Today’s Headlines

  • Fuel Prices Down as Driving Declines and Demand for Oil Slackens (NYT)
  • Bloomberg Would Welcome Costco on Upper West Side (Sun)
  • Subway Ratings Find Breakdowns More Common… (AMNY, AP)
  • …But Reflect Well on MTA’s New "General Manager" Program (NYT, News, NY1)
  • Credit Crunch: Many MetroCard Machines Malfunctioning, Not Taking Plastic (NYT, Post)
  • Privatizing Roads Part of Paterson’s Fiscal Plan? (Post)
  • PBA Defends Cop Who Knocked Cyclist to the Ground (News, Post)
  • Digital Video Blowing Holes Through Official Accounts of Street Protests (NYT)
  • Post Columnist Rants Against Cyclists. Sound Familiar?
  • Seattle Press Takes Driver’s POV After Crit Mass Crash (Streetsblog LA)
  • vnm

    Awesome quote in the Daily News article about the L & 7 trains:

    Jeanne Hilary, a photographer also from Brooklyn, gave the entire system the thumbs up, saying, “The worst of public transit is better than the best highway. Cars take up a lot of space that can be used for other things.”

  • Bureaucrat
  • vnm

    By the way, anybody frustrated by lines at the metrocard vending machines should sign up for the MTA’s special purple-and-white “EZPay Xpress metrocards,” and say goodbye to the vending machines forever. It’s a thing that automatically connects to your bank account every time you get below a certain amount. I think it only works for pay-per-ride people like myself.

    JP Reardon had a good write-up on this little-known program. The MTA also put out an official press release on it.

  • Shemp

    Pieces today on linebacker/cop/douchebag Patrick Pogan in the News, Post and NY Times. Dwyer’s piece in the latter well worth reading.

  • Thanks Shemp. Here’s the link to Dwyer’s piece: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/30/nyregion/30about.html

  • Thanks Shemp. I added the Dwyer piece above.

  • I was able to guess that it was Andrea Peyser who wrote that anti-bike rant in the Post before I even clicked on the link. What a troll. This is priceless:

    “Most accidents occur on choked Manhattan streets, where bicycles rule and bipeds scramble.”

    “Bicycles rule?” I guess it’s ok to dream.

  • Whatever, Andrea Peyser.

  • Re: Digital Video Blowing Holes Through Official Accounts of Street Protests.

    The Times quotes Ray Kelly on the senseless cop-on-cyclist violence:

    “I can’t explain why it happened,” Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said on Tuesday. “I have no understanding as to why that would happen.”

    Given what appears to be an anti-cyclist bias pervading the NYPD, Mr. Kelly’s shock seems just a wee bit disingenuous.

  • PBA defending the cop:

    When PBA’s Patrick Lynch runs for office, which he seems to be interested in doing, let everyone remember and quote his defense of this cop, for it is almost as full of demonstrable lies as the cop’s own report:

    “Sources said Pogan spotted Long weaving through traffic and riding with just one hand on the handlebars. Pogan yelled at Long to stop and when the cyclist tried to veer around the cop, he leaped into action, Lynch said.

    ‘Instead of slowing down or stopping as any reasonable person would when an officer approached, this rider dropped his shoulder in an attempt to avoid arrest by plowing into the officer’s chest, which resulted in the officer pushing him away,’ he said.”

  • Statements like that from the PBA head is what makes my very conservative father and liberal sister dislike unions. You shouldn’t always defend the least common denominator especially when they are endangering other people. The fact that Bloomberg and Kelly are “shocked” rather than “looking into it” is a really good sign even if it is disingenuous. I hope the PBA gets torn apart for supporting this cop and get back to supporting workers, not people who fail to do their jobs by endangering others.

  • The PBA is what makes everybody hate unions. If you asked labor haters to name three bad unions, they will say: cops, transit works, and teachers. Nobody ever says “Damn those amalgamated marine firemen!” It’s the public service unions that piss everyone off.

