Today’s Headlines

  • Michele Patrich Thought the Evergreen Ave. Bike Lane Would Keep Her Safe (News)
  • Gelinas: Uber-Lyft Cap Could Serve as Prelude to Actual Congestion Pricing (CJ)
  • Times and CityLab Op-Eds Argue for Pricing Rather Than TNC Limit
  • NYPD to Relax Fare-Beating Arrests (NY1, WNYC); Post Sees Dogs and Cats Living Together
  • Related: De Blasio Defends NYPD Refusal to Comply With Fare Evasion Data Law (AMNY)
  • Chaim Deutsch: Let’s Not Get Carried Away With Bus Service Improvements (KCP)
  • NYPD Turns New 29th Street Bike Lane Into a Parking Lot (Gothamist)
  • For New Jersey Commuters, Chris Christie Is the Gift That Keeps On Giving (NYT)
  • Driver Rams Storefront in Willowbrook; Advance: Oopsie!
  • NYPD Won’t Hesitate to Risk Your Life to Save Someone Else’s Property (ABC)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • Jared R

    At what point will Streetsblog investigate collusion between the Governor and other officials and the auto-lobby? I know it’s trendy to throw around “collusion,” but isn’t this obvious?

  • Larry Littlefield

    The next step is for the police to stop harassing people for fare beating with fines.

    And for the MTA to cut service and maintenance based on the falling number of paid fares.

    Isn’t graffiti a crime of poverty too?

    And why are we harassing business people in finance, the makers, with all those financial regulations?

    Cut taxes. Why should we have to pay when we can borrow? Those who say other wise are “debt scolds.”

    And its time public employees were allowed to retire at age 50, and be compensated if they worked longer. After all police officers only work 20 years, so require teachers to work longer is sexism.

    And stop harassing contractors about actually doing the transit work they are paid for. Since those are union jobs, doing so is anti-union.

    How about EVERYONE beats the system, since everyone else is? It’s popular. It’s sexy. It’s fun. What could go wrong?

  • Maggie

    This is so mean spirited, Larry. Really.

    People in poverty in NYC have household incomes of around $35,000 or lower. Let me flip the rhetorical scolding questions right back to you. Which meals do you suggest their children skip each week? How many additional jobs should each working adult take on? How many more Girl Scout troops for homeless children (!!!) do you want our successful, and opulently wealthy city to open in the next few years?

    There are places to penny pinch, and maybe, just maybe, helping people get to work is not the best one.

  • Larry Littlefield

    It’s not mean spirited at all. It’s a social trend I do not like, and it extends well beyond the poor and working classes. It’s like the speed camera shutoff.

  • Maggie

    Well, the social trend you don’t like is easing up on fare-beating arrests, and the social trend you DO like is paying police to saddle people with criminal charges for the lack of $2.75 for the subway or bus?

    Maybe I’m misunderstanding you.

  • Larry Littlefield

    The social trend I don’t like is easing up on fare beating to make you happy. And easing up on tax evasion to make other people happy.

    I predict that in the end, they are going to end up happy when the system is finally beat from everyone beating the system, and you are not. Not unless you have also retreated from shared spaces and services to your own private sphere, with them.

    And it goes way beyond mass transit.

    In 1981, Reagan said that the rich would cheat on their taxes less if their taxes were cut. So now we have “fair fares” and…

  • kevd

    It isn’t “easing up larry”.
    People will still be fined for fare beating, but the city just won’t LOSE money on arresting them. This will save time, money and resources. The NYPD will probably oppose it because they need make-work arrests to justify our overly high number of officers.

  • Maggie

    Then I reiterate my rhetorical questions to you. They aren’t in the least hypothetical; those are really, in fact, happening while you harumph over what our city and state can or can’t afford starting back in 1981. So feel free to answer them. Obviously homeless and hungry children don’t make me happy. If you want to keep going with high horse questions, I suggest we think carefully over whether this is the right place to penny pinch. To me, it’s not.

    I’ll leave the back and forth with you here.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Maybe, but I don’t like the trend. I see across the board movement in the “beat the system” direction. It’s always a free shot.

    The city loses money on fining people too.

    FYI, I did suggest drastically reducing the number of officers, and reducing quality of life enforcement and other enforcement in select “freedom precincts” as a 10-year experiment. They keep adding officers instead.

    But allowing even more people to de-fund the transit system wasn’t part of the plan. Basically, drivers don’t care what happens to the transit system. You could probably get them to agree to decriminalize everything in the subway.

  • kevd

    ” I did suggest drastically reducing the number of officers, and reducing quality of life enforcement and other enforcement in select “freedom precincts” as a 10-year experiment. They keep adding officers instead.”

    Do you think policy makers read your blog??

