Thursday, November 2, 2017

NY State ballot Amendments and the Con Con

 On November 7, voters in NY State should "flip it over".  That's when you choose your candidates on the front side of your ballot and the three Amendments on the back,  


Getting the two minor ones off my back are Prop #2  - - A proposal to allow courts to reduce or revoke the NY State pension of a public official convicted of a felony, when related to the performance of that person's duties at the time he/she was employed.  Sorry, it does not go far enough because a retired firefighter convicted of bank robbery and murder can still keep their pension because banks are not related to saving lives.   I say YES with reservations

#3 involves the modification of the State Constitution in forest preserve by setting aside 250 acres for towns and municipalities to encroach (translation:  destroy) onto these forest preserves for a public health or safety purpose...when there is no other viable alternative.   Sure, watch these towns gobble up the 250 acres for their pet projects - - I say NO.

Now onto Amendment #1, and this has far reaching effects for current and former NY State residents - - but also non-residents who work in NY State  - - the Constitutional Convention or Con Con.

The Con Con comes up on the State ballot every 20 years and involves a three year process where, if passed, will have an election of delegates who represent it, in the November, 2018.  They are paid $87,000 a year, can work as little as one day for the year (and still get that 87K), hire whoever they want as their staff, give everyone parking placards (great, more Placard Abuse), and make recommendations which will be put up in the 2019 ballot for voters to approve or reject.  The last time voters approved the Con Con formation was in 1967. . . . and that didn't get far anyway as voters rejected the 1969 proposals recommended by the 1968 Con Con.

Now you might ask about the Con Con, why are unions against it?  Sure, they want to protect their pensions (I am one, a proud union member).  But I am also looking at from other perspectives....the Con Con on paper might sound good when it comes to making government work for New Yorkers.  But the Con Con is also ripe for exorbitant abuse, a drain in the State's risky finances, and takes 2 years and 3 ballots to make them work. If passed, they will work on making changes to our State Constitution in 2019,  how State government operates, including playing with our right to free education in the State's public school system - - or even the funding formula.   Remember when the City University of New York system was free until tuition was imposed in 1976 in response to the 1975 NYC Fiscal Crisis?   Do you want the Con Con delegates to play with your property taxes, your right to hold property in NY State and to be reimbursed under the State' Eminent Domain Law?  Do you want them to abolish the Board of Regents?  Do you want them to eliminate the right to free access to public health care?

Here is the .pdf document of the NY State Constitution and look closely what can be changed with the Con Con and what they can modify or eliminate:

1.  Religious Liberty
2.  writ of habeas corpus
3.  Eminent Domain (the State has a right to take YOUR property only if you are fairly compensated).  The Con Con can suggest eliminating the compensation part. 
4.  Divorce
5.  Lottery and casinos
6.  Absentee voting
7.  Redistricting and changing the 3 branches (Executive, Legislative, and Judicial)
8.  The courts, including Landlord/Tenant, Criminal, Civil and Family Courts
9.  State debts - - including payments to State Universities
10.  Water supply, sewage, and related taxes
11.  Schools and school transportation
12.  Housing and Hospice care
13.  And a lot more to list

Do you really want the delegates of the Con Con to play with some of these tenets of the State Constitution?   Want to pay a fee for taking your children to public school?  Want to pay higher property and utility taxes?  Want to be denied access to health care because the Con Con suggested to do away with  requiring hospitals to care for the indigent?  Want to find out why your property was taken without the state government paying you a reasonably appraised amount?  Want to find out that you might have to serve on jury duty more often?  Want to find out that your child's school bus has a farebox and you child must pay his/her "fare" in order to be transported to school?  Want to find out the divorce and no-fault auto accident laws have changed?  Want to find out that your utility bills have increased because of additional levies to pay for so-called "NYS Programs"?  Want to find out that the Property Tax cap was eliminated?  Want to find out that NY State will no longer provide any nursing home assistance?  Geez, you might have to be forced to take your parents out of that nursing home and have them move into your residence.


Flip that page over and VOTE NO on Proposition #1.  The other two propositions you can decide.  But Prop #1 will affect your future, whether you are a NY State active or retired civil servant, a uniformed member or one who works in the private sector.


