Saturday, July 14, 2007

Daily News Pops a Clutch

Of all the editorial acolytes of the mayor's Manhattan congestion tax, the NY Daily News ranks at the (over the) top in its sycophancy; and lack of any real consideration of the plan's pitfalls. The paper continues in this vein in its editorial today. Thankfully, El Diario has a more balanced approach to the issue.

The News, like so many of the other proponents, sees the congestion plan as some kind of panacea-cutting car use, improving the air, holding the subway fare down-you name it, and the mayor's plan, like the musings of some overly imaginative toddler, provides the magical thinking that will help resolve these problems. As the News says today, "These goals are critical to maintaining a livable city..."

Of course, we would all agree that these are important goals, but the question of whether the mayor's plan is the right approach to achieving the outcomes we would all desire is the real open question. It remains open because the proper due diligence has yet to be done, nor has any time been given so that alternatives can be devised that wouldn't whack middle class and working class commuters.

And, as we're beginning to see, the so-called deadline may be a ruse that was concocted by the mayor to bum rush his plan through the legislature. Certainly the tactic has worked for certain supine legislators that are beholden to the mayor's generosity; and it has been effective in creating an editorial chorus whose unanimity we should all consider suspect.

In fact, the grand coalition that supports the mayor's tax is rapidly approaching the level of farce. As the News points out, "Congestion pricing supporters range from business leaders, who see it as a way to reduce gridlock that drains billions from the economy, to the Drum Major Institute, which advocates for working families and is pushing for better transit. The Environmental Defense Fund likes the way it cuts global warming . The American Lung Association wants to get rid of smog..."

Missing are the civil rights groups who will see the congestion scheme as a way to end racism in America, and John Edwards who will soon see in the mayor's plan the silver bullet that will eliminate poverty as we know it. Soon the mayor's plan will officially become a Rorschach Test, with supporters glimpsing unfulfilled fantasies in the inkblot. As the song from Fiddler goes, "Something for everyone, a comedy tonight."

Well, as another song goes, "Come Monday, everything will be all right..;" as long as Shelly holds firm and doesn't allow the mayor to bogart him into some compromise that will only end in disaster. We're all going to stay tuned to this final installment of, "The Mayor and his Millions."