Tag Archives: J.P. Freire

More NYC Snow Posts, More Use Of Simpsons Songs To Explain NYC Snow Problems

Sally Goldenberg, Larry Celona and Josh Margolin in NY Post:

These garbage men really stink.

Selfish Sanitation Department bosses from the snow-slammed outer boroughs ordered their drivers to snarl the blizzard cleanup to protest budget cuts — a disastrous move that turned streets into a minefield for emergency-services vehicles, The Post has learned.

Miles of roads stretching from as north as Whitestone, Queens, to the south shore of Staten Island still remained treacherously unplowed last night because of the shameless job action, several sources and a city lawmaker said, which was over a raft of demotions, attrition and budget cuts.

“They sent a message to the rest of the city that these particular labor issues are more important,” said City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Queens), who was visited yesterday by a group of guilt-ridden sanitation workers who confessed the shameless plot.

Halloran said he met with three plow workers from the Sanitation Department — and two Department of Transportation supervisors who were on loan — at his office after he was flooded with irate calls from constituents.

J.P. Freire at Washington Examiner:

I reported yesterday how well compensated these people are:

…[T]he top salary of $66,672 is only the tip of the iceberg for active sanitation worker compensation because it excludes other things like overtime and extra pay for certain assignments. For example, one worker in 2009 had a salary of $55,639 but actually earned $79,937 for the year.

Sanitation workers don’t pay a dime for premiums on their cadillac health care plan, which includes prescription drug coverage along with dental and eye care for the whole family. Many continue to receive the full benefit upon retiring after only 10 years. And then there’s the matter of their pension:
…Nearly 180 retired [sanitation workers] make over $66,000 year — in other words, over and above the maximum salary of currently working employees. In fact, 20 retirees make upwards of $90,000 in retirement, up to $132,360.

Keep that in mind when reading lines like this:

…[M]ultiple Sanitation Department sources told The Post yesterday that angry plow drivers have only been clearing streets assigned to them even if that means they have to drive through snowed-in roads with their plows raised.

And they are keeping their plow blades unusually high, making it necessary for them to have to run extra passes, adding time and extra pay.

One mechanic said some drivers are purposely smashing plows and salt spreaders to further stall the cleanup effort.

Sure, Mayor Bloomberg planned poorly and should have announced a snow emergency. But this story makes it clear that even if he did, it wouldn’t have made a difference. The question is whether Bloomberg will do anything about it.

Jim Hoft at Gateway Pundit:

Among the victims of this crime: A newborn baby died after waiting nine hours for paramedics to arrive.

Doug Mataconis:

Assuming this is true it’s likely to provide much more ammunition to the arguments of those on the right who have started speaking out against the very idea of a public employees being allowed to unionize. Personally, I don’t think it would be appropriate to ban people from voluntarily associating just because they’re public employees. However, situations like this do raise the legitimate question of whether public employees in certain positions should be legally permitted to engage in some of the tactics that unions in the private sector engage during work disputes. When you’re a position where your job is one that is essential to the operation of the city — like a policeman, fireman, or sanitation worker — I think it’s highly questionable to concede that you should the right to go on strike. Essentially what happens in that situation is that the Union has a huge negotiating advantage over the city because leaders would not want to deal with the backlash that would result from the fact that garbage hasn’t been picked up in a week.

Ronald Reagan set the precedent for this in 1980 when he fired every air traffic controller in the country for going on a strike that they were not legally permitted to call. Of course, no American city would be able to do the same thing with it’s police force for fire department, which is why forbidding essential public employees from going on strike seems to me to be an entirely reasonable idea.

Megan McArdle:

On the face of it, it’s not implausible–it wouldn’t be the first time that New York City unions chose the worst possible time to show their displeasure with working conditions.  (Two of the last three transit strikes, for example, have taken place during the holiday season.)

Nonetheless, the charges are serious, and I’d like to see some better backup than a politician claiming he has secret union informants.  If it is true that the trucks were driving around with their plows up, refusing to plow any but the streets they were specifically directed to plow, presumably there will be witnesses who saw this.  Similarly, I assume that people noticed if their streets were plowed with the plows set too high, requiring a second pass.
In individual cases, that won’t tell you whether it was an organized plan, incompetent individual workers, or workers who were simply trying to score a little extra overtime for themselves.  But in aggregate, it should be possible to detect a pattern.  Couldn’t the Post find anyone in Queens or the Bronx who claims to have seen this misbehavior?
Hopefully, Bloomberg will appoint some sort of investigative committee–after all, it’s his political price to pay.  Of course, even if it turns out that the sanitation workers did make things worse, that won’t absolve the mayoral administration that apparently decided to ignore the storm warnings rather than pay the sanitation workers expensive overtime for working the Christmas holiday.

Don Suber

Mike Riggs at Daily Caller

Ed Morrissey:

I’m a little skeptical, but mainly because the primary source for the conspiracy theory is an elected official who can expect to be held accountable for the poor performance thus far in the Big Apple.  Also, the Twin Cities had the same level of snowfall a few weeks ago, and snow removal was a problem for us, too.  Minneapolis/St Paul and the first-ring suburbs have a large amount of infrastructure to deal with heavy snowfalls and about a fifth of the population, and we still have huge piles of snow blocking sidewalks downtown.  Heck, we can’t even get the Metrodome fixed; now, the estimate for repair and reinflation is the end of March.  I’m not sure that NYC could have done better, with its relatively smaller snow-removal infrastructure, lack of places to put the snow, and population density.

Is it possible that this was a coordinated slowdown effort by public-sector unions to make Bloomberg and city officials look incompetent?  Sure, but the simpler answers are usually closer to the truth.  The simpler answers here are that this was freakishly heavy snowfall in a city not used to such things, and, well, it has a mayor more interested in salt use in restaurants than on the roads.

 

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This Is What Happens When He Goes Off The Teleprompter

Heather Horn at The Atlantic with the round-up

Michelle Malkin:

President Obama spoke the most revealing and clarifying 10 words of his control-freak administration this week: “I think at some point you have made enough money.” Peddling financial regulatory reform at a rally in Quincy, Ill., Obama then ad-libbed peculiar definitions of what he called the “American way” and the profit motive: “(Y)ou can just keep on making it if you’re providing a good product or providing good service. We don’t want people to stop, ah, fulfilling the core responsibilities of the financial system to help grow our economy.”

Fundamental lesson of Capitalism 101: Governments and bureaucrats don’t make what people want and need. They only get in the way. It is individuals, cooperating peacefully and voluntarily, working together without mandate or central design, who produce the world’s goods and services. They make what people desire and demand for themselves, not what Obama and his imperial overlords ordain that the masses should have.

As usual, Obama’s populist demagoguery is telling in its omissions and selectivity. While he lectures on the morality of salary caps for everyone else, his own cabinet is filled with fabulously wealthy CEOs and statist creatures who have parlayed government employment (a “good” service) into private gain as lobbyists, consultants and advisers (“core responsibilities of the financial system”) and then back again to public stints. Revolving doors have always grown the Beltway economy.

Carol Platt Liebau at Townhall:

If the President would deign to take questions from the press, here are two that might profitably be asked of him:

(1) At what point does the President deem someone to have “made enough money”?  (Would his erstwhile supporter, Warren Buffett, qualify?)

(2) What percentage of one’s money — max — does the President think the federal government is entitled to claim, before and after one has made what he proclaims to be “enough”?

In another of his speeches, the President once declared:

[I]t’s right to expect that if you’re willing to work hard in this country of American Dreamers, the sky is the limit on what you can achieve.

Apparently, that’s true unless and until your earnings bump up against what the President considers appropriate.

Lori Ziganto at Redstate:

Oh, really, President Obama? If you are so worried about people who’ve “made enough money”, you may want to have talk with a few people. Here’s a tip for you: start with George Soros. You’re welcome.

This is what Obama and his administration honestly believes. Having never worked a day in the private sector in their lives, they can only manage to put on big boy pants, but not to also act like big boys. As such, their naive view of the world and it’s “unfairness” reigns supreme and clouds absolutely every part of their agenda. To the point where apparently no one has told him that deciding how much money anyone makes is not his job and is, in fact, antithetical to the core principles of our nation.

Not only is he prancing around giving speeches about evil Wall Street, filled with feel good nonsense and super serious faces that even those who voted for him no longer believe, but he’s doing so when people are huddled around staring dejectedly at a one page Classified section. You know, Obama, people would like to make some money, reaching your apparent “too much” threshold or not, to provide for their families. Demonizing business isn’t going to do that. You know what will? Stop bailing out poorly run businesses.  Stop regulating  the good ones out of business.

Stop taxing them out of employing people.

I mean, at some point, hasn’t the Government made enough money?

J.P. Freire at The Washington Examiner:

Obama says you’ve made enough money. Easy for him to say when his income last year looked like this:

In a stump speech in Quincy, Illinois, President Obama suggested that “I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money.” Video here.

Obama made almost $5.5 million last year, most of which came from book royalties according to his tax return.

This comes on top of the other millions of dollars Obama received in previous years. The fact that Obama has been in the public spotlight as a politician has undoubtedly had an impact on the royalties of his two books as well. Go ahead and compare Obama’s 2009 income with other presidents here.

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