The City, State, and MTA
by Anthony Stasi
Oct 14, 2015 | 16150 views | 0 0 comments | 884 884 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Now that city and state leadership have agreed on the numbers regarding the capital plan for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), the big question is where does that capital get directed?

Mayor Bill de Blasio dragged through these negotiations until he got some guarantees that the city would get the funding, as opposed to it being spread out all over the state. Did this come after the mayor took that subway trip earlier this year and expressed surprise at the slow pace of our mechanical underworld?

Perhaps, but whatever the reason, it appears that City Hall has a deal that works for city commuters.

As a lifelong commuter, the amount of re-routing and delays just seems more common today. People will argue that any increased funding should go toward reducing fares. While fares are raised too often, the reality is that $2.75 is still not a lot of money to get to almost anyplace in the city.

If this deal helps revamp some of our old track, keeps cars and platforms clean, and addresses delays, that would be welcome news for the bridge-and-tunnel crowd. As it stands now, there seems to be too much track work delaying too many trains, especially on weekends. If another billion dollars can address this adequately, it needs to happen.

Time To Take K2 Seriously

Any debate about the legalization, or decriminalization, of marijuana is fair game. There is no question, however, that the synthetic form of this drug, also known as K2, has to be taken out of circulation.

It is a bootleg type of marijuana that is made of chemicals that are not easily detected in drug tests, and it is spreading throughout the city. State Senator Jeffrey Klein has introduced a bill making the sale and manufacture of this drug illegal.

The substances that make up K2 are an amalgam of chemicals that traditionally do not constitute what we count as narcotics. Combined, however, these chemicals become a dangerous drug.

The City Council passed its own version of this ban, and it is now the state’s turn to take serious action. The penalties need to be strict on this because of the impact that this drug is having.

Law enforcement points to kids being the easiest victims of the drug, and the colorful packaging suggests it as well. But the drug lands in the hands of very poor adults as well.

In fact, people who are often on some form of public assistance sometimes have the most exposure to it. If we want people on the streets to get clean, the streets need to be clean.

At the risk of appearing to split hairs on an important topic such as drug use, there is a big difference between natural marijuana and synthetic marijuana. While neither is good for a person, the chemical-based K2 will do damage to a person far beyond the effects that come with natural cannabis.

If it looks as though policy makers are giving mixed messages by loosening laws regarding marijuana sentencing while amping up the fight against K2, they are not These are different circumstances.

Right now laws are more focused on regular marijuana because of the tricky chemical content of K2, but that is going to change.

A Word (Actually 85) on My Column

I have had the luxury of occupying this same spot in this paper since 2008. I have recently taken a position in government that will make my coverage of politics more difficult. For this reason, I will be discontinuing my column. I will express this again next week, but one thing I cannot express enough is my thanks to Walter and Tammy Sanchez, Shane Miller, and The Queens Ledger family. I also thank – and will miss – the readers. More on this next week. Thank you.

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