By on December 29, 2010

Brooklyn residents, already riled by the city’s slow response to the Blizzard from Hell, have new reason for outrage. A city Sanitation Department tractor, while trying to tow a snowplow out of the snow, systematically demolished three cars on Joralemon Street in the course of four minutes.

Residents yelled to stop, but it fell on deaf ears. Someone held a video camera out of the window. The slightly NSFW video (turn the audio down) landed on YouTube, and now the whole city is outraged.

As The Brooklyn Paper reports, the wife of the owner of one smashed car and mother of the owner of another demolished vehicle screamed: “Nobody leaves here until I get a police report!”  But no cops showed.

NYC Department of Sanitation spokesperson Vito Turso calls the incident “unfortunate, but not unusual,”  NBC New York reports.

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72 Comments on “New York City Destroys Residents’ Cars...”


  • avatar
    dwford

    The video should be a good enough police report. This shows what happens when government and its employees feel absolutely no accountability to the people.

  • avatar
    Benya

    I’m pretty sure that intentionally destroying the property of another is a crime.  Not only is the city on the hook for the property damage, but the workers ought to not only lose their jobs but should also face criminal punishment, fines or possible jail time.

    • 0 avatar
      vww12

      If the street cleaning cre

    • 0 avatar
      Mark MacInnis

      This incident encapsulates how everything that conservatives feel about government.  Government employees are empowered to serve….but that power corrupts, and turns “servants” into “masters” who feel entitled to “punish” the public for getting in their way….

      Imagine now, if you will, some future bureaucrat having a bad day lioke this before he gets to decide who will receive life-extending surgery and who gets the “end of life counseling option.”

      On point, this employee won’t even be written up, will never be identified and TAXPAYERS will pay for the damages to other taxpayers cars….

      Yay, government.

    • 0 avatar
      Lemmy-powered

      Benya —

      Seriously? Jail time?

      How about the dummies responsible lose their jobs, the City pays for the damage, and everyone gets on with this wonderful thing called life?

       

    • 0 avatar
      caljn

      Dear Mark: your misinformed Faux view of the world is forgiven.  In your anecdote, life extending surgery and end of life options are in fact mutually exclusive.  One has nothing to do with the other. Apples and oranges. Not either or.
      One other note, I would much prefer a government bureaucrats decision process over a insurance company bureaucrat whose motivation is to deny or limit my claim.

      Yes, the front loader pilot poorly performed his job.  I guess then all government workers are boneheads.  

    • 0 avatar
      charly

      At least this will never happen with private industry workers *cough*

    • 0 avatar
      YotaCarFan

      @Caljin:  While Mark’s first paragraph is an over generalization of Govt workers (I am one, BTW), his point about taxpayers footing the bill for damage to the car is valid.  If a private company had been responsible for the damage, then it, not the tax payers, would pay the bill.
      Regarding the bureaucrats deciding who gets life-extending surgery and who gets a prepaid visit with Dr. Kevorkian, the reality is that regardless of who does the paying (Govt or private ins co) the payer has to keep expenses below the amount of money they collect (taxes or premiums).  With the private option, insurance companies have accountants determine what premiums and benefits will create a sustainable business model, and customers are guaranteed to get services specified in their contracts.  With the single-payer public approach, politicians buy votes by promising the world to everyone and premiums are based on how much of a tax hike they think the public will tolerate.  To keep costs from outstripping funds, there are indeed provisions in the healthcare bill that prioritize who gets what care.  There’s no longer a contract stipulating what services the customer *will* receive.  Also with, the public approach, many people who do not pay into the system must be covered, further limiting services that can be provided to all.  Finally, whereas competition in the private market forces ins companies to provide policies acceptable to customers or face losing business to competitors, the govt approach does not.

    • 0 avatar
      Benya

      Why not risk jail time for intentionally doing thousands of dollars of property damage.  Same would be true if they went around breaking people’s windows.  Sure, they aren’t being malicious about it, but their conduct is beyond reckless.  That they show no signs of making any attempt not to damage the truck, I think is enough to merit jail time.  I’m not talking months or even weeks, but people can’t be allowed think they can act any way they want and not pay for it.

    • 0 avatar

      At least this will never happen with private industry workers *cough*
       
      However, in the private sector, the workers and their employer will have to suffer the consequences of their actions. The employer will have to pay for the damages out of their own pocket if it’s a single proprietorship and if it’s a corporation, the stockholders will pay. The workers may be subject to civil lawsuits. If the actions can be proven to be intentional, criminal charges might be filed.
      Now let’s compare this to the people that you apparently think are my superiors, public employees. Since the Sanitation Dept. has already said this is business as usual, none of the workers will be disciplined and they most likely have some kind of sovereign immunity from civil lawsuits. Any damages that are compensated will be paid by the taxpayers, not by the Sanitation Dept. workers or managers.
      In other words, the public employees who deliberately damaged private property are completely unaccountable.
      But other than that, yeah, sure, it’s just like in the private sector.
      I’ll remember this video the next time some overpaid, over-benefited public employee tells me that the reason why public sector employees are so well compensated is because they are smarter and better educated than the rest of us.

