Letters to the Editor, Sept. 29

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

An alternative to fines for dog piles

The following letter was originally published as a comment on Town & Village Blog in response to the letter, “Sidewalks (better) get a lot clearer,” T&V, Sept. 22.

If people pick up after their animals (and by the way, they should also use water from a bottle to wash away remnants) what is the problem? People should take responsibility for their actions without everything being put into law. Fines never work.

Let’s try something new that would also affect people who are too busy making $$$, or too busy reading their (not so) smartphones: community service cleaning up poop and other messes throughout the city. Rather than paying fines, the inconvenience to their selfish lifestyle may have them reconsider having an animal in the first place.

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Dog poop complaints decline in ST: study

A dog waste bag dispenser at a Stuyvesant Town playground during a Dog Days event (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

A dog waste bag dispenser at a Stuyvesant Town playground during a Dog Days event (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

A new study from apartment listing company RentHop has found that Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village residents have seemingly become much more diligent in their pooper scooper duties in the last five years. The company examined the number of 311 complaints submitted about dog waste on the sidewalk and found that the neighborhood had seven complaints in 2010 alone but only one in every year since then except 2015, in which there were zero. RentHop data scientist Shane Leese said that the numbers for the neighborhood are lower than most of the other areas around it.

Although Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village and the surrounding neighborhoods saw big decreases in the number of complaints, other Manhattan neighborhoods saw increases, as high as 180 percent on the Upper West Side.

Leese said that both Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village and the Flatiron neighborhood have had decreases in the number of complaints this year, with the decrease in Flatiron being the most significant: last year there were 10 complaints and this year there have been two, for an decrease of 80 percent. The Gramercy neighborhood is doing less well with five complaints so far this year, a 400 percent increase from last year when there was only one complaint in the same period.

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Letters to the Editor, July 31

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Hamas is the reason for Gaza bloodshed

An excellent essay was offered by Ms. Jeannette Shuck in last week’s edition of T&V. If Canada had a grudge against our nation, would we and the rest of the world countenance continuous bombings of New York State?
Many people have vague information concerning history and current events. They are told by the media here and in Europe that about eight times as many Palestinians have been killed and gravely injured in  relation to Israel’s retaliation. So, a moral equivalency is created with Hamas now seemingly to have the ethical upper hand.
Let’s get things straight: Hamas is a terrorist organization and its charter wants not only the state of Israel to be thrown into the sea – but, also, all Jews murdered. “Infidels” would come next – think Christians. Hamas is filled with holocaust deniers, which may be even more egregious than the many millions of murders committed by the Nazis.
Hamas kidnapped and murdered three Israeli teens (one of whom was a joint U.S./American citizenship) as the daily bombings continued.
If Jews learned just one lesson from the slaughter in Germany and many of the other occupied nations: “never again!”
The most significant difference between most of the Muslim states is cultural differences (values and behaviors). While Israel follows the ancient Greek concepts of democracy and the enlightenment, many (not all) Muslims have gotten frozen in a condition where little has changed since the beginning of Islam: the deplorable treatment of women, lack of basic freedoms which we take for granted in the west.
Since 1948 when the U.N. and President Truman (also the U.S.S.R.) recognized the Zionist state, Israel has become a truly first world nation. As the heralded “Arab Spring” never succeeded – just like Russia after the evil empire died, they had no history of a democratic background and values. Democracy can only evolve over time.
Thank you, Ms. Shuck, for telling it like it is. Your very words said in some Muslim nations would lead to a fatwah!
David Chowes, PCV

 

No evidence in destruction of Flight 17

The NY Times and other major US news outlets continue to play their part in the ongoing propaganda war between our government and Russia’s over the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.  U.S. and Ukrainian government officials began claiming that rebels shot it down using a powerful Russian-supplied Buk missile battery immediately after the plane went down.
This week, the Times again reported that claim as fact.  Considering that Russia and the US are nuclear powers with the capability to wipe out the planet many times over, it might be a good idea to take a deep breath and remember that an impartial inquiry is still underway and no formal conclusions have been announced.
In the meantime, there’s this to consider. Ukraine has most likely been blanketed by U.S. satellite surveillance since the civil war erupted.
Nevertheless, our government has not provided a single image of Buk missile batteries in eastern Ukraine, let alone being deployed by rebels.
A month ago Craig Whitlock  of the Washington Post quoted the U.S. commander of NATO forces in Europe saying “We have not seen any of the [Russian] air-defense vehicles across the border yet.”
Whitlock also reported that “Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, said defense officials could not point to specific evidence that an SA-11 [Buk] surface-to-air missile system had been transported from Russia into eastern Ukraine.”
Also remember what this civil war is all about.  Elected President Yanukovych had been trying to attract capital to maintain Ukraine’s standard of living.
Rebels in the east rejected his ouster after Yanukovych decided against accepting IMF austerity demands necessary for an association agreement with the EU in favor of what he considered a better deal with Russia. The newly appointed interim government of Ukraine ended up signing the association agreement with the EU.
J Sicoransa, ST

