To be clear, our beef is not with the men and women that collect trash – it is a dangerous job, a physically demanding job performed under a wide variety of difficult conditions; they have our respect. Instead, our beef is with the agents of DSNY who write tickets and the agency that upholds these fines.
These fines are unfair and do little to improve cleanliness in this city. In fact, we believe they encourage illegal dumping and improper disposal with an underlying goal of generating revenue by targeting law-abiding residents and businesses.
Here’s a typical example that will sound familiar to many of you. One night last year, we had a late night at the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association and when we left around 10 p.m., the sidewalk in front of our office was clear.
During the wee hours of the morning, someone dumped old furniture and an unwrapped mattress in front of our office. Thankfully, DSNY agents were right on the scene – to give us a ticket!
This ticket was written at 2:45 a.m. and the garbage was whisked away sometime between then and when we returned in the morning. We never even laid eyes on the garbage we were being ticketed for.
We fought this ticket, taking time off from work to go into Jamaica to appear before a judge for ECB, who upheld the penalty saying that our defense was “not credible” that the garbage placed in front of our property is “presumed to have emanated from that property unless credible evidence to the contrary is shown.”
In the United States of America you are innocent until proven guilty, except when you are holding a ticket from DSNY, in which case you are guilty until proven innocent.
We complained to the public advocate and he wrote a letter of behalf of the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association to the commissioner of DSNY.
“While I understand that it is necessary to hold property owners responsible for the garbage in front of their buildings, it is unreasonable to expect that property owners can act to ensure that all garbage in front of their home is disposed of properly in the middle of the night,” the letter read.
That public advocate who spoke out on our behalf is now our mayor, and this week the WRBA is calling on Bill de Blasio to put an end to the DSNY using the residents and businesses of Woodhaven as their easy source of income.
As long as the current laws are in place, it will be easier and more profitable for the city to give tickets to the victims of illegal dumping instead of catching the slobs that litter our properties. You know what that makes the city and the slobs? Partners in crime.
And who funds this partnership? You do.
The Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association has had enough, and we call on Mayor de Blasio to step up and end this partnership now. Stop penalizing the victims of illegal dumping and redirect enforcement efforts towards catching the perpetrators of these acts.
The Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association works hard on behalf of our community, but we need greater participation from our residents. Our next town hall meeting will be at noon on Saturday, October 18, at the American Legion Hall, 89-02 91st Street. We hope you will come add your voice to those of us who demand a better, cleaner, safer community.