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Open Letter of Apology

In the columns, I mistakenly vented my anger at the traffic enforcement agent instead of the unfair revenue policy that hurts us working families and others. I sincerely apologize to that agent for any anguish he experienced.

In my eagerness to bring the merciless double-parking situation to light and start a campaign to have it modified so that traffic enforcement agents should direct you to move before issuing a ticket carte blanche, I used inappropriate terms hoping to bring public attention to the policy.

I sincerely regret and apologize for those offensive names I called the traffic enforcement agent. The traffic enforcement agents are hardworking people who must do their jobs to support their families and face disciplinary action for not doing their jobs. The columns were construed as racist. They were not intended that way. Rather, they were intended to get attention and warn the public that double-parking on 86th Street had a mandate of zero tolerance by the New York City Police Department, which the traffic enforcement agents are under.

In retrospect, these traffic enforcement agents are also victimized by this unfair policy, because they are exposed to the wrath of the public daily. They are under severe pressure to fill the city's coffers. I know I was very, very angry and it was reflected in my columns.

So I am urging you, the public, not to make the same mistake I made, directing my anger at the individual agent, but direct it to the traffic enforcement agency responsible for setting the merciless policy. Use your anger to make the needed policy change. Make an effort to contact your city officials to ameliorate the current zero tolerance policy.

Again, I apologize to the agent and to the union that took offense. I am a community activist and mistakenly chastised the wrong culprits. I inadvertently did something that went against my entire history of fighting racism and discrimination.

I have worked 18 years promoting racial tolerance and founded Project Learn in District 21, in which 50,000 children participated throughout the years, speaking out against racism. So I am fully aware of the evils of racism. I have been the president of the Bensonhurst West End Community Council for 25 years, acting as 'guardians of our community.'

Under my leadership, the Bensonhurst West End Community Council has given hundreds of awards to students and honored worthy individuals with our Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Peace Award.

The council is currently undertaking a petition drive to change the zero tolerance double-parking policy. If successful, the agents would be less scorned for merely doing their jobs.

Carmine Santa Maria

President

Bensonhurst West End Community Council

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