    • 0 avatar

      One other note, I would much prefer a government bureaucrats decision process over a insurance company bureaucrat whose motivation is to deny or limit my claim.
      The insurance company has a profit motive to give good customer service. What comparable motivating force will drive a gov’t bureaucrat to give good customer service?
      Essentially what you’re saying is that a gov’t bureaucrat will never deny a claim. How, then, will that particular insurance scheme work? Are you saying that the gov’t bureaucrats’ supervisors won’t tell them to carefully manage the taxpayers’ money?

    • 0 avatar
      windswords

      “I would much prefer a government bureaucrats decision process over a insurance company bureaucrat whose motivation is to deny or limit my claim.”
      .
      When a private insurance company denies your claim you still have the option of getting the medical treatment you want even though you may have to pay for it. In a totally government run system medical providers are prevented by law from giving you treatment the government has decided you will not get. That was the kind of thing that got Hillary care stopped. Obama care may not have such a provision yet, but it will when the costs get out of control (and they will). Thanks but no thanks.

    • 0 avatar
      panzerfaust

      “I would much prefer a government bureaucrats decision process over a insurance company bureaucrat whose motivation is to deny or limit my claim.”

      You’ve never had to make a claim with Medi-care, have you?

    • 0 avatar
      charly

      You can always go to another country
       
      ps. The OECD country with the most stately run healthcare system, the UK, still has private hospitals so i don’t see why a state run service would disallow going private

    • 0 avatar
      Advance_92

      What everyone forgets is a ‘private’ snow remover in this situation would still be getting paid by the city, but with a nice chunk of cash going to the middle man.

    • 0 avatar
      MattPete


      Schreiber: I can vouch from first hand experience that you are so full of shit, that it’s almost sad.  I interact with many folks in both industry and academia (government jobs), and in my specialty at least, it is hard for the universities to recruit new faculty.  Why?  New graduates in private sector jobs start with 6-figure salaries, whereas the academic equivalent (9/12, so yes, I know about potential summer pay) is about 2/3rds that.  In industry, except for the occasional last-minute push on a project, they work 9-5 jobs, and weekends are free to spend with the family.  In academia they work 60-80hour weeks so that they can make tenure.   In industry, the clients come to them.  In academia they need to raise their own funds to staff their labs.  And so on.
       
      Unlike the myths propagated all over the internet, these government workers (1) Do not have a union, (2) Pay their own retirement through their 403b (basically a 401k), (3) Can be (and are) fired for poor performance (tenure protects academic freedom, not poor performance).  Heck, I know someone recently who wasn’t going to make tenure, so they left a year early, and nearly doubled their salary.  The discrepancy is so bad that their is a question mark over the future of our area.  It’s not that there isn’t demand, there is plenty demand in industry, it’s that the academic side is so unappealing that there is the very real chance that it could stagnate, or at worst, die off.

    • 0 avatar
      Power6

      I am not sure I understand this distinction of “taxpayers pay” vs. “Sanitation dept. pays” or even “Private contractor would pay” scenario.
      Once the damage is done, if it is repaired it just becomes the cost of doing business. The only thing that matters if the reaction and whether steps are taken to ensure the bad behavior doesn’t happen again.
      To think that which entity writes the check somehow conjures up “mysterious money” that comes from somewhere other than the consumers that pay for the service (i.e. the taxpayers) is a fundamental misunderstanding of economics.

    • 0 avatar
      kkt

      Public employees, at all government levels in the US, average higher salaries and benefits than comparable workers in the private sector. It’s the cost of public employee salaries and pensions that are bankrupting states like California.

      You’ve been listening to too much right wing talk radio.  When you take comparable jobs, public employees are paid substantially less than private.  Public employees’ pensions are somewhat better, although in many states and localities more recently hired employees get to take their chances with mutual funds just like private sector employees do.  The legislature doesn’t get to diminish the retirement benefits of the already-retired because that is the deal they made when they accepted work at lower public employee salaries.
       
      California’s problems started with slashing property taxes for people and companies who held their property a long time.  You could have neighboring houses, one paying taxes based on its value in 1975 and the next based on its value in 2010.  Then that benefit was allowed to be passed down to their kids.
       
      Then every time the economy generates a surplus in tax revenues, they didn’t stick it away for a recession, they called another tax break.  So in good times, tax breaks.  Then during a recession you certainly don’t want to put taxes back again.  Of course the state is strangling.  Adding to that is the 2/3 vote required to make a budget, so both the cut-services faction and the raise-taxes faction can block any compromise.
       
      California is a fundamentally rich state.   It’s sad what’s happening to it because demagogues convinced people that government doesn’t have to cost anything.
       
      Oh, the NYC crew should absolutely pay damages out of their pocket.  Insurance exists to protect against accidents, not criminal recklessness.  There are limits to public agency’s duty to defend their employees.
       
      The video is better than a police report.  A police report is just hearsay and isn’t admissible in court; it’s good for locating witnesses but you still have to get the witnesses to come to the trial.
       
       

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      When talking about private sector versus public-sector pay, it’s important to remember which level of employees are being discussed. Because this is one subject where both sides are correct.

      Among lower-level employees, the pay AND the benefits are better in the government sector than in the private sector. In particular, health care and pension benefits in the government sector are far more lavish than what is available in the private sector for this level of employee.

      Among top management, the reverse is true. The pay is better in the private sector – usually A LOT better, particularly if the person is working for a large corporation.

