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Opinion from the Editors: Monday, December 16

DART to NYCHA, which, for the second year running, earned the distinction of being named New York City’s worst landlord, as ranked by the annual list compiled by Public Advocate Jumaane Williams. The housing authority currently has over 340,000 open work orders that would cost approximately $45 billion to fulfill, according to Williams’s office, signaling a degree of dysfunction impossible to compare to any private landlord in the city. Reports from the recently appointed (and incredibly pricey) federal monitor for the agency have found miserable conditions within NYCHA developments, including “putrid liquid” spewing from an overhead pipe and a tower of garbage stacked up to the 14th floor of one building. According to a letter from residents at the latter development, the chutes were clogged because workers refused to enter the compactor rooms for fear of the rats who’d taken over the space. The emboldened rodents would then climb the trash tower, entering the upper floors and tenants’ apartments. Much like that garbage, evidence that NYCHA is a mismanaged nightmare agency continues to mount. 

LAUREL to the QUEENS LAWMAKERS pushing Gov. Cuomo to sign a bill to legalize electric bikes and scooters across the state. In New York City, thousands of food delivery workers have been slapped with fines up to $1,000 and have had their electric bikes confiscated, according to Assemblymembers Nily Rozic and Jessica Ramos. Somewhat arbitrarily, peddle-based ebikes are legal in the city, while their throttle-based counterparts, the type favored by the city’s thousands of mostly-immigrant delivery workers, are outlawed. Rozic and Ramos’s bill passed the state Senate and Assembly in June and is now waiting for Cuomo’s approval.

DART to the CITY OF NEW YORK, for counter-suing Newark, New Jersey over the controversial Single One Time Assistance program. Newark moved to stop New York City from exporting its homeless population through SOTA, which buys homeless families one-way tickets out of town and pays a year’s rent up front to landlords in the new city. SOTA recipients have landed as far away as Hawaii through the program. Newark has responded by prohibiting landlords from accepting an apartment’s annual rent in one lump sum, prompting the city’s countersuit. According to investigations by CBS2, many families were placed in unlivable conditions once they reached their destination cities. The SOTA program is a laughable solution to a serious problem. Lawmakers should focus on creating a city where people can afford to live rather than on sending away those who can’t. 

Though it pains me, I must award one LAUREL to the SANTACON PARTICIPANTS who subdued a knife-wielding maniac on an LIRR train Saturday. The 45-year-old Grinch was reportedly drunk and shouting ho-ho-homophobic slurs when he whipped out the knife and attacked a 22-year-old passenger, stabbing him in the leg. A group of Santas restrained the man until the next stop, possibly saving the victim’s life. The good deeds of a few Santas cannot undue the havoc wreaked by their brethren, however, and for that reason, the rest of last weekend’s SANTACON PARTICIPANTS will receive one DART, especially the loud, obnoxious subway Santas, the turnstile jumping Santas, the street fighting Santas and the Santa who reportedly peed in the middle of a Times Square McDonalds as a little boy looked on, ruining his Christmas if not his childhood. 

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