By the time this is being read, New York’s voters would have done their civic duty and, unless all the pollsters for the mayoral race came out of the 2012 Romney camp, Bill De Blasio would have been elected the next mayor. It obviously requires no great leap of faith, even before the voting, to direct to De Blasio, as incoming mayor, a few primarily quality-of-life concerns that, though not markedly diminishing the city’s cachet would, if addressed, fill us with that wee bit greater pride in this place we love.
One of our beefs had a fatefully dramatic prelude a few weeks ago, that being the absolute horror that unfolded on the West Side Highway involving some motor cycle riders. It was, Mr. Mayor, somewhat of a blessing in disguise that we were presented with this opportunity to lower the boom, within the confines of the city, on the kind of “stone age” behavior some bikers have shown themselves capable of. Make no mistake; that tendency to chest-thumping excess is not activity restricted only to major roadways on the outskirts.
We think, Mr. Mayor, that there is justifiable need for a law being put on the books, which imposes strict limits on what’s permissible for motor cycle riders in New York. And we wouldn’t mind at all if the curbs included one on the ear-splitting blasts produced when bikers “rev up” engines, seemingly for no other reason than announcing a conspicuous presence. This puerile ritual projects bravado, blares “untouchable.” As was admirably enacted in the city with respect to availability and possession of firearms (thank you, Mayor Bloomberg), the biker culture should be made to deal with a zero-tolerance monitoring of its conduct on our roads.
There are millions of fans of motor cycles, we know, and that’s fine. Our problem is with the transitioning to some “other” self that evidently overtakes many bikers, as best we can tell, especially when clustered in gangs, clubs, what-have-you. It must be that the “Wyatt Earp Syndrome,” as a “Police Story” episode on TV years ago aptly labeled it, or some variation thereof, kicks in once all the “road warrior” trappings are in place. Whereupon law-and-order boundaries become much less defined and outrageous happenings are the likely upshot. The fact that video of the West Side Highway fracas got quickly posted on the net, courtesy one of the bikers, probably gives as strong a sense as we could have of a beyond-the-law mentality seeping into the psyche of clustered bikers. All of which makes the case for our nominating Mayor De Blasio as chief advocate for changing the city’s biker ground rules.
Staying on the road-menace front, we think there’s a high-decibel problem in the city, certain areas notoriously so, that should be looked into, lest it becomes well-nigh unbearable. There supposedly are noise pollution guidelines in existence but we frankly often have cause to wonder how well are they enforced. We welcome the reassuring presence of first responders’ sirens – police, fire, ambulance and the rest. But we definitely have an issue with those who add unnecessarily to the noise levels…like the jokers who think playing music for an entire neighborhood from their vehicle as they ride around, is cool. We feel confident in suggesting that the folks guilty of this practice aren’t of the rational-dialogue ilk. Only serious law enforcement measures will get this selfish abuse under control. Another zero-tolerance situation, for sure.
Mr. Mayor, while we generally appreciate the solid job done by the New York City police and the direction it’s been given by Commissioner Ray Kelly, we are in total agreement with your take, that a new commissioner should be installed. As good as he has been, Kelly can’t be serious when denying that there’s been racial profiling in the execution of the “stop and frisk” policy. Look, we’re not going to suddenly put on blinders here. And it would necessitate a certain retreat from reality to refute that crime in the black and brown communities contributes substantially to the city’s overall statistics. If preventive measures have been introduced, which have been effective in stemming the tide a bit, the black and brown communities, where are to be found so many victims of anti-social behavior, willingly join in applauding those tactics.
Because a program has in large part delivered on its stated objectives doesn’t negate that there could also be much about it that’s none too wholesome. Kelly and Mayor Bloomberg appear to be so fixated on what “stop and frisk” has done that is positive, their arbitrary rejection of there legitimately being another side of that coin extends even to the ludicrous statement that the racial profiling claim is without merit. What’s required of you and your new commissioner, Mr. Mayor, is balance. We’ll be all the better for your ability to acknowledge failings, even alongside what looks to be a success.
And that’s why so many people were apparently caught up in the buoyancy that fueled your campaign. The recurring theme of making sure “everyone has a shot” may not in fact come to be, after the real deal is well under way. But there was no denying the spirit-lifting potential of your appeal. We’re betting it did wonders for the underdog in this town who, with good reason, thinks he’s been pretty much hung out to dry for a while now.