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New law is paper tiger

The Brooklyn Paper
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The city’s new regulations to help homeowners stem the tide of unwanted menus and fliers from their doorsteps and vestibules may unleash an entirely new round of paperwork and red tape.

The Sanitation Department this week started enforcing a eight-month-old state law to keep circulars off Brooklynites’ front stoops.

Neighborhood groups like the Park Slope Civic Council and Boerum Hill Association had created front-yard signs requesting that delivery people keep their fliers to themselves, but the signs