The following contains editorial content which is the opinion of the writer.
NEW YORK CITY- It’s all a matter of priorities we suppose.
As New York City workers—including New York’s Bravest FDNY firefighters and New York’s Finest, NYPD police officers—continue to be punished by being suspended without pay due to failure to jab, Mayor Eric Adams, who hasn’t exactly been a step up from former mayor Bill de Blasio Thursday exempted athletes and performers from the vaccine mandate, NBC New York reports.
The announcement came via an executive order signed by Adams exempting New York City-based performers from the private sector vaccine mandate, while leaving the rule intact for city workers and private employees citywide.
It’s apparently all a matter of how much money you make and therefore contribute to the city’s economy, apparently. Adams said removing the mandate on the beautiful people was one of “economic necessity,” NBC New York said.
Adams called the decision “tough” and claimed it was in the best interest of the city’s economic recovery from COVID-19, likely aware of the controversy that started to show itself since news of his intent emerged.
The absurdity of the city’s mandate came to the forefront a week or so back when Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving was allowed to attend a home basketball game as a fan however is forbidden from bouncing a ball for his team, the Nets.
Irving was also allowed to go to the Nets bench and embrace his teammates, and the incident shone the light on how irrational the rule was.
“I’m mayor of this city and I’m going to make some tough choices. People are not going to agree with some of them,” Adams said. “I was not elected to follow. I was not elected to be fearful but fearless. I must move this city forward.”
Moving the city forward apparently includes suspending police officers without pay even as crime continues to plague the city, with brutal assaults captured on camera seemingly a daily occurrence.
Meanwhile, fire inspectors blame mandated COVID inspections of restaurants and other businesses, which have pulled inspectors off their typical duties, for a fatal apartment fire in the Bronx which killed dozens of people, as we reported on.
Play pretend for a living on Broadway or bounce a ball at Madison Square Garden? No problem, feel free to remain unvaxxed.
“I’m not making this decision loosely or haphazardly,” Adams said. “The city has to function. Some will boo us, others will cheer us—that is not only a game of baseball but that’s the game of life and we have to be on the field in order to win.”
Adams said his decision was “intended to put New York City-based performers, which include athletes in this case, on a level playing field.”
Currently, athletes are prohibited from playing home games unless they are vaccinated, which has put them at a competitive disadvantage. However some accuse Adams of favoring millionaires over the general public that put him into office.
“Hometown players had an unfair disadvantage to those who were coming to visit,” Adams said of the mandate. “It’s unimaginable—treating our performers differently because they lived and played for home teams. Unacceptable. It’s a self-imposed competitive disadvantage.”
As expected, the NBA and the players union issued a joint statement praising Adams’ decision.
“We applaud the mayor for listening to the concerns of our New York teams, players, fans, and communities and for leveling the playing field for home teams and their opponents,” the statement read.
Adams claimed the new rule only applies to a “small number” of people since most have complied with the mandate, while not specifying how many had done so, and while still pushing the vaccine for everyone, despite the fact people can still get sick—vaccinated or not.
The irony of course is that people who make sure those athletes can play and fans can attend the games—janitors, ushers, food servers, etc.—are still subject to the mandatory mandate.
What about police officers and firefighters who provide security both inside and outside of places such as the Garden, Yankee Stadium or Citi Field?
Tuesday, Adams said he had no intention of reevaluating the private-sector mandate as of yet, saying the workplace is an “important environment.” He said he was following the “science” and that baseball and basketball would have to wait.
Miraculously, only two days later Adams had changed his mind. It’s a COVID miracle! Apparently, the “science” changed in two days. Perhaps an examination of Adams’ campaign war chest might be in order to see who may have convinced him the “science” had changed.
Adams was called out about his sudden about face on Thursday, to which he replied, “Two days is still a wait.” He claimed he wanted to change the rule early on in his administration but his medical team advised against it, citing the omicron variant which spiked cases, albeit minor ones, across the country for a short period of time.
#VaccinesWork … unless you’re rich and powerful, in which case, #LobbyingWorks. This mandate has always been about NYC employers. It had legal standing because applied to all. The #KyrieCarveOut opens City up to entire scheme being voided by courts as “arbitrary and capricious.” https://t.co/O2WWGv9FmT
— Jay Varma (@DrJayVarma) March 23, 2022
Not everyone was thrilled with Adams decision and it drew immediate backlash. Many complained that it was unfair city workers, many of whom worked throughout the pandemic and were hailed as heroes when no vaccine was available, continue to be suspended without pay while multi-millionaires get a pass.
“This exemption sends the wrong message that higher-paid workers and celebrities are being valued as more important than our devoted civil servants, which I reject,” said City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams (no relation to the mayor).
According to NBC New York, an estimated 1,500 city employees were suspended for refusal to get the jab, including the aforementioned police and firefighters, along with sanitation workers and public health workers. Adams said there were no plans to rehire those who have been suspended.
Meanwhile, Joe Borelli, Staten Island councilman called Adams’ decision “appalling.”
“We are firing our own employees but allowing exemptions for the fancy ones,” he said. “What is the rationale for exempting basketball players from the city’s private sector vaccine mandate but not the ushers or janitors in the arena? There must be a compelling public interest for subverting the equal application of our laws. What is it?”
NYPD Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch was apoplectic over the decision.
“We have been suing the city for months over its arbitrary and capricious vaccine mandate—this is exactly what we are talking about. If the mandate isn’t necessary for famous people, then it’s not necessary for the cops who are protecting our city in the middle of a crime crisis,” Lynch said.
“While celebrities were in lockdown, New York City police officers were on the street throughout the pandemic, working without adequate PPE and in many cases contracting and recovering from COVID themselves,” he continued. “They don’t deserve to be treated like second-class citizens now.”
Meanwhile, Harry Nespoli, chair of the Municipal Labor Committee, which is an umbrella group of unions that all told represent 350,000 city workers said, “There can’t be one system for the elite and another for the essential workers of our city.”
It is anticipated the arbitrary nature of Adams’ order could possibly lead to further challenges to the vaccination mandate, with the implication being the city isn’t applying the mandate evenly.
With the baseball season scheduled to begin next week, it was believed that New York Yankees star Aaron Judge, who is not thought to be vaccinated, would have been unable to play Yankees home games, much as what happened with Irving. Judge had declined to say whether he was vaccinated or not.
Given the fact there were a number of protests when de Blasio implemented the mandate last year, it is likely new disruptions by city workers could begin anew.
Some slammed the decision and said that Irving held out from getting the vaccine long enough and “got what he wanted.”
“Kyrie Irving comes out on top: He gets to play without the vaccine. Whether you agree or not, he got what he wanted,” Brandon Kuty, a sportswriter for the Star-Ledger and NJ.com said. It’s got to be a huge relief to sports fans, and not worry about unvaccinated Yankees and Mets players.”
As of now, unvaccinated MLB players are not allowed to travel to the People’s Republic of Canada to play the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre, and will not be paid for those games.
For our previous story on the Bronx apartment fire, we invite you to:
The following contains editorial content which is the opinion of the writer, a retired Police Chief and current staff writer for Law Enforcement Today.
NEW YORK CITY- Political virtue signaling over the coronavirus has clearly cost a lot of people their lives and their livelihoods. Now we’re finding out that it likely cost 17 more lives, eight of them children in a fire this past January in the Bronx, New York, the New York Post reports.
On January 9, an apartment building in the Bronx, Twin Parks North West, caught fire after an “accidental, malfunctioning space heater” caught fire, according to the FDNY.
The fire started on the second and third floors and then spread fire and smoke throughout the building. Fire officials said the building was outfitted with self-shutting doors; however they didn’t close properly, which cause smoke to permeate the building, Yahoo News reported.
There is, however a much darker side to the fire, according to the head of the fire inspector’s union. He noted that the building’s inspection was delayed because the inspector was reassigned to enforce former Mayor Bill de Blasio’s draconian COVID-19 requirements, forced to check restaurants for mandate compliance.
So in other words, while de Blasio unleashed fire inspectors and others to harass and harangue restaurant owners, 17 people lost their lives, with dozens more injured.
None of de Blasio’s mandates had any basis in science and instead were implemented as part of an obscene power trip engaged in by power-hungry mayors and governors, obsessed with power and an unwitting public who grew to be afraid of their own shadow.
As an op-ed in the Post noted:
“Cases surged, fell, and surged again at a complete disconnect from policy changes. And a glance out of state shows that Florida, with far fewer restrictions, saw a fatality rate during the Omicron peak lower than New York’s.”
According to that opinion piece, de Blasio’s power trip removed 90 city fire inspectors, accounting for one-fifth of the full force, away from their fire inspection duties and dispatched them to restaurants to ensure they were checking vaccine cards and handing out masks to scofflaws who had the audacity not to wear the face diapers. That led to no inspection at Twin Parks which would have likely discovered the faulty fire doors at the complex, and possibly limited the deaths from fire and smoke inhalation.
Oren Barzilay, president of Local 2507, which represents uniformed EMTs, paramedics and fire inspectors, testified last week before the New York City Council’s Fire and Emergency Management Committee.
“That building was scheduled to be inspected, but because they were sent to a task force, that building was not inspected,” the New York Daily News reported.
Deputy Chief Inspector Michael Reardon of the FDNY told councilors that the approximately 90 fire inspectors were transferred into different roles related to enforcing de Blasio’s COVID theater, conducting activities such as making sure restaurants were enforcing vaccine mandate requirements.
“They were downsized to the point that some units were unable to do all the inspections they needed to do,” Reardon testified.
The fire, which occurred in the 19-story building at 333 East 181st St. in the Fordham Heights neighborhood saw about 200 firefighters respond to the blaze.
Barzilay told the Daily News that an inspector was to have visited the building to check its standpipe system about a year before the fire. While that inspector would not have been primarily checking doors, Barzilay said, they would typically make note of any issues they came across, including malfunctioning fire doors.
“If they had noticed anything else, they would have addressed the issue,” he said. He also called the circumstances “terrible” and said the situation wasn’t the fault of current New York Mayor Eric Adams.
“I’m blaming the previous administration for not thinking it through,” Barzilay told the paper.
Adams did address the topic over the weekend, telling reporters in an unrelated press conference that his administration overturned de Blasio’s policy as soon as they heard of it. A
dams did note that an inspection would not necessarily have prevented the dangerous circumstances which directly caused the blaze, since inspectors examine external portions of buildings—hallways and public areas—not individual apartment.
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