Ann Althouse links to this story in the NY Post, about NYC sanitation workers who "accidentally" dumped snow on a Jewish cemetary, breaking its fence and knocking over headstones. In the same story, it describes other City workers who towed people's cars to different locations (not to an impound lot, mind you, just to another street) and then dumped so much snow on them the cars were crushed. The City has agreed to give these people complaint forms to fill out: a good form can solve a multitude of problems, I'm told.
Here's my theory on why this kind of thing happens in the kind of place NYC has become: the citizens of NYC are unarmed. Yup, it's that simple. Gun ownership is a fundamental right in the Bill of Rights, not to protect citizens from each other, but primarily to protect them from the government itself. When you run a city full of unarmed people, you, as the government, can do as you please. And the people have to take their complaint forms, fill them in quietly, and live with it.
I say this because, having lived for so long in the the largest heavily armed city in the nation, I can't even imagine what would happen if the City of Houston abused the rights of its residents in this way. I watched Houston clean up after Hurricane Ike, and by and large the City helped people - they didn't make things worse. Yes, a lot of the work cleaning up was done by residents, and much was done by the power companies as they worked to get the powerlines back up. But the City did its job, to the point that we had regular trash pick up the Tuesday after the storm.
When people ask me why I left New York* 18 years ago, it's stories like this that I point to. I refuse to live in a place where the government has completely forgotten that it is the servant of the people - not the other way around. In Texas, the government still remembers that, and perhaps it does so because it knows it's outgunned a thousand to one by its own citizens. And if that's what it takes, that's what it takes.
*Full Disclosure: I lived 22 years in rural NY State, not in the City. But truly, the same problems exist on a state level in NY, where all politicians have long forgotten who should really be in charge. I took my BA, ran south 10 days after graduation and have never looked back. There's a reason for that ...