Saturday, June 4, 2011

Dan Halloran Should be Censured

Some of you might remember the big day-after-Christmas snowstorm last year that resulted in a botched response from the city's Sanitation Department. The speed and coordination of getting out the snowplows was piss-poor, with many neighborhoods (like mine!) going days without being plowed. Streets and cars were buried under, resulting in people not being able to get around the city, people dying because EMTs couldn't get to them on time, and lots of people (like me again) not being able to go to work. It was fecacta, a real mess, and it made the Bloomberg administration look foolish.

The porcine Republican councilman from Queens began burning up the media (too bad it couldn't have melted the snow), claiming that two supervisors from the Sanitation department had approached him, saying that fellow sanitation employees were intentionally screwing up the snow removal in order to get back at our anti-union mayor. Halloran said he had evidence! It was an outrage!

Problem: it was a lie.

The Department of Investigations has just released a report saying that Dan Halloran in fact had no evidence and, after interviewing 150 people (150!), they could find no evidence whatsoever of an organized slowdown. This was all much ado about nothing.  The real culprit was the awful job that our awful Sanitation commissioner (who still has his job) did -- not the department employees. 

Think about it: a city councilman smears a department in the media and then sets city and federal prosecutors into a wild goose-chase chase, wasting their time, money and resources into investigating a crime that never happened. 

This is the real outrage.

Please understand the subtext of this whole situation: in NYC and around the country, the Republican party and the organized right-wing are doing everything that they can to destroy unions. You saw it recently in Wisconsin where the Republican governor and legislature stripped union workers of their collective bargaining rights. You see this here, where state unions are being forced into giving big concessions while the rich aren't being forced into paying any more taxes. Republicans like Halloran have been smearing union workers for years, trying to paint them as overpaid, under-worked parasites who aren't any good at their jobs anyway and who will hurt the public when they selfishly don't get their way. Halloran used this snowstorm crises as an excuse to further smear union workers and make himself a Republican party star. 

What a twerp.  

Dan Halloran is a lair, a fraud and a disgrace to the city council. I really hope (but won't hold my breath) that his colleagues on the city council will vote to censure him. All politicians engage in political nonsense and lie. All politicians smear their opponents and the groups that support him. But Halloran crossed the line: he forced the already overworked DAs and Department of Investigations employees into spending tax payer money on investigating something that he knew was untrue -- all for cynical, selfish political reasons. This kind of conduct should not be tolerated by his fellow council members -- and they should make it clear that it won't be.

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