Thursday, June 12, 2008

Big Apple Bus-Busters Are A Bust

There are times when getting stuck in a bus might be a good thing. That’s what Homeland Security and some officials here in New York City think anyway. What they're planning for is to reduce the threat of a hostile takeover of a bus by terrorists. They intend to combat terrorists with technology. Here’s how their device works. In the event of trouble, the bus driver hits a panic switch which alerts both the bus company and the device’s manufacturer in Pennsylvania. A device connected to the bus’s computer system automatically relays details about the bus’ location, speed and direction. The dispatcher notifies authorities. Then, they have the option to slow the bus to 5 miles per hour or to turn the engine off without the ability to restart it. Great idea, right? Many private bus companies have already received millions of dollars to install this new, high-tech gadget. Many have. However, NYC Transit is still testing GPS on 155 of their 4,500 bus fleet. They’ve yet to install any of these potentially disaster-saving devices. I guess Transit officials there aren’t too concerned about a terror attack in New York City. Perhaps they were out of town on a bus trip the morning of 9/11. Maybe they haven’t gotten the news headlines from that day yet. High-tech security in buses requires vision. Some had vision of sorts in the 1930's (see picture below). Some have it now. Others don't. Let’s speed things up, Transit guys!

Cops Can Be Stunning Too

Thousands of NYPD sergeants are now being issued Tasers. They’ll wear them on the opposite side on which they carry their gun. These newer model guns are lighter and easier to handle (not shown). Police believe these stun guns can be an effective tool and remedy when dealing with an emotionally disturbed person. Cops received 80,000 calls to deal with that type of situation last year. With that many calls, it’s very likely that these stun guns will be used. It's likely too that they will prevent serious injury and probably save the lives of several menacing, mentally troubled citizens who might otherwise have been shot with a bullet. More than likely too, somewhere along the way, a neighborhood activist will complain about stun gun "use and abuse." It wouldn't shock me at all.

NYC Charity CEO’s Do Real Good

A recent study showed that CEO’s of New York City registered charities make more in salary than charity bosses anywhere else in the country. The median salary here is $169,000 … $15,000 more than second-place execs in San Diego. However, NYC based charities only ranked 5th out of 30 cities in annual fund-raising. So, more pay but fewer dollars collected. Maybe it’s the competition. NYC does have 575 large charities. Maybe it’s the cost of living. Things do cost more here. Or, maybe “our guys” just aren’t as benevolent or as good at their jobs as "their guys.." To learn more, visit

Day-Care Without Careful Screening

Child safety concerns in all five boroughs once again. Most New York City day-care centers and pre-schools are not doing proper pre-employment background checks and not verifying children’s immunization histories. In addition, they’re hiring unqualified teachers and staff. Since last July, the Department of Health has issued 11,000 violations to 2,100 facilities. All types of centers were cited from small operations to well known, established day-care facilities that can cost parents up to $27,000 per year. Widespread irresponsibility and dangers are now out in the open for parents and politicians to see. Let us see who from among these groups will act like responsible adults to better safeguard our children, to punish those who put our kids at risk and to work towards assuring that this won’t happen in the future. We're watching.