Beware of these boy SCOUTs

The Brooklyn Paper
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City Hall has unleashed teams of inspectors in Cushmen scooters with a mission to improve the quality of life.

But exactly whose life will actually be improved isn’t so clear.

The plan is ambitious. Mayor Bloomberg says the three-wheeled scooters will hit every block at least once a month to report on those pesky annoyances of city life (see news story, page 14).

But up high on this columnist’s list of pesky annoyances happens to be those three-wheeled scooters.

They don’t go fast, they clog up roads, and there are about a gazillion little scooters already employed by Traffic Enforcement officers wreaking havoc on residents.

In fact, the idea of more scooters continuously racing around the streets of Bay Ridge sounds more like an Orwellian nightmare than a kind-hearted blessing from the mayor.

Known as Street Conditions Observation Unit Teams (or SCOUT), the inspectors are already patrolling our community with handheld satellite-aided devices to transmit reports on litter, potholes, graffiti, and other quality-of-life problems directly into the 311 system.

You know, just in case the local cops, the fleet of traffic enforcement agents, the next-door neighbor who has 311 on her speed dial, and the seven cameras per city block miss something.

Simply put: residents have enough units observing us and don’t need more scooters.

But pols seem to believe there can never be enough sets of eyes, and wheels, even if residents already feel overexposed.

“SCOUT [will] improve the quality of life throughout this community,” said Councilman Vince Gentile (D–Bay Ridge). The Mayor, who dreamed up this scheme, agreed: “This new team will bring an extra set of eyes to our city streets. Whenever I’m driving through the city and I see a pothole or garbage on the street, I’ll pick up the phone and report the problem to 311, now we’ll deploy a team of veteran city workers to do the same.”

Great, but this sudden urgency for this new bureaucracy is questionable.

The mayor’s office found city streets to be at a record-breaking high, with 94.3 percent of streets rated “acceptably clean” in 2007.

In other words, streets are already historically clean, so then what exactly is the purpose of this new scooter patrol, anyway?

Some residents had their own ideas.

“Not one person I know wants more of these government scooters on the road,” said scooter-weary resident Phil Millard. “Only the politicians love these kinds of programs, but maybe at least at the end of the day, there really will be less trash and cleaner roads.”

Yellow Hooker isn’t holding his breath, but he does have some ideas of his own.

If there are any politicians sincerely interested in improving the quality of this columnist’s life, then the goal shouldn’t be more government scooters, but less.

Not to mention the fact that I could fill this entire paper with some real quality-of-life suggestions. Here’s one: how about buying flags to stick on the top of fire hydrants so that car owners won’t have to leave so much space on either side of the pump? With the flags, firemen will have an easier time finding the hydrants, and we can all get a few more empty spaces per block.

Yeah, it would look weird, but talk about improving the quality of life!

Matthew Lysiak is a writer who lives in Bay Ridge.

The Kitchen Sink

Congrats to Ridge residents Mary Luo and David Kang, who tied the knot last Saturday with a unique celebration that skillfully combined Asian and American traditions and cuisines. While The Sink is glad Dave got himself a first-class wife, we have to admit that we fear our columnist has lost a babysitter. Burning garbage can fires have appeared more prevalent this summer than any time in recent memory, at least according to one source, who says kids have been setting fires to the garbage near Owls Head Park, at Colonial Avenue near 67th Street. The source wants to remind residents that if you spot a can of flaming fire report it to the authorities. Here’s a group that doesn’t mind saying, “We told you so!” Bay Ridge Neighbors for Peace are planning a rally against Rep. Vito Fossella (R–Bay Ridge) for his support of the War in Iraq — which is in its fifth year and going pretty badly. A Dunkin Donut inspector recently contacted Chock Full of Nuts, located on Third Avenue near 79th Street, to speak with the owner about the scandal, broken in these pages, that the rogue Chock Full was buying day-old donuts from Dunkin and then reselling them. Thankfully, the java spot is now under new ownership and the reviews thus far have been thumbs-up. A car garage on 18th Avenue, between 87th and 88th Streets, just sold for $3 million. The 11,000-square-foot lot will be combined with other, previously purchased, adjoining properties, according to Massey Knakal Realty Services, the broker on the deal.

Updated 4:32 pm, July 9, 2018
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