Each neighborhood in this City should have its own City Councilperson to represent its vital daily needs and defenses.
But too often the politics up in Albany intertwine in drawing up political lines upon the basic legal concept that the elective boundaries must be clear, compact and contiguous – not so though in Bensonhurst, where the ‘Ogre of Albany’ really loaded the dice, by slicing tiny chunks of the Bensonhurst neighborhood into a minestrone where everyone takes a chunk out of that prime area, so that it is difficult to save the neighborhood totality as its residents cry for help.
In all Bensonurst has four quarters of one Councilperson each in an outlying area. One slice sits in a Boro Park office another in Bay Ridge, a third in Staten Island and the fourth is quartered in Coney Island.
But “Battling Bill” Colton, the local State Assemblyman has not stopped his defense of that very community’s every need, where he keeps his office door open in the heart of Bensonhurst on Kings Highway, our borough’s widest avenue.
Virtually alone, he has been battling to save all of Bensonhurst and its surroundings from a toxic waste station designed by NYC Sanitation officials, so that they can ship huge portions of waste full garbage out of Brooklyn – Without regard for the communities, the health and the uncommon auto traffic it would create.
The entrance and exits to and from the always busy Ceaser’s Bay shopping center have long been an auto gaseous horror, with traffic always tied up at the narrow neck where Bay Parkway and Shore Parkway are a Brooklyn quagmire.
That location is always combustive and congested, heightened by the Belt Parkway eastbound exit thatsnarls with exiting cars from Manhattan and addedentering and exiting traffic and pedestrians crossing in and out of the mammoth shopping, banking and eating center at Bay Parkway’s foot.
Sanitation trucks could wait for weeks to make a simple left turn to add its garbage pollutants to a Gravesend dock they plan to build.
“No way,” says the very able Bill Colton as he cites the pollutant washed bay waters, long soaked to their soils by the incinerator that he fought to be demolished very successfully, finally.
He pleads now that Governor Paterson must understand that Colton’s battle was not just to successfully dock that cancer brewing garbage burner but to battle further serious ills to all the surrounding residents, as well as the produce of the surrounding seas.
So much fishing is now done from Dreier Offerman Park above, and by fisherman from their boats below – all adjoiningthe Gravesend Bay waters, now nearingcompletion by both Keyspan and National Grid, who were duly orderedback in 1984 to clean out the years of contamination that their gas-making days fed pollution into Gravesend Bay and their Coney Island Creek sites.
Battling Bill Colton argues strongly against a recent partisan decision from an Administrative Law Judge, from the Department of Environmental Conservation that he could not stay that departmental permit to ship pollutant garbage vessels out of the very area that suffered through the man made pollutions of the horrid garbage incinerator in Gravesend Bay as it did from the adjoining mouth of Coney Island Creek – and evidently failing to care for the many multiple thousands who bathe in the waters of surrounding designated beaches in nearby Sea Gate, Staten Island, Coney Island, Brighton and Manhattan Beaches.
The entire area joined “Battling Bill” Colton in pleading to our Governor, David Paterson as we do, “Governor when I introduced myself to you aboard the US Intrepid, I spoke of a man, once a mutual friend ours, the late great State Assemblyman Percy Sutton, whom we all lost too recently, Now in his name, and yours we join our total Bensonhurst and its adjoining verypopulous communities “save our waters: save our life styles, our health and now you have the power to revoke that very departmental decision.”
Long before your governorship we and our newspaper used to run headlines about the dumpers who emptied their trucks on these soils that our editor dubbed Tobacco Road. Finally our embarrassed councilman, the late Sam Horowitz got the city to clean it solidly and made it the very park that visitors and residents enjoy, to picnic,to fish and to stroll in fresh air. Please do not let them incarcerate us again with more pollutants and tighter traffic hazards. There are alternative waste transfer locations. Save our people who are your people sir. Mr. Governor for the People.