 

Dog doo is a don’t

I’d like to thank Town & Village for the page 2 photo of the dog sitting on a Stuyvesant Town bench.
It served as a reminder that we are not only tracking fecal matter into our apartments on the soles of our shoes but also on the seats of our pants, the backs of our dresses and the bottoms of our briefcases, tote bags and purses. What a pleasant thought.
Name withheld, ST

 

Sanitation garage, homelessness addressed at Gramercy forum

Council Member Rosie Mendez, LaToneya Burwell, director of Community Affairs at the Department of Homeless Services, DSNY community affairs liaison Julian Sepulveda, Lieutenant Vincent Collins, Police officer John Considine and Assistant District Attorney Kaitrin Roberts (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Council Member Rosie Mendez, LaToneya Burwell, director of Community Affairs at the Department of Homeless Services, DSNY community affairs liaison Julian Sepulveda, Lieutenant Vincent Collins, Police officer John Considine and Assistant District Attorney Kaitrin Roberts (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel
City Councilwoman Rosie Mendez moderated a quality of life forum at School of the Future on East 22nd Street this past Tuesday evening and answered questions from the community with the help of representatives from various city agencies. The event was co-hosted by Gramercy Neighborhood Associates and Community Board 6 and there were representatives from the various city agencies in attendance to answer questions.

District Manager Dan Miner noted that turnout seemed low because of the ongoing thunderstorms and the middle of the forum was interrupted by a flash flood warning alarm blast from an attendee’s cell phone. The Parks Department, Department of Transportation and the Department of Health did not have representatives at the forum, making it a smaller affair than a similar quality of life forum that was held for the Kips Bay community in the spring.
Mendez noted that this forum was meant to build on the event at Kips Bay and the representatives present at the forum included Lieutenant Vincent Collins and Police officer John Considine of the 13th Precinct, LaToneya Burwell, director of Community Affairs at the Department of Homeless Services, Julian Sepulveda, the community affairs liaison at the Department of Sanitation and Kaitrin Roberts, Assistant District Attorney in the Manhattan District Attorney Crime Strategy Unit.

Alan Krevis, president of the Gramercy Neighborhood Associates (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Alan Krevis, president of the Gramercy Neighborhood Associates (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

One of the topics discussed, albeit briefly, was the sanitation garage that is planned for the Brookdale campus. Councilwoman Mendez said that the garage was a plan that was submitted under the previous administration but the current administration has yet to announce a stance on it. Mendez and her fellow City Councilmember Dan Garodnick have been called to a meeting about the garage that will take place in the next week or so, she added, and more updated information should hopefully be forthcoming after that.

Other questions addressed at the forum had to do with cleanliness. Mendez noted that a number of the questions sent in had to do with dog waste. Sepulveda of the DSNY noted that issuing a summons to someone for not cleaning up after their dog is tricky because it is something that police have to witness occurring. He encouraged residents to submit complaints to 311 so the city is aware of problem areas and the DSNY has been working with Business Improvement Districts throughout the city on sanitation-related issues to make sure that areas are clean, but beyond that, it’s a difficult rule to enforce. Mendez added that a new initiative was proposed and passed in the last city budget this June which allots between $90-$100 thousand per council district for city clean-up.

Burwell, a representative for the Department of Homeless Services, addressed questions about what to do about homeless people on the street. She emphasized that it isn’t illegal to be homeless but residents can contact 311 and DHS will send their street outreach team to engage with the person.

Many of the representatives for city agencies at the previous Kips Bay forum emphasized that 311 was the perfect catch-all for complaints on just about anything and some of the attendees at this most recent forum expressed frustration about the bureaucracy that sometimes seems involved in getting problems solved after reporting them to 311.

Sepulveda acknowledged that calling 311 can seem frustrating but assured the residents that the complaints were being heard.
“Our office deals with 311 requests all day,” he said. “It’s not just a black hole. They are getting somewhere. We do have to abide by certain rules and regulations so sometimes the issue is just out of the agency’s hands.”

Lieutenant Collins of the 13th Precinct also made the distinction between when to call 911 versus 311.
“If you fear for your safety or their safety, that’s a 911 situation,” he said.
“If someone could get injured, that’s always a 911 call. Sometimes if it’s a grey area; they may redirect the call to 311, but if there’s a chance of injury, it’s always better to call 911.”

Community Board 6 will be hosting other forums in the future and Miner said that the next meeting on the radar will be a senior issues panel on September 15. More information about the panelists and topics to be discussed will be available closer to the event’s date.