Is Larry Penner for real? Because in his latest opinion piece, “Does MTA Treat Commuters and Taxpayers Like an ATM,” I swear I stumbled into an old episode of Rod Serling’s masterpiece “The Twilight Zone.”
In one of the episodes a little girl gets swallowed by a black hole and winds up in a bizarre universe. Like Mr. Penner’s universe.
First, “ATM” stands for “Automated Teller Machine.” So when you say “ATM Machine,” you are saying “Automatic Teller Machine Machine.”
Grammar aside, Mr. Penner has for years been excoriating, take your pick: former Governor Cuomo, Governor Hochul, former Mayor DeBlasio, Mayor Eric Adams for not moving quickly enough on Congestion Pricing. So now that Congestion Pricing – agree, disagree, or neutral – is finally moving along, Mr. Penner has decided he has an issue with it?
Next in Mr. Penner’s Bizarre Universe, an opinion piece on Congestion Pricing somehow devolves into a dissertation on improvements needed for the Long Island Railroad. This reminds me of Martin Scorcese’s “Mean Streets” (regarded as a classic for reasons that escape me), in which one character says to the other “you got a habit of saying something then sliding into something else like nobody’s supposed to notice.”
Mr. Penner had a letter published in which he offered his services as an MTA Board Member for Nassau County. If I lived in Nassau County, I would not want Mr. Penner to represent my interests. I could easily see him voting for a project, then after billions of dollars were committed suddenly reversing his vote. His opinions on in person MTA board meetings – as opposed to virtual – are in my opinion dangerous, as is his opinion on going without masks on the LIRR. He had an opinion piece posted in a Bronx publication extolling the virtues of the ferry that runs from the Bronx to Wall St. He does not know that one ferry landing is in the middle of nowhere and one really in the middle of nowhere, thus benefitting only a handful of people. Not knowing in and if itself is not a sin but he refuses to look at a map or perform perfunctory research. Brought to you by Mr. Penner’s Bizarre Universe.