Thursday, July 05, 2007

Partnership's Ill Wind

In today's NY Daily News we are witness to one of the most dishonest political ads that we've seen in a long time; made even more dishonest because of the nature of the hypocrites that are putting these ads out. The dishonesty ranks right up there with the daisy twirling little girl in the anti-Goldwater ads of 1964 vintage, you know, the ones that told us to vote like our lives depended on it.

The ads showing another little girl, this time with an asthma inhaler, are designed to generate support for the mayor's congestion tax. The ad's phony apocalyptic warning reads: "She cannot hold her breathe waiting for Albany to act." Which environmental group placed this ad? None other than the NYC Partnership, a group made up of real estate moguls who's idea of environmentalism has traditionally meant simply writing a conscience-salving check to the NRDC, or some other environmental cause.

What makes the whole situation even worse are two factors that are left unmentioned by the Partnership's lame attempt at public service. In the first place there is absolutely no connection that has been demonstrated between auto emissions and asthma. The only decent scientific correlation that has been found is the one that focuses on insect and rodent droppings-and the prevalence of food waste that attracts this vector problem.

Over the last five years the faux-environmentalists at City Hall have fought the Alliance on the legalization of food waste disposers-the one methodology that would eliminate the food source for the disease-generating vermin. No concern with asthma or community public health here.

In addition, what the mayor and his toadies don't mention is that NYC's air, once the dirtiest in the nation, has never been cleaner-something that all of the environmental supporters of the mayors plan should realize, even if the Partnership, new to the issue, does not.

Secondly, taking the Partnership's argument at face value for a moment, if car emissions are a big contributing factor for the city's high rates of asthma, then why are some of the group's leading supporters building so many auto-dependent shopping malls all over the city. Yes we mean the likes of Steve Ross of Related and Steve Roth of Vronado. Two of Related's biggest developments are in the South Bronx-right along "asthma-alley," and in East New York, one of the poorest sections of Brooklyn.

So if the Partnership is really looking "to protect our kids' health now," it should start by simply shutting up and stop its lying in the name of clean air; instead it should quietly discontinue the two Gateway projects so as to protect the health of the children that they hold so dear.