Saturday, July 14, 2012

New York State of Mind

So I was going to write about what I did on my vacation and show photos of me at the beach, me at the pool, me at the bar, but, well, no one really wants to see that. So let's talk about what happened while I was away. Apparently I can't leave NYC without all heck breaking loose...

STRIKE! - Not the baseball kind, but the union kind - It was blazing hot while I was away. And just in time for the really, really hot weather, the ConEd (gas/electric) workers went on strike or more accurately were locked out by management. They've been out for about three weeks now. As you can guess, it's not about the poor wages or benefits or anything that one would think would drive workers to the picket lines. It's about...well who knows. ConEd says it wants to eliminate the pension and wage structures for new hires, require workers to contribute more to their healthcare, more flexibility in hard times, and, the real sticking point, require 7 days notice before a strike. The 8500 workers say that "[t]hey want to cut medical, they want to cut our pension, they want to cut our wages,”.

Unlike our 2005 transit strike that shut down all public transport and the city for three days, the electricity is still flowing and, as long as the electricity works, no one can even tell there IS a strike. But, much like the transit strike, the ConEd workers are getting no sympathy or support from the citizens of NYC either.

CRIME IN THE CITY - While I was away, the murder/crime rate jumped dramatically - a whopping 10% over last year. On July 4th, nineteen people were shot and four were killed. Three of those four people were gunned down in a hail of 64 bullets fired from an AK-47 into a crowd and reportedly over a girl. The fact that only 3 were killed is kind of a miracle.

All of this comes on the heels of massive protests about NYC's aggressive "stop & frisk" policy. As I've explained before, our Police Commissioner Ray Kelly has come under fire (no pun intended) for his long standing aggressive policing practices of having beat cops stop people acting suspiciously and frisking them for guns and other stuff. The results have brought the crime rate down about 300% in the last 20 years and last year alone took over 700 guns away from criminals. Logically, they have targeted high crime areas which also happens to be high minority areas and now cries of racism have ensued. To his great credit, Kelly has not backed down AT ALL. This week he publicly rebuked community leaders for staging loud protests to voice their outrage against the police department, but continue to be deafeningly silent that their children are being gunned down daily in the streets...
"Ninety-six percent of our shooting victims are people of color, yet these community leaders are not speaking out about that,” he said. “I'd like to see some political outcry... I want them to be outraged that a 3-year-old child is shot on the streets."
In response, Brooklyn Councilman Jumaane Williams said he protests all the time and challenged Kelly to come walk the beat with him without any protection. Kelly responded, no thanks, he has been doing that for 40 years already. And, as you might imagine, Al Sharpton responded with...continued silence...which is kind of amazing, if you think about it. Oh, it shouldn't surprise you that Councilman Williams was arrested earlier this year protesting with the Occupy Wall Street bunch. So yes, he does protest a lot, but just not about children being slaughtered on their stoops.

CRIME NOT IN THE CITY - I can't leave the topic of crime and murder without saying something about Chicago's Mayor Rahm Emanuel. He may be on to something with his brilliant way of handling the ever-rising murder rate in his tottlin' town. Rather than actually try and slow down the murder rate with aggressive policing tactics like NYC's Ray Kelly, Mayor Rahm has decided to take the kinder, gentler approach, This week he softly admonished (some would say, "begged") the would-be murderers to take to the alleyways -
We've got two gangbangers, one standing next to a kid. Get away from that kid. Take your stuff away to the alley. Don't touch the children of the city of Chicago. Don't get near them. And it is about values. As I said then, Scott, who raised you? How were you raised? And I don't buy this case where people say they don't have values. They do have values. They have the wrong values. Don't come near the kids -- don't touch them.
Not your typical "Don't commit murder or we'll fry you" approach, but a gentler "take it inside, so we can't see it happening" approach. I am sure that will work out just fine, and if Ray Kelly weren't such a brutal, mean guy, he could have done it that way too.

And on a final note - As you may or may not remember, NY had its Congressional Primary on June 26th and at the time I reported that Charlie Rangel won his 4-way primary pretty handily by over 2000 votes. Well, three weeks later, and after major challenges and numerous recounts, it has finally been ruled that Ol' Charlie did win afterall, but by only 800 votes and not without accusations of voter suppression and the like. But that's not the real story here. It's really about the NYC Board of Elections and their credibility gap. Let me explain why.

Four years ago, our city switched from those old-fashioned manual lever-type voting booths (you know, the kind that my Grandmother voted in 50 years ago) to a new, expensive electronic computer voting system. The new system allows for more accurate votes and speeder tallies. However, even though these new electronic voting systems can download the votes directly onto a thumb drive that can be plugged directly into the main system to be counted, our BOE refuses to change with the times. Instead, they have decided to stick with the old system of manually counting all of the votes, recording the counts on little slips of of paper that are then transported by police squad car to a main voting station and re-entered manually at the main voting station. In a perfect example of oxymoronic government efficiency, what could take just hours, continues to take days and sometimes weeks. The rest of the state has moved on, but, citing some quirk in the city laws or something, the NYC BOE says they cannot change the way the counting/recording of votes is done because chaos would ensue and it would bring on the "End Times". Okay, I made that last part up, but after their June debacle, it is coming down to a real crisis with the looming national elections. They must embrace the new technology or the entire Board shouild be replaced. The Board has one more chance to get it right with our local Primary in September, or something will happen maybe. Where's Eric Holder and his voter suppression crusade when we need him?

Next week - The crime and lack of punishment for the lying cheaters at top tier Stuyvesant High School and other pressing issues...

Addendum: Happy Bastille Day!! Viva La France - Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite!