 

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Las Vegas shooting and the DOI placard bust: Some unanswered questions

Last week, tragedy happened in Las Vegas, followed by an important Placard counterfeiting ring, partially broken up by NYC's Department of Investigation involving fake government parking placards used by private citizens to snare free parking .  While these are two completely different news events, both have questions unanswered regarding about what went down and the aftermath.

1.  Las Vegas shooting:   The October 1st mass shooting by one man, into an outdoor crowd (estimated at 20,000 spectators) watching a Route 91 Harvest festival concert at the Mandalay Bay Hotel, was done by a suicidal lone wolf, Stephen Paddock, which law enforcement will never understand his motives after Las Vegas Metropolitan police found him dead from self-inflicted gunshot wound(s).  How striking is that Mr. Paddock was able to carry 23 varieties of assault rifles, shotguns, thousands of rounds worth of ammunition to carry out his carnage, two platforms to set his line of sight, and even hand made cameras setup in the hotel's hallway outside his room so he can track any police presence.  All the guns were in golf bags, on his own (didn't he feel nervous when the bellhop of hotel staff helped Mr. Paddock with his "belongings"?)    Why nothing was captured on camera in the public areas which Mr. Paddock was roaming around?     According to Hotels.com, the 4 star rated Mandalay Bay has 3,220 guestrooms - - not for nothing, but nobody really noticed anything wrong with Mr. Paddock or his "stash" carried in bag?  How much time was needed to setup his personal cameras outside the hotel room, without anyone walking by on the 32nd floor, where Paddock stayed?  Why is Vegas law enforcement changing the timeline of the shooting, saying the the hotel guard was either shot before or after Mr. Paddock's 10 minute shooting rampage?   Paddock's car had thousand's more in ammo as well as fertilizer, didn't the valet staff notice anything wrong (possible odd chemical smell), and would Paddock feel comfortable leaving his fully "loaded" car with valet staff each night?

I'm just saying

Yet closer to home was a breakthrough in the New York City's "war" (quotes added) on Placard Abuse with 31 perps arrested for using counterfeit parking placards of assorted varieties to illegally park in New York City, mostly in Manhattan and the outer borough's Civic Center areas.   All you need is PowerPoint, a good high dpi color printer and a laminating machine.   I do note that the majority of placards are legitimate and even so, they can be abused too, by parking at fire hydrants, bus stops, crosswalks, taxi zones  and No Standing/Stopping zones as NY State Assemblywoman Diane Richardson found out the wrong way when she tried to embarrass a traffic agent - - all prohibited parking locations according to the NYC Traffic Rules, Section 4-08.     The various parking placards, range from NYC disability placards to combined NYC DOT/Law Department "Official Business" placards.  On the day these perps were hauled from the 1st Precinct Stationhouse to Manhattan Criminal Court, Placard Abuse and I (whom we collaborate on Twitter) found plenty of fake placards and illegal license plate covers.




















I found a 2008 NYPD placard, with the "Courtesy Card" covering the expired year, and a so-called "Police Surgeon" placard.







Even so, there are hard facts and questions remain on this fake placard takedown.  These observations should not detract the fine work done by the NYC Dept. of Investigation, as well as coordination from the NYPD and the NYC Dept. of Transportation

1.  Of the 30 individuals charged, only 5 were charged with felony possession of a forged instrument (the fake placard) and four others were charged with offering a false instrument for filing (using the fake placard as "evidence" in their "defense" against a parking ticket).   One of them slapped with the possession of a forged instrument charge, was caught selling a fake placard to an undercover DOI agent. The remaining 21 perps were only charged with misdemeanor criminal impersonation, nothing else.  I wonder why the others (including those who used the placards to try beating those tickets) weren't hit with the felony possession of forged placards charges.   Going deeper into this, it is most likely the majority of perps will have their charges dismissed after 6 months of good behavior, further encouraging their return to placard fraud.  However, since these 30 were given the now-rare "perp walk" treatment at the 1st Precinct stationhouse, they won't want to risk embarrassing themselves again. 

2.  The concentration of this investigation occurred in Lower Manhattan, where DOI staff found out that these fake placards were not only taking up their reserved spaces, but nearby spaces reserved for ambulette services.  But we all know that these fake placards are not just in Lower Manhattan, I found some in the Bronx too, like this one still out there on Bainbridge and 205th Street in the Bronx last Thursday (10/14), a week after the arrests.






