Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Because This Can't Become the Nick Vertucci Blog

The Mayor just gave another press conference and if I hear the term "illegal strike" one more time, I'm going to scream. Yes, it's illegal. Thank you for pointing that out. But getting in front of cameras and saying the same thing over and over is not solving this problem. I just read an interesting article in City Journal by Nicole Gelinas suggesting the Mayor get the buses running. Maybe it's far-fetched and maybe it's sort of the typical knee-jerk reaction we're seeing these days, where every little thing that goes wrong has to be compared to something else more tragic: Iraq to Vietnam, New Orleans to 9/11, and now maybe, this strike to New Orleans. Or maybe it's that annoying, "Why can't they just _____?" rhetoric that's great for a whiny soundbite but offers no real practical solution in the end.

On the other hand, I found it interesting that I was thinking the same thing as Ms. Gelinas on my walk home from work last night (lucky for me, walking to and from work is the norm as I live a few blocks from the office.) I passed by a stop for those double-decker tour buses and thought, "Why not try to use those buses to move people around?" This morning on "Fox & Friends" Alisyn Camerota was on a double decker bus that picked up a load of people and brought them into the city. (sidenote: she ran an informal poll on the top section of the bus asking if people were angry with the city or the union. Seemed like most people were angry with the city. heh.) Okay, so maybe now I'm saying, "Why can't they just hire some buses or drivers from elsewhere?" when in fact, it might be easier said than done, but after 24 hours of this, who isn't thinking of ways to alleviate some of the pain? Who isn't concerned with what this is costing in revenues with 3 days until Christmas?

Regardless, once again, no one has bothered to take a page from The Ronald Reagan Handbook on Leadership. Does anyone remember the air-traffic controller strike in 1981? They triple-dog dared President Reagan to give them the pink slip and he called their bluff. He was all ready to go with contingency plans and had amassed enough replacement workers in order to avoid a complete disaster. This transit strike is the same -- this wasn't a surprise. There was plenty of time for a backup plan. Except this time, the union called the bluff and struck, and now we're left out in the cold -- literally. I hate to sound cynical and disappointed, but considering it took our current President almost 5 years to implement a key tactic from The Handbook with his excellent address on Sunday night, I really can't expect anyone in New York to do so anytime soon. (Did anyone else feel the Gipper's presence while watching W's address?? Raise your hand if you too were thinking, "It's about time he did this.")

Personally, I can' t wait for the "I Survived the 2005 Transit Strike" t-shirts to show up on street vendor's carts when this whole thing is over and all transit workers get 6-figure salaries, a 2-hour work day with union-mandated 8-hour lunch break, lifetime healthcare and retirement for them and their great-great-great-great grandchildren, and a $40,000 bonus for enduring the hardship of carrying a picket sign.

Bah humbug.

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