      And can we please stop repeating the myth that Proposition 13 is behind California’s budgetary woes? The idea that Proposition 13 stopped California from raising taxes is nonsense. The state has the sixth highest tax burden in the nation. It has a very progressive and high income tax. It has high businesses taxes. Looking at the state’s history using rational standards of judgment, California has not been reluctant to raise taxes.  

      If anything, California is Exhibit A for the folly of the public voting itself generous benefits – or allowing government to increase spending – and expecting someone else (“the rich”) to pay for them. Remember California the next time someone suggests that any level of goverment – local, state or federal – pay for lavish new programs, and then suggest that only “the rich” pay for them. Doesn’t work in the long run…

      The state clearly has a spending problem, not a revenue problem. It spends lavishly on welfare and wages and benefits for public employees.

      Do Proposition 13 critics believe that California should have the HIGHEST tax burden in the nation? That spot is occupied by New Jersey, another state that is a fiscal basket case. So it looks as though higher taxes are not the answer.

  • avatar
    Stingray

    No riots? well it was snowing, I guess that “chilled” people.
     
     

  • avatar
    Hank

    Criminal charges?  It’s NY.  They’ll get a pension higher than your paycheck, and for life.

    • 0 avatar
      caljn

      Hank…good for them!  Of course you exaggerate but don’t you wish you had the foresight to be a NYC employee?
      Or would you prefer to stick to your ideology, elect conservatives and enjoy stalled income levels since the Reagan administration?

    • 0 avatar
      MikeAR

      Conservatives like Bloomberg, Schumer, Obama? Damn you need to grow up and open your eyes. It’s your party’s fault not conservatives.

    • 0 avatar

      Hank…good for them!  Of course you exaggerate but don’t you wish you had the foresight to be a NYC employee?
      Or would you prefer to stick to your ideology, elect conservatives and enjoy stalled income levels since the Reagan administration?
      So, pray tell, just where will the money come from when everyone is working for the government?
      As for having foresight, why would someone want the foresight to be a leech?
      Finally, please explain how wealth is created.

    • 0 avatar
      windswords

      I’ve been in the work force since the Reagan administration. My income hasn’t been stagnant. Perhaps you are in the wrong line of work?

  • avatar
    Brock_Landers

    That snowplow was all-wheel-drive. It should have been able to drive out of there on its own. But the driver only managed to create snow angels between the cars :D

  • avatar
    mpresley

    Come on.  It’s NYC.  It’s just a fender-bender.

  • avatar
    M 1

    According to CNN, the truck that was damaged is also a city truck.
     
    That doesn’t make it any less stupid, but it does make it less criminal. I suppose.
     
    Also — I’m from the other half of the country — but don’t snowbound cities have some kind of “get out of jail free” law that excuses damages caused by snow clearing or snow plows or some such nonsense? Or is that only if you’re parked on the wrong side of the road on posted days?

    • 0 avatar
      Ian Anderson

      I live in the suburbs of Philadelphia so it’s a different story, but the three townships and one borough that make up Levittown want all the cars GONE off the roads when it snows. In the rare case a car gets hit on the street it’s someone driving after the plows came, but if a plow were to hit you the municipality would at least try to work with your insurance after their hands were no longer buried in snow. Except Bristol Township, they don’t know what a snow plow is.

  • avatar
    Jeff Waingrow

    I spent several decades in NYC before moving to more tranquil locales, but I can assure today’s posters, especially the government worker slammers, that NYC is an equal opportunity abuser venue. It’s the culture there. It’s frequently frantic, rough, anonymous and even heartless. It’s not the people per se. After all, people are people. But the environment doesn’t always bring out the best in the citizenry, shall we say. In contrast, I’ve lived in a few small town since then, and as expected, the people are much more cordial and calm. And why not? Things are much less stressful. But here’s the point. The people who work for the towns have been uniformly teriffic. They mostly work hard, are responsive, and are just getting paid a half-way decent wage. None of them live high. And I guess you’d call these government workers too, no? So to all the angry ones out there who are constantly castigating these government workers as if they were some foreign tribe, are these not your teachers, emergency workers, cops, firemen and others who we take so much for granted? And are you constant critics so superb in your daily work that you could stand up to your own withering criticism? And would you have gone into those burning buildings on 9/11?  

    • 0 avatar

      None of them live high. And I guess you’d call these government workers too, no?
      Public employees, at all government levels in the US, average higher salaries and benefits than comparable workers in the private sector. It’s the cost of public employee salaries and pensions that are bankrupting states like California.

      So to all the angry ones out there who are constantly castigating these government workers as if they were some foreign tribe, are these not your teachers, emergency workers, cops, firemen and others who we take so much for granted?
      You mean the Parks & Rec employee who called me a “motherf*cker” when I dared to suggest that having two city employees driving around a park doing nothing (well, the city manager told me that if they find something amiss, like broken glass on the pathways, the park “rangers” don’t clean it up, they report it to another city department) was somewhat wasteful?
      You mean the cop who violated my First Amendment rights when I showed up at a city council meeting to complain about said “motherf*cker” incident?
      You mean the city officials who told me that I could praise public employees at a city council meeting but I could not criticize them?
      You mean the two cops who came to my business and helped customers rip me off for $130 worth of labor that I didn’t get paid for? The ones who tried to intimidate me about not having a business license even though city ordinances specifically exempt my business? The ones who get indignant when non-cops remind them that they work for the public?
      And are you constant critics so superb in your daily work that you could stand up to your own withering criticism?
      No, but I am ultimately accountable to my customers. If I do a bad job, they won’t be back to do more business with me, or I might not get paid for the work. What similar accountability is there for public employees?
      And would you have gone into those burning buildings on 9/11?
      Ah, the ultimate trump card: all public employees are either super smart scientists at the CDC in Atlanta or are completely selfless cops willing to rush into burning buildings. So how come there were all those suspicious arson fires in Flint right after the mayor laid off some firefighters? How come cops are the first to use scare tactics on taxpayers when budgets need to be cut? How come police unions have gone to court to establish that their members have no legal obligation to protect us?
      BTW, when you carry on about the first responders on 9/11, stop for a second to consider the police officers who abandoned New Orleans during Katrina and participated in the looting.

