Thursday, February 3, 2011

Only Time Will Tell

The week that ends tomorrow has not been one of earth-shattering events.  But a few things happened in NYC in the last couple of days that may have long-range significance. Only time will tell.

This week Mayor Bloomberg announced sweeping proposals to the city's pension system. In short, it will require city workers to serve more years, establish fixed retirement ages, prevent "double-dipping" or people working lots of overtime in their last year to qualify for bigger pensions, and require new city employees to contribute to their pensions. This could dramatically affect the kinds of people who will police our streets, teach in our schools, pick up our trash, helps us in emergencies, and take care of the city. Will city services benefit or suffer from these changes? Only time will tell.

Yesterday the city council voted to extend the city's smoking ban to the city's beaches and parks. Now people lighting up in these recreational areas will get fined. Will it add more money to the city's coffers while saving lives or will it be a failure? Only time will tell.

And the war over Walmart continues, with battle lines forming over whether to let the big-box retailer into our city. Will NYC remain a Walmart-free bastion or will it finally be conquered, forever destroying the small businesses this city thrives on? Only time will tell.

Then, whaddya know, Yankee Andy Pettite decides to retire. Will this hurt or improve the Yankees' future World Series chances? Only time will tell.

Finally, Governor Cuomo submitted his first budget that cuts huge amounts of money that goes to state services that help the city. In a message to accompany the budget, he declares: "Our state is at a crossroads.  After years of overtaxing and overspending, we are at the fiscal brink.  We can continue down our current road to financial ruin or we can take a new course – a road to recovery." Will this be a road to recovery or the road to ruin? Only time will tell.

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