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October 30, 2009 @ 11:50 am

New Taxi Tax Hits the City on Sunday

Photo Credit: Official Location

Via Heather Haddon AM New York:

Taxis will soon have a new tax.

Starting Sunday, cab passengers will be forced to pay a 50-cent fee on top of the base fare of $2.50.

“It was already out of control. Now it’s even worse,” said Kim Dae, 23, of the West Village, a frequent taxi rider.

Apparently, about 4,000 riders already paid the fee without knowing it, as two taxi meter companies had started including the surcharge in its devices, the Taxi and Limousine Commission said Thursday. Passengers in 292 cabs were charged 50 cents extra on Oct. 22, 25 and 26. Riders with a receipt or credit card can submit a claim for a refund by calling 311.

The tax, part of the MTA bailout passed earlier this year, is expected to raise $85 million annually for the agency.

Taxi drivers are livid about the new fee, saying it will be difficult to collect and hurt their business. They are also fuming that new door stickers list the initial fare as $3, making it seem like drivers are getting a raise, said Bhairavi Desai, director of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, which represents 12,000 drivers.

“We think it’s deceptive,” Desai said.

The tax will be itemized on ride receipts, and listed on the interior TV screens and rate cards, a Taxi and Limousine Commission spokesman said. “The TLC will continually monitor the proper implementation of the meter change,” the agency said in a statement.

The fee is among a basket of taxes that staved off a massive subway fare hike earlier this year.

“No one likes a tax, but no one likes a sky-high transit fare or cuts to service either,” said Gene Russianoff, of the Straphangers Campaign.

Andrew Vacca contributed to this story.

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August 27, 2009 @ 10:58 am

Reading List: Bloomberg Administration Fails to Close Achievement Gap, Blamed for Deaths of Firefighters

* With scores down on the SAT college entrance exam among minority students, the Bloomberg administration’s persistent claim that it is closing the achievement gap, reports The Daily News. The city average on the test continues to be lower than the national average.

* Defense lawyers argued in court papers that city, state and federal agencies and other contractors should take the blame for Aug. 18, 2007 Deutsche Bank fire that claimed the lives of firefighters Joseph Graffagnino and Robert Beddia, reports The New York Times. The Bloomberg Administration “acknowledged a litany of blunders, including failures by the Fire and Buildings Departments to conduct required inspections. The missteps were deemed so grave by prosecutors that they weighed charging the city itself in the deaths.”

* Here’s councilwoman Letitia James on the mayor after Bloomberg extended term limits last fall:

“It’s a shame that Bloomberg has the same thing in common as Putin, Chavez and Idi Amin and Bush,” James said in the rousing clip. “That he fears the people. That he believes that the people do not know what’s in the best interest of the city.” [Boro Politics]

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August 12, 2009 @ 3:31 pm

Wayne Barrett on How the Times is Burnishing Bloomberg-Klein School Myths

Another must-read piece by the Voice’s Wayne Barrett on how the Times and the rest of the media are exaggerating the gains that Bloomberg/Klein have made since mayoral control began in the 2003-2004 school year.
Read rest of story…

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August 11, 2009 @ 12:23 pm

NYC is the “Marijuana Arrest Capital of the World”

The Voice’s Roy Edroso reminds us in Runnin’ Scared that since 1997, cops have arrested 430,000 citizens for possession of small amounts of weed — with many of the arrests happening under Bloomberg’s reign.

Yes, this part of the story is well known, but time has provided another wrinkle: You would expect Mayor Bloomberg, who has admitted to not only using but also enjoying cannabis, and who appeared on Coed magazine’s “10 Most Successful Potheads” list, to be less of a narc than Mayor Giuliani was. But surprise: 40,300 of these arrests were made in 2008 alone, and Bloomberg has officially outstripped Giuliani as the drug-bustingest New York Mayor.

The article goes on to discuss, as stoners tend to do, the legal charades by means of which cops can drag you to jail for what should ticketing offenses. (Short version: don’t voluntarily give up evidence.)

See the Runnin’ Scared blog

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July 28, 2009 @ 2:14 pm

Here’s Another Tale From the Mike Bloomberg Crypt

Laurence (Call Me Larry) Gluck walks off with millions while Michael Bloomberg issues press releases on affordable housing.

Via Mother Jones:
Mortgage Default: Landlord Edition
When private equity leverages affordable housing, guess what happens?
By Adam Matthews

Riverton Houses, a cluster of redbrick high-rises near Harlem River in Manhattan, is the sort of development where elderly parents pass apartments along to their children. Built to shelter families of black soldiers returning from World War II, the 1,230-unit complex has long been an affordable middle-class bastion. Edna Hunter, an 86-year-old widow and retired school librarian, tells me she’s spent most of her life there. She pays just $750 a month.
Read rest of story…

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