Manhattan Institute for Policy Research.
search  
 
Subscribe   Subscribe   MI on Facebook Find us on Twitter Find us on Instagram      
 
 
   
 
     
 

New York Post

 

When The Candidates Say 'Neigh'

July 15, 2013

By Nicole Gelinas

A horse is a horse — except in the mayoral race. Should Central Park horse-carriage drivers be able to keep plying their trade? It should be a non-issue — yet many candidates have staked out clear positions.

Consider it a “tell”: A candidate who opposes the carriage horses is inadvertently showing that he doesn’t care about small business, is easily spooked by powerful interests, can’t be bothered to learn the facts before taking a position — or all three.

Of the Dems, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio says: “It’s time to ban horse carriages,” replacing them with electrified vintage cars. Ex-Comptroller Bill Thompson supports a “one-year study” of the cars ahead of “phasing out” the horses. Comptroller John Liu supports a pilot vintage-car program.

Republican Joe Lhota wants to “replace [the horses] with battery-operated motorized carriages.”

Why?

The anti-horse crowd is a potent force. Real-estate developers, parkside dwellers, people who want to make money off electric cars and animal-rights advocates have organized themselves through New Yorkers for Clean, Livable, and Safe Streets, or NY-Class.

And NY-Class plays hardball.

This election, fewer than half a dozen officers and supporters have given more than $90,000 to mayoral and City Council candidates. Steve Nislick of Edison Properties has made the maximum $4,950 donation to de Blasio and to ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner.

They’re savvy about ground-level stuff, too. NY-Class held its own mayoral forum this spring, getting most Dems and GOP contender John Catsimatidis to show.

The anti-horse platform has four planks — all nonsense or scary or both.

One: “inhumanity” to horses. “At the end of the day, the horses return to their tiny stalls” on the West Side, NY-Class says, with no space “to lie down or to move about.”

Nope. At a 2010 City Council hearing, the ASPCA couldn’t provide a shred of evidence of mistreatment. Despite the city’s unannounced inspections of stables that house the city’s 202 carriage horses, the ASPCA’s best example of a violation was “a haystack too high.”

A tour of a stable with 72 horses showed horses munching in their ample stalls or . . . lying down. The horses amble over to be patted.

As for working conditions, one industry veterinarian told the hearing, “They’re draft horses. They were bred for this job.” The horses get five weeks’ country vacation, and they can’t go out in 90-degree heat or work more than nine hours a day.

Two: “quality-of-life issues.” Horses poop. Any candidate who comes out against the horses for this reason should logically have to say he’d shut down hot-dog carts (smoke and grease), Starbucks (plastic domes that clog litter baskets), street fairs and parades, too.

Three: “The industry’s lack of economic development and revenue-enhancing abilities.”

Demolishing the horses’ houses “would free up around 150,000 square feet of prime real estate,” bringing in “$2 million in tax revenue,” NY-Class’s then-director said in 2010.

The stables are private property. “Freeing” someone else’s land by outlawing an industry is dangerous.

A couple of City Council folk were annoyed, too, that the industry is so well-behaved that it doesn’t bring in much revenue in fines.

Four: traffic congestion and safety for humans.

No carriage driver or passenger (or pedestrian) has been killed in modern history (two horses have died in crashes in seven years, one because a drummer startled her into a pole).

Why don’t car-versus-horse crashes kill people? Because cars and trucks go slow near Central Park. (In Amish country, people die every year in buggy crashes because of high speeds in rural areas.)

And why do cars and trucks go slow there? The horses are in the way. Take away the horses, and traffic will go faster — and kill people.

Plus, the “vintage cars” that would replace the carriages would be powerful vehicles — endangering pedestrians and cyclists.

Most alarming is the anti-horse folks’ dismissal of people’s careers.

More than 300 families depend on the carriage trade. Driving a hired car through Central Park would be a less specialized skill (a cabby who goes around in a circle).

Which candidate is brave enough to stare down the anti-horse crowd?

Only one: City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who boycotted the debate and even refunded campaign cash from Nislick.

(Catsimatidis wants to house the horses in the park, a concession that earned him no points at the debate. Weiner didn’t respond to a request for comment.)

Quinn has suffered for her stance. NY-Class supporters have bought ads slamming her on unrelated issues. And they call her an “animal hater.”

On this test of doing the right thing even though it means lost money and votes, only Quinn has passed.

Original Source: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/when_the_candidates_say_neigh_JaN8RCT0m1YnLMBTDUsZNO

 

 
PRINTER FRIENDLY
 
LATEST FROM OUR SCHOLARS

5 Reasons Janet Yellen Shouldn’t Focus On Income Inequality
Diana Furchtgott-Roth, 10-20-14

Why The Comptroller Race Matters
Nicole Gelinas, 10-20-14

Obama Should Have Picked “Ebola Czar” With Public-Health Experience
Paul Howard, 10-18-14

Success Of Parent Trigger Is Unclear­—Just As Foes Want
Ben Boychuk, 10-18-14

On Obamacare's Second Birthday, Whither The HSA?
Paul Howard, 10-16-14

You Can Repeal Obamacare And Keep Kentucky's Insurance Exchange
Avik Roy, 10-15-14

Are Private Exchanges The Future Of Health Insurance?
Yevgeniy Feyman, 10-15-14

This Nobel Prize-Worthy Economist Figured Out How To Destroy Terrorism
Diana Furchtgott-Roth, 10-15-14

 
 
 

The Manhattan Institute, a 501(c)(3), is a think tank whose mission is to develop and disseminate new ideas
that foster greater economic choice and individual responsibility.

Copyright © 2014 Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, Inc. All rights reserved.

52 Vanderbilt Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10017
phone (212) 599-7000 / fax (212) 599-3494