NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn visits Carroll Gardens Neighborhood Association meeting at PS 58
Photo by Joshua Kristal
New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn travelled to Carroll Gardens on Wednesday to talk to the Carroll Gardens Neighborhood Association about parking proposals, budget cuts, and local issues. The speaker will meet with many community groups in her expected run for mayor. She said Carroll Gardens is the “favorite” neighborhood of her partner, who she says wants to live here.
Quinn said the council is concerned about state budget cuts–which will slash things like 17,000 child care seats citywide and school budgets. She said the city is actively fighting in Albany.
Quinn also discussed parking. Parking tickets “might be $65 or $100, but if you are $65 or $100 short on your rent or bills,” it’s a lot, she said. Unfair ticketing makes people mad at city government, and that’s not good, she said.
Quinn said that some residents get ticketed during the 90 seconds or so that it takes to walk from the muni meter to the car, to place the muni meter ticket in the car window.
“When you walk to the muni meter, you can’t mental telepathy” your ticket to the car, and the police officer can’t rip up the ticket once it’s written. Quinn said. She’s proposing a measure that would allow the officer to rip up the ticket.
Quinn also promoted a measure proposed by local City Councilman Brad Lander, which would allow communities that get the city’s highest cleanliness rating two years in a row to suspend street cleaning (and the need to move cars) once a week.
And Quinn said she expected a measure to pass that will create an interactive parking map so residents can easily view parking regulations and the location of construction and film crews.
“We want to do more, and we hope it’ll be helpful,” she said.
For small businesses, Quinn said she wanted to institute a program that would assign a city assistant to help with permitting and inspections.
A friend of mine who recently opened a restaurant in the Cobble Hill area said that with all that is required and varying demands from different inspectors, “it’s a miracle that any business opens, and I doubt that any open legally,” my friend said to me last summer.
A resident named Eunice told Quinn that she walks on Smith Street every morning at 7 a.m., and that she can’t believe anyone goes to the restaurants at night, “the sidewalks are greasy, there is trash everywhere, it looks disgusting, and it stinks,” she says.
The local police commander, Capt. Jack Lewis, of the 76th Precinct, brought some laughs when he said he’s got a “sneaking suspicion,” that whomever pulled off the burglaries around Clinton in Carroll Gardens in February might be in jail for another matter, and that whomever was responsible may have worn gloves, because there were no finger prints.
“The bad guys, unfortunately, I think, watch CSI,” Lewis said.
Lewis recounted the sad tale of a shooting last Saturday at 5 a.m. at a biker club in Red Hook, at 98 Van Dyke near Van Brundt. Shots were fired, two men were hit, not critically.
“They were involved in a dispute. They were involved with the same woman.”
Lewis said the department has done well with staffing and does not expect cuts. The 76th Precinct got eight new officers recently, and should only lose officers to attrition, he said.
He said most of the area crimes are misdemeanors, and that his officers will continue a heavy presence around the subway stations and Smith Street, especially when school gets out.
When it comes to robberies and burglaries, the police citywide are keeping numbers down by visiting past offenders regularly, Lewis says.
“Recidivism is a problem around the country,” Lewis says. Visits to folks with prior convictions is the equivalent of a “surgical strike.”