UN-CHARTERED WATERS

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In the end, the biggest story in the 200-page final report from the Charter Revision Commission was probably that the epic struggles over mayoral succession were shelved for another day.

But much more entertaining than the changes the commission proposed are the ones it rejected, and the public and political commentary from those who addressed Randy Mastro and his mates. For example, Councilmember Stephen DiBrienza “believes that August is the most undemocratic month to hold hearings.” And, unsurprisingly, Council Member Ronnie Eldridge “believes the commission is composed of friends and colleagues of the mayor.”

The public commentary is even more interesting, providing rare insight into the deepest fears and ideals of civic-minded New Yorkers. Some choice excerpts:

“There should be more public toilets.”
“The word ‘taxpayer’ should be changed to ‘member of the public’ in all parts of the charter.”
“Marijuana should be decriminalized.”
“The Parks Commissioner should be responsible for all trees in ‘public spaces.’ More trees should be planted and more attention be paid to the kinds of trees planted to prevent rampant spread of disease.”
Perhaps the most elusive suggestion: that the charter require “the management of street architecture, peddlers and cafes should recognize the evolution of neighborhoods.”