Thursday, December 13, 2007

Simcha Rules

Hon. Simcha Felder
Enforces Oral Rule
He Promulgated

"A funny thing happened to me on the way to the studio.." That was the way radio comedians began their routines fifty or sixty years ago. That stock opener was resurrected in 1962 in the title of a Broadway play, "A funny thing happened on the way to the Forum". The play was set in ancient Rome. It was directed by George Abbott, who died at 107, and produced by Harold Prince, who is now a young 79. Well, a funny thing happened to me at the City Council recently (Dec 5). A hearing had been scheduled by the Government Operations Committee of the Council on the subject of Council Members' lulus and outside employment.

The hearing was held to keep a commitment made at the Council meeting on November 15, 2006, thirteen months ago, when they increased their own salaries by 25 percent (to a minimum of $112,500, with over eight-ninths of the body receiving additional stipends, ranging from $4,000 to $28,500, for leadership roles or the burden of chairing committees or subcommittees). The raises were retroactive to November 1.

Requiring some time to prepare a written statement for the hearing (which I learned about that morning from Citizens Union), being familiar with how long hearings take and the way they are supposed to be conducted, and having to travel from our midtown office, I arrived at the hearing at about 11 a.m.


  1. Wrong. Great harm was done to you as a citizen. Don't be so nice to dopes.


  2. Not trivial. It is at the heart of every damn things wrong in the current state of Washington, Albany and City Hall.


  3. Henry,

    Do you really think it matters at all? Just a bunch of slackers feeding on the public Tit. Don't feel too bad, remember; rule # 51L: Losers hang out together

  4. You should not leave Felder's outrageous proposal of a $1,000.00 fine for feeding pigeons and the appointment of a "pigeon Czar" out of this. It similarly reflects:

    1) a lack of financial reasonableness from a man who wishes to run for comptroller;
    2) an obsession with the letter of the law (as opposed to looking at the real problem, which with feeding pigeons is enforcement of the present $100.00 fine);
    3) perhaps extreme behavior in seeking publicity or wielding power.

    It's too bad; he (unlike Dear) actually seems like a nice guy in person and his modification of the city's "routing hours" for dirty sidewalk tickets was a good idea....

  5. Steve3:31 PM


    Could you have closed your thoughtful piece with: And if you would like further clarification regarding this hearing from Councilman Felder or from Council President Quinn you can write to them at the following address: {Room ___whatever the address is}. Pens are even mightier when backed up by swords. Why be a lone swordsman when you have a potential phalanx that could be mobilized?

  6. Anonymous3:33 PM

    It looks like Bush arrogance has spead to the lowly Democrats. I disagree with you - I think it is a big deal - we are so used to being silenced now .................How dare he!

  7. It looks like Bush arrogance has spead to the lowly Democrats. I disagree with you - I think it is a big deal - we are so used to being silenced now .................How dare he!

  8. Well said Star! Bravo! Joe Schmo probably would not thought of speaking with the Sergeant-at-Arms or have been able to articulate this carefully honed argument.

  9. suzanne3:36 PM

    Henry – this is absolutely outrageous and I’m so glad you took the time to document it for your readership. I can hardly believe this – it’s not trivial at all. So what is Christine Quinn’s response? This man is CRAZY – and he wants to run for Controller? I’m sure you’ll keep this article handy to re-send at such time as he enters a campaign.

    Happy holidays, Henry. Your column not only educates the rest of us – it gives you a chance to vent J best, suzanne

  10. I respecfully differ on one point. This is an outrage. It one among many, so that we grow too weary to feel outraged. Please, do not become worn down, who else will inspire us?

  11. Henry,

    Great column, but you are wrong about one thing: the "sequence of events reported here" is indeed an outrage, not only foolish. It is the fuel that allows this irresponsible and uncontrollable legislative body to ride roughshod over the rights (and the taxes) of ordinary New Yorkers. If these representatives didn't matter so little, we would be a lot more upset.

    Continue doing the Lord's work,

  12. Starquest,

    I am more outraged than you by their behavior. Many come late and speak and no one ever adheres to time rules. You should talk to Christine Quinn about this.

  13. Henry having testified a time or two before legislative bodies-bd of
    estimate,city council,ny assembly,state senate,etc...Ihave to
    smile.I sometimes had to wait for 2 hours over my scheduled time because
    of the continued diversions caused by members..The
    last time I testified about my suggestions for the use of Governors
    island -short term ,long term -with funds -without funds
    etc. I waited 2 hours....only 2 members were left ---including the member
    who asked me to study this!!!The members of the
    council are not the same of course but the worst of them give term limits
    a reason for being....

  14. Expeditors working at the Department of Buildings, show up early in the morning, put their brief cases in a line on the floor, and go back to the office or home, probably to get in a few more winks. Then, they show up when they figure their brief case is close to the front of the line, and go about their DOB business. Or, at least that's how, I understand, it used to work. Your plight begs for the institution of a legislative version of a Felder expeditor. You or your expeditor could punch in during the requisite 15-20 minute window period, and show up close to your actual show time. A new industry is born.

  15. Martin3:44 PM

    well, as you would say. here's Rule #6R...when you visit an insane asylum
    you to expect some nuts...
    Hope you're well.

  16. HS,

    What a wonderful column. Dov, Noach, and now Simcha. Each neighborhood seems to elect the same types, in some areas without regard to party.

    May I have a copy of your testimony, or, at least, a link to it?

  17. Sharon3:45 PM

    Dear Henry: It is good that you did this. One has to keep up the oversight, no matter in what clothing....Sharon