Friday, November 24, 2017

School Scope: Are Our Local Politicians Part of Our Transportation Problems?

The WAVE - Published Nov. 24, 2017

School Scope:  Are Our Local Politicians Part of  Our Transportation Problems?
By Norm Scott

November 20, 2017

I hope you all read the massive NY Sunday Times expose of the MTA transit mess (The Making of a Meltdown: How Politics and Years of Bad Decisions Plunged the City’s Subways into Misery) going back to the Mayor Giuliani and Governor Pataki thefts of transit funds for their own uses. They are both Republicans by the way. But the Times doesn’t let  Democrats off the hook, lambasting Governor Cuomo for his misappropriation of funding at the MTA and also Mayor de Blasio. Mayor Bloomberg – a Republicrat – is also not let off the hook. So while most of our local politicians chase unicorns with their advocacy of the mythical Rockaway Rail, or cry about Select bus service on Woodhaven Blvd, they neglect to push for controls over the manipulation of transit funds which could be used to get us around the city in a reasonable amount of time. No, the ferry, unless you are going to lower Manhattan or Sunset Park saves no time, even if a pleasant ride. I wonder how it’s doing now that summer is over other than during rush hours? Why aren’t the people we elect going after the bad decisions and politics instead of chasing fantasies?

Yesterday I had to go to Wall St and I took the fastest route I’ve found: Drive to the Newkirk Ave. station, take the B to Atlantic Ave and change for the 4 or 5. Total number of stops for both trains: 8. Door to door in about an hour and that included finding a parking spot near Newkirk, not always easy. Our local politicians must push for improvement in subway service on the A train which always seems to be having problems.

Time for Paid Parental Leave
As I pointed out in my RTC column, many couples connected to the RTC have had children recently and often had to suffer from putting their new babies with strangers because we are one of the only advanced nations without paid parental leave. Seventy five per cent of teachers are women. Think of mothers with babies being forced by economic reasons to return to the classroom while their minds are on their babies being cared for by others. Do we think the kids in front of them can possibly have their full attention, no matter how dedicated they are as teachers? As parents and teachers the children on both ends of the stick suffer. And that is why most advanced nations do have parental leave, some for up to a year. Even many American companies understand that to keep their employees engaged they must offer parental leave. But our self styled “progressive” mayor doesn’t believe in one of the key signs of a progressive government.

A year ago one of the members of the UFT caucus, Movement of Rank and File Educators (MORE) had a baby and started a petition among UFT members. It garnered 3000 signatures and MORE decided to take up the issue. Late last spring, Emily James, a Brooklyn high school teacher, after having a 2nd child and facing financial difficulties put up her own petition which so far has garnered over 80,000 signatures from around the city. (Read her Daily News op ed on my blog: One of the 7 MORE high school UFT Executive Board members contacted Emily and asked her to come to a UFT Ex bd meeting to present her case directly to President Michael Mulgrew and he responded in a very positive way, taking on the campaign, which apparently is annoying the newly elected mayor according to Mulgrew, who supported de Blasio. My group MORE is also taking part in the campaign and I will report on my blog and in The Wave on how things are going.

Next time I may put my foot into the minefield of  sexual harassment charged and the #metoo campaigns. Or not.

Norm steps in it daily at

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