We Run This City
My loves, I write this for you…
You who run this amazing city – New York – yet take no credit for doing so. This is for the proud New Yorkers that travel to their civil service jobs, an hour or more from “fringe neighborhoods” where the rent is affordable. The two-fare zoners and the multiple train switchers… This is for the public sector workers in large metropolitan areas, yes, even you police officers and prosecutors (taking off my public defender adversarial hat for this post because we are kindred in the name of service).
You run this city. You beg for the funds to feed the less fortunate. You find work for the recently incarcerated. You educate our people. You dispatch for our rescuers. You do the rescuing. You clean our parks and our streets. You tend to and groom our trees. You facilitate programs for those struggling with chemical dependency. You save lives. You save spirits. You fight for the arts, rapidly disappearing from our schools. You research sustainable and regenerative living – not just for Yorkville and Kipps Bay, but for Mott Haven, Hamilton Heights and Mill Basin. You are a safe haven for the abused. You are a resource to the abuser. You are the white collar poor of New York City. This post is for you – some of the most heavily taxed people in New York City. This post is for me. We run this city.
I remember reading an article several months ago… It was about Mayor Bloomberg seeking to extend Former President Bush’s tax cuts “another couple of years” for the wealthiest of New York City. Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson went on to say that Bloomberg “supports extending [the federal tax cuts] for everyone a couple of years as part of a comprehensive solution to both our short term and long term economic and budgetary challenges.” At this point, I rolled my eyes so hard, I nearly went blind. Although this article was in the newspaper several months ago, this discussion about taxes is nevertheless still relevant. Although taxed heavily, we continue to fork huge chunks of our paychecks with minimal complaint. It must be love…
I believe in paying my taxes so community programs can continue. I pay my taxes so local schools can educate the children who live here. I pay my taxes so poor mothers can buy food. I pay my taxes so my streets can be sweeped. I pay my taxes because I believe in services being available to those less fortunate than me. I pay my taxes to run this city. But I do not believe in paying a higher percentage in taxes than people who make five times my law school debt. Why should they be exempt from their duty? So for the unbegrudging tax payer, who collects their salaried-minimum-wage with pride, I salute you.
You run this city, THANK YOU!
Well written and so relevant to The Big Apple and beyond. Salute.
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Aisha thanks for the acknowledgement…As an industrial organizational psychology specialist, working as a civil service employee has afforded me numerous opportunities to apply my knowledge, skills, and abilities toward ‘leveling the playing field.’ Not only do I work to ensure that our Merit System’s hiring and promotional processes are valid and legally defensible, but in doing so, I get to work closely with many great subject matter experts across our County, and like you, I have grown to appreciate their many small and great contributions to running our cities and county.
Thanks again and please continue to share your pdlife stories when your foot heals and you return to work.
Love this! And I am in complete agreement. Public sector workers deserve undying gratitude for doing so much with so little. I still remember hearing someone tell a Congressman that they couldn’t think of a single thing that his tax dollars provided him, “not a single thing.” And I sat there thinking: “Really? Did you drive on a paved road to get to this meeting? Does someone pick up your trash? Are there lights on your street? Do the cops/firefighters come if you call them?”
During this election time, I’m also amused at all the politicians promising to increase public services AND reduce taxes at the same time. Must be that “new math”… Yes, we need to make the system more fair, not continue to let those of more means shirk their obligation to pay their fair share. But let’s also not pretend that ANY tax is a bad thing. Without public sector workers, we’d be nowhere.
Thank you for this post. Altho I’m not in NY, I do work in the public sector (in CA) and am constantly witness to the efforts of myself and my colleagues unnoticed, if not slandered, and its sometimes disheartening. Its refreshing, and somewhat reinvigorating, to see our work acknowledged to some degree.
I came across your blog searching for interview questions for The Legal Aid Society (I interviewed there about 2 weeks ago). I recently graduated law school and passed the NY bar. I am a new attorney and reading your blog makes me really happy that I chose this field. I also follow you on twitter. You inspire me. Thank you.