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Bizmen: Bloomy is squeezing us!

The Brooklyn Paper
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A Clinton Hill pet store that got hit with 116 city summonses in one day has become the poster child for the excesses of an anti–small-business mayor.

Entrepreneurs, residents and elected officials were aghast after reading last week’s Brooklyn Paper front-page story on Simone and Ricardo Olton, owners of Paws and Claws on Fulton Street, who received $8,700 in fines on one day for fliers that they had illegally posted on city property.

The 116 tickets came on one day because city Sanitation enforcement officers are allowed to hoard illegal fliers for as long as they want — and then dump them on business owners who may not even realize that they had been breaking the law.

“More than $8,000 [in fines] will put him out of business, and we do not want that,” said Councilwoman Letitia James (D–Clinton Hill), who wants the city to reduce the penalties on the Oltons.

All week long, outraged readers posted comments on BrooklynPaper.com, and interviews with small businesspeople around the borough revealed a strong overtone of resentment at how the city enforces regulations that affect commerce.

“The city obviously has statutes in effect that conflict with a friendly environment for small businesses,” posted “Soured in Red Hook.”

Shopkeepers complain that the Department of Sanitation uses a fine-toothed comb during inspections. The agency raised $31.9 million through fines in 2006, up from $18.8 million in 2003, city records show.

“I’ve been given a $100 ticket for having one cigarette butt on my sidewalk,” said the owner of a picture-framing company who did not want to be identified. “It’s really annoying, but it’s the price of living in the city.”

In spite of the criticism, the Department of Sanitation says its employees are just upholding existing rules to keep the city clean. It is illegal to post fliers lampposts, “No Parking” signs, fire hydrants, garbage cans and other city property.

“The Department enforces the law as it is written, and the law is clear that each illegal posting is a separate violation,” said department spokesman Matthew LiPani.

Indeed, some business owners said that the Oltons have no one to blame but themselves for not knowing the law.

“This is something you don’t want to mess around with,” said Wayne Herman, co-owner of the recently opened Minuteman Press on Atlantic Avenue.

— with Zeke Faux and Evan Gardner

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Reader Feedback

al pankin from downtown says:
I guess businesmen should not put up illegal flyers on public property. it is noting more than visual polutation...no the city has to crack down on free loading politicians who do the same thing.. how many fines have they gotten?
Dec. 11, 2008, 12:26 pm
Chris Beynch from Greenwich Village, Manhattan says:
Quoting a Mary K. Doris, Greenwich Village, who wrote: "...flier-posting renders streetscapes hideous and negates the impact of any beautification efforts." Illegal lamppost fliering has become a city-wide bane, against which the Department of Sanitation is fighting a losing battle. Enforcement of Sanitation Code, Title 10-119, is grossly insufficient. Our only hope is that those who plan to put fliers on lamppost consider the consequences. Media should give this problem increased exposure.
July 27, 2009, 1:30 pm
People of NYC from All over NYC says:
Yes it is True Mayor Bloomberg is the Worst Mayor in NYC history!
He did not plow the snow no Mayor ever did that.
Secondly he took over the Schools and he did not Educate the children by hiring the Incompetance of Kathy Black as NYC Chancellor. She is a CEO from News Corp. Why would you want someone who headed a media corporation to be in charge of the minds of 1 Million NYC students. Mr Bloomberg increases Test Scores but is Closing 50 Schools in Predominately Black and Hispanic Areas. Seems like Institutional Racism abject class discrimination to US. It Seems so Convenient for a Billionaire to hire his inside people, right Mr Billionare Bloomberg!
Just forget about Plowing the snow, just Go to a Broadway Show you Say Mr. Bloomberg, but we can't even get out of our homes. It seems like your giving the people of NYC a SNOW JOB! DON't YOU Dare Raise MTA FARE, even if there is a Billion dollar Surplus. It doesn't Matter to you cause your A Billionaire who does not give a damn about any small Business owner, Middle class Worker,or Unemployed job seeker.
Yes all you do is fine the small business owners $8000 for Fliers that improve their Business. Instead you should use the Dept of Sanitation to clear the streets from Garbage and snow.
I say Mayor Bloomberg Stop firing the City Exterminators So instead spending the city's Money to Kill thousands of Canadian Geese. You should rehire the exterminators you fired and get rid of NYC's Rodent, roach and Bed bug infestation.
But Bahumbug you say because your leaving office (after creating a 3rd term for yourself) anyway 60 Billion dollars richer than when you came in office(your 1st term). It is all about the money forget about the people of NYC you say Bah hum bog, I am Ebziner Scrooge, I am The Grinch that stole the Money from Christmas, I am Mayor Bloomberg " Bah hum Bug, I say!"
Jan. 7, 2011, 3:14 am

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