JEERS: To Charter Communications Inc. for what the state Department of Public Service is calling “false advertising” and “misleading consumers” for asserting that is has complied with the timetable under which its Spectrum cable company is to expand broadband access to nearly 150,000 new homes and businesses in New York. In addition to a letter telling Charter to stop the practice, the department has alerted the state attorney general and the federal Securities and Exchange Commission. The allegations concern the company’s promise to connect many who did not have access to the service, considered essential for students, families and businesses these days. It was an essential part of the approval Charter received before it was allowed to merge with Time Warner Cable in 2016, a merger that raised concerns about a large company controlling so much crucial access and having little business reason to expand in areas where such work is costly. Charter is pushing back with figures that it claims fulfill the pledge, but the commission also has studied the numbers and concluded that Charter included several thousand addresses that should not have been included, leaving it more than 8,000 short, contrary to its public statements.
JEERS: To NJ Transit, which is trying to get yet another extension before it installs an emergency braking system that would prevent collisions that have proven fatal in too many cases. The railway still has six months to go on the already extended deadline but said last week that it could not do the work in time. Railways were ordered to install the system by 2015 following a 2008 commuter rail crash in California that killed 25 people. They later got a three-year extension, until the end of this year. Through the first quarter of this year, NJ Transit, which has acknowledged that it has not kept up with maintenance, had installed the system on less than 10 percent of its fleet of 440 locomotives, a number which rose to 43 percent by mid-May. Railways can get another extension but the Federal Railroad Administration has already cast doubt on the claim NJ Transit has made in preparing for yet another delay.
JEERS: To the Trump Administration for trying to fool taxpayers and not doing a very good job. One promise that the president has made in many ways was to simplify the taxpaying experience and the Associated Press managed to get ahold of one piece of that effort, a new simple 1040 income tax form that is much smaller than the present one — a double-sided half page instead of two full pages. It is not quite the postcard that the president promised, but it would be a good start if it were not for some other features of the form. The only way to make it that small is to require taxpayers to consult and, in some cases, do calculations on six accompanying forms, some of which are mandatory before people can fill in the blanks. And for the many who fill out forms online, there will be almost no simplification because they will have to answer all the questions before they can use the new form.