Jewish World Review May 29, 2003 / 27 Iyar, 5763

Keith Olbermann

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Consumer Reports

Ticket blitz in New York City? Hey, at least pregnant women won't be blocking stairwells | For those of you fearing that you will be trapped in a public place in the event of an emergency, one of the most dangerous problems imaginable has been cleared up. The threat of exit stairwells being blocked by unwieldy pregnant high school girls is apparently over.

Crystal Rivera OF Fort Hamilton High School in Brooklyn is 18 years old and she is six months pregnant. She says she was issued a summons by a New York City police officer. Ms. Rivera says she was waiting to catch a train home from the 86th Street Station in Bay Ridge in Brooklyn when her being-in-the-family-way overcame her and she needed to sit down before she fell down.

The station's few benches were filthy, she said, so she parked herself on the steps that led up to the street. According to Ms. Rivera, a passing police woman asked what she was doing there. Ms. Rivera says she explained the obvious and then the officer said, "You can't sit there." And without asking her to move or even issuing her a warning, she issued her a ticket, a $50 fine for blocking a stairwell.

New York cops are on something of a ticket blitz. They claim it's on the instructions of city hall, which is hemorrhaging money. They've handed out tickets to a guy sitting on a milk carton outside a hair salon, to a woman whose bicycle had no bell, to a driver whose passenger-side mirror was loose, and to a man who had an oven in front of his building, a charge that he adamantly denies.

But back to Crystal Rivera and the subway stairwell and the $50 ticket. You may recall last week that several New York City subway workers told another newspaper that they had been advised by their bosses that, in the event of a terrorist attack, they should abandon their passengers, save yourself, leave the public to make its own way out.

Well, at least if you're in New York and the subway is attacked and the transit workers do flee in panic and you do have to save yourself, at least there won't be some big old pregnant teenager blocking your exit.

The NYPD has seen to that.

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The writer hosts MSNBC's “Countdown with Keith Olbermann.” The news program, dedicated to all of the day’s top stories, telecasts weeknights, 8-9 p.m. ET. Comment by clicking here.

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