In the room women come and go
Speaking of Bill DeBlasio.
New York City’s new mayor can’t seem to catch a break. After sternly initiating a new “zero-tolerance” war on pedestrian fatalities, which his police department kicked off by issuing a flood of jaywalking tickets to bewildered offenders, he was blindsided by a CBS News camera crew that filmed his chauffeur-driven car rolling through stop signs and traveling more than 20 MPH over posted speed limits. This Mr. DeBlasio dismissed by saying his driver and the “Police Department” were responsible for his official transportation, but this did not suffice to explain film of the mayor walking several times across intersections against the light.
It’s a small thing, but in New York, where jaywalking is considered as much a right as winning the World Series, citizens are understandably dismayed by this “blame the victims” approach, and even more understandably puzzled when the mayor brusquely disregards his own dicta.
Many rushed to defend the mayor, citing “gotcha” journalism. In a wonderfully backward-arching attempt to justify the mayor’s nonchalant approach to personal traffic safety, The New York Times published a lengthy article cataloguing transgressions of his predecessors. Former Mayor Bloomberg, for example, claimed to go to work by subway, but, the Times reported, sometimes took an official car to a subway stop a dozen blocks from his residence before embarking on the train to City Hall. This, we note, could be considered mildly deceptive, but is not to our knowledge a violation of city laws or speed limits.
The mayor himself had little time for questions on this topic from the media, storming out of a press conference called to discuss other weightier topics when reporters continued to pester him about his traveling protocols. The mayor may be forgiven, however, for his pique. His time is precious, and not be spent idling at stop signs or pausing at crosswalks. We should understand this, and not waste it pestering him about things that we may misunderstand. These are small questions about small matters, and the mayor, as we are often reminded, is a big man.