Planes Trains & Automobiles
Transportation wonks have a habit of talking about Jay Walder, the outgoing head of the M.T.A., in messianic terms, as though he were the only man capable of fixing the agency’s myriad problems—an aging system, run by intransigent unions, with almost no political support. While many of them have greeted his resignation with shock and concern, there is a growing sense that this could actually be the best thing to happen to the M.T.A. since Mr. Walder’s arrival two years ago.
“I guess I’m partly responsible for inflating the importance of Jay,” said Gene Russianoff, head of the Straphangers Campaign and dean of transit advocate.
Indeed, there have been others—Richard Ravitch, the team of Kiley-Gunn, even Mr. Walder’s predecessor, Lee Sander—who have done a lot to resurrect mass transit from the death throes of the 1970s. Mr. Walder, though, was different. He had moved from McKinsey to run London’s transit system, introducing successful innovations, including the vaunted oyster card, which speeds up bus and Tube boardings, as well as implementing that dread scourge, congestion pricing. He was supposed to bring the same innovation and ingenuity to New York.
“You have to hope it’s a wake-up call to the people in Albany,” blogger and M.T.A. kremlinologist Benjamin Kabak said.
Here’s the program for the May 7 show in Albany, where reporters will roast the lawmakers they cover. Along with seeing colleagues in uncharacteristically formal attire, I was looking forward to seeing Andrew Cuomo’s response to the show. (He has, already, demonstrated an ability for using multi-media tactics to make a point while scoring Read More
In a welcome break with tradition, state legislative leaders have agreed on a budget before, rather than months after, the start of the new fiscal year, on April 1. What’s more, the budget they accepted actually cuts overall state spending. Do you believe in miracles?
The budget cuts will not be painless. Mayor Michael Bloomberg Read More
Andrew Cuomo, who has taken his budget barnstorming around the state, makes the case to New Yorkers who couldn’t make it to Rochester or Hempstead or Binghamton with a video delivered from the Red Room, which he calls the most beautiful room in the entire state Capitol.
Cuomo tries to pin the prospect of a Read More
Domestic violence continues to plague far too many homes even as crime rates outside the home continue to decline. Worse, many of the perpetrators are repeat offenders who escape the harsh punishment they deserve.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance wants elected officials to give him and his colleagues the tools they need to crack down Read More
With elected officials insisting that they’re serious about bringing change to city and state government, may we suggest that reform isn’t simply a matter of changing a few election laws or putting the brakes on wasteful spending. Some laws need fixing, and some laws need to be left alone.
Take the significant matter of housing, Read More
Libya: “United States is moving swiftly to hand command to allies in Europe, American officials said.” [NY Times]
Libya: Editors question leadership and “objective” of the mission there. [NY Times]
Libya: “[T]he nations have not really defined what they hope to achieve.” [David Brooks]
Libya: Editors say critic Rep. Nadler has Read More
Libya: Allies deny report civilians were killed. [NYT]
Libya: Not helping Obama with his domestic agenda. [Jeff Zeleny]
Libya: Why not remove Khadafy? [Mike Lupica]
Libya: “Obama administration has delivered a clinic in the liberal way of war.” [Ross Douthat]
NJ: Christie does things that may be unpopular locally, but Read More
The Ides of March are upon us. Actually, that’s inaccurate. The ides of March have shaken, slammed and otherwise shamelessly brutalized us over the course of the last week. Acts of god. Horrible accidents. More Charlie Sheen. “Upon us” is a bit of an understatement.
Then again, understatement has been the preferred coping mechanism this week. Read More
It seems clear that both Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Michael Bloomberg agree that merit, not seniority, ought to be the decisive factor in identifying teachers who may be laid off. But the tricky part is politics.
After the Republican-controlled State Senate passed a bill that would have done away with the dreaded last-in, first-out Read More