New York City has a problem looks familiar to City Paper readers: shoddy engineering work that leads to collapses and injuries. According to today's report in the New York Times, city officials gave architects and engineers authority to inspect and sign off on their own construction projects--just as Baltimore did. The results have been similar.

The response, however, has not been.

In Baltimore, collapsing buildings and unpermitted demolition in the city's expensive waterfront neighborhoods have damaged houses and angered neighbors. Engineer John Elder, one of the most notorious offenders, has lost his engineering license because he routinely perjured himself on his renewal application. After being alerted by City Paper, state officials took more than a year to suspend Elder.

But city officials have done little to reign in shoddy contractors or the city building inspectors who appear to wink at the substandard work. The city's Inspector General, Hilton Green, apparently has more important things to do.