The Newtown Pentacle

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Posts Tagged ‘311

streaming out

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The law is an ass.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Frustrating, calling 311 is.

Having just spent thirty minutes attempting to report a violation of NYC’s anti idling law – there’s a large RV with a diesel engine parked in front of HQ, which also destroyed a series of branches of my street tree when pulling into its parking spot, and whose engine has been running for better than an hour – the 311 operator informed me that DEP would be out in ten days to investigate the report.

When one opined that the offending vehicle would likely not be there in ten days, and that this might be something properly assigned to the NYPD traffic unit for enforcement, the operator reluctantly agreed to inform the 114th pct. She suggested that I call 911 instead, but this sort of thing hardly qualifies as a Police emergency.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The process of calling 311 has gotten more and more painful over the years, and what was once a smooth point of contact between community and government has turned into a bureaucratic shit show. I had to make two separate reports with two different operators, and give them the same information twice. The street tree part of it went to Parks, and the idling complaint to DEP, when both are street enforcement actions best handled by NYPD ticket books. 311 now also insists on acquiring all the identifying information about the caller as possible, which is no doubt a) data mining and b) will cause me to think twice before calling 311 again. Meanwhile, an hour and a half after this vehicle parked in front of HQ – the engine is still idling.

I didn’t mention “who I am” on the call (because that’s kind of dickish), but next time I run into the Commissioner of the DEP, she’s going to get an earful about this.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

People get after me for acting like an accusatory asshole towards our employees, but that’s the way that I perceive anybody from the Mayor on down who collects a check from the City. Speaking truth to power is my creed, and when these employees of ours screw the pooch, the boss has something to say about it. Their boss isn’t the Mayor, it’s you and me, and our employees are doing a shit job of late.

Citizen Mitch has seen something, said something, and the City damned well better do something.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

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Written by Mitch Waxman

March 30, 2015 at 11:11 am

breakers lacerated

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

Last Saturday, after conducting a walking tour of Dutch Kills for a group of enthusiasts, your humble narrator found himself walking up 35th street, and upon arriving at the street’s intersections with both 38th avenue and Northern Blvd.- I was moving past the titan Packard building.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Engaged in conversation with Our Lady of the Pentacle, who helped out with the tour, I suddenly felt as if someone might be throwing crumpled up bits of paper at my back. Spinning around to confront my attacker, this swarm of bees was observed.

It had been bees bouncing off my back!

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One of the things I’ve learned about Queens is this- if something “should be done or said”, no one is going to do it, so you’d better do it yourself. Our Lady of the Pentacle sighed at this point and walked up the block to find a shady spot to sit down while I crossed the street and yelled “BEEs” at anyone who approached this spot.

After many years of marriage to one such as myself, she knew that the following would take a while and she might as well get comfortable.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I called 911, and told the operator that there were a lot of bees swarming on the same corner as a subway stop, and was told that that’s not an emergency and that I should call 311. With a hearty “yes ma’am” I hung up and called 311.

The operator listened to my description of the situation, and asked me if I had contacted the property owner about the situation.

Attempting to explain that I was attempting to report a dangerous situation here on the streets of Queens, she interrupted me and chided that “I wasn’t letting her talk”. There no way, of course, that this situation would have been dealt with differently if I was calling about such a situation in say… Manhattan.

She continued that “bees are part of nature and that the City of New York doesn’t mess with nature”.

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