• BREAKING NEWS Shelter in place lifted after prisoner captured

Emergency Order given to Metro-North

Bill Ritter's daily take on the news.
December 6, 2013 2:06:38 PM PST
It's been for years the most despised public agency in the Tri-State. But in the past year and especially after it recovered so quickly after Superstorm Sandy, the MTA had a kind of get-out-jail-free-card pass from the public ire. No more.

Last Sunday's deadly train derailment on Metro North's Hudson Line has catapulted the MTA once again onto the list of most-worrisome agency. And this afternoon, the feds solidified that notion. Like a school principal scolding a student, the feds ordering the nation's second-busiest train system to slow down and add a second engineer to its trains at least until it upgrades its safety procedures and equipment.

It's a huge slap down, after the latest derailment on Metro North. It's not exactly a federal takeover, but it's certainly a sign that if the MTA doesn't get its act together ? and fast ? more dire action is sure to come.

We'll have the latest, tonight at 11.

Also at 11, the memorial and funeral plans are now set for Nelson Mandela, who died yesterday at the age of 95. Such a dignified life, such an undignified death. He's been on life support since June, and it doesn't appear just coincidental that the plug was pulled on the same day that his film biography premiered in London. But his legacy will not be defined by his dysfunctional family's handling of his final months, and indeed tributes are pouring in from around the world. Pres Obama and the First Lady will fly to Johannesburg next week, bringing former Pres. Bush with them, to attend the memorial.

Tomorrow, Mayor-elect de Blasio and the incoming NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton will participate in a local memorial. Bratton's appointment huge news yesterday, until Mandela died. And the timing was unfortunate, because Bratton's appointment is a huge development in the transition to power for de Blasio.

The naming of Bratton to a job he held 20 years ago should serve to assuage fears some de Blasio critics have ? and have expressed ? about his politics. Bratton is a law enforcement guy, community-oriented to be sure, but a cop's cop.

Back during his last stint as NYPD Commish, he made the cover of newsmagazines, made headlines in the tabloids (for the right reasons), and became a hero to New Yorkers for humanely and sensitively cutting crime. Bratton was high-profile and popular during his brief tenure from 1994 to 1996. Maybe too high-profile and popular. Bratton's boss, the high-profile Mayor Rudy Giuiliani, got his back-hairs raised by all the P.R. going to his top-cop, and so Bill Bratton was gone.

He went on to do all sorts of other great things ? chief executive of a huge security firm, and chief of the Los Angeles Police Dept. He reformed that troubled department, and made a huge impact. De Blasio becomes the second consecutive mayor to hire a former NYPD Commish for what's arguably his most important appointment. Still left for the Mayor-elect to hire ? a City Schools Chancellor.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Meteorologist Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, and Rob Powers with the night's sports. I hope you can join Sade Baderinwa and me, tonight at 11, after a special edition of 20/20 ? all about the death of Nelson Mandela.

BILL RITTER

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