Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Biting Off More Than He Can Chu?

Council member Dan Halloran saw something that many New Yorkers witness on a daily basis-and NYPD traffic enforcement officer acting as both a bully and a jerk. But, unlike us mere mortals, Halloran swung into action, as the NY Daily News reports: "A city councilman who spotted a traffic cop blow through stop signs while yakking on the phone confronted the officer – and got slapped with a $165 ticket, the irate lawmaker said. Dan Halloran (R-Queens) wants his summons dismissed and is demanding a review of every ticket the Queens traffic agent has ever written."

But why stop there. It's not just this one officer, but the nature of the entire parking enforcement regime that needs to be examined-and eventually overhauled. The parking fine racket is another city boondoggle "gotcha?" that costs the tax payers big time. It is, especially in the city's neighborhood shopping strips, a direct assault on the ability of store owners to earn a living-and yet another example of the way in which municipal government taxes and regulates us into a brutal submission.

That being said, the parking enforcement jihad underscores the extent to which the city's municipal parking lots-treated as disposable razors by the Giuliani folks-are a vital public amenity; as we have pointed out in the case of Flushing Commons. The survival of local business is predicated on the ability of customers to be able to find suitable parking-in the vicinity of the stores, and not in some far off lot that few will opt to use.

The building of car dependent mega malls all over the city-when seen in the context of the charge of the parking enforcement brigade-erodes local business and makes entrepreneurship a real challenge-and we haven't even touched on the regulatory and tax brigade. In Flushing the proposed mall will not only compete with local business, but it will also eradicate any parking that could be used for the neighborhood stores.

Flushing Commons stands as a monument to the Bloombergistas total disdain for small business-and is, in addition, a mockery of the faux climate change mantra embedded in the Pulitzer Prize for fiction known as PlaNYC 2030. Mike Bloomberg tells us that his five best friends are all billionaires-and the way he makes public policy sure underscores where his class allegiances lie. As we have said ad infinitum, Bloomberg isn't above the special interests, he embodies them.

But kudos to Halloran for exposing what the store keepers all over the city know: the mayor couldn't give a rat's ass about their ability to survive since, when he's not raising parking fees, he's boosting the pensions of government workers expecting that all of the onerous revenue enhancement will foot the outsized bill.