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New Yorkers rage at 'silly summons' blitz

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  • New Yorkers rage at 'silly summons' blitz

    I saw a bit about this a while ago regarding New York, but here's another interesting article, talk about going extreme! :lol:

    New Yorkers are complaining that a barrage of summonses for trivial offences is turning their city, where the Statue of Liberty still raises her torch for personal freedom, into an American version of authoritarian Singapore.

    They are furious that police have been ordered to issue fines ranging from $25 to $1,000 for minor offences which many people did not know even existed. Victims suspect City Hall of ordering the blitz of fines to help plug a $4.7 billion deficit.

    Among those issued with "silly summonses" have been a pregnant woman accused of obstruction after resting on the stairs of a subway station; a grandmother accused of noise pollution for chatting to her neighbour through her open front door, and a tourist fined for falling asleep on a train.

    In another case, Kim Phann, 23, and Bruce Rosario, 27, had been working at a Bronx barber shop when they stepped outside to chat and smoke a cigarette. After a few puffs, a police car pulled up and an officer issued each man a summons. "Loitering in front of business," their tickets read.

    "This city is really uptight right now, but this is just nuts," said Mr Phann. "It's against the law to smoke inside the business, so you go out. Then you get accused of loitering. What's happening?"

    The alarm was first sounded over the case known as the "Man and the Milk Crate". Jesse Taveras, 19, was fined $105 for "unauthorised use" of the milk crate on which he was sitting outside a shop, because - a passing policeman pointed out - the crate carried the warning: "Use by anyone but registered owner is liable to prosecution, Article 17A, General Business Law".

    Some approve of the blitz as the ultimate extension of the "zero tolerance" policing which rescued the city from spiralling crime in the Nineties. They say their point was proved during the power blackout in August. Whereas riots and murders followed a shorter blackout in 1977, this time around crime fell, and the city remained calm.

    However, this is small comfort for victims of the "silly summons". Virginia Fields, the Manhattan borough president - equivalent to a London borough mayor - has vowed to contest the $100 ticket she was handed for having a "dirty sidewalk" outside her home. "If I have violated the law, I am the first to acknowledge it. But this was just not the case."

    Mr Phann and Mrs Fields believe that they are victims of a scheme to close New York's yawning budget deficit. Mr Phann said: "It's obvious that they are doing it for the bucks, but that is just not honest. They could raise taxes and be straight and tell us about it."

    Everybody blames Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the financial services tycoon whose popularity rating plunged so low after he imposed a ban on smoking in bars and restaurants that he is now known as "Mayor Gloomberg".

    Mr Bloomberg denies ordering "silly summonses" to raise cash. However, the city issued 7 million summonses a year, and he said that it was inevitable that some of them would be "crazy". His advice was: "If you don't like them, fight them and if they are unfair, you'll hopefully beat them."

    A recent poll showed that Mr Bloomberg's ratings have crept up since the blackout, with 38 per cent of New Yorkers saying he had been doing a "good job". But a clear majority still thought he had damaged life in the city.


  • #2
    And there's me thinking that the NYPD would have better things to do with their time.... :wacko:


    • #3

      The things I learn on NFHiB!!!

      That's a classic :lol:

      The Land of the Free??? Do us a favour!

      But then, I was in the USA once and got a real telling off for sitting on a railing - naughty, or wot? :hihi:



      • #4
        Originally posted by mazza@Sep 28 2003, 4:35 PM

        But then, I was in the USA once and got a real telling off for sitting on a railing - naughty, or wot?** :hihi:
        Bad Mazza! :lol:


        • #5


          I know, what a subversive!! :blush:


          • #6
            His advice was: "If you don't like them, fight them and if they are unfair, you'll hopefully beat them."

            Hmm and I wonder how much commission he'll get from all those lawyers Land of the Free, don't make me laugh. I was reading about a man who was reading a foreign language page on the web in a public library, next thing he knows he's arrested and questioned by the FBI. I could quote quite a few other incidents, but it would be boring War on Terror or War on civil liberties? You decide

            "Almost anything you do will seem insignificant, but it is very important that you do it. You must be the change that you wish to see in the world." Gandhi