Tag Archives: New York City

Stealing Via The Government

Public Housing

If you want something but would rather not pay for it you can:

  1.  Hope that someone will give it to you.
  2. Elect politicians who will pass laws that gives it to you.

Granted, that’s the cynical take on the process but it does present what is occurring economically.  Consider housing:

The authority, landlord to more than 400,000 residents, has a backlog of about 350,000 repair orders. It also has a waiting list of 160,000 families.

The reason for this phenomena?  Greedy landlords or slum lords?  Hardly:

The eight projects, with a combined population of more than 25,000 people, are Alfred E. Smith, Baruch, Campos Plaza, Fiorello LaGuardia and Meltzer in Lower Manhattan; Carver and Washington on the Upper East Side; and Douglass on the Upper West Side.

Public housing all.

It’s simply economics.  When land is restricted by public use zoning laws, the price of real estate in general goes up.  And when the rent charged is limited by laws attempting to break the laws of economics, the quality of available housing goes down.  Represented her by budget shortfalls, backlogs of repairs and waiting lists.

The only natural remedy?

But soon, that patch of asphalt at the Alfred E. Smith Houses could be replaced by market-rate apartment buildings.

The New York City Housing Authority, facing one of the most serious financial shortfalls in its history, is for the first time making a major push to lease open land on the grounds of its housing projects to developers to generate revenue.

The authority wants to raise more than $50 million a year on long-term leases for parks, courtyards, parking lots, playgrounds and other property, seeking to address a $6 billion backlog of repairs.

The only thing that makes sense; open the land available to market forces and raise revenues.

Judge Halts New York City’s Soda Ban


With not one single day of legal training and not enough interest to even read the reviews of books that discuss law, I have a idea of what I think should and should not be.

I think the Constitution was meant to limit what the federal government may do.  Further, it lists several things that it CAN do.  And every thing else is relegated to the states.

Therefore, I think that the feds cannot regulate firearms but states, counties and cities may.  It’s why I think that schools should be more locally run and funded and why things like alcohol, speed limits and hunting should be left to the states.

Now, to those local governing bodies.  I’m pretty sure that they can legislate freely.  Zoning laws preventing high rise apartments?  Go for it.  Wanna ban alcohol in the county?  Sure.  No hunting on Sunday?  Fine.

Bad ideas all, but certainly doable.

Which, when I consider the soda ban in New York, sums up my feelings regarding that law:

Stupid but legal.

Imagine my surprise when I saw this:

A judge invalidated New York City’s limits on large sugary drinks on Monday, one day before they were to go into effect, dealing a significant blow to one of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s signature public health initiatives and a marquee project of his third term.

The decision by Justice Milton A. Tingling Jr. of State Supreme Court in Manhattan blocks the city from putting the rules into effect or enforcing them.

I like the idea of bad ideas not being implemented, but I want that to be done in a legal manner.  I’m pretty sure that the city of New York can regulate soda in anyway they see fit.  But the judge doesn’t see it that way:

Justice Tingling said the rule banning the drinks was “arbitrary and capricious.”

In his opinion, Justice Tingling specifically cited a perceived inequity in the soda rules, which applies to only certain sugared drinks — beverages with a high milk content, for instance, would be exempt — and would apply only to some food establishments, like restaurants, but not others, like convenience stores.

“It applies to some but not all food establishments in the city,” Justice Tingling wrote. “It excludes other beverages that have significantly higher concentrations of sugar sweeteners and/or calories.”

The judge also wrote that the fact that consumers can receive refills of sodas, as long as the cup size is not larger than 16 ounces, would “defeat and/or serve to gut the purpose the rule.” The judge also appeared to be skeptical of the purview of the city’s Board of Health, which the Bloomberg administration had maintained has broad powers to seek to better the public’s health. That interpretation, the judge wrote, “would leave its authority to define, create, mandate and enforce limited only by its own imagination,” and “create an administrative Leviathan.”

We’ll see how it plays out.  But for now, people in NYC are free to decide to buy a large soda.  And good for them.