2003-05-30 / Editorial/Opinion

Making New York City A Rotten Apple For Residents

Making New York City A Rotten Apple For Residents

Mayor Bloomberg and his commissioners are making it more difficult for people to live in New York City. In fact, the wave of tickets that have hit residents may soon make it impossible to live in the city. That is largely due to the fact that ticketing has moved from an enforcement issue to a revenue collection issue. At one time, residents got tickets because they broke some law or administrative ruling. Although they did not like paying the tickets, at least they understood why they were issued. Today, however, it is a new ballgame. People are being ticketed for arcane laws and for laws that are as obscure as they are ridiculous. At the end of last summer, for example, Rockaway residents got tickets for leaving their beach blankets while swimming. They got tickets for surfing, for flycasting, for walking on the beach "after curfew." More recently, we have been inundated with complaints of residents who got tickets for "sleeping on the subway," for "taking two seats on the subway," for blocking their own driveway." One man even got a ticket for blocking his license plate, when all he had was the frame that nearly every dealer now puts on the car when they sell it. The police union, the PBA, claims that the city has instituted a "ticket quota system" that police must meet. The NYPD says that there are "productivity goals," but no quotas. We question the difference. In Northern Queens, many storeowners recently received tickets for having "illegal canopies" on their shops. Seems that the law mandates that awnings and canopies have only the store name and the address of the store. How long will it be before those inspectors get to Rockaway, were few awnings meet that mandate? Not long. New signs have been placed on the boardwalk, codifying the rules for the beach and boardwalk. They are draconian, and many Rockaway residents will get tickets this summer for enjoying a late evening walk on the beach. This is not what Rockaway is about, and it is not what the city should be about.

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