In many cases it depends on the first and last name, how they sound, which name is less common, the person and their personality, and many other intangibles. I almost always hear Adrian Benepe referred to as Adrian. And I know when people are talking about politics and they say Chuck it means Chuck Schumer.

    Confession: I once wrote a letter addressed to Mayor Mike at City Hall. It got to him.

    Sincerely yours,

    Mr. Eckerson (but please call me Clarence)

  • Angus Grieve-Smith

    True, Anne, and in Arab countries it’s rare to refer to anyone by last name alone and common to refer to them by first name, which is why “Mr. Hussein” is a Westernism. Of course that was convenient when American presidents could refer to “Saddam,” and the Arabs thought they were being polite while the Americans thought they were being condescending. The standards and expectations vary from country to country, and I’m only making claims about American society.

    Clarence, although I agree with you that there are other factors involved, familiarity and status are the most important. I must not be as politically connected as you, because most of the people I know don’t even know who Adrian Benepe is, and would understand “Schumer” but not “Chuck.” I’m guessing that a lot of the people you’re talking about have actually met Schumer or Benepe.

    In circles where there’s a lot of familiarity with the DOT, I’m sure you find people talking about “Janette,” “Judith,” “Iris,” and in the past “Chris” and “Lee.” I’m sure a fair number of the readers of this blog fall into that category. But there’s also a wider audience who are going to see you referring to “Janette,” and think that you’re not taking her seriously.

  • MD

    When I joined a listserve called ebikes a few years ago I was puzzled by references to a guy named Lance, who, I soon figured out, was a famous cyclist. I imagine I was the exception on the list in being confused. People who use first names in this way do so because they assume the audience knows who they are talking about, as almost all readers of this blog know who “Iris” is.

    Similarly, Brooklynites know who “Marty” is and teachers know who “Randi” is. Their fans and foes alike generally refer to them by their first names.

    I know “Janette” is not there yet in terms of name recognition, but isn’t a “Watch” intended for insider types, rather than for the broader public? Isn’t this different than, for example, using her first name in a press release headline?

  • “Mike Watch” wouldn’t have worked for Horodniceanu. There are too many Mike’s, the mayor being one of them.


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