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Sonny fought City Hall — and won

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Sonny Soave fought the law, and he won — at least in this one battle with the Department of Sanitation.

Soave’s hard-fought victory against the agency came on behalf of an elderly neighbor he believed was unfairly ticketed for having a dirty driveway.

“I feel good about it,” Soave said. “Finally, we can say the little guy has done something about the Sanitation dictatorsh­ip.”

The good news came in the form of a letter from the department stating that the case was dropped.

The trouble began last April when Soave spotted an enforcement officer parked across the street from his house, so he went over and knocked on the car window.

“I saw her writing tickets, without even getting out of her car,” Soave said. “When I asked her if she was going to write my neighbor a ticket, she just smiled at me and said no.”

But Soave stuck around to see what would happen, and sure enough, the officer ticketed several people on his block, including his friendly neighbor.

“The ticket stated that there were papers and candy bar wrappers in her driveway. Not only doesn’t she have a driveway, but there were no papers anywhere near her yard,” Soave said.

He took the ticket to Councilman Vince Gentile (D–Bay Ridge) and Community Board 10 — and now has become a leading voice in the movement to fight Sanitation tickets.

“The agency says you’re guilty until you prove your innocence,” Soave said. “So if you are unfairly ticketed, go to every official and every newspaper you can find and make a fuss.”

Soave also believes that by bringing his neighbors tickets into the public spotlight, he is already seeing dividends.

“I haven’t seen one of those little cars around since you put this in the paper,” Soave said. “I just hope they learned a lesson from all this.”

The Councilman also felt vindicated.

“I’m happy the city decided to dismiss this wrongly issued ticket,” said Gentile. “In the future, I hope tickets are issued more carefully.”

Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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