Thursday’s Headlines: Armed for the Civil War Edition

Police using their bicycles as weapons against protesters in Union Square. Source: Twitter
Police using their bicycles as weapons against protesters in Union Square. Source: Twitter

Voter suppression. Foreign intervention. A postal system under attack just as mail-in voting is needed more than ever.

There’s no question that the Election of 2020 is going to be a mess. Vote counts are going to change day to day as inept state boards of elections (looking at you, New York) throw out millions of ballots because they lack a postmark. Or came in a day late because postal overtime was canceled. Or had a stray pencil mark on the outer envelope.

You hear it more and more (and, yesterday, from Tom Friedman in the Times): prepare for a civil war.

And what do we learn, just as our nation’s history of peaceful transition of power is facing its greatest threat? We learn that the NYPD is fully on the side of the incumbent (and not just because of last week’s union endorsement).

On Wednesday, Gothamist’s Jake Offenhartz added another piece to the puzzle of understanding the NYPD’s baked-in White supremacism with detailed coverage of the Blue Lives Matter movement. If you read only one story about the racism of NYPD Commissioner Shea’s mostly suburban rank-and-file cops (and on most days, you have multiple stories to choose from), read this one.

We also learned that members of the City Council are now backtracking on their efforts to rein in the NYPD now that the police force is engaging in a petty work slowdown because they don’t like being told what to do, as NY1 reported. And we learned that two more police unions are suing over a ban on chokeholds (NY Post). And over in New Jersey, the Wall Street Journal reported that the state’s supreme court said that Newark’s police oversight board had too much power. (Really? That ruling won’t age well.)

So steel yourself for a bumpy ride in November (the old line from the Doors, “They got the guns, but we got the numbers,” comes to mind).

In other news from a light day:

  • Amtrak’s inspector general says the move into the old Farley Post Office will be delayed (NYDN, WSJ). Here’s the full report on the railway’s shortcomings.
  • The cash-strapped MTA borrowed $451 million from the Federal Reserve, tapping into a $500 billion low-interest loan program for cities and states. (Bloomberg)
  • Fresh kermit is down on lower Broadway in Manhattan, and the Tribeca Citizen gives a hat tip to Friend of Streetsblog Charles Komanoff.
  • Mark Hallum at amNY had a mini-scoop: Mayor de Blasio’s ferry would tweak the Astoria route so that Queens residents could get directly to the Upper East Side.
  • There was more car carnage in Queens. (NY Post)
  • Keeping the pop-up “coronavirus cycleways” in many European cities would result in $3 billion worth of health benefits, according to a German climate change study. Biking is up 7 percent in Europe during the pandemic. (Forbes)
  • And finally, the Onion (yes, the Onion) continues its dominating coverage of the evils of car culture.

Oh, and from the assignment desk: At noon today, Council Transportation Committee Chairman Ydanis Rodriguez will propose new regulations on scooter-share systems like Revel — including required city permits. It all happens today at noon at 96 Wadsworth Terrace, the spot where Francis Nunez suffered his fatal injuries in a scooter crash last month.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG