New York City residents finally are digging out of a devastating post-Christmas blizzard, aided by unexpectedly warmer weather. But a growing number are sounding as if they want to use their shovels against union snowplow workers and their supervisors. Various news outlets have reported that leaders of the Service Employees-affiliated Sanitation Officers Association ordered their Teamsters-affiliated work crews to slack off as a protest against recent City Department of Sanitation budget cuts and demotions. The apparent work slowdown not only paralyzed traffic, but also led to two deaths and any number of commuters trapped overnight in subway cars. On the hot seat, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has demanded, and is getting, a full investigation. Union leaders deny culpability, insisting fiscal austerity had reduced manpower. But evidence appears to undercut such claims.
By any reasonable standard, Reverend Al Sharpton is the most powerful black civil-rights leader in New York City, if not the entire nation. So why are the finances of his nearly two-decade-old nonprofit organization, National Action Network (NAN), in such apparent shambles? A number of people, including the IRS, a prominent New York accounting firm and the management of Memphis' finest hotel, would like to know. Ironically, the group's troubles, highlighted in a recent investigative report appearing in the New York Post, have occurred despite an infusion of more than $100,000 from a philanthropy driven by one of America's richest men. One dreads to think what the federal deficit would look like today had Sharpton been elected president in 2004.
More than once they’ve been called “the odd couple” of New York City politics.But an investigative report published in the October 25 edition of the Village Voice by Tom Robbins suggests the tight alliance between New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro, politically both Republicans but culturally worlds apart, goes well beyond typical City Hall back-scratching.In fact, the author alleges, it has the blessing of a supporting cast of shady businessmen and local unions.And this partnership has allowed certain elements of the Gambino and other crime families to operate with a freer hand than otherwise.