Tag Archives: New jersey

Haven’t Been Around, But I’ve Been to Port Authority

To all the readers of this blog: My most profound apologies for not posting for a while.

There are times when life intrudes, and this has been one. However, after settling into a new job and taking care of some important family business, it’s time to get back to the keyboard.

My new job involves using public transportation from the Garden State of New Jersey, and though this may appear to be a trivial place to start a new blog post, I feel compelled.

Anyone who uses the giant dowager this is the Port Authority Bus Terminal knows it has seen better days. In fact, much better days. Lately, however, Port Authority’s shortcomings have come into sharp focus, at least for me.

One night last week, I reached the mezzanine area to catch my bus to be presented with a scene of utter chaos.

Port Authority
Long lines to get onto a bus

 

Due to inclement weather, busses were running behind schedule. Yet that was only half the reason for what was going on.

Lines, four, five, six of them, were snaking throughout the floor. the worst part was that only a few people knew for sure which line led to their specific  bus.

Alas, there was no one from the terminal to assist them. All we heard was a drone-like announcement, something like “ATTENTION ATTENTION. Due to the inclement weather there are delays both inbound and outbound”. You can imagine how tired that sounded after a half hour on a line that didn’t move much.

To be clear, this isn’t the typical scene at Port Authority. Most days and nights it functions as intended, that is, a way station for people looking to go someplace.

However, for me this leads to another pet peeve.

During the snows of the past few days, commuters have been treated to the sight of numerous garbage cans, buckets, and those yellow warning boards spread throughout the terminal. The reason? The ceiling is leaking, leaking in multiple places. Look up, and you see sagging, aging tiles and ceiling fixtures that look like they’re o their last legs.

The upshot is this. Not only is the terminal old, but it hasn’t been well maintained. Now step back a bit and consider this. The same people responsible for those leaky ceilings are the ones who gifted Jersey residents with Bridgegate, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

You know, the authority that’s become a repository for all manner of political hackery, courtesy of the governors of both states. You’d think that with all the money they take in (and put in their pockets in the form of inflated salaries), they’d find a new bucks to fix the ceilings at the bus terminal. Now, there have been plans announced to “renovate” the Port Authority, plans that, if memory serves, go back several years. Don’t hold your breath.

Port authority bus terminal

What’s even more maddening is the recent announcement that this same Port Authority is planning to spend some $27.6 billion dollars over the next decade to “upgrade transportation infrastructure  in the metropolitan area”. Nice. Nowhere in the glossy release about fixing the area’s airports, bridges, tunnels, and the like is there much attention paid to the bus terminal. Maybe one day in the next 10 years they’ll fix those leaky ceilings.

Here’s hoping.

As a true blue new Yorker, I know these issues bear the same for the Long Island Railroad, Metro North, Path….post a comment about your commute experience. As always….I’m curious!

http://www.markrileymedia.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/digg_48.png http://www.markrileymedia.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/reddit_48.png http://www.markrileymedia.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/stumbleupon_48.png http://www.markrileymedia.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/delicious_48.png http://www.markrileymedia.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/google_48.png http://www.markrileymedia.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/myspace_48.png http://www.markrileymedia.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/facebook_48.png http://www.markrileymedia.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/yahoobuzz_48.png http://www.markrileymedia.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/twitter_48.png
Did you like this? If so, please bookmark it,
tell a friend
about it.

The Bully – Governor Chris Christie?

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has found that unlikely place where his ambition has collided with his style (or lack of same) and substance.

He’s presented himself on the national stage as a get-things-done, bi-partisan kind of guy. Recent events regarding lane closures at the George Washington Bridge threaten to tarnish that image in front of the nation.

Chris Christie

This nonsense should have been easily avoidable for a guy who constantly touts his political skills. The long and short of it is as follows.

Last September, when Christie was preparing to bury the Democratic challenger to his re-election, he solicited (maybe sought, maybe coerced) support from Democratic elected officials.

Among them was the mayor of Fort Lee (NJ), the town from which the George washington Bridge crosses into New York City.

That mayor, Mark Sokolich, declined Christie’s entreaties.

Mark Sokolich.Fort Lee.mayor
Mark Sokolich, Mayor Fort Lee New Jersey

Then, on the first day of school, a number of traffic lanes leading to the bridge from Ft. Lee were mysteriously closed.

The bridge to New York City
George Washington Bridge

 

This set off hours of monstrous delays that lasted several days. Mayor Sokolich was apparently stonewalled when he tried to get answers as to the reason for the closures, and when things would get back to normal. The governor’s “people” on the Port Authority, which oversees the bridge, trotted out the rationale that the closures were part of a traffic study.

Christie, meanwhile, treated questions about the bridge lane closures as an unwarranted intrusion on his time. At one point he jokingly told reporters that he himself moved the cones to close the lanes. Little by little, however, things got serious. First, there was the revelation that there was no traffic study. Then, Christie’s brusque denials aside, the public began to see how far up the food chain the conspiracy to close the lanes went.

That culminated in the release of e-mails showing that top members of Christie’s staff did in fact devise the lane closures as political retaliation for an endorsement not made. This was done in collusion with a couple of Christie appointees to the Port Authority, a couple of whom are no longer there.

On Wednesday, Christie the Bully issued a typically political, “this is unacceptable” statement. On Thursday he’ll meet the media in a classic exercise in damage control from this self inflicted wound.

All of which totally misses the point.

The real question is how a bi-state government agency abuses its patrons on such a grand scale? The Port Authority has long been seen as a refuge for political hacks. These latest revelations reveal it to be a nest of vipers as well.

Sadly, when all the legislative hearings are done and the damage to Christie 2016 assessed by multiple media, the issue of getting rid of agencies that abuse their power will not be seriously addressed.

Too bad.

Bring on your comments…

 

http://www.markrileymedia.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/digg_48.png http://www.markrileymedia.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/reddit_48.png http://www.markrileymedia.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/stumbleupon_48.png http://www.markrileymedia.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/delicious_48.png http://www.markrileymedia.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/google_48.png http://www.markrileymedia.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/myspace_48.png http://www.markrileymedia.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/facebook_48.png http://www.markrileymedia.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/yahoobuzz_48.png http://www.markrileymedia.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/twitter_48.png
Did you like this? If so, please bookmark it,
tell a friend
about it.

So What Did We Learn From Tuesday’s Election?

Despite the relatively small number of electoral contests, media pundits of every shape and size are trying to come up with the elusive answer to what it means. Many of them are just blowing smoke. However, there ought to be some lessons learned by politicians of every party and ideology. Many of those lessons won’t be trumpeted by the mainstream media, who will be so busy writing President Barack Obama’s political obituary they can’t see the forest for the trees.

The President did make some mistakes for sure.

He spent a great deal of political capital on two uninspiring Democratic gubernatorial candidates, Jon Corzine and Creigh Deeds. The Obama magic didn’t work. Young people and people of color simply didn’t turn out in Virginia or New Jersey, and both crashed to defeat. The President could have spent just a little time in New York City trying to elect Comptroller William Thompson as mayor. His little shout out of an endorsement didn’t even fool Thompson, yet he ran closer to Mayor Michael Bloomberg than anyone expected. Thompson also suffered from a lackluster campaign, but more importantly from a stunning lack of support from unions that ordinarily would back any Democratic candidate.

While the Mayor of New York City won a third term he engineered for himself, the NY-23 race in upstate New York turned out to be a Waterloo for the conservative, birther, tea party wing of the GOP. They threw endorsements around like Frisbees, falling all over each other to sing the praises of Doug Hoffman, the true conservative who vanquished Marxist Republican Dede Scozzafava, who dropped out before a vote was even cast.

And what did Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Tim Pawlenty, Michelle Bachman, Fred Thompson, and Rush Limbaugh (did I forget anybody?) get for all their hot air? They elected a Democrat, Bill Owens, the first Democrat to hold the seat in over 100 years. Watch a Democrat win, watch the right wing spin. some of them want people to believe Hoffman’s defeat was actually a victory for them. Witness the writing of Erick  Erickson of the conservative RedState.com. “This is a huge win for conservatives…the GOP now must recognize it will either lose without conservatives or will win with conservatives.” Right, okay. Next?

And finally, there was the district that media forgot, California’s 10th. Like NY-23, there was a special election because the sitting congressperson, Ellen Tauscher, took a post in the Obama Administration. Rep. Tauscher, it should be noted, was part of the conservative wing of the Democratic Party in the House. So who won her seat? Democrat John Garamendi, who couldn’t be more different. He supports the public option, but really wants to see single payer healthcare for all Americans. He also wants US troops out of Afghanistan ASAP. He beat his Republican challenger by 10 points.

So why is nobody outside of California talking about him, and what he means to the national agenda? You tell me.

http://www.markrileymedia.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/digg_48.png http://www.markrileymedia.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/reddit_48.png http://www.markrileymedia.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/stumbleupon_48.png http://www.markrileymedia.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/delicious_48.png http://www.markrileymedia.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/google_48.png http://www.markrileymedia.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/myspace_48.png http://www.markrileymedia.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/facebook_48.png http://www.markrileymedia.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/yahoobuzz_48.png http://www.markrileymedia.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/twitter_48.png
Did you like this? If so, please bookmark it,
tell a friend
about it.