    • 0 avatar
      MattPete


      You mean like the private waste disposal service that didn’t pick up the garbage in our neighborhood for a week (we have 2 pickups + 1 recycling)?  Since they pretty much had a monopoly, we were powerless.
       
      You mean like the contractor that never finished patching the hole in my ceiling after they removed the whole-house fan?  Good-luck getting him back to finish the job! (my wife screwed-up and paid him for what he had done up to that point).
       
      You mean like the local realestate-mafia, aka REIC, aka Realtors (™), that won’t show FSBOs because they won’t get their 6% shake-down?
       
      You mean like the private defense contractors driving around in new Maseratis?
       
      You mean like the taxi-driver who picked me up at the Dayton airport and didn’t know where the Dayton Crowne Plaza hotel was?  Hint: it’s the big hotel in a tiny downtown, and it’s the only Crowne Plaza within 50 miles.
       
      You seem to think that all government is evil and all free-market is good.  You seem to use a lot of Randian terms, but like most (and much to her frustration), you seem to completely miss the point.  Free market isn’t inherently good.  It’s inherently neutral.
       
      Do you have problems with our socialized military?  They are government workers, no?

    • 0 avatar

      Do you have problems with our socialized military?  They are government workers, no?
       
      Can you distinguish between legitimate constitutionally mandated roles of the federal gov’t, like the military or post office, and boondoggles like the Department of Education? Are all government workers equally vital to society?
       
      Are you forced to use any of those private sector incompetents? If they fail to meet your expectations, you can hire others (well, with the exception of military contractors).
       
      This is rich. Here we have a perfect example of unaccountable public employees doing things that would get you and me arrested (vandalism, destruction of private property) or subject to civil lawsuit, yet there are no shortage of those who defend the leeches.
       
      I’d trust a capitalist with my children’s lives before I’d trust Andy Stern.

    • 0 avatar
      MattPete


      The constitution is a moot point.  As a Libertarian, I care more about principle than the Constitution, which has historically been a flawed document (e.g. slavery). I don’t care whether a government service is part of the Constitution or not. Furthermore, the Constitutionality of a government service is completely orthogonal as to whether the workers are efficient or not.
      The point is that you are blindly brushing large swaths with the same brush, as if working for the government immediately causes people to grow fangs and become lazy cretins.  I’ve met plenty of lazy private-sector workers — ask my wife sometime about their subcontractor who got far enough into the project to make it nearly impossible to start over with a new contractor before revealing that they were completely incompetent buffoons.  Heck, why is Dilbert so funning?  It’s because many of us have had to work with completely incompetent and ineffectual individuals and have been thrown into situations that are so absurd you’d think you’re in the Twilight Zone.  And this is in the private sector.
      I’ve also meant government workers, fed and military scientists, that were effective, efficient, and ethical (if a bit insular), and the type of chaps you’d want working for you, if not your government (I’ve also met some military officers that make you want to bang your head).  Through these different experiences over the past 10 years, I’ve learned that the paint-brush of government worker as a lazy slob with a huge pension is nonsense.  I’ve also learned that after everything averages out, private industry really isn’t that more efficient, they just do different things.  Heck, I even learned that the phrase “good enough for government work” is misused more often than not and refers to excellence (i.e. mil-spec).
      I may not be for big government, but if I’m going to make an argument against big government, it is going to be based on principles, not propaganda.  Taking the low-road is not the way to convince people in the long run.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      MattPete: You mean like the private waste disposal service that didn’t pick up the garbage in our neighborhood for a week (we have 2 pickups + 1 recycling)?  Since they pretty much had a monopoly, we were powerless.

      This particular company has a monopoly because the local goverment contracted with that company, and forced every who lives there to use its services. That’s a goverment-granted monopoly, which isn’t that much different from a government-run service. It hardly represents a failure of the free market, or is a reflection of the normal service provided by private companies. It’s another example of government interference in the free market.  

      You can argue that government can do this because it wants everyone to recycle, and doesn’t want dozens of recycling trucks from different companies clogging the streets at all times, but don’t use this as an example of the service provided by a privately owned company in a competitive marketplace, because the government contract removes the threat of competition.
       
      MattPete: You mean like the contractor that never finished patching the hole in my ceiling after they removed the whole-house fan?  Good-luck getting him back to finish the job! (my wife screwed-up and paid him for what he had done up to that point).

      You can sue him in small claims court, and I assume that he is not the only contractor in town. Bad of word of mouth on your part can kill his business over the long haul (that works for large corporations, too – look at what happened to GM). This incentive would not exist if he worked for the government, or had the government-sanctioned monopoly on home-repair business in your town. 