  • Max Rockatansky

    Cheap video cameras keep America free – http://www.theflip.com/

  • Niccolo Machiavelli

    Its the PBAs job to defend the guy, in fact they can be sued if they don’t. The PBA just has a larger public relations component than other organizations because they have so little else. They have to arbitrate everything and have no International presence in Washington to speak of. They get their leverage at cop funerals. What you are saying here is two things, both somewhat destructive. One, you really don’t like public sector workers and consider them inferior to their private sector counterparts, steeled as they are in the mores of competitive capitalism. Second, you really don’t like due process rights for workers at all.

    I think that this cop did wrong and the video evidence is compelling. Still though, I believe in due process and burden of proof for all workers. Even cops, priests and teachers. The employer has to prove their case not the worker prove his innocence. That galls a lot of people. How much cheaper the transit system would be if the employer could just declare guilt or innocence as in the non-union world.

    Video evidence didn’t help Rodney King however but I believe it did provide him with a nice civil settlement. That could be the case here. I’m thinking nice civil settlement that will cost the NYPD. Giuliani paid out a lot over his years as Mayor and the citizens still rewarded him with re-election. Usually though the same people who hate union contracts due process and burden of proof provisions also usually cry for “tort reform” to take away the citizens rights to sue for redress.

  • Yep, bikes are the reason pedestrians scramble (HAHA), not the cars, trucks, cabs, buses, and other delivery vehicles that go 50 mph up and down the Avenues.

  • This doesn’t have anything to do with due process and everything to do with being a bunch of unethical liars. Anyone who stands up in front of the press and tells an obvious lie like the one the PBA tells in the story above is ethically irredeemable. When that person is the authorized spokesman for an organization, then that organization itself is irredeemable.

    The fact that organized labor is considered to be a benefit to the public and to workers cannot excuse such unethical behavior. You don’t get a pass just because you are a union chief. You must still be bound by the rules of civilized behavior, which means honesty and respect. The PBA representative is doing the rhetorical equivalent of giving the public the finger. Why should the public stand for it?

  • Larry Littlefield

    “The fact that organized labor is considered to be a benefit to the public and to workers.”

    May have been true 40 years ago. Today they are a benefit to the retired and those who work for the unions themselves.

    Remember, this is kind of cop you get for $25K in a city whose overall spending on police as a share of its residents’ income was 67% higher than the national average in FY 2006, per the Census Bureau.

    Ah yes, there is that generational equity issue again. It’s everywhere.

  • Wait–one more thing!

    Just the nerve to tell so crazy a story as “a Critical Mass cyclist deliberately rammed me?”

    Who here, on their worst day, would deliberately ram their bike into a cop? Totally unbelievable, right? Telling such a story shows that the guy is a screwball not fit for public service.

    Put aside the fact that the story constitutes a lie on an official report–just the tremendous delusion and/or lack of ethics required to TELL such an implausible story shows that someone is not fit–mentally and/or ethically–to work for the government.

  • JK

    This Upper West Side Costco fails the sustainability laugh test and is a terrible legacy for a mayor seeking to green the city. Innovations like Summer Streets may disappear when he leaves, but that Costco and the massive parking being installed there and elsewhere will be imposed on NYC for 50 to 100 years, maybe longer. The city’s land-use/economic development strategies are completely out of synch with the sustainable transportation policies being advanced at the DOT. It’s as if City Planning and DOT exist in alternate universes.

  • Niccolo Machiavelli

    Look man, its the union in this case is not at base any different than a lawyer. They are telling the best story they can. Ultimately, the guy will be judged by an arbitrator chosen by both parties based on the facts weighed against the agreement. You, as an individual, may or may not have ever needed an advocate to put the best story out there for your interest. I’m betting the guy pays a price for his stupid and apparently dangerous actions, but I’ve been wrong before. Pat Lynch has to get elected by his peers, who expect this sort of defense. And if you want a taste of the mileau in which he works take a look at NYPDrants. If you think my position is wild, check out what the rank and file think about the process. It reminds me of everyone who hates the politicians, have you met the voters?
    I vote for due process and burden of proof, it matters to me, if not to you.

