2002-06-29 / Columnists

Sprayview Sticks and Stones

By Environmental Reporter Bernard Blum

By Environmental Reporter Bernard Blum

There is an ongoing debate in the media and elsewhere concerning government servicing needs without interfering in people’s lives. This extends to developmental landowning rights too! People should have constitutional rights to "life liberty and the pursuit of happiness." However a number of situations come to mind when people and their rights are treated as property for confiscation.

When landowners have topsoil strip mined, I ask, who is masking these decisions? What is happening to property rights? What is the basis for these decisions? Property is still disappearing even though a federal grant for cleaning lots specifically states land is not to be transferred!

Who is administrating this grant? Who is checking procedures? Landowners may not realize the extent to which their property size is reducing and\or disappearing. Should we combat this disappearance of land with litigation? The Attorney General is charged to protect these inalienable rights, but have these rights become alien to certain elites, and some branches of the government?

Is it possible that the "totalitarian tendencies" win, while the Dubos Point Park mosquitoes in stagnant water creeks continue to grow countless in number giving the sign of victory to the Mosquito Farmers. The local community around the park does not confiscate the dirt and lower grades that give way to more infestation. Shouldn’t this community have the right to property enjoyment and public health without insect vampires in their skin?

Have government officials become more like dictators defining and manipulating people’s rights rather than the public servants we chose to elect? USEPA reply, "it’s not a Mosquito Control Agency" then promptly directs responsibility to NYC Department of Health. USEPA knows full well that the real issue for Dubos Point has been the priority listing for wetlands restoration, which opens creeks for marsh grass growth. It knows that the agency does not attend the meetings to open wetland creeks in the bi-state area and that the city agency has no mandate to open creeks. People may be poisoned with spray, while the right to de-pollute the air is under debate.

The drainage is not manipulated and storm surge and rainwater deliver a highly irritable effect of taking away from the shoreline. There is no marine center, no boardwalk for nature studies, just bugs! Bulldozing the dirt continues to receive funding.

People are more outraged by the bites they get from mosquitoes than by their increasing number. Very few people actually protest, and increasing the amount of photo-ops is not the way to go. Funding creek openings is the best solution available to restore property enjoyment right. There is no government property right to grow mosquito swarms, so why do they exist?

The NYC Department of Environmental Protection does decide to step in and harass a homeowner at the Head of the Bay when all he wants to do is protect his environment with a fence. A commendable effort was made to reduce flooding in southeast Queens by providing permits to residents. However in the absence of an impact statement coupled with 2.46 billion gallons of overflow from the Carson Avenue Strom Sewer is causing an export of junk from the street to this man’s property. There is so much overflow like medical syringes and other waste washing onto his patio, that even if it were repaired some overflow would still remain.

When discussing the channel maintenance of the East Rockaway Inlet the impact on swimmers needs to be taken into consideration. If the impact statement for the dredging does not include swimmer safety it should be updated prior to the start up of the work. Hopefully the update of an "Enviornmental Assessment or an Enviornmental Impact Statement" will reflect new thinking on this important issue as new immigrants and other visitors come to enjoy the marine environment of Rockaway.

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