      Given your experience, I doubt that he will be in business for long. 
       
      MattPete: You mean like the local realestate-mafia, aka REIC, aka Realtors (™), that won’t show FSBOs because they won’t get their 6% shake-down?

      So? I’ve seen ads for FSBOs in our local paper, and, if I were interested in the house, could have gone there myself and spoken with the owner and arranged a sale. You don’t need a realtor to do that. A subscription to the local paper for its real estate section is what you need here.

      A realtor is in business for him- or herself (people often forget that). Why should he or she take time to show you a house if there is ultimately no benefit to him or her? Do you work for free on a regular basis?
       
      MattPete: You mean like the private defense contractors driving around in new Maseratis?

      Again, another example of government in action. The company may be private, but it depends on government largesse to survive. Please learn that government-sanctioned monopolies and exclusive government contracts with one company really don’t operate all that differently from government-run services. Your examples – the defense contractor, the recycling crew – don’t quite prove what you think that they do.  

      MattPete: You mean like the taxi-driver who picked me up at the Dayton airport and didn’t know where the Dayton Crowne Plaza hotel was?  Hint: it’s the big hotel in a tiny downtown, and it’s the only Crowne Plaza within 50 miles.

      I googled “Dayton Taxi Cab service” and came up with several companies, and customer ratings of said companies. Perhaps you needed to do this prior to your trip if this was such a  concern to you. Or perhaps you were competing on The Amazing Race, and didn’t have time to check out the various taxi companies serving the Dayton Airport?

      You seem to be under the mistaken impression that all private companies are good. This is not true. No one is claiming this. What people are saying is that government-run services, or companies with government-granted monopolies, are less responsive to consumer needs and concerns, because they don’t have to worry about competition. They can maintain their monopoly by currying favor with the right officials. They don’t have much incentive to improve service. This is true and has been proven many times.

      A private company without lucrative government contracts that repeatedly fails to satisfy a customer will go out of business. Well, unless it can convince the government to bail it out for whatever reason.

      MattPete: The constitution is a moot point.

      No, it’s not. It’s the guiding set of principles for the federal government, and the federal government’s relationship with the state governments.

      MattPete: As a Libertarian, I care more about principle than the Constitution, which has historically been a flawed document (e.g. slavery). I don’t care whether a government service is part of the Constitution or not.

      Given your confusion over government-sanctioned monopolies and government contracts, and the idea that they can be used as a representation of how the free market doesn’t always work, I’m not quite sure that you really understand what being a libertarian really means. No true libertarian cares “more about the principle than the Constitution.” If they are unhappy with a provision of the Constitution, they will suggest an amendment.

      Libertarians also understand that slavery was regrettably common throughout the world in the late 1700s (the United States didn’t invent slavery), and has no bearing on whether we should disregard the Constitution today.

    • 0 avatar
      MattPete


      Geeber: no, the garbage company was not contracted by the local government.  In fact, my cheques go straight to the garbage company.  But when there is no accountability and no competition, you get bad service.  Sure, anyone is free to start their own company and compete, but that is hypothetical, and doesn’t do a damned bit of good if no one does it.  The argument was that all government is bad and all free market is good.  This is a case where private industry is behaving poorly (actually, the best garbage collection I ever had was in Lawrence, KS, and was run by the city).a
       
      FSBOs and REIC: Yes, if you are a buyer, you could go and arrange the sale personally.  But what if you are selling?  You are effectively locked out of the market by the Realtor (™) mafia.  So you can talk about theoretical competition, but that’s not how the real world works.
       
      The Constitution is still a moot point. It’s a living document and can be changed.  A true Libertarian cares more about principles and liberties than the Constitution.  Constitutionalists often confuse the point and don’t grasp was libertarianism is all about.
       
      You’ll also notice that none of my examples (except for the defense contractor) are government sanctioned monopolies or government contracts.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      MattPete: Geeber: no, the garbage company was not contracted by the local government.  In fact, my cheques go straight to the garbage company. 

      Just because your check is sent to the garbage company instead of the local government doesn’t mean that it hasn’t been granted a contract by the local government. Until very recently, in Pennsylvania, we were required to take service from a specified electric utility because we lived in a particular area. We sent the monthly payment to the private power company, but it had still been granted a monopoly in that area by the government (in this case, state government, not local government).

      MattPete: But when there is no accountability and no competition, you get bad service. 

      No one is denying that one. 

      MattPete: Sure, anyone is free to start their own company and compete, but that is hypothetical, and doesn’t do a damned bit of good if no one does it.  The argument was that all government is bad and all free market is good. 

      I don’t believe that all government is bad. Some services private industry has no real interest in providing, so it’s logical that government steps in and provides the service. Private industry, for example, has no interest in providing mail service for six days a week to all areas, no matter how remote, without charging rural areas a premium. 

      But let’s not deny that, in the absence of competitive pressures, any monopoly – whether it consists of a private company that manages to corner a particular market, a private company granted an exclusive government contract, or a government-run service – has much less incentive to be responsive to customer needs and complaints.

      MattPete: Sure, anyone is free to start their own company and compete, but that is hypothetical, and doesn’t do a damned bit of good if no one does it.  The argument was that all government is bad and all free market is good.

