Sunday, August 17, 2008

No Seat-Of-The-Pants Driver

NYC Transit fired a driver who refused to wear pants or culottes at work. Tahita Jenkins, 35, claims she couldn’t wear them for religious reasons (Weren't job applicants told of a "dress code" prior to employment?). The MTA thinks it’s a matter of safety for drivers; male or female. Ms. Jenkins pastor from the Holy Ghost Headquarters Prayer Band Mission of New Beginning Deliverance Church wrote a note on her behalf. It confirmed her deep religious conviction and long-standing aversion to pants. Now, Ms. Jenkins is suing New York City for reinstatement. The case will be reviewed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Religious discrimination should never be tolerated in any form or forum. However, freedom of religion shouldn’t mean that employers must accommodate the religious principles of everybody’s religion. What would an employer do for example if two employees had religious principles which opposed one another? How can the employer defer to one without offending the other? Can't be done. There are times when an individual must decide if their religious beliefs prohibit them from working where a job's requirements are contrary to those beliefs. If that’s the case, and the regulations aren’t intentionally discriminatory, it might be best to pray for divine guidance ... to find a more suitable position elsewhere.

Subways Will Be Sub-Par For Some Time

NYC Transit President Howard Roberts Jr. spoke the train truth. It’s something all transit riders know but didn’t want to hear from an MTA official. Even with increased ridership in 2008 and two projected fare hikes over the next three years, there won’t be enough money to fix the subway’s maintenance and service problems. In fact, serious problems are very likely to get much worse. New York City has 468 train stations. Less than 25% are considered “acceptable” (probably a lot less than that) by MTA standards. Roberts claims his predecessors cut cleaning and maintenance services which exacerbated the problems. For example, we’re down to one cleaner patrolling five stations. Safety inspections are conducted every 72 hours instead of every 24 hours as before. The list of health and safety concerns stretches longer than an eight car train! The 3rd rail of the situation is this. The health and safety of riders is threatened every time they ride. Current thinking and approaches will probably never make a meaningful difference to correct these conditions. New people and new innovative ideas must be introduced NOW to fix the problems. Who can lead us from this gloomy and dangerous tunnel we’re in?

Foreclosures Building In Big Apple

Compared to July 2007, foreclosures are up 67% citywide (215%-Staten Island, 81%-Queens, 63%-Brooklyn, 16%-The Bronx and 7.6%-Manhattan). So far in 2008, the total number of homes lost in NYC is 2,216. Despite the losses, New York City is still doing better than most large cities in the U.S. With only a 30% homeowner base, New York City is somewhat fortunate during these tough economic times. Things might be worse here if fewer people rented. Many experts agree that many current foreclosures were often caused by overly-lenient mortgage companies who approved overly-enthusiastic home buyers. Buyers took chances and gambled with adjustable rates on their interest payments. Some lost. Whatever the reasons, it’s hoped that the economy will improve soon. Those in power should initiate reasonable measures to help our home-owning neighbors now. Also, they must act to prevent future lenders and buyers from falling into the same mortgage traps again.