Friday, September 17, 2010

Mother Mike's Phony Clean Air Crusade

We weren't going to comment on Mike Bloomberg's attempt to criminalize the city's public spaces, but the amount of smoke being blown about this latest ban on smoking-the idea that God can't properly ventilate the outdoors-compels us to change our minds. As the NY Post reports: "Talk about kicking butts in Times Square. Smokers will not be able to light up when hanging out along pedestrian walkways across the five boroughs, including in car-free areas of Times Square, as part of a broad expansion of the city’s smoking ban to parks, beaches and boardwalks, officials announced today. The proposed ban means no smoking if you're sitting on the traffic-free Broadway plaza at the Crossroads of the World and Herald Square, in all parts of Central Park or along the famous Coney Island boardwalk."

According to Dr. Bloomberg, famed scientist and epidemiologist, the fact that this outdoor smoke is harmful is-like global warming?-settled science: "The science is clear: Prolonged exposure to secondhand smoke – whether you’re indoors or out -- hurts your health," Mayor Bloomberg said in announcing the widespread ban. "Today, we’re doing something about it."

Which only goes to demonstrate when you're the richest man in New York, and the mayor of the city to boot, you can say all sorts of stupid stuff and watch as everyone nods their head in deference to your wisdom. Jeffrey Greggs, writing on the NY Daily News Op-ed page, is on to this particular line of BS: "The scientific rationale against outdoor secondhand smoke, however, is more tenuous. City officials have thus far cited but one 2007 Stanford study to bolster their arguments for the ordinance. Slim evidence, I'd say, on which to curtail my personal liberties from the ground all the way up to the troposphere."

But when it comes to telling people how to live their lives-and curtail their personal freedom in the process-Bloomberg would cite Cindy Adams as a credible scientific source. And many New Yorkers are beginning to catch on to the rationale behind the mayor's expansive slippery slope. As the NY Times reports: "Banning smoking in bars, restaurants and workplaces is one thing, people said, but banning cigarettes in parks and on beaches might be going just a step too far — except near children — on the road to a nanny state."

Here's some reaction:: “Where else are people going to go where they can enjoy themselves because it’s free? Except the jail or the park, that’s it,” Mr. Bux said, sitting in the shade of sweet-smelling trees and bushes, a large fountain burbling 10 feet away. “Rich people, they go to the club.”

And more: "Not far from Mr. Bux, eight construction workers, hard hats in hand, sat in a row on several benches, talking. None of them were smoking, but they defended the right of others to do so. “Pretty soon they’re going to start charging us to breathe the air,” said one of the workers, Emilio Cuomo. “When I was smoking, they got rid of smoking in bars, and I thought that was great,” Mr. Cuomo said.
“But parks?” a coworker, Sam Mele, said incredulously. “What — are they talking about having a body-odor ticket?” Mr. Cuomo said. “I think they should do that.”

Please, don't give the mayor any more swell ideas. But what really got our polluted blood boiling was all the talk of cleaning the air. So, in the interest of clearing the air, we'll remind everyone about the latest DOH air quality survey: "A city Department of Health study on summer air quality released yesterday showed a troubling finding: Even quieter neighborhoods that don't have New York's infamous crowds, traffic and skyscrapers suffer from high levels of smog. The report, which examined various types of air pollution, revealed that a variety of contamination occurs throughout the city, depending on the type of neighborhood. "The take-home message here is that the air quality just isn't great anywhere in New York City. What's surprising is just how variable the air quality is across the city," Deputy Health Commissioner Daniel Kass said."

Now why is that? The reason lies with the double talkng of the Bloombergistas-and how while they're promoting ending second hand smoke as a dangerous pollutant, they are choking the roadways with thousands of more cars and trucks in the name of the mayor's edifice complex-driven mega development schemes: "Lower and midtown Manhattan, The Bronx and outer-borough neighborhoods that flank major highways have higher levels of this form of pollution. Neighborhoods with the largest crowds during the day had, on average, 22 percent higher levels of particulate matter, while areas with the heaviest traffic had an average of 15 percent more than other neighborhoods in the study, which was conducted between June and August 2009."

And what has Mayor Mike been doing for the past nine years-while at the same time huckstering about something "sustainable," and environmentally friendly, called PlaNYC 2030? He has been directly aggravating this situation by building auto dependent malls and other developments contiguous to these highways-most famously, the Gateway Mall built right along, "asthma alley," in the South Bronx. And if he had his way, another such mall would have been injected right into the middle of the crowded Kingsbridge Heights neighborhood of the Bronx as well.

As we pointed out last month: "Now if only someone could reach Mike Bloomberg in Bermuda to let him know what's going on-and clue him in to the role that his policies are playing in making the city's air harder to breathe. The news might get the mayor off the golf course a little early. Maybe he could even make a passionate speech about our basic rights to breathe clean air?"

But he is doing something about it; he's reducing, "elevated levels of cotitine, a byproduct of nicotine;" while simultaneously dumping tens of thousands of tons of carbon dioxide and other smog components into the city's increasing filthy air. That's not a fair trade by any one's standard-and when you add the restriction of civil liberties you have really made a bad deal.  But, hey, as long as it makes Mike feel better, we guess that everyone can breathe a bit easier."