      If they aren’t doing it, either there is a government-sanctioned monopoly for recycling collection, or there simply isn’t enough demand for competitors to enter the market. Much as Ford doesn’t face much competition for the Panther-body cars, because there isn’t enough demand for old-school, body-on-frame, rear-wheel-drive cars to warrant Toyota, or GM or Honda to develop an entry.
       
      MattPete: FSBOs and REIC: Yes, if you are a buyer, you could go and arrange the sale personally.  But what if you are selling?  You are effectively locked out of the market by the Realtor (™) mafia.  So you can talk about theoretical competition, but that’s not how the real world works.

      If you are selling, you can take an ad out in the local paper in the real estate section. Our local paper’s real estate guide has an entire subsection devoted to FSBOs. That is how we found one house we were interested in – which had sold by the time we looked at it. 
       

    • 0 avatar
      MattPete


      Geeber: It’s Fairfax, and no it’s not an exclusive contract, as there are others (the company was AAA).  So, yes, I know what I’m talking about, and no, you don’t.
       
      As for the FSBOs, your point is purely academic.  Sure, I could take out an ad in The Thrifty Nickle, but it’s the Realtors (™) that control the MLS, and that’s what everyone looks through these days, whether the front-end is Redfin, Zillow, or Homesdatabase.  Yes, some of those list FSBOs, but not all of them, and it isn’t consistent.
       
      When I sold my house at the top of the market (and got out before my neighbors), I used a Realtor, not because they added value — not any more than mafia protection money provides value — but because they set up a situation where I had to.  I undercut my neighbors and got out at a great time, so I did have a happy ending.  But had I tried to price my place even lower — say, um, 6% lower — and went FSBO, my house would not have sold that summer.  Why?  Because my market would have shrunk to those buyers without buyers’ agents.  That is, none of the buyers’ agents would have ever shown my house to their clients because it was a FSBO.  You can talk about hypotheticals and theoreticals, but this is how it is on the ground, and unfortunately, we have a system that is stacked against the individual.  So much for market efficiency.

  • avatar
    bolhuijo

    Allow me to present “what could’a happened” (please read in a NY accent):
    Lookit dis guy!  He got his tractor stuck and now he ain’t movin’ because he might dent dat car again!  Dey can’t get nothin’ in there to pull him out in the right direction, so dey’s just stuck.  Geez, are you kiddin’ me?  HEY, you already gots to pay to fix dat car, so just do what you gotta do and get busy clearin’ the street!  Dis here’s a snow emergency!  Leave a note and moves on!

  • avatar
    foolish

    The lack of skill (the complete incompetence?) shown by the drivers of the tow truck and the loader is pretty shocking, but really, the need to clear the roads takes some level of precedence over the need to not scratch the Explorer.
    That’s what insurance is for.

    • 0 avatar
      dswilly

      I think that extraction was more complicated than it looks.  Two large vehicles (neither with chains it seems)  on slippery surfaces attached to each other, one trying to “move the other on said slippery surface – not always easy. Granted they could have been more careful and taken the time, but if the street clearing issue in NYC is making national news I bet they had a busy day ahead and getting that end-loader out was priority so they could get on to other things.  Also, just because the end-loader was 4WD means nothing, it needs chains to be effective in that weather, I’m betting they pulled it from another department because of strained snow removal resources.

    • 0 avatar
      YotaCarFan

      The tow truck driver must have been auditioning for the role of Sparky Griswald in European Vacation II.  This guy is better than Chevy Chase.
      While the need to clear the roads is important, if the workers had spent another 5 minutes to reposition the tow truck to pull the front end loader sideways or rearward, the SUV would have been spared.  The existence of insurance does not absolve people of their responsibility to respect others’ property and to exercise due care when performing their jobs.  Also, the Explorer sustained more than a “scratch” – the rear window was smashed, the bumper was torn off, rear body panels were dented and possibly punctured, and the roof may have sustained damage when bumped with the shovel.

    • 0 avatar
      TEXN3

      Agreed…I can’t count how many vehicles I’ve seen sideswipped by plows or the force of the snow being plowed. In many mountain-west cities, you’re not supposed to park on the street. If you do and the plow comes by…it’s not their fault you couldn’t read the sign. Insurance will take care of it.

      I’ve seen Bentley Continental with Illinois plates, in Park City, Utah, get creamed near the main drag, no one could really care about the owner because he didn’t pay attention.

      Vehicles can be fixed. It’s not the action that bothers me, it’s how the action was handled after.

    • 0 avatar
      Roundel

      I have to agree with the posters above me. That thing looked beyond stuck and it badly needed to be not stuck. Call insurance… move on.
      For some reason New Yorkers think its a god given right for them to park on a public street allowing only a single lane for traffic to get by, and sometimes not enough for a plow to get down.
      Throw in the fact that people were out driving when they shouldn’t have been (cabbies in RWD Crown Vics especially) means that abandoned vehicles are also blocking the way.
      Add to this that its a city, and there is literally no place to dump snow outside of the rivers.
      Also add that it was a holiday where lots of workers were on vacation, and it was hard to get private contractors in
      And what do you have:
      The mess we have now. Of course New Yorkers are complaining…. they think thats a god given right as well.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    If it was me operating that loader or tow truck, I would’ve said “Hey lady, your SUV just dropped in value”.