  • kevd

    awesome if they do!

  • kevd

    “Isn’t graffiti a crime of poverty too?”

    people who can’t afford train fare don’t use graffiti to get to work.
    you’re sounding a little nutso, buddy.

  • Larry Littlefield

    We’ll see. Again, the rhetoric in common across stuff like this bothers me. It’s as if the common future is always an easy target.

    In places where people aren’t arrested, people are complaining about the fines (ie. speed cameras).

    But along those lines, he’s another suggestion — eliminate fares on local buses, and then cut service by one-third percent. I think that’s a break even. I don’t see much of a future for the local bus system.

    Can’t do it on the subway, however. Despite the recent decline in ridership, it’s too crowded to cut service and too big a hit to eliminate fares.

  • Joe R.

    Some tax cuts are better than others. If we did something like not taking FICA taxes out of the first $25K or so of income (including self-employment income) that would be a good tax cut. It might not even need to be a cut if we make up for it by taking FICA taxes out of unearned income, like capital gains, over a certain amount and/or getting rid of the threshold above which FICA taxes are no longer taken out.

    Of course, I’m vehemently opposed to any tax cuts which primarily benefit the wealthy. The money doesn’t trickle down as advertised. It ends up in offshore bank accounts instead. The recent corporate tax cuts haven’t resulted in anyone I know receiving nice pay increases, either. Just more money in the pockets of the 1%. Don’t pee on me and tell me it’s trickle-down economics.

  • Joe R.

    I think Larry’s point is that soon it won’t matter whether or not we’re looking at the right place to pinch. Rather, we just won’t be able to afford things we now take for granted, period, when 100% of taxes are going towards debt service and pensions. We’re heading there unless something drastic is done. My personal solution is to cut pensions back to whatever was promised when the employee signed on, and to default on a lot of borrowing. The latter will serve two purposes. One, in the present it will let us balance our books. And it will keep us from ever getting into this situation again. Once governments default on bonds, their credit rating will be so poor they will forever be unable to borrow money ever again. The end result is we’ll have to pay for things as we go along, which is really what Larry wants. As do I. Neither governments nor individuals should live beyond their means on borrowed money. Sooner or later that whole house of cards will collapse. We saw a taste of that in 2008.

  • Maggie

    True, the borrower’s ability to repay is critical for capital markets to consider, and absolutely yes, for municipal borrowing, voters need to decide how they balance the present benefit against future costs.

    I’ll keep arguing that ignoring our city’s massive social inequalities, the very real challenges to kids in poverty, and using slippery slope arguments to favor criminal charges for this instead of for, say, parking tickets or placard abuse, is morally wrong and a sort of counterproductive hill to die on.

  • Joe R.

    I totally agree. The problem is those who make policy are in the 1%, perhaps even the 0.1%. They’re completely clueless as to the issues faced by both the poor and the middle class in this city. Sad to see, even a lot of the livable streets advocacy is clueless. I cringe when I hear things like one of the reasons bike lanes are good is because they increase property values. From where I stand the poor and middle class would be far better off if property values (and rents) declined drastically. Landlords, developers, and real estate speculators are the primary beneficiaries of the current situation. Of course, the city goes along because higher real estate values equals more taxes.

    I don’t see how it’s productive either to levy criminal charges for things like fare-beating, cycling on the sidewalk, and so forth. That’s doubly true while we are at the same time ignoring the theft the 1% is engaged in. In a perfect world, public transit would be paid for via taxes and there would be no fare.

  • kevd

    “The city loses money on fining people too.”
    the city loses more money on arresting people
    this change is net gain.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Why just the transit system?

    Why not just issue tickets or let it go for theft of anything, from anyone, assuming it is non-violent?

    The transit system is the easy target, because nobody cares about what it will be five years from now. And I mean nobody.

  • Maggie

    Come on, you cannot be serious.

    I assure you that millions of people absolutely do care what the NYC transit system will look like five years from now. And I mean millions. You are flat wrong.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Not enough to put up one extra cent, take out one fewer cent, or divert one cent from something that they believe benefits them.

    Based on five or ten or fifteen years ago..

  • Would it be OK if I converted a few of your comments on this thread into a stand-alone article for publication on my website?

    There is no fee, I’m simply trying to add more content diversity for Writer Beat and liked what you wrote. I’ll be sure to give you complete credit as the author. You can learn more about the ssite by checking out my profile (my email and the website address are there…Disqus won’t allow that info in comment threads) or just reply “sure” and I’ll handle the rest.

  • Maggie

    Actually I’d rather not, but thank you for asking. I appreciate it. You could just point people to the great work Streetsblog produces. 🙂

  • OK. If you change your mind and decide you’d like more exposure for what you have to say, please don’t hesitate to contact me.