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Congestion Pricing

Useful Idiots

2:44 PM EDT on September 11, 2007

lipsky.jpgI'm not sure I'll ever understand how Richard Lipsky of the Neighborhood Retail Alliance figures he's helping "mom and pop" business by defending the increasingly miserable, congested, automobile-dominated status quo of New York City streets but I do enjoy his Mom and Pop blog. He is an entertaining writer, an experienced political player, and a skilled propagandist (in these quarters, that's a compliment). If Mayor Bloomberg's congestion relief efforts are ultimately shot down in Albany, Lipsky will deserve a fair share of the credit. Remember him, future C-Town delivery truck drivers, as you inch your way through traffic.

This week the Wal-Mart killer joins the Jeffrey Dinowitz fray, and takes a poke at "The Streetsblog," a web site that "is apparently dedicated it appears to returning New York back to the 19th century" (a time when mom and pop business thrived, by the way).

In his first piece Lipsky refers to all you Streetsbloggers as -- and I'll just mash up all of the descriptors into one set of quote marks -- "phony, invidious, self-righteous street corner ideologues and useful idiots." After that, Lipsky accuses congestion pricing advocates of "a level of vitriol" that is "so counterproductive" he'd almost believe it if he and Walter McCaffrey were running the traffic relief campaign themselves.

If anyone can find the vitriol in the original Streetsblog post that started all of this, let me know. 

In his second piece on the subject, Lipsky fleshes out the "useful idiots" concept and provides some pro bono strategic advice for congestion pricing advocates, otherwise known as Mayor Bloomberg's "dimwitted amen choir."

As we have said, the critics are not doing their cause much good. Over the top statements and personal invective, so characteristic of some denizens of the netroots,will only make the legislature that much more skeptical of a plan thatthey think needs a great deal more thought. This biting the hand thatfeeds you approach, which we can only hope will continue into totalself-immolation, is not a very smart lobbying strategy.

People pay good money for Lipsky's advice, so it's worth noting. But Albany is the-hand-that-feeds New York City? That's a bit hard to swallow. Maybe it's because Albany's other hand is so firmly wrapped around our necks.

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