23 comments:

LawHawkRFD said...

Bev: At least NYC had Giuliani to clean things up. That leaves Auntie Bloomberg plenty of time to let things decay slowly. In Chicago, all the mayors have been crooks, so the decay becomes much more apparent much earlier. It is now more dangerous to walk the streets of Chicago than it is to walk the streets of Kabul. Chatting the murderers up is about as useful in either city.

When the citizens of the war/crime zones finally realize that they have nobody to blame but themselves, things can change. But as long as every police effort to preserve the peace is accompanied by screams of "racism," things will continue to get worse and all the talk in the world won't change a thing.

BevfromNYC said...

I think that Kelly knows that the Police Dept can only do so much and the communities have got to pitch in too. Complaining that the police are too harsh and having the Appeals court back them up by dismissing cases in which guns were found on teenagers, but the search was deemed unlawful doesn't help either. Especially since said teen went out after being released and shooting someone. The same lower court judge keeps releasing people who go out and shoot cops.

I hope that Kelly will take the bait and run for Mayor. We need someone who can be tough on crime until people can get back to work.

LawHawkRFD said...

Your comment on the Rangel election got me sputtering again, so now I have a complete rant ready for tomorrow. LOL

The courts have a lot to explain with their ridiculous rulings on probable cause to search, but they're only the tip of the iceberg. The thing that is going to sink the Titanic is that huge part below the waterline called "lack of citizen participation." People get the form of government they deserve. Let's hope they deserve Kelly.

BevfromNYC said...

Rangel's challenger Adriano Esplaillat first conceded when the press reported that Rangel was leading after 40% of the precincts reported. BUT many of those precincts reported zero votes. He went to court to rescind his concession and to demand a recount or a complete count. He had to finally give up and concede again because he was running up against the deadline for his state assembly bid. There were also voter suppression accusations against Rangel in the heavily Hispanic district. Grrrrrr I am not sure if Rangel has a Repub challenger.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, If they try to stop crime, then only criminals will commit crimes. ;)

I personally am happy that Rangel got re-elected. I think it does our side well when the other side keeps electing corrupt, unlikable creatures like Pelosi and Rangel because it makes it easier to show the public how insane they are.

LawHawkRFD said...

Andrew: Are you suggesting that my good friend Nancy Offshore Investments Pelosi is in the same category as Rangel? That's ridiculous. Rangel has much better hair. Besides, in San Francisco it isn't necessary to win through criminality, unless you consider ultraliberalism a crime (which come to think of it, I do).

tryanmax said...

I could care less about Bastille Day. If it weren't for America, they'd all be speaking German twice over. Sure, we've had an important assist from France in the past, but we'd still be speaking English regardless. ;-)

T-Rav said...

Can we see photos of you getting thrown out of the bar?

Rahm Emmanuel is an utter and complete idiot, and Chicago can expect a continued high murder rate as long as he's in office. And probably after that too, quite frankly.

T-Rav said...

Oh, and happy Bastille Day to the French. Congratulations on 223 years of largely uninterrupted decline and decadence.

BevfromNYC said...

Andrew, you are ultimate right, but itIS frustrating that a Censure from the floor of the House means nothing now. And being cited with Contempt of Congress means nothing either. No one has any shame anymore.

BevfromNYC said...

T-Rav - Moi? Why I've never been thrown from a bar...Oh, you wrote thrown OUT of a bar. Yeah, well those photos are the property of the state. ;-)

Rahm's a bit of an idiot, but he sure is short, isn't he?

BevfromNYC said...

Tryan - the French aren't all bad. The make great wine and cheese. Yep that's about it - great wine and cheese.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, I'd love to have cleaner, saner government and a population who actually care about things like criminal behavior.

BUT... we don't have that. So I don't mind the Democrats clinging to these people to show the rest of the country (who do care about such things) how low they will sink and how corrupt they really are. Every Pelosi and every Rangel make it that much harder for the Democrats to win in middle America.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, Didn't she make like $5 million in offshore deals last year? I think I read that somewhere.

tryanmax said...

Bev, I prefer English cheeses and Italian wines. I could easily make do without France.

LawHawkRFD said...

Andrew: Yep. But she's a liberal, so it doesn't count.

LawHawkRFD said...

tryanmax: I'm with you on English cheese, but my preference is for California wines (Wente Brothers, particularly). They will soon be collector's items, like a fine Chateau Lafite Rothschild, after the state goes broke and the wineries dry up to protect the Delta smelt. Still, nobody can smother a so-so chunk of meat with delicious sauces like the French.

tryanmax said...

France and California, something about wine, I suppose.

BevfromNYC said...

I prefer Oregan wine. They are crazy Libs, but they bottle great Pinots.

The Gangbangers said...

Uh... Rahm

Hate to break it to you but in the streets of Chicago WE ARE THE KIDS....

Individualist said...

Hey Bev

Let's see...

Bloomberg thinks law abiding citizens in Arizona should not be able to buy certain weapons however if they do buy these weapons and come to NY then the cops are not allowed to stop and search for them.....

Hmmm.......


A liberal logic sandwich has lindburger cheese and day old anchovieson it..... It is tastes fishy and it smells bad...

BevfromNYC said...

Gangbangers, Rahm said get back to your alley. Why won't you listen?? He's RAHM!!!!

BevfromNYC said...

Indi - That about sums it up. Actually, Mayor Bloombucks doesn't think anyone should be able to buy guns. He thinks that If no one can buy guns then all of the guns will disappear of the street, and all will be right with the world again. Next up for his ban, all sharp, pointy objects...

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