If you ever got the feeling that MTA board members think they are above us lowly subway riders, literally and figuratively, that feeling was strengthened by the recent actions of board member Charles Moerdler.
On Friday, May 11th, Moerdler illegally parked his Mercedes on East 44th Street outside of the Cornell Club. When the club’s assistant manager told Moerdler he couldn’t park there, the board member lashed out.
“You see this?” Moerdler bellowed, waving an MTA parking placard. “You’re lucky I’m only going to be here for just an hour or so!”
He then blithely left the Mercedes for several hours in this illegal hotel loading zone, according to the NY Daily News. “The arrogance of this man just killed me,” assistant club manager Craig Lasnier told the paper.
Board members can only use these police-issues permits when on official business, which Moerdler wasn’t. But of course, there is a deeper problem here.
Have you ever gone on the MTA board web site? Check the photos and bios. Does this look like New York to you?
This collection of corporate and real estate lawyers, with an occasional hack ex-politician (I’m talking to you, David Patterson) thrown in, represent the concerns of average citizens as much as our present Congress does. Which means not at all. Patterson replaced board member/socialite Nancy Shevall, who after attending precious few board meetings ran off to England with ex-Beatle Paul McCartney.
But I digress. What makes the MTA board constantly show contempt for us real New Yorkers? Is it these parking passes? Is it because most get around the city in luxury cars, limos or taxis, with very few deigning to join us peasants on the subway?
All of the above and more. To get a clue about how some board members see subway riders, one only has to look at Moerdler’s comments last month on getting a special prosecutor for subway crime. The courts should be “assisting us in incarcerating this garbage,” sniffed Moerdler.
This garbage. Hey, I want to prosecute subway wrongdoers as much as anyone, but do I detect a whiff of an attitude here? Wonder if he refers to crony Wall Street fraudsters as “garbage” as well. I have my doubts.
There’s a way to quickly end this arrogance, and I’ve advocated it from my very first blog post on September 12, 2010 (MTA Board: Come on Down): “If you want to serve on the MTA board, you must be required to get around town by subway or bus like the rest of us when in New York City. Board members who refuse this stipulation, who think they are too busy or important to ride public transportation, can hit the road back to the upscale suburban communities in which most of them reside.”
Only then will creeps like Moerdler stop believing they have carte blanche to block our streets and loading zones with impunity, and finally understand the issues millions of New Yorkers face on the transit system they are supposed to regulate.
Anyone have any problem with that, beside our current, out-of-touch MTA board?