Tuesday, April 08, 2008

"Wisdom" from Transportation Alternatives

Liz is posting on the rationale being put forward by congestion tax supporter Charles Komanoff of Transportation Alternatives and Streetsblog fame. Komanoff lays out ten reasons for the plan's failure but leaves out one really important one: the obnoxious arrogance of his own cohort in gratuitously and viciously (not to mention self-defeating) attacking legislators who disagreed with their self-righteousness. The lesson: Beware of lobbyists who are ideologues.

The much more insightful post mortem is in the NY Times this morning, and the paper's headline captures the essence of the reason for the plan's demise: "Bloomberg Tactics Were Highhanded on Traffic Plan, Lawmakers Say." Not, as Komanoff says, that the mayor was "not personally engaged enough," but that he was if anything-given his personality-much too engaged.

In the Times piece the focus is also on Sadik-Kahn, Parsons-Brinckerhoff's transportation commissioner: "In Albany, the commissioner, Janette Sadik-Khan, expressed the mayor’s sentiments, saying: “You are either for this historic change in New York or you’re against it. And if you’re against it, you’re going to have a lot of explaining to do.” Ms. Sadik-Khan’s remarks were widely noted by Albany lawmakers, with some viewing her tone as condescending. So when it was revealed that the state police had pulled her over for speeding and improperly using her lights and sirens on her way to the Capitol, it only underscored what the legislators saw as the Bloomberg administration’s imperious attitude."

Exactly so! And the Times story could have been simply a re-write of the stadium post mortem: "Given the New York City Council’s limited powers, and its habit of deferring to the mayor, Mr. Bloomberg has sometimes found himself at a loss for how to persuade a resistant State Legislature to embrace his plans." Once again, we say " "Once burnt, twice learnt." Not so apparently with the imperial mayoralty.