In our just posted rebuttal of the Streetsblog attack on Assemblyman Jeff Dinowitz, upbraided for his failure to uphold "progressive" values, we described these kinds of critics-and we'll add the Transportation Alternatives folks into the mix-as "useful idiots." Useful because they are being used as a poignant choir for, not only the mayor's own political ambitions, but also for the commercial interests of the real estate permanent government. Idiots, because they are persistent in making broad and unsupportable statements about the overall impact and efficacy of the mayor's congestion tax scheme.
As it turns out, Dinowitz is quite effective in defending his own position, as he does in his rebuttal in the New York Press. The assemblyman is particularly incisive in underscoring just how the mayor and his dimwitted amen choir were so willing to cut off any debate on the congestion tax: "We only got this commission thanks to Speaker Silver and the Assembly majority, but if supporters had their way debate would have been cut off on July 16 without a single hearing or town hall meeting being held by the city."
Dinowitz goes on to point out that the advocates are creating a false dichotomy between the folks who drive to work and those who take mass transit. He cogently highlights the fact that, although only 5% of Bronxites drive, the mayor's plan is overwhelming rejected by borough residents in poll after poll. As he tells his critic: "Since, according to Mr. Naparstek, only 5.2% of my constituents actually drive into Manhattan, it must mean that most people who take mass transit in the Bronx also oppose congestion pricing. Could it be that they don’t have faith that the MTA will actually deliver on mass transit improvements? Is it possible they don’t really believe that the plan is fair? Maybe they just think that a lot more work needs to be done to improve the plan."
As we have said, the critics are not doing their cause much good. Over the top statements and personal invective, so characteristic of some denizens of the netroots, will only make the legislature that much more skeptical of a plan that they think needs a great deal more thought. This biting the hand that feeds you approach, which we can only hope will continue into total self-immolation, is not a very smart lobbying strategy.