Nanny State

15th September
2008

First Published in The New York Sun, September 15, 2008

By Andrew Wolf

Michael Phelps, the Olympic champion, is understandably trying to capitalize on his remarkable athletic achievements. In reality, there is little money to be made from swimming. There are no pro swim teams, or other professional competition for which he could be compensated.

So in time-honored tradition, Mr. Phelps is seeking his fortune through endorsements. Last month he delivered endorsements for Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes and McDonalds Restaurants. He might as well have endorsed firearms for toddlers or condoms for six-year-olds, such was the venom and antagonism of the backlash.

(more…)

24th March
2008

First Published in  The New York Sun, March 24, 2008

By Andrew Wolf

Last week, I spent a half hour debating with Transportation Commissioner Jannette Sadik-Khan over the issue of congestion pricing. Ms. Sadik-Khan came to my Bronx office to pitch her case to the editorial board of the Bronx Press and Riverdale Review newspapers, which I publish.

I have come to the conclusion that congestion pricing is bad public policy for the city. For the vast majority of New Yorkers, those of us in the outer boroughs and upper Manhattan, having an automobile is a defining point of entry into the middle class. Owning a car is a liberating experience - yes, many trips are best made by mass transit, but simply knowing that there is an alternative, one that opens up every corner of the city and beyond, is invigorating. Should we close off to those in poverty today that to which they, too, aspire?

(more…)

7th March
2008

First Published in The New York Sun, March 7, 2008

By Andrew Wolf

We’re coming into the home stretch on Mayor Bloomberg’s “Congestion Pricing” tax plan. The City Council and the state Legislature need to pass or reject this proposal by the end of March, the deadline for coming up with a plan that will enable the city to obtain several hundred millions of federal dollars to help get the scheme underway.

This is money on which we would be well advised to pass, funds that will move us in the wrong direction as we plan for our city’s future.

(more…)

3rd February
2008

First Published in The New York Sun, February 3, 2008

By Andrew Wolf

Mayor Bloomberg, with the connivance of Council Speaker Quinn, has proposed permitting the addition of 1,500 vendors to city streets. These vendors have long been a source of contention. In some cases they so crowd certain streets that they become a public nuisance, which is the rationale for having government regulate them.

Those who sell the same wares in conventional stores hate the street vendors with particular passion. After all, who wants a competitor opening up right in front of his door, a competitor not burdened with paying rent, an electric bill, or even, in some instances, taxes?

(more…)

14th September
2007

First Published in The New York Sun, September 14, 2007

By Andrew Wolf

Most students in New York City returned to school last week. No matter what type of school they attend the biggest change they have seen in recent years is not in the classroom, where more often than not teachers follow the same failed methodologies that, over recent years, have brought American instruction to its present sorry state.

Nor are the changes in school governance of much significance to their young lives. The most common mistake public policy types make is equating educational reform with structural change. Experience suggests that rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic will not change the outcome.

(more…)

24th August
2007

First published in The New York Sun, August 24, 2007

By Andrew Wolf

Members of the City Council, that intrepid band of public servants hell-bent on finding the most intrusive ways of interfering in the lives of the rest of us, have a new cause. They seek to ban smoking in private automobiles when a child is present.

The question to me is not whether children need protection in this case, but at what point our private space begins and ends, and for what reasons society will tolerate the breaching of that space.

(more…)

Tags:
9th March
2007

First Published in The New York Sun, March 9, 2007

By Andrew Wolf

There is a war going on, and New York is, once again, the front line. I’m referring not to the war on terror, but rather to the war on your right to decide for yourself what you eat.

The enemy here is not lurking in Afghanistan but right here in New York’s City Hall. The question is whether we will allow our mayor and City Council to do more damage to our freedom and our city’s economy that even Al Qaeda managed on September 11, 2001. (more…)

5th February
2007

First Published in The New York Sun, February 5, 2007

By Andrew Wolf

This is Fashion Week, when designers come here to exhibit their fall lines. I am celebrating the news that Punxsutawney Phil failed to see his shadow, which bolsters my hopes of donning my spring wardrobe a bit earlier this year.

Now that I think about it, my spring wardrobe is not much different from my winter and fall wardrobes. Jeans, corduroy sports coat (put away in the closet for summer), blue oxford shirt, no tie, and brown penny loafers. For me, this outfit has been pretty much it for the past forty years. (more…)

1st December
2006

First Published in The New York Sun, December 1, 2006

By Andrew Wolf

Mayor Bloomberg and Speaker Quinn have come up with a plan to name a food policy “tsar.” Just what we need.

Not content to wait until the tsar is crowned, Council Member Alan Gerson threatened to get a head start on things by introducing a ban on the sale of foie gras here in Gotham. His proposal will be used as the opening wedge by animal rights activists ultimately to ban the sale of meat. (more…)

16th October
2006

First Published in The New York Sun, October 16, 2006

By Andrew Wolf

This week we gained a glimpse of the two Michael Bloombergs. One is the level-headed mayor who decries the headline-grabbing politicos who seize on every accident and misfortune, and respects the rights of individuals to choose for themselves whether they want to engage in behavior that may be risky. The other is Nanny Bloomberg, who wants to make sure that all of us are insulated from even the most innocent temptations — even french fries.

When the private plane piloted by Yankee pitcher Cory Lidle smashed into an Upper East Side high rise, Gotham’s politicos rose in a rare show of bipartisanship to call for the East River to be turned into a “no-fly zone.” I fully expect the legislature to quickly pass some kind of bill that would come to be known as “Cory’s Law,” to protect future ballplayers from flying into high-rise buildings. (more…)

Previous