Friday, August 29, 2008

A Labor Lament on the City Hall "Waffle House"

We just received the following from Pat Purcell, a key labor figure who works for Local 1500 of the UFCW. Pat is extremely disappointed with Mayor Mike, and his perceived failure to stand up for the supermarket workers of NYC. He reminds us that his comments are his alone, and don't necessarily reflect those of his union:


Is this turn around on term limits any different than the turn around we have begun to see on other issues. Rally support for congestion pricing but then support a Warehouse Club in midtown? Release a report that says we need more Supermarkets but refuse to lift a finger to help the 70 workers who will lose their jobs when Key Food closes because Vornado is squeezing them out with impossible rent demands?

Use eminent domain to remove the businesses at Willet's Point but ridicule it for the purpose of taking the Bruckner Blvd Development to assure the residents access to healthy foods, prevent a dramatic rise in the number of pedestrian accidents that will occur by sending thousands of shoppers across the Blvd to buy food and also save 70 good paying jobs that provide health care to many people?

Encouraging the use of Green Carts but not willing to ensure they end up in front of Burger King instead of businesses that already sell fresh fruit and vegetables? Saying lower income communities need more fresh food and supermarkets but supporting the development of warehouse clubs that charge $50 a year admission and will not take food stamps in these communities?

Too busy to meet with the Key Food workers but found time in his schedule to meet with Brett Favre on one day notice? Those of you that know me could imagine how happy I was to find out City Hall had been turned into my favorite southern restaurant, "The Waffle House." I speak from the horrible experience of having been a supporter of some of the Mayors initiatives and now feeling the shame of having been mislead to think they really wanted to do what was right on healthy food access, congestion pricing, responsible development etc.

After all, what I am I to think when I testify in Staten Island at the request of the Administration in favor of congestion pricing and then have them publicly support a retail model that will bring thousands of cars into mid town? On term limits? As the band "The Who" sang...I wont be fooled again. Elected's who support over turning term limits by way of legislation and not the voters will have the right to do so. However, please do not try to justify to anyone with a fourth grade level of education or higher that your reasoning is anything more than a power grab.

Maybe I am wrong. Maybe they they just don't want to give up the comfortable chair they have in their office? The pens, staples and paperclips they now get for free? By all means, take them with you when you leave. Make it a lifetime supply if necessary. Pass that law. Free office supplies for exiting elected officials. Consider them parting gifts. Please, just leave under the same laws that brought you here. Perish the thought that others may be elected and do what they think is right for electorate and take this City in another direction?

I guess to those who favor extending turning term limits by legislative means and not by the voters this is the equivalent of the inmates taking over the asylum. How could they allow such a thing to happen? Could there actually be someone else out there who could be Mayor? A Council member? I'll throw caution to wind and assume somehow society will go on with elected officials who come to their position under the guidelines prescribed by the voters under a Democratic process.

And we actually wonder why people have such a negative and cynical view of politicians? Unless they have removed all of the mirrors in City Hall, it shouldn't be too difficult to find the reason. Everyday, parents in this City teach their kids that in life you take the high road to happiness and success. What road would those who support extending term limits without the voters consent be taking? Thanks for reading this rant and rave but doesn't this whole idea just piss you off.

Happy Labor Day,

Pat Purcell