  • John Deere

    I wonder how many critics of the Andrea Peyser piece also think that cyclists should be allowed to run red lights? Twice in the past year Streetsblog has run articles suggesting that cyclists would be better off if red lights were made “optional” for cyclists. So it should come as no surprise that we cyclists get stereotyped as scofflaws by the likes of Peyser. “Advocacy” like this just makes it so much easier!

    Now, I need to get Andrea on my tandem to show her the other side of the handlebar: how many pedestrians:
    -don’t look while crossing against the red hand;
    -look and see the cyclist, but step in front of the moving bike anyway.

    Obey the Red Hand!

  • Max Rockatansky

    From the cops point of view-

    http://theerant.yuku.com/topic/7789/t/Video-shows-NYPD-cop-assaulting-cyclist.html

    there’s a lot of choice quotes like:

    what’s the big deal he was keeping the bicyclists in check just letting them know we are still in charge it’s an old school tecnique hahahahaha

  • Max Rockatansky

    On the other hand – not everyone agrees – here’s a quote for the other side

    Are you guys kidding me, this is the reason the job is dead.

    You complain the public has no respect for us, this is why. A fool move on his part makes all of us look bad.
    Knowing that people look for us to do something stupid why would you do it in front of all those people.

    He said the biker ran into him, none of us are that blind. I’m all for standing up for my brothers but not for fools who do things that make me look bad.

    Sorry but i’m not making an excuss for this jerk.

  • Niccolo, the Union will appoint him a lawyer. I’m all for that. It’s a very different thing for the president of the union to defend him and make such statements. He represents the police and he’s making them look horrible. I understand due process and the officer should get it… but due process is appointing a good advocate not the union saying our worker is always right. And I’m not anti-union by any means. They do good things like make sure workers have good health care and get paid for overtime. I didn’t even expect the union leader to condemn him, just to say something like “we’re giving him an advocate because everyone deserves fair representation. If you think the role of the union is to say all of their employees are great… and if that’s what you think the role of the union is then I suppose we’ll have to disagree. I think the role is to get group benefits, health care, etc. for its employees while make sure employees get a fair hearing–not saying they can do no wrong.

  • Max, and the posts on that link scare me. I really hope that’s not the general opinion of the cops. I’ve always defended cops when stupid Critical Mass riders complain about the police when they ticket them for riding in opposing lanes of traffic or other dangerous things. But this board really scares me. It’s okay to body check “libs” and it’s not that you can’t “knock” cops… because you can do it to the Blacks and Latinos and their gang affiliations.

  • “Video evidence didn’t help Rodney King however but I believe it did provide him with a nice civil settlement. That could be the case here. I’m thinking nice civil settlement that will cost the NYPD. Giuliani paid out a lot over his years as Mayor and the citizens still rewarded him with re-election. Usually though the same people who hate union contracts due process and burden of proof provisions also usually cry for ‘tort reform’ to take away the citizens rights to sue for redress.”

    I’m uncomfortable with the idea of civil suits as a substitute for a functional criminal justice system. Primarily because, as pointed out, it doesn’t work. It’s a false resolution that leaves the victim possibly happy to have the money, but discredited in the public’s eye. The public blames the victim for the cost. Bad behavior continues. I don’t really mind if crying “tort reform” takes away this avenue of failure.

    I would love to see city unions make a case to the public that, instead of putting billions of public dollars into the courtroom casino of unlimited compensation, why not spend that money intentionally and directly on infrastructure and personel (raises)? I’m game, but part of the deal would have to be that police and their union show greater enthusiasm for due process of our persons and be held accountable when they violate it. For transit and other unions the consequences of job invulnerability are less grave (no 26 hour imprisonments based on false reports!), but the attitudes often displayed by their members are far from acceptable. With greater accountability across the board, the criminal justice system would have a lot better chance of prosecuting itself when that is called for.

    None of that is under any one person or organization’s control, but making public statements that are plainly contradicted by a video everyone has already seen on youtube is heading in exactly the wrong direction. We need build trust in each other and fix things instead of stubbornly clinging to systems that help a few of us while dragging all of us into the ground.

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