  • avatar
    Jeff Waingrow

    bolhuijo:

    I’m afraid you are  a bit parochial on matters of spech in NYC. Currently, there are scores of different accents to encounter there, but the one you mimic is the one you’d least likely meet up with. Actually, I don’t believe I’ve heard this speech pattern out in the country at large either, but I’ve certainly observed grammar this bad in many places as well as wretched spelling and a profound lack of knowledge on an endless number of subjects. Should I also mention the common inability to form whole sentences (let alone coherent paragraphs)? Maybe go check your local high school’s SAT scores and see what the students are accomplishing. Possibly you’d find more material for your humorous parodies much closer to home.

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    The Union Makes Us Strong
     

  • avatar
    ott

    …Left, Bob, go left! That’s it… Now you’ve got it…

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    Caljn….I desire neither your forgiveness nor your condescension….your points make no sense and you contradict yourself. 

    Yes, the two are mutually exclusive….like the nazi at head of the line of in Dachau, the bureaucrat will evaluate who can continue to be of value to the state, and who will be “sacrificed”….companies have accountants which make analysis, but they also have to respond to the needs of customers…that is the way of the market.  If the analysts make recommmendations which hurt the customers, the customers will go elsewhere for better service.  Bureaucrats can’t be fired.  Your case logic is specious and not well thought out.

    But have a nice day in your liberal dreamworld.  After all, Liberalism is wonderful until it victimizes YOU!

  • avatar
    brettc

    Well, it was just an Exploder, so no big loss if it gets totaled by a front-end loader.
     
    I was watching NY1 this morning (Time Warner carries it in Maine, I guess because they can) and was amazed at how 20″ of snow can paralyze a city like that. I realize it was a lot of snow, but you’d think NYC would be better prepared. But apparently all the budget cuts aren’t helping anything. It’s also weird to see garbage trucks with snow plows attached to them. No such thing exists in Southern Maine.

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    Also, CALJN…re your point about gov’t workers….when I was groing up, gov’t workers were the C students in college who couldn’t get jobs in the real world.  Wouldn’d condescend to say boneheads, but….you chose to. 

    There are many government workers who I am sure do wonderful jobs.  But in my experience, there are more who just don’t give a damn about others, know they have job security and union security so they can’t be fired, and just treat people like shyte….

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Criminal charges? Jail time? Why tie up the courts and increase the tax burden? If these were children that tested ‘mentally challenged’, we’d take away the sharp instruments. In this case, you just take away the keys to the heavy equipment, hand them a snow shovel, call it a day.

  • avatar
    tallnikita

    Yawn, a complete non-story.  Rather, let’s look at all the CUVs left in the middle of the streets because the owners realized they can’t drive in skeeeery snow, which precluded any street cleaning on those streets.  Or all other streets in “less fortunate” neighbourhoods where the DOS did not even plan to clean – they are just waiting for 51F on Sunday.  This storm was a complete Fail by NYC DOS, but that particular incident ain’t no big deal, mon.

    • 0 avatar
      windswords

      The difference is this: If a plow is going down a street (city worker “doing his job”) and your vehicle gets sideswiped by the plow, that is your tough luck. You should have parked elsewhere. This front end loader was stuck (probably due to the incompetence of its operator) and they wrecked another car just to pull it out. That is not a city worker “doing his job”. That’s destruction of property and reckless carelessness. The two are not comparable. If the Explorer were left in the middle of the street, then yes, woe to the owner (but really, in that case the city would have towed the Ford, fined the owner and charged him impound and towing fees, why wreck a car when you can make a profit off it?), but this was not the case.

  • avatar
    GS650G

    Yes but the city cracks down on sugar, fat and smoking to great success.
     Don’t expect an apology, you might want to try a lawyer and wait a few years for a settlement.

  • avatar
    panzerfaust

    What is becoming fairly obvious is that NYC was not ready for this.  The payloader should have had chains on, even with all wheel articulated drive you can get hung up on a patch of snow covered ice. The guy shouting from the window was right, just get some chains, and put them on before you try to pull this loader out.  Even when you have competent drivers running your plows these things will happen, but these were not competent operators.  Given how much this snow removal is costing the city, this fender bender is chump change, the owners of the private vehicles will submit a request for re-imbursment for their damages, and the city will pay up.  The snow removal drivers will get a slap on the wrist and that will be that.  Suing the city would probably cost more than what can be gained.

  • avatar
    chris724

    I watched that whole video waiting for a vehicle to be destroyed or demolished, but it never happened.

    • 0 avatar
      redrum

      No kidding.  Some slight damage to the truck and probably some to the car in front of it.  At least the driver stopped afterward, and I would hardly call it intentional.  It was collateral damage from trying to free a (much needed) snow plow.  I have no idea why people are getting hysterical over it here.

  • avatar
    VanillaDude

    Manhattan is a small island with a large Central Park and some small squares with grass. That’s it. About 2 million live on it. There is no room for 22″ of snow to be put anywhere, except in either the Hudson on the west side, or the East River. Any snow you move has to be put somewhere, and there isn’t somewhere.

    On garbage days, the garbage is piled onto the sidewalks because there are few alleys.

    There isn’t any room.

    NYC couldn’t be ready for this unless they tarp the entire island. When this snowfall occurred, no one but emergency vehicles should have been permitted on the streets. Manhattanites have access to anywhere on Earth without having to drive.

