Monday, October 22, 2012

Signs of the times

Wakefield Area News
By Mary Lauro
BRONX, NEW YORK, October 22- Some communities look like picture postcards and others as if a whirlwind of garbage had deposited its detritus on it. What is the difference? Are some people cleaner than others?
Not at all. It is not a matter of personal cleanliness. It is a matter of civic awareness. Children who drop their plastic soda cups on the sidewalk, or adults who throw garbage out of car windows would not do so in their own homes. Very possibly, their own homes are sparkling clean. They simply do not see the area outside their homes as part of their responsibility.
While we agree with some critics that the Sanitation Department, like so many other agencies in the city, spends more time and gives better service in communities that are in the higher income tax bracket, we also feel that the wealthier communities are more apt to voice complaints more quickly and effectively than the poorer ones. For example, think of the number of illegal vendors that are now moving on to White Plains Road. The same vendors would not dream of offering their wares in Riverdale. They know full well that the police would be on them in no time at all, not because the police are anxious to ticket them, but because members of the community would not tolerate their presence.
On White Plain Road, it is a different story. Barbecue chicken is roasted in the open behind a parked car or truck. Many ungloved fingers handle the chicken. On another block, a gleaming, well-structured conveyance sports utensils for boiling frankfurters and sauerkraut. It parks itself between two restaurants. And so on. Patrol cars whiz by. The one or two voices that dial 311 are lonely.
Another feature which downgrades communities is the proliferation of illegal signs. Actually, no signs are to be posted on city streets other than those designated by city agencies. Riverdale has no illegal signs. They are immediately reported and just as quickly removed by the Sanitation Department. We, too, can get such service, if we report the signs. We urge you to do that. It is simple enough.
See a sign anywhere in the community, note the address. You must have the address or a description of its location. Call 311. You will be connected with a person who will take your information and give you a complaint number. Call the next day to see if the sign was removed. Or, better yet, go yourself to the location to see if the sign was removed. If it was not removed, call 311 again, as well as CB 12 at 718-881-4455 to report that it was not removed. We must be persistent to get the service we deserve.
We asked you to do this once before and it worked for a while. But is has begun again with a vengeance. Those signs are now making headway into our side streets. Nothing can be so cheapening. Think of the money spent in upgrading our homes and the thoughtlessness of those who would destroy that effort. Report them!

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