Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Who Listens To The Public At Public Hearings?

Did Anyone Say They Wanted Higher Fares/Tolls From The MTA, Or A Rate Hike From LIPA?

We must have missed the testimony offered by John Q. Public to the effect that the 4% increase in LIRR fares is a good thing, or that another 2% tacked on to our electric bills is fine by us.

Was there anyone who testified at the so-called public hearings held by the MTA, or before the LIPA Board of Trustees, who spoke in favor of these increases?

And tell us again what happened to the MTA's enormous surplus and LIPA's "massive reserve funds."

What's the point?

Forget that the hearings are held at inconvenient times and venues, at least for anyone who works for a living.

Nobody pays the least bit of attention to what the public has to say, anyway.

In fact, the public has all but been taken out of the equation when it comes to paying for the mismanagement at the MTA or the golden parachutes at LIPA.

When the State of New York held budget hearings recently, we were told that the opportunity to speak was already "closed out," this before anyone in the public arena knew that the State was holding hearings and town meetings in the first place. [And by the way, here's the testimony from the Long Island town meeting of November 30th -- You know, the one you weren't given the opportunity to speak at.]

They might as well have their fingers in their ears, humming incessently, for all the good our testimony will do.

Where's the oversight? Isn't anybody watching the pot?

Public hearings -- even the good old "town meeting," the bedrock of democracy -- have become no more than farce played out on the public stage, at the public's expense.

If you are fortunate enough to be among the favored few -- the special interests and the monied elite -- you're likely to get a word in edgewise.

As for anyone else who just may have something to say about budgets, taxes, fare hikes, and utility bill surcharges, you have no say here -- sit down, shut up, and just keep paying!

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