Thursday, April 26, 2007

Mr. Bloomberg Goes Green

Well, he hasn't precisely done so yet. But if he does, you'll certainly notice. He has this habit of leaving the lights on all night in city buildings, even those that haven't opened yet. This is an odd revelation, particularly since Mr. Bloomberg just chided New Yorkers to pay 8 bucks for the privilege of driving through Manhattan.

Personally, I'd pay 8 bucks not to drive through Manhattan. Are you one of those people who, upon hearing there's a water shortage, leaves the shower on all night to test whether or not it's actually true? No? Then why on earth did you select this mayor?

The Education Department paid $172,000 in the most recent fiscal year for lighting, elevators, air conditioning and heating for the Court St. building.

If the department stopped running its lights at night, it would potentially save a third of that cost, or about $57,000 a year. The city could hire one new teacher at the average starting salary of $42,512 or two new cops at $25,000 each.

The still-vacant courthouse in the Bronx required $78,000 of electricity in February, said Paul Bergdorf, a spokesman for the state Dormitory Authority, which is constructing the courthouse for the city.

The city is paying for the building costs, including the electricity. Turning the lights off at night in February could have saved city taxpayers as much as $26,000.

Wow. Maybe we ought to take care of those things before we charge Queens residents 8 bucks to go to Manhattan. And maybe we should try hiring good teachers, reducing class sizes, and constructing decent facilities for the city's 1.1 million schoolchildren before we engage in draconian privatization schemes.

Or maybe we should just continue to ignore common sense and hope for the best.

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