Sunday, February 8, 2009

The trickle-down theory of stupidity

Or, "How much is the fare?"
No surprise that the ASPCA cannot do much about the plight of New York's carriage horses. This organization and others have said that New York's industry cannot be made safe for the horses. What is even more troubling is that the agencies charged with industry oversight--namely, the Department of Health and the Department of Consumer Affairs--do next to nothing on this front. Heck, they are effectively sanctioning all kinds of industry misbehavior, from blatant disregard for the regulations that state when and where the horses can and cannot be worked to illegally overcharging the tourists that the city purports to so adore. Thus the city is entrenched in this out-of-control industry up to its eyeballs, from our narcissistic mayor to the police officers who turn a blind eye. Because spooking accidents involving carriage horses almost always involve human injury, a human fatality is inevitable. It's only a matter of time. The other injuries will be from the "Tweeder" politicians getting whiplash, as most of them will be spinning around and pointing the finger of blame at everyone but themselves. And the city will be in the spotlight, since the liability insurance carried by the carriage drivers and companies is negligible. Yikes.
At the well-attended recent public hearing on Intro. 658, Tony Avella's bill that would ban horse-drawn carriages, and Intro. 653, a misguided industry bill that would bring about even LESS oversight, many of us were getting a real lesson in community civics. Imagine our surprise to see such bad behavior on the part of Council Members James Gennaro and G. Oliver Koppell. We heard a DCA representative, Andrew Eiler, stammer when asked about the fare for a 30-minute carriage ride, and increments, and then guess and get them both wrong! How disturbing is it that the DCA apparently doesn't know--or care to know--the fares, because then the department might have to bother itself with problem resolution, or even restitution--the way it does for brides who were ripped off by bad wedding photographers! And the cash-only carriage industry wants a raise!
Related video: Driver Gone Wild (when asked about fares!) *** EXPLICIT *** from YouTube member "HorsesinNYC." Also: statements that were made at the hearing about overcharging and insurance.
Photo credit: AP file photo

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