There is always something inadvertently funny in the New York Times, Sunday edition. This week, there was a man-bites-dog story on the theme of New York City Leading the way nationally in Politeness. What supposedly setting a new national example with respect to civility consisted of, was first of all, punishing rowdy fans for entering playing fields and disrupting ballgames. Secondly, establishing a $50 fine for cellphones for using a cellphone in a theatre.
And finally, and classically New York, teaching other cities that when you have a problem caused by municipal government’s failures, let George do it! Just pass a law that the victim of vandalism (also, frequently, the victim of rent control) clean up the damage that New York City law enforcement failed to prevent.
When community groups from Toronto to Washington looked for new ways to fight graffiti, they turned to New York, which passed a law in January that makes building owners responsible, for the first time, for cleaning up after the vandals.