Trash These Fines

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The punishment should fit the crime. Fining law-abiding citizens up to $300 because they put their trash cans out too early in the day is nuts.

State Sen. Tony Avella claims the city Sanitation Department has been slamming residents in his district with these fines because they put their trash cans out too early.

“It’s a huge mistake on behalf of the agency,” he said.

Sanitation defended this insanity, saying the current regulations were negotiated between the department and the City Council in 2006, when Avella was a councilman.

In a statement, Sanitation said the change “has been beneficial to the public by preventing waste from being stored at curbside.”

According to the regulations, residents are not allowed to put out their trash bins on the day prior to collection before 4 p.m. from Oct. 1 to April 1 or before 5 p.m. at all other times during the year. The policy sets the fines.

We suspect the rash of tickets in northeast Queens is not part of an effort to create a cleaner city. It is more likely that Sanitation police have been ordered to generate funds for a cash-strapped city.

Such aggression is penny wise and pound foolish. When this happens, citizens soon come to believe laws and regulations created with the best intentions are a scheme by city bureaucrats to pick pockets.

We urge the Sanitation commissioner to call off the dogs. Reset the fines so the punishment fits the crime and give violators a warning before beating them over the head.

Trash These Vandals

Two graffiti vandals “forgot to look up.”

A Whitestone business owner says his surveillance cameras caught two punks tagging his property. Anthony Cammarata, who runs Venezia Tile, claims to have footage of two men spray-painting his truck, the outer wall of his business and a neighboring business.

He has offered not to turn the video over to police if the vandals will confess to their crime, apologize and clean up the damage. He is hoping they will learn a lesson.

He is also offering $100 to anyone who can identify the vandals.

These vandals would be foolish not to accept Cammarata’s offer. The video is likely all the evidence the police need for an arrest and conviction.

Posted 12:00 am, January 29, 2012
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