DMI Blog

Andrew Friedman

Wasting Our Money

The Community Service Society recently published a report on The Concerns of the Working Poor that shows New Yorkers biggest concern is the lack of affordable housing. This is an issue that Mayor Bloomberg could certainly do something about. While he has laid out an ambitious plan to build affordable housing, the Mayor has failed to even approach the amount of affordable housing needed by New Yorkers.

Typically, the government would cry poverty and explain that although they'd love to build more affordable housing, they have to balance the need for housing against other important needs. That's a hard argument to make when the City has close to a 3 billion dollar budget surplus. The Mayor should announce a number of bold initiatives to expand affordable housing, expand access to English as a Second Language classes, and reduce class size at public schools.

Instead, we can expect more of the same. More of the same insensitivity to the pressing needs of low-income New Yorkers. This attitude, and the fact that the City can only find tiny amounts of money for crucial initiatives like the Immigrant Opportunities Initiative (IOI) to provide ESL classes and legal services to millions of New Yorkers, is galling. It is particularly galling that broad-based programs like the IOI must fight for crumbs from our 50+ billion dollar budget table, while the City pays out close to half a billion dollars a year for its negligence.

Today's New York Post reports that in 2006, our government paid out 477 million dollars in response to legitimate personal injury lawsuits. As you mull this outrage, consider the particulars of the case of Maria Tipaldo. Keep this in mind, next time you hear that City government lacks the resource to do some important program.

The largest settlement went to Maria Tipaldo, who was driving on Brooklyn's Mill Basin Bridge in 2000 when she was hit by a car and pushed onto the wrong side of the road.

The city was previously warned that the roadway's median had a gap - there were five crossover accidents before Tipaldo's crash.

Tipaldo, 35 at the time of the wreck, was hit by two other cars and thrown from her Jeep. She is now a paraplegic with limited use of both arms, and settled for $9.5 million.

What an outrage!

Andrew Friedman: Author Bio | Other Posts
Posted at 8:31 AM, Jan 29, 2007 in Government Accountability
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