Sunday, January 25, 2009

Things have changed.....

I’m sitting in a courtroom as we speak, waiting to appear before a judge regarding a speeding ticket. I received this ticket on the entrance ramp to the Lincoln Tunnel. It appeared to me that there were two lines, one waiting to receive violations, the other  waiting to enter the tunnel.

 New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently proposed a congestion pricing plan for traffic entering Manhattan. This plan was soundly defeated, as I believe it should be. Citizens should not suffer financial penalties while construction cranes seemingly block every street in Manhattan. My office is located in midtown Manhattan – I’m there every day. I can tell you that in the aftermath of this defeat, an army of ticket agents (I’m not sure if they’re police officers) descended on the city. It was obvious to everyone what was happening. 

 Other developments follow this same trend. We’ve had a law called  “don’t block the box” on the books for as long as I can remember. If you enter an intersection that is not clear, and subsequently block cross-traffic you receive a substantial summons. I had never seen this enforced - before now.

I heard of this as a radio news item – that not only would this law now be enforced, but sources were estimating the expected revenue that this new policy would bring in. It was a revenue issue.

The other day, I came up with a great follow-up idea. I’m in front of the Empire State Building, a popular tourist spot. I was standing in a crowd, waiting for a crossing light to change - no traffic to be seen, just the crowd, waiting for the light to change. Waiting. And waiting. These people were not New Yorkers, they had to be from out of town.

Now there’s been a law on the books, since the beginning of time, against jaywalking. So it occurred to me that we could marshal thousands of rent-a-cops, and begin to issue tickets. We could employ the same technique they use for rides at Disney, people queued, waiting for their jaywalking ticket. I’m guessing we could close the budget deficit within a week.

So, here I am in court. I’m going to agree to an additional fine, and there will be no points on my license. Its only because I can afford the fine that I won’t pay an insurance surcharge. Those who can’t afford it, will be stuck.

And they call this America.             


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