Friday’s Headlines: Democracy Dies in Deference Edition
Whoopi Goldberg landed on Thursday’s wood of the Post for her outrageous anti-street-safety comments,, so naturally she doubled-down, kicking off “The View” with more anti-bike comments that the Post lapped up. Meanwhile, Mayor de Blasio clearly didn’t want to turn this into a two-day story, and declined to answer substantive questions from the press corps at his Thursday availability — even heaping praise on Goldberg as a “great New Yorker” who was “raising valid concerns” about the bike lanes that de Blasio says he believes in. “Great New Yorker”? Goldberg drives in from her West Orange, N.J. mansion for work every day then believes that arduous journey by luxury SUV gives her the right to tell the mayor how he should manage the streets for the rest of us who have to live here and pay the taxes.
Streetsblog tried to get the mayor to talk more about how Goldberg spread fear and misinformation on one of his prime initiatives, but he wasn’t biting. “I do think if someone says, ‘I think it may be causing more congestion,’ that’s a dialogue worth having,” the mayor told Streetsblog.
And that’s how democracy dies — not in darkness, but in deference (sorry, Washington Post). Instead of telling a powerful person that she was wrong, de Blasio made a political calculation that he’d gain nothing by pissing off a talk show host with a powerful megaphone, even if she lied about his signature issue. But we lose something, piece by piece, when people let lies and fear and misinformation spread rather than confront it at every turn. Perhaps we’ll have to wait for Mayor Ocasio-Cortez to set everything right someday.
OK, enough of my yakkin’, let’s get to the headlines:
- Actually, staying on topic … Fortunately there was one person on the planet willing to stand up to Whoopi Goldberg, and that was Amanda Berry, the mother of Madison Lyden, who was killed on Central Park West over the summer because a car forced her into traffic. TransAlt put out a statement by Berry, slamming Goldberg for “complaining” about her commute when commutes like hers are the reason Lyden died. Take some notes, Mr. Mayor.
- It’s official: The MTA, which Gov. Cuomo says he does not control, announced that it had accepted Gov. Cuomo’s plan to not shut down the L train. (NY Post, NYDN, amNY). That said, Emma Fitzsimmons’s roundup in The Times didn’t add much clarity to the confusion.
- Candidates (well, some of them) for public advocate talked about transit (well, more or less) the other day. (City Limits)
- Here’s a novel idea: Linking subway and bus fare hikes to actual performance improvements. (WSJ, NYDN)
- Doesn’t this driver know the no-pants ride was last weekend — and it’s on the subway? (NY Post)
- I was going to give the Home Reporter credit for its story about how there were 17 crashes in Bay Ridge’s 68th Precinct in a single day until I got to this line from reporter Paula Katinas: “Despite the success of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero initiative, drivers and pedestrians still face danger when crossing the street, residents said.”
- The Villager gets on the bike mayor coverage bandwagon.