Public Hearing in Brooklyn Gets Rowdy

“After an hour and a half of speakers, the audience chanted for a student to speak. Upon taking the podium, a high school female was grabbed by a security guard and pushed to the wall. The hearing drew hundreds of protesters angry over plans to eliminate two subway lines and dozens of local and express bus routes.

Some bus riders who spoke with NY1 before the meeting said the cuts will make it harder to get around, especially on the weekends.

“A lot of our express buses on the weekends won’t be available and waiting now for the B16 is affected quite a bit, these lines we take,” said one Bay Ridge resident.

“I have a cane so it’s hard to get around. They keep saying that the trains go the same as the buses, but there’s no handicap access, so we’re very concerned and they talk about raising fares at the same time if they even keep the lines,” said another.

Meanwhile, a similar meeting was held Wednesday night in the Bronx where straphangers expressed similar concerns.

The MTA says the cuts are necessary to help close a nearly 800 million dollar budget gap.”

Read the full article with video here


1 Response to “Public Hearing in Brooklyn Gets Rowdy”

  1. March 5, 2010 at 6:21 pm

    Post this?

    NYC: Four Arrested at Public Farce of an MTA Hearing

    At 6pm on Wednesday, March 3rd, the Metro Transit Authority (MTA) of New York City held a public hearing at the Brooklyn Museum. The unspoken punch line of these events is that the searing, controversial issues to be brought up – service cuts, fare hikes, and the revoking of student metrocards, for instance – have already been officially decided on. The events themselves are formalities; spaces for people to relieve their stress verbally, to vent at a table of silent board members and then go home to the knowledge that no one was really paying attention.

    To add insult to injury, as procedure, politicians always speak first. Members of the city council and senate are given priority at the mic over workers, students, parents, the real public. The list of registered speakers is weighted by salary. The booing, then, wasn’t reserved only for the MTA board members on the stage – including Mark Page, whose interest in the people he’s helping to screw over is so sincere that he actually slept through most of the event, a nap interrupted only by shouting from the crowd. The audience was tired of hearing from politician after politician, representative after representative, and eventually booed them as well, demanding for the students themselves to be allowed to speak.

    We heard from a few real people. They told their stories, they berated the MTA puppets in front of them, they even called for takeovers, strikes, acknowledgments of a war that was already being waged against them.

    When one bold woman walked up and took the mic “out of turn”, she was interrupted by the “moderator” on stage, and assaulted and pushed away by plainclothes cops, even as the entire crowd screamed for her to be allowed to speak. Even as the person whose turn it actually was said that she would give her a minute of her time. The board members’ precious ears were so violently defended that what happened next was a blur of the audience’s anger becoming material. As the room erupted in noise and motion, four people – including the woman who had tried to take the mic – were dragged out and arrested.

    All four were taken to the 78th precinct and charged with Disorderly Conduct, Resisting Arrest, and one initial count of Incitement to Riot which was dropped to Obstructing Governmental Administration at arraignment. The judge dismissed a stuttering rookie prosecutor’s pathetic attempt to extract $700 bail each for two of the arrestees based on (partially fabricated) prior riot charges and released three of the defendants on their own recognizance. The fourth was transferred to a different precinct on an outstanding warrant; he is expected to be arraigned Friday night.

    Surprisingly, the extensive media coverage in New York City has been almost sympathetic to the defendants – it seems that the audience that night were no more alone in their frustration about the speakers policy than they were in their anger at the MTA in general. The fact is that the Transit board has no friends in this city, and their opponents don’t need anyone in a suit to speak empty protests for them.

    Fuck the MTA. Be the crisis. Jump the turnstile.

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