By Neil A. Carousso
It’s Election Day, but you may not be aware.
Voting turnout in the 2013 New York City election was a record low 23 percent. A mere 14 percent of voters showed up for the September primary.
Compound this with Comptroller Scott M. Stringer’s recent audit showing problems at 90 percent of 156 polling sites examined.
“What we found was just outrageous,” Comptroller Stringer said, citing, “People turned away at the polls, poll workers not realizing how they can get people to vote, ballots were voided.”
Throughout New York State, only about 15 races of 213 legislative seats are competitive in any given year. Comptroller Stringer aims to increase voter participation.
Republicans do not hold any seats in Manhattan. Besides Staten Island and parts of the State, one party holds a virtual monopoly of each district.
The polls in New York City are open until 9 PM.
Featured Image: New York Daily News Photo.
By Neil A. Carousso
The study by the city’s Independent Budget Office released this week shows the average number of delays, which they define as a train running more than five minutes behind schedule, increased substantially over the last five years.In 2012, the system averaged about 20,000 a month. In May of this year, that number increased to 67,450.
Translated into dollars, the study found that the 35,000 hours lost on delays during the morning rush in a 12-month period ending in May equates to $1.2 million a day or $307 million a year in lost productivity.
“I think it’s horrendous,” rider Richard Thomas told CBS2’s Janelle Burrell.
“They always seem to be running slow, running late,” said commuter Tom Gordon.
“Your employer doesn’t want to hear that it’s the train,” said rider Paulette Minott. “It’s the trains every day, you know?”
“I think it’s a disgrace,” said another.
The worst lines for delays were the J and Z, where delays were up 71 percent since 2012 followed by the C with delays up 69 percent and the No. 7 with 62 percent.
Lost hours have increased the least on the No. 3, up only 25 percent, the G up 26 percent and the No. 4, up 31 percent.
The report also revealed that about one-fourth of weekday train runs have gaps in service, wherein passengers wait longer for subway trains to arrive than acceptable under time frames set up by the MTA.
Riders of the G train were least likely to encounter service gaps between January 2015 and May 2017, with 83 percent of trains meeting service standards.
Next best were the D with 80 percent and the Q with 79 percent. Worst were the No. 5 with 66 percent of train runs meeting standards, followed by the No. 6 with 67 percent and the A with 70 percent.
The study has set off another round of finger pointing about who should pay for the critically needed subway repairs.
“I am a rider, and I am very well aware of the delays,” MTA Chairman Joe Lhota said, “It does cost time, and time is money, but what is important is that we put together a plan, and will work diligently to get the system back to work.”
Lhota blamed de Blasio for being part of the problem, charging his refusal to chip in half the cost of the emergency repair program was delaying subway improvements.
“It will only work if he comes to the table,” he said.
Other elected officials piled on.
“I’m hoping that the city of New York will chip in,” Sen. martin Golden (R-Brooklyn) said.
“Stop the politicking and begin to do the work on behalf of our people,” Assemblyman Feliz Ortiz (D-Brooklyn) added.
A de Blasio spokesman repeated the mayor’s demand that the state pay the city’s share do the repair bill because in the past it’s used MTA funds for its own purposes.
“Cit taxpayers won’t stand for endlessly funding the MTA while the state refuses to return the nearly half-billion dollars it stole from it,” spokesman Austin Finan said.
Without the city’s money, the MTA will only be able to make half the repairs. What stays and what goes are to be revealed at the MTA’s next board meeting.
Nick Sifuentes with the Subway Rider’s Alliance says it’s especially troubling for those at the lower rung of the economic ladder.
“They’re an hour late to work, they’re not gonna get that $10 back or what have you. And for some people, that’s like, you know, rent or lunch or what have you. Those are like, real economic consequences,” he told WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond.
In response to the report, the MTA released a statement saying it was focusing on easing delays.
“The subway and our unparalleled 24-hour-a-day mass transit network are the engines that power a city economy that continues to grow and outpace the nation. Chairman Lhota’s Subway Action Plan is stabilizing the subway by targeting the biggest drivers of delays across the system – and that is exactly why we need City Hall and Mayor de Blasio to commit to paying its 50 percent share to fully implement the Plan,” MTA spokesman John J. McCarthy said in a statement.
The study was conducted before Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency for the aging system back in July. It’s a $836 million plan that officials say will address track and power problems and subway car breakdowns, among other issues.
Some of the subway repair work is already underway, but many riders say they have yet to see how the improvements are benefiting their subway lines.
“I haven’t seen no changes as of yet,” said Thomas. “Hopefully they can get it in order where we can commute without delays.”
The budget office said it conducted the study at the request of Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.
