COUNCIL MEMBERS DARLENE MEALY AND TISH JAMES SLAM MTA AT PUBLIC HEARING IN BROOKLYN
Don’t ever say that some of the female members of Brooklyn’s city council delegation are soft: they aren’t. There was a raucous public hearing last Wednesday evening at the Brooklyn Museum (near Grand Army Plaza), that was aimed at getting the general view on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s proposed service cuts in the next fiscal year; at this event, NYC council members Darlene Mealy and Tish James -both from Brooklyn- made outstanding oral presentations which captivated the loud crowd of attendees. Throughout the procedures scores of teenagers outnumbered the elderly, in openly expressing their disenchantment with the proposed cuts by the MTA’s board members. Eventually four arrests were made amongst the spirited -but at times rowdy- youngsters; as police officers had to be called in to help maintain order.
The evening started out with a detailed speech by Brooklyn’s boro-prez Marty Markowitz, in which he vehemently spoke out against the proposed cuts. Marty’s speech was the longest of the night, but he made his point quite clear: he is totally opposed to the MTAs proposals in current form. Marty stirred up the crowd with his typically energetic speaking style, and seemed to have set the tone for the rest of the evening.
Speaker after speaker spoke out against the proposed cuts. Council member Tish James also spoke early and was powerful in her presentation. She suggested that we shut down the MTA Board and create another entity to supervise our public transportation needs, if the Board continues to be as dysfunctional as it has been over the years. She lamented the fact that the board’s racial and ethnic composition (only one black member there) didn’t reflect the reality of this city’s demographics. She also railed against their bogus dual- accounting system(s).
Councilmember Mealy seemed to suggest that the Board was sado-masochistic in its psychology. She said that they appear to go through this ritual every year or so, wherein these public hearings get out of hand because of the heavy-handed draconian cuts being proposed. She wondered aloud whether or not board members were gluttons for this type punishment: meaning of course, the regular public scolding they generally receive.
Ms. Mealy also entered a written submission to the hearing (for its public records, and for posterity). She slammed the proposed cuts in student metro card services, and also the proposed cuts to the para-transit rides, which will mostly affect seniors and those who are physically challenged. She also spoke of the dual accounts (books) that the MTA board seems to play games with. She wondered aloud as to which figures they used this time in coming up with these proposed cuts in services during the next fiscal year.
She said that in this society we have to be particular in how we treat the most vulnerable (children and seniors) among us. She is totally against any cuts in these programs.
In her written submission Ms. Mealy suggested that the MTA seek monies from the funds made available through President Obama’s stimulus package. She also suggested some other new funding streams/sources for the MTA board. Ironically, Ms. Mealy once worked as an employee of the MTA, prior to seeking public office. Her successful candidacy was backed by other employees of the MTA and through the transit union.
Stay tuned-in folks.
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