New York doesn't know Andy Byford from a hole in the ground. But the new president of NYC Transit had better get to know us, and the groaning city subways we rely upon, damn fast.
Byford comes to the hope-to-hell-it's-a-rescue by way of London, Sydney and Toronto, where he's credited with orchestrating a turnaround.
But nothing he's ever done comes close to running the 24-hour, 472-station, 6,000-bus behemoth that makes 8 million trips daily in the five boroughs. Nothing comes close to overseeing the lumbering, wheezing, hidebound $8 billion-a-year, 50,000-head bureaucracy that is supposed to keep New York moving and now too often doesn't.
We hope, nay pray, that the trust that Chairman Joe Lhota and the MTA board has placed in Byford is well-founded.
Job one for the new guy is also job three, four and 100: Get the trains running more reliably.
Doing that demands innovative ideas borrowed from other places, sure, but also a granular understanding of just how New York's nuts and bolts and tracks got so rusty, and how to fix them.
The city owns every station, every inch of track and every subway car and bus. But the state runs the show, and controls the purse strings.
And both have disinvested over the years.
Mr. Byford, lean on, call on, and cajole both governor and mayor. Tell them that you need more cash — ideally by tolling the East River bridges.
Tell them, and Lhota, that to stretch dollars as far as they'll go, you need sane work rules like one person to run a train, instead of two. Tell them that we must get the ancient signals upgraded, and not over the course of decades.
But the core of this job isn't talk or advocacy. It's management. Get to work, and show results quick. Otherwise, stand clear of the closing doors.
— The Daily News, New York
As incredible as it may seem, federal funds from one program meant to combat substance abuse are doled out based on states' populations, not the severity of their drug epidemics.
That is simply insane.
U.S. Sens. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va.; Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.; and Maggie Hassan and Jeanne Shaheen, both D-N.H., want to change that. They have introduced a bill to require that federal State Targeted Response Opioid Crisis Grants be awarded on the basis of need, not population.
The senators' states are the very worst hit by the opioid crisis, with death rates far in excess of other states.
Their bill should be approved immediately in both houses of Congress. This is a situation in which delay literally means death.
— The Leader-Herald, Gloversville
As humans, we crave explanations for the evil we encounter so we can try to make sense of it. We never got that for Charles Manson.
Despite all the books and movies about him, all the songs and artwork and TV specials and essays and merchandise and internet fan sites, Manson remained as unknowable and inscrutable as he was in August 1969, when the "family" he assembled in Southern California went on a murderous rampage that took seven lives.
There have been many bizarre murders since then, but none has gripped us like the one orchestrated by Manson. The violence seemed random. The lurid details — drugs, group sex, ritual killings, words scrawled in blood — were irresistible. The banal elements were scarily commonplace — the single mother whose life of petty crime left Manson in foster homes and reformatories, the Dale Carnegie book that taught him how to influence people, the Beatles lyrics that inspired him, his failed attempts to become a rock musician. And the women who were his followers were familiar — middle-class misfits and loners from broken homes whom Manson knew how to seduce, abuse and control, and to persuade to murder again and again.
He was evidence that unspeakable evil can find anyone, and he inhabited our psyches as a real-world Satan. The cult of Manson was as much about our response to him as it was about Manson himself. And he haunted us for decades, creeping out from our subconscious every time he came up for parole. That won't end with his death Sunday.
Manson ultimately will be remembered for more than the awful violence of that hot August night. His most prominent victim, actress Sharon Tate, who was married to film director Roman Polanski, was eight-and-a-half months pregnant when she was slaughtered. Her mother became a powerful spokeswoman for victims' rights and was instrumental in the passage of a law that allowed for victim impact statements in California, a right that has spread in some form to all 50 states.
But Manson's legacy mostly will be as a metaphor for evil incarnate and the uneasiness he instilled in us. Manson once said, "I am just a mirror. Anything you see in me is you."
It wasn't true, but the possibility was terrifying.
— Newsday, Long Island