And others of Twitter, including Placard Abuse found more fakes outside of Lower Manhattan, like this one in the Riverdale section of the Bronx:




However, according to Placard Abuse - - he was sending pertinent information for over a year, yett the investigation didn't open until March, 2017.  Suddenly, they saw these fakes near their offices?




3.  The investigation does not include the so called "Theft Vests", where members of the NYPD, MTA New York City Transit and even some construction companies, use a reflective vest to throw it on their dashboard, "identifying" themselves as such to make it look like they are specially entitled to park there for free, without regarding for the parking regulations like these below.   Some locations take up metered spaces which clearly is stealing from the city's revenue source, as well as making it difficult to have open parking spaces for customers and businesses.











Oh yea, you don;t need to work for the NYPD to get a vest - - it's all over eBay like this one sold.    Want to make it look like you work for NYC Transit?  Go bid on items like this MTA NYCT vest too.   Oh, did we forget contractor vests? Amazon has them too.  Then once you get that vest, you can literally park anywhere for free.



4.  Finally the investigation does not tag real placards on vehicles which are registered from far away states, such as Florida and North Carolina - - like these. 






Video of vehicles with illegal license plate covers and Manhattan DA office staff with placard and Florida car.  Incredibly, this video was taken the evening after the arrests - - of the Manhattan DA's office prosecuting these "dirty 30" they forgot one of their own for committing insurance fraud - - register you car in Florida while working in NYC to get dirt cheap insurance rates.  Yet, nothing from DOI ot the Manhattan DA's office on this, 



We have a long way to go in erasing placard abuse and insurance fraud. 






Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Westchester's Bee Line - - a hidden crisis

(Editor's note:  This post was prepared in draft status in 2016, with new information provided this week.  )

In 2015, I posted about the lack of communication within Westchester's Bee-Line bus and paratransit system  This past week, I feel that Westchester County has a crisis on their hands which is not really shown in media reports like Yonkers schools - - the lack of funding and no public information on their website.   Want to find out about bus detours on Bee Line's Service alerts page?  Forget it, they still don't post any except for standard snow detours.  Need to call customer service and speak to an information agent during normal business hours?  Good luck, sometimes their lines are closed - - like when I found out by calling them on Friday October 21 2016 to ask them about the bus detours during the Yonkers marathon. and other events which requires street closings. Same problem in 2017 when their 2017 Riverfest and Yonkers Marathon were held on Saturday and Sunday respectively - - with no notice of bus detours:

While Westchester County will issue a $10 million bond to pay for new articulated buses  with approx 20 percent from Federal funds.  The article claims they are for the busy Central Park Ave/Central Ave corridor (Routes 20/20X/21) so could it be that Bus Rapid Transit which has been in the works since 2007 may happen?  However, I have yet to see construction of a new pedestrian bridge connecting Cross County Mall at Macy's with Central Park Ave southbound side at Burger King.  So all funding for the BRT study and still nothing to show for,

Westchester County has a problem with customer service as their phone lines are closed on some days as I found out when calling their information line several times.  If there is no information agent available, the pre-recorded message tells you the office is open but to try again later, no voice recording is enabled so you can receive a call back from someone in that office.




Construction projects might have a bus stop relocated which Westchester Bee line does not post.  In the most recent case in point, the construction of an extended sidewalk on White Plains Road at East 233rd Street in the Bronx, forced the relocation of the weekday only Route 42 terminal from White Plains Road side to East 233rd Street in front of the Bx31 southbound bus stop because there is no space for the 42 buses to layover.


Bee Line has other issues too - - they lack a bus tracking system and, until recently, had no bus stop and schedule data.  The latter can now be found in Google Maps, making it one of the last bus companies in the New York Metropolitan area to have the bus stop and schedule data.   A bus tracking system will encourage a better customer experience for Westchester County bus riders.  

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

40 Years ago - - the 1977 summer in NYC

On that oppressive and sticky July evening, I was enjoying my rainbow sherbet while my parents and I were watching TV - - suddenly a little after 9, the lights in our fifth floor apartment went out.   We looked out the window and saw the entire Flatbush, Brooklyn neighborhood in darkness, unaware of a massive blackout which brought NYC into darkness.  The next day, we went outside to see the commercial strips of Parkside Ave and Flatbush Ave in ruins, stores looted as owners guarded whatever little is left of their merchandise.

That was one of the many facets which collectively made up the summer of 1977 in NYC - - one summer which nobody will ever forget - - Star Wars, NY Yankees with the Reggie/Billy Martin feud, the Son of Sam terrorizing Queens and Brooklyn, the second blackout in 11 years, and the dirty NYC Mayoral race - - how an unsung hero from Greenwich Village would win it and save NYC from heading deeper into financial abyss.

Let's look at these five:

1.  Star Wars:  Jaws defined summer blockbusters, Star Wars wrote the book on  science fiction sagas. The groundbreaking film written and directed by George Lucas defined the generation where everyone would be dressed up as a Stormtropper or Darth Vader while having a great love story of a would be Jedi named Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) who rescues Princess Leia and leads the rebels in the destruction of the evil Empire and the Death Star.  The film thrilled millions of moviegoers all summer long.   And where else to watch this film but the 2,100 seat Loews Astor Plaza in Times Square with it's massive 70MM screen and Dolby sound - - the cheering of an sold out audience would rock the basement.   The Astor Plaza is now gone but the legacy of Star Wars remains a worldwide icon.

2.  NY Yankees:  I remember the 1977 Yankees - - Guidry, Munson (sadly he was killed in a plane crash in 1979), Randolph, Rivers, Catfish Hunter, and the feud between manager Billy Martin with Reggie Jackson, a scruffy right fielder who struggled most of the season - - only to redeem himself and the entire Yankee team in Game 6 of the 1977 World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers with only three at-bats, three pitchers he faced (Mike Torrez, Burt Hooton and Elias Sosa) - - one pitch each, and three hard swings of his bat - - 3 home runs in one game which led the Yankees into their first World Series Championship in over 15 years.  Jackson earned the nickname Mr. October, and Yankee manager Billy Martin a longer tenure on his job.

3.  Son of Sam:   Throughout 1976 into the summer of 1977, the .44 caliber killer or more known as the Son of Sam, would terrorize blonde women (and some men whom they were with) in parked cars within the outer boroughs of The Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens, killing six and injuring nearly a dozen more.  The Son of Sam's reign of terror in a city already filled with fear triggered the largest manhunt in NYC Police Department history with as many as 250 officers/detectives working on this case.   At the end, it was a parking ticket which the vehicle was traced to a David Berkowitz of Yonkers, an ex-Marine and postal worker who delivered mail by day and killed people at night.     On August 10, 1977 New Yorkers who stayed up late watched or listened to the news that the Son of Sam was taken into police custody - - and he had the nerve to say to the Yonkers and NYPD  cops that his neighbor's dog ordered him to carry out the killing spree.  David Berkowitz is presently serving multiple life sentences..

4.  The 1977 blackout:   In 1965, New York experienced it's first blackout on a cold November day.  However, the 1977 blackout occurred on July 14 during a hot, muggy, and miserable evening when a lightning strike at the Con Edison power plant in Buchanan, NY triggered an 1 hour chain reaction which blanketed the city's metropolitan area (including New Jersey) into total darkness by 9:30 PM.   Right after the lights went out, looters took advantage on anything that was not nailed down in stores.  Beds, electronics, TVs, groceries, furniture - - anything that can be carried out or hauled by truck - - looters terrorized the city, especially Bushwick, Brooklyn and the south Bronx.   Within minutes, stores were cleaned out by looters, every NYPD officer was called into service and precinct prison cells were filled, courts were overburdened with many perpetrators (and a lot more who were never caught from the pilfering.)

5.  The 1977 NYC Mayoral race:   NYC was still hemorrhaging from the 1975 fiscal crisis which NYC teetered on the brink of bankruptcy as well as the destruction of the Bronx's housing market and the city's rising crime rate.   Incumbent Mayor Abraham Beame was faced with five candidates running for the Democratic ticket, all eager to kick Beame out of City Hall.   Did you know about Bella Abzug?   She led the pack in the Democratic Primary race, but Mario Cuomo and Ed Koch got first and second places, respectively - - knocking Beame out of his tenancy.  However, neither candidate achieved the 40 percent mark to win the primary outright so a runoff two weeks later was done.  In the runoff, Koch won New York with 54 percent of the vote against Cuomo's 45 percent. Cuomo was undeterred by his loss to Koch so he went on the November ballot as a Liberal while Roy Goodman would represent the Republican party in the election.  Round 2 of Koch and Cuomo was no contest despite mudslinging between Koch and Cuomo as Koch went on to win the November Mayoral election.  For NYC, it was a new beginning with a new incoming Mayor in 1978 and Koch was the man which he would really save NYC from the 1975 financial ruin.  Of course, Cuomo went on to win the NY State Governor race in 1982.  But it was Ed Koch, a Bronx-born and longtime Greenwich Village resident - - who invented the catchphrase "How am I doin?"
 


Saturday, June 3, 2017

Your NYC Summer, 2017 outdoor movie guide

Summer season is here - - with Memorial Day kicking things off, it's time for vacations, street fairs, amusement parks, and most of all, outdoor movies.  Outdoor movies have been a longtime NYC staple and this year is no different with more offerings and more places to go.  Here is the complete list I know of (and some in Westchester and Long Island).  NOTE:  Always read the rules on each linked website, as some items may be prohibited, such as lawn chairs at the Bryant Park festival.  Most locations offer free popcorn and snacks.


1.  Bryant Park Film Festival:  The grandaddy of outdoor movies is now in their 23rd year with a rescreening of their first ever film at the great lawn, the original King Kong (1933).   Other notable films being shown this year are On The Town (June 26), The Muppets Take Manhattan (July 3), and the ultimate escapist Hitchcock film, North by Northwest (August 14).  The lawn fills up VERY fast as it opens to the public at 5 PM, so get there early if you want a good spot.

2.  NYC Parks Free Summer Movies  :   NYC Parks has the largest selection of free summer movies across all 5 boroughs.  They are great places to go if you don't want to deal with the crowds and parking like Bryant Park.  The list also includes the Hudson River Flicks at the two piers along the Hudson River - - Wednesdays for the adults at Chelsea Piers (Pier 61) and Fridays for the kids at Pier 46 near Christopher St.  I don't know why the Lego Batman film is scheduled for Wednesday when the site notes these films are rated PG-13 and up.

3.  Movies with a View at Brooklyn Bridge Park:   Another popular outdoor movie spot is also among the most beautiful and scenic places to watch a film, Brooklyn Bridge Park.  Right by the East River in DUMBO you can watch a great film on Thursdays from July 6th through August 24th with the final being show by popular vote of the three films, Footloose, Dear White People or Network.

4.  Rooftop films:   This independent website has different venues showing indie and documentary films - - some require advance ticket purchase while others are free.  As the name implies, some of their locations are at rooftops which is a neat and cool way to watch a film.

5.  SummerScreen at McCarren Park:   10 years strong, this Greenpoint, Brooklyn staple has another stellar lineup of Wednesday night films, including an audience pick for the finale on August 9th.

6.  Bronx Terminal Market Rooftop Films:   Right at the 145th Street Bridge and the Major Deegan Expressway is this interesting place of history, the Bronx Terminal Market - - once a month for the summer months, the rooftop is another place to watch family friendly films in the Bronx.

7.  Waterside Plaza movie nights in August:  It's in a semi-remote location off the FDR Drive and the M34A SBS+ bus route - - but it has a great view of Brooklyn and the East River but Monday nights in August is a great spot to watch a film right by the East River,  At this time, the 2017 schedule has not been released yet so check back on that link in July for more detailed information.

8.  Central Park movies:  Also in August, the Central Park Conservancy has their annual outdoor movie list.  Check back on the accompanying link for more info in July.

9.  Prospect Park Summer movies under the stars:   Enter from Grand Army Plaza and walk to the long meadow.    


And the outdoor movie fun is not limited to NYC - -  Westchester County and the eastern part of Long Island (which I call Nassau and Suffolk Counties) both have a short list too.


WESTCHESTER COUNTY:


1.  Wednesday movie nights:   County-wide, they are showing outdoor films on select Wednesday nights, however there is a $5 admission for adults.   Each week is a different venue, so please check their calendar carefully and plan ahead.

2.  Hudson River Museum:   Nestled in the NW section of Yonkers, they use the outdoor amphitheater to show concerts and movies.  On select Saturday nights, they show family classics such as Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory or Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.   Check the events schedule and plan ahead as always.

3.  Ridge Hill Movie Mondays:   Right off the NY State Thruway and the Sprain Brook Parkway, Ridge Hill has three movies showing on alternate nights.   FYI:   Parking is only available in garages and costs $3 for the entire day.


4.  White Plains Movies:      Various locations - - dates are July 10 at Mattison Park (The Little Mermaid), July 11 at George Washington School (Finding Nemo) and two other movie night locations, both showing Moana.


NASSAU AND SUFFOLK COUNTY:

1.  Jones Beach:  Thursday nights (and an non-Thursday), movies are shown at the bandshell.   Remember, there is a fee for parking at Jones Beach.

Other locations where you can watch outdoor movies are Eisenhower Park in Garden City (their 2017 schedule has not been announced yet), Baldwin Park, and other locations.  You also might want to look into websites like mommypoppins.com   and Life on Long Island which update their list of summer outdoor movies - - there will be announced by late June too.





Wednesday, May 24, 2017

May 2017 update on NYPD placard abuse

When you post photos of an NYPD vehicle with a placard used in violation of the Patrol Guide, whether or not the vehicle was illegally parked - - on Twitter - - you are reporting corruption, right?   Not according to one Brooklyn precinct who blocked Placard Abuse for good, and people in Twitter are starting to cry foul against the NYPD.

In my continuing reports of parking abuse by the NYPD, such as the Inside Edition report of illegal plastic covers  as well as false 311 reports  and parking abuse by other agencies, some current developments are taking place.

1.  72nd Precinct Blocks Placard Abuse:  Earlier this month, the ever versatile Placard Abuse reported a tweet that one of the placards issued and maintained by the 72nd Precinct in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, was misused by another driver (using the assigned placard in a different vehicle is in violation of the NYPD Patrol Guide), a common practice across most NYPD Precincts and central offices.   And what happened next?   The 72nd Precinct took to their twitter account and blocked him.   I spoke to Commanding Officer, Captain Emmanuel Gomez for blocking hiding your corruption.   BTW:   Why wasn't this vehicle with expired NYS DMV safety/emissions sticker, and illegally parked in No Standing Anytime Zone (with a 72nd Precinct placard displayed) also addressed? )  Update:  Both the 72nd and 49th Precincts unblocked us.


2. The NYPD Surgeon takes in a Broadway Show:   Dr. Richard Leinhardt, a part-time NYPD surgeon was busted for using his NYPD issued placard to park in front of a Broadway theater while attending the show inside.   If he car afford a Mercedes, then he can afford to garage it in Manhattan.   No surprise that NYPD placards are going around like water - - every cop needs some.

3.   MTA Board Member does the NYPD Surgeon placard thingy too:   Outspoken MTA Board Member Charles Moerdler (he is the one with the glasses who questions almost everything at Committee and Board meetings), acted like a tough guy when he was also caught using his MTA Police issued placard to illegally park in front of a swanky hotel, on East 44th Street    I should question him in the June MTA Committee meetings

4.  De Blasio's 50,000 placard question:  Thanks to NYC Mayor De Blasio and an arbitrator's decision benefiting the United Federation of Teachers, 50,000 new placards were issued to NYC Department of Education teachers, administrators and support staff.   and with only 11,000 parking spaces available for school employees in those "No Parking, School Days", you know the other 39,000 employees will go to great lengths to illegally park at bus stops, hydrants, bike lanes, etc.   The response from De Blasio??   "No big deal".   That's why former NYC DOT Commissioner Samuel "Gridlock Sam" Schwartz was spot on in the above link, saying that anyone with a parking placard will abuse it,


5.  NY1 gets real with Placard Abuse:  On the NY1 daily news show, The Road to City Hall, host Errol Louis touched on the second half of this video with some brilliant observations of placard abuse .  Truth be told, that as much as Placard Abuse can do only so much on Twitter (along with a dozen others, including me), we don't get noticed by the news media that much.  Mr. Louis, along with Inside Edition's Lisa Guerrero busting up those license plate covers on NYPD personal vehicles, show that they care about eroding corruption, no matter how big or small it is.  Thank you Mr. Louis for your fine work on that show, ending that it won't be the last segment on this cancer which erodes our trust in NYC government.

6.  Mayor De Blasio Announces Placard Crackdown:  Yesterday, I visited the City Hall in the Bronx open house to ask Mayor De Blasio about the placard crackdown - - De Blasio announced today he was doing a real placard abuse crackdown, for real.   Thanks to PlacardAbuse and others (including me) on Twitter, we have forced a hand with the Mayor and NYPD Police Commissioner James O'Neill.   While the newest crackdown will address some issues, it fails to tackle important matters, such as NY State and Federal placard abuse, nor does this crackdown go after Theft Vests, those who use construction vests as placards to steal valuable parking and possibly evading the cost of feeding meters.   The crackdown does not mention NYC and NY State placards on out-of-state registered vehicles, a very common abuse by the NY State Court Officers, nor on vehicles with expired NY State registration and inspection stickers/  Let's hope this crackdown is not a band-aid which will dissipate in a few days and the crooks will return back to their illegal and corrupt ways of parking abuse.



Some pictures of the month:

NYPD and Manhattan DA placards on out-of-state registered vehicles.  The NYPD placard is also blank, meaning that there is no vehicle plate # assigned to it.  The Manhattan DA placard expired almost a month ago.









NY State Court Officer with illegal front and rear plate covers over #KALLEL 


Serious crosswalk obstruction with multiple vehicles having NYS placards  - right where Mayor De Blasio held his open house.






I will follow up over the summer to see how the newest crackdown is doing.  Regardless of the future outcome, I wanted to give extra special thanks and kudos to PlacardAbuse whom we have me tweeting and reporting placard corruption - - surely it won't be the end.


Sunday, May 7, 2017

President Trump's tax and health care plans - - all for the 1 percenters

If anyone has any doubts that President Trump is all for the 1 percenters - and not for the 99 percenters, look no further than the latest tax reform and health care plans.   Right to the point it screws the middle class, especially homeowners and those with pre-existing conditions, while benefiting the 1 one percent of all earners.


The smoke and mirrors objectives on Trump's tax plan can be found in left (fake) and right (real) leaning stories - - such as Fox Business telling the top 5 great benefits  of the 2017 tax reform.   On the other side, the tax plan will hurt taxpayers who rely on state and local income taxes as part of their itemized deductions - - especially homeowners in high property tax states like California and New York who pay up to 15K annually.  But first, compare President Trump's tax plan to this plan he "proposed" while running for office - - which had 4 income tax brackets, including no tax liability for married couples up to 50K and just 15 percent for single filers up to 150K (married couples up to 300K). However most filers will give up a lot of "unspecified" deductions which would still be offset by eliminating most tax and the troubles of itemizing deductions, but keeps the wonderful mortgage interest and charitable deductions.  Yes, the wealthiest get a huge cut from 39.6 percent down to 25 percent and that is a problem for me, but at least that plan benefitted the working class a lot.


Now Trump is President, his new one page proposed plan calls for 15/25/35 percent income tax brackets instead of his originally proposed 4 tax brackets, while still eliminating most deductions.   Nothing was mentioned about the specific income levels in relation to each tax bracket but it's not much of a difference from the current 7 brackets. Even when standard deductions are doubled, President Trump still wants to eliminate most deductions and he certainly has said nothing about the Earned Income Credit which was helped low income families with child dependents.

And as of this blog post, President Trump is on the verge of replacing former President Obama's Affordable Care Act, or more commonly know as Obamacare with the American Health Care Act of 2017 or what we call Trumpcare.    Take a look at the moderate website, The Hill's, comparisons between Obamacare and Trumpcare  and surely you will see that while the revised plan will allow more people to be insured than the first disastrous draft, it will cost a lot more for older patients and those with pre-existing conditions.  And allocating only $8 billion for a high risk pool of those who cannot afford the premiums, it will not be enough as estimates call for upwards of $200 billion.


Personally, I never was a fan of Obamacare either, with the communist approach of requiring everyone to have health insurance or pay an IRS penalty - - as well as buying insurance within the state marketplace instead of buying insurance across state lines and I am vehemently opposed to covering abortion and contraception - - it is a woman's choice for her to either abstain until marriage or have premarital sex - - the government should not be paying for what a woman decided which got her pregnant if she was not able to take care of the newborn.  but now with Trumpcare, it's worse with more people will not be able to afford to buy insurance in the marketplace with pre-existing conditions while the wealthiest 1 percent, according to Politifact, will receive two tax breaks.


Once again, the establishment has screwed the working middle class.  Shame!!!