By Neil A. Carousso
In two separate sit-down interviews, New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer (D) and his Republican challenger Rev. Michel Faulkner discussed their ideas for improving the City’s transit delays, how to work with the Trump Administration and prevent the loss of federal funding for the New York Police Department, among other issues.Rev. Faulkner is a retired NFL Player who worked on former Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s community policing task force. Now, Rev. Faulkner is running opposite Incumbent Comptroller Stringer.
New Yorkers vote for City comptroller on the ballot on Tuesday. The polls in the Big Apple close at 9 PM local time.
Featured Image: Comptroller Scott M. Stringer and Rev. Michel Faulkner debate on Spectrum News NY1 in October.
By Neil A. Carousso
Drug overdose deaths, once rare, are now the leading cause of accidental death in the United States, surpassing peak annual deaths caused by motor vehicle accidents and HIV infection. It kills 100 people a day.
Bo Dietl, Independent New York City Mayoral Candidate and retired New York Police Department detective told this reporter one step is to remove so-called sanctuary city status to stem the supply of opioids coming in via illegal immigrant smuggling. An imperative, Dietl said, is to solve the demand for opioids.
“We got to hit this 3 ways: Enforcement, we got to send these son of a guns to jail for the rest of their lives,” Dietl said of drug dealing. ” “Number 2 is education. Number 3 is treatment.”
Over the last two decades, as prescriptions for opioids began to soar, rates of addictions and overdose deaths increased in parallel.
President Donald J. Trump declared the opioid epidemic a public health emergency on October 26.
By Neil A. Carousso
On Tuesday, New Yorkers will vote for mayor, comptroller, public advocate, borough presidents and city council members a week after the deadliest terrorist attack in the Big Apple since 9/11.
“Tell those eight people who were killed, mowed down and those other 15 people seriously hurt that we cannot surveil people, we can’t monitor people that are suspected of being involved in terrorism,” said Independent Mayoral Candidate Bo Dietl. “This political correctness sucks and we have to stop it. Again, to me, the safety of New Yorkers and Americans are at stake here.”
Dietl is a retired New York Police Department detective, a private investigator and entrepreneur. He’s running against Mayor Bill de Blasio (D), who is up for re-election, and New York State Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R).
“I hope they say to themselves wow this guy is somebody I want to lead this city. This guy will help my kids. This guy will help me get affordable housing,” said Dietl of why New York residents should vote for him.
“You got to remember my last case was the Palm Sunday Massacre. Ten Puerto Ricans, eight of them were children under the age of 12 years old, all shot in the head. [I have] vivid memories of those kids being shot in the head and I cried,” Dietl said with passion, adding, “That’s what I want to prevent and I want to help the people of New York. That’s who’s running for mayor: A caring guy against some egotistical, thieving, corrupt pay-for-play guy who wants to get re-elected. That’s your choice.”
Dietl blames Mayor de Blasio for the rising homeless rate, which is up 39 percent since last year, and division in the community and within his former police department.
“You know there’s a reason why cops turn their back on him during the funerals,” said Dietl of the NYPD demonstrations in the wake of politicized police-involved shootings. “They don’t respect them. Nine out of 10 cops said they would find another job tomorrow because of him that they feel as though they don’t have the support of this Mayor and he takes credit for the great work.”
While rape crimes climbed 16.7 percent in October, the NYPD reported a significant 18 percent reduction in murders that the de Blasio Administration touts with an overall decline in crime over the past 4 years, according to data released by the Police Department. There are 225 homicides year-to-date, including last week’s terror attack victims. That’s on pace to be the lowest murder rate since the 1950s. By comparison, there were 2,262 murders in 1990.
Aside from security, commuters are struggling with widespread MTA delays. A recent NYC Independent Budget Office report reveals a 237.25 percent increase in monthly delays and a massive economic impact – costing riders $1.23 million in “lost work.”
“I believe that we should support the Governor’s $850 million emergency plan to fix the signals and the tracks and I think the City should contribute some money towards that with a guarantee that any City money goes directly towards specific projects,” said New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer of New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s plan to modernize the subway system.
Mr. Stringer is up for re-election on Tuesday. Rev. Michel Faulkner is Mr. Stringer’s Republican opponent.
Faulkner is a retired NFL defensive lineman who played for the New York Jets in 1981 and a member of former-Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s task force on Police Community Relations.
“We pay more federal taxes than anybody else,” emphasized Rev. Faulkner. “Most of our $56 billion more goes out than goes back in terms of federal goods and services. Why can’t we balance some of that for our MTA, for health and hospital services, for our homeless problems? We’ve got to solve these problems and simple raising taxes is not going to solve that problem.”
For information about where to vote and the candidates and proposals on Tuesday’s ballot, visit the New York City Board of Elections website.