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Tuesday’s Headlines: Speaker Johnson’s Dirty Double Dealing Edition

12:11 AM EDT on August 11, 2020

Here was Council Speaker Corey Johnson when he stood with Gwen Carr, the mom of Eric Garner, and supported her call for massive cuts to the NYPD. As it turned out, he didn’t fight as hard as he said he would. File photo: Gersh Kuntzman

Remember all those earnest, droopy-eyed looks Council Speaker Corey Johnson gave when he oh-so-reluctantly inked his budget deal with Mayor de Blasio — how Johnson suggested that he was crushed that he couldn't push the mayor for more cuts to the NYPD budget beyond the entirely cosmetic (as the Times put it) cold cut slices he achieved?

Yeah, well, Johnson was more or less faking.

That's one way to read Shant Sharigian's bombshell in the Daily News late Monday that Johnson doled out millions of dollars in discretionary funding to council members who voted "yes" for the budget and cut discretionary funds from progressive lawmakers who heeded the message of Black Lives Matter protesters in calling for the NYPD to be reined in (see yesterday's headlines for a reminder of why).

The payoffs suggest more than just Johnson using all the tools at his disposal to maintain order from a restive body with 51 opinionated people who look in the mirror every morning and say, "Hello, future Mayor!" As the Times reported, the payoffs are another battle in the ongoing civil war inside the Black, Latino and Asian Caucus over policing matters, with Black "establishment" leaders like Laurie Cumbo supporting more police (and shouting down Black Lives Matter protesters as "colonizers") and upstarts such as Antonio Reynoso pointing out that his Bushwick constituents believe, “We have wrongly been told our whole lives that police keep us safe."

On this issue, Johnson has emboldened the Establishment. It's a bad look for someone who hopes to succeed Bill de Blasio, who campaigned on the notion of "A Tale of Two Cities," but then governed like someone who never read the book.

In other news:

    • The City revealed that, as predicted, new car registrations are up. Nearly 40,000 new cars were registered in the five boroughs in July — the highest for the month in recent years, the outlet reported. The only happy person in the story was the president of the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association (members had a pretty lousy spring after all). Our editorial cartoonist, Bill Roundy, offered his take by reminding readers how little Mayor de Blasio has done to prevent the coming carmageddon.
    • Meanwhile, there was some more bad framing by Times reporters Winnie Hu and Nate Schweber. In an otherwise solid piece about the de Blasio administration's failure to beef up cycling, pedestrian and transit improvements, pro-car Metro Editor Cliff Levy obviously left in a line that suggested that car opponents are the crazy ones. "The pandemic has emboldened more people than ever to stake their claim to a piece of asphalt and force a sweeping reimagining of the urban grid." Stake their claim? You mean the one drivers stole? Force? You mean advocating for safer, cleaner, more equitable streets?
    • It took a pandemic for some of Nassau County's old line suburbs to figure out how to use public space (but don't get too excited — Long Island’s old “downtowns” are completely empty on weekends, so it's not like drivers will push back). (Newsday)
    • OK, here's a legit reason to ban Tik-Tok: It encourages wedding parties to block MTA bus lanes. (NY Post)
    • Motorcyclists are being killed at an incredibly high rate right now, mostly due to the speeding epidemic. The Post covered the latest crash, but did not report the horrifying stats: Sunday night's fatal crash is the 23rd motorcyclist to die so far this year, compared to 15 during the same period last year. At the same time, occupants of motor vehicles (which includes motorcycle passengers) are also up 50 percent this year, according to the DOT.
    • In amNY, the DOT is still trotting out that easy-to-fix excuse that the fence on the south outer roadway of the Queensboro Bridge is too low to have a cycling lane (ever bike over the jumper-friendly Triboro, the Brooklyn, or the Willis Avenue bridges?). We reported the story back in May.
    • Memo to Pat Foye: Can't the MTA just encourage riders to use a passcode rather than expect Apple to completely remake its Face ID feature so it works with a mask? (NYDN, NY Post)
    • Great minds drink alike? Our own Dave Colon pitched our editor a story about how few electric Citi Bikes he was seeing, and the old man greenlighted that story faster than you could say, "Why isn't Citi Bike in Jackson Heights yet?" Turns out, Gothamist and the New York Post were working on their own versions.
    • NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea fibbed again, saying cops were not not writing speeding tickets, even as statistics show summonses have plummeted. (NY Post)
    • And, finally, hat tip to the Times graphic department for showing off what happens when you sneeze — masked or unmasked — on a subway car.

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