Friday, June 10, 2005

Let the Override Games Begin

The arm twisting and logrolling are being unleashed with full force as the Mayor and Council Speaker Miller try to line up votes on the expected mayoral veto of the legislative defeat of the Solid Waste Management Program. Ann Michaud in Crain’s this morning is outright picking a victory for Bloomberg. Ann, whose take is that? With four or five votes that may go either way it is much too early to predict the outcome.

In the Daily News this morning Errol Louis takes off the gloves and goes after the Council, particularly the minority members, for, in his eyes, their vote against public health and racial justice.

Parents of the 300,000 city children who suffer from asthma should remember the names of the politicians who bargained away their health this week when the City Council disgraced itself by voting, 29-19, to stop Mayor Bloomberg's proposed trash-removal plan.


The real scandal was the vote of members of the Black, Latino and Asian Caucus who normally posture as champions of poor people. Council members Erik Dilan, Margarita Lopez, Miguel Martinez, Philip Reed, Al Vann, Larry Seabrook, Hiram Monserratte and John Liu all cast votes against the mayor's plan.
The key point that we agree with in the column is the necessity of removing diesel trucks and cutting down on harmful emissions in communities that are suffering from high rates of asthma. But Errol, while the mayor’s plan is incrementally better than what exists, it woefully falls short, as Councilmember Yassky reiterated again yesterday, in forcefully addressing the heart of the problem.

Commercial waste is the central issue that is not addressed (Anthony DePalma's story in the Times today hits on this issue). All of those privately owned transfer stations that process this waste are an assault on communities of color. What we need to do (remember Mr. Mayor the health of our city has no price tag) is to begin to roll out commercial waste disposers which would:

1) Reduce the commercial waste stream by up to 28%

2) Eliminate thousands of daily truck trips both on the pick-up and the disposal end

3) Clean up all the organic waste that is currently rotting in restaurant, supermarket and food store basements

4) Remove the food supply in neighborhoods that rats and roaches feast on

5) Eliminate transfer stations and their attendant odors and convert them into recycling facilities

6) Radically reduce the exporting of city garbage by reducing waste and increasing recycling in the commercial sector