    Mayor Bloomberg should be authorized to announce a no-car day in emergencies like this. That would free up a lot of frustration in the City knowing that no one would be allowed to drive until the snow emergency ended.

    Importantly, NYC needed to get the subways rolling and they are having problems there too. That is a much bigger problem than plowing streets. City busses should be allowed to appear on the roads next. Public transportation first, so everyone can get around by foot.

    The good thing is that this happened during a school break. It happened during a holiday. The next big hurtle is going to get the garbage moved off the Island so that there won’t be unsanitary piles of garbage sitting on top of the two feet of snow.

    • 0 avatar
      panzerfaust

      Your last three sentences are what I mean by being ready, in that there wasn’t a plan such as a no car day, prioritizing of plowing the snow routes for emergency vehicles, getting the public transportation moving, and having an advisor nearby to make sure the Mayor does not tell the citizenry to go to a broadway play and don’t panic.  Any city big or small that expects to have snowfall has to have a step by step plan that is communicated thoroughly so that the residents understand what is going on and what to expect.  NYC isn’t the only city that has to truck snow off the streets in order to clear them, NYC isn’t the only city that has to have the garbage hauled away daily rain, snow or shine, this is basic stuff, and the sort of thing that we pay our civil servants to plan for in July, not December.

    • 0 avatar
      redrum

      In any city big or small that expects to have snowfall has to have a step by step plan that is communicated thoroughly so that the residents understand what is going on.

      It wasn’t just “snowfall”, it was 20 inches in less than a day.  New York City averages 28 inches of snow PER YEAR and has around 9 million residents.  This obviously overwhelmed whatever response plan they had in place.

    • 0 avatar
      panzerfaust

      This is no different than any other severe weather circumstance that can hit a large metro area.  NYC undoubtedly has plans in case the system is overwhelmed by a terrorist attack, but they don’t know what to do when the system is overwhelmed by 20″ of snow?  This is a New Orleans level fail on the part of the city administration. 

    • 0 avatar
      Steve65

      Redrum, you seem to be implying that a blizzard was an unpredictable anomaly for NYC. That strikes me as a tad disingenuous. They may not be routine, but they’re hardly once in a century freaks either. If they didn’t have a plan in place for dealing with one, they failed to do their jobs.
       
      Googling “east coast blizzard” make sit clear that this sort of thing happens at least as often as a major earthquake happens in California.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    And people wonder why residents flee to the suburbs.

  • avatar
    mekanik

    Wow, total lack of skill on the loader operators part.. As I have run both loader and the wrecker (for private firms) using the loader with bucket the proper method is to always scrape to pavement as you proceed bottom to top (so you don’t loose traction) pile gets to big ..Stop! And stockpile in smaller piles. Looking at the video, operator (fool) planted it in 2’~3′ (I been in 5′, never got stuck like that!) had room to place bucket with edge to the ground, using reverse and rotate bucket at the same time pushing machine backward to the street center. Wrecker operator was obviously to lazy to park truck further down and use the Winch.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    With all the City worker bashing going on, I’m surprised nobody brought up another possible scenario…Mayor Bloomberg has hired a man named Stpehen Goldsmith as his Deputy Mayor.  This man is a hatchet wielder in the same mold as “Neutron” Jack Welch.  Welch destroyed thousands of middle class families during his tenure at General Electric.  Goldsmith wants to fire as many City workers as possible and replace them with private companies.  No doubt some of the B&B are raising a glass of Dom P to that.  Anyway, over 400 sanitation workers were fired in Goldsith’s pledge to “Do More With Less”.  Many others were demoted and sent out into the street where they started their careers.  New York City has had storms of this magnitude before, and the response was much better.  Anybody care to connect the dots?…

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      Given that the source of this claim is from union leadership itself, I’d say that it’s pretty much worthless.

      Municipal unions are notorious for pushing for the most number of employees possible – much as the UAW did with GM, Ford and Chrysler. It was proven in the early 2000s that Toyota could build the same number of cars as GM with 1/3 the number of workers – and with higher quality to boot.

      The union’s goal, of course, is more employees, which translates into more electoral clout and more union dues.

      There is no proof that “more workers” leads to better quality or better service. 

    • 0 avatar
      thetaII

      Someone, it appears, has indeed ‘connected the dots\':
      http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/sanit_filthy_snow_slow_mo_qH57MZwC53QKOJlekSSDJK

  • avatar
    Jeff Waingrow

    Dec. 30th postscript in NY Times: Very interesting article on front web page that, while raising many questions, seems to explain some of the failures that led to the big blizzard fumble. As might be expected, some difficulties stem from misteps long in the making while others appear to be simple cases of poor judgment. Bloomberg doesn’t help matters with his imperious manner, but it seems he’s been humbled big-time by this signal failure. Finally, the government vs. private enterprise debate comes up here in curious and counterintuitive ways.

  • avatar
    brandloyalty

    I think the drivers of the tow truck and loader may have been in a sort of low-level panic frame of mind, where getting the loader unstuck asap overrode all other considerations.   I know when I’ve gotten stuck in an awkward place, not all of my actions were entirely rational.
     
    This doesn’t excuse them though.  People shouldn’t be operating such heavy equipment if they can’t keep their wits about them.
     
    The thing that amazes me even more are the more nasty comments here, and even more so on YouTube. Amazing.  How can society function rationally when people so easily go bananas.


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