In times of belt-tightening, one looks first to the most obvious things to cut corners on. For example, limo services, board meetings at resorts, free employee snacks in the cafeteria, maybe even the entire cafeteria if you’re in real trouble. And there’s a hierarchy to that list, from the least needed/most expensive things (you can likely do without) to most needed/least expensive (you should hold onto for dear life). Or at least, that’s how it should go.
When you get to cutting the items last on that list, you’re in dire straits indeed — or somebody is fucking with you. It was in such a mind that we heard that Newark Mayor Cory Booker is cutting toilet paper in order to close a $70 million deficit. Only a guy would do this.
In addition to getting rid of that actually sort of really important and relatively cheap item (buy in bulk!), Booker has implemented four-day weeks for 1,450 non-uniformed city workers starting in September, pool closings as of August 2, no more gas debit cards, and even cutting printer paper, which begs the question: How will the bureaucracy function? Maybe it won’t. Adamant that “taxes cannot be the answer,” Booker says, “I’m going to shut down as much of city government as I can.” The poop stops here!
However, the toilet paper tactic may well be a move to get even with the City Council for deferring a vote to establish a municipal utilities authority.
When a reporter asked Councilmember Donald Payne Jr. if the Mayor’s cuts were an attempt to force the Council’s hand about the MUA, Payne responded, “You’re pretty perceptive.”
Lessons learned: If you’ve got to go, go at home, or come prepared (we always do). Don’t fuck with the Booker. And New Yorkers, be glad that this is something Mayor Bloomberg will just never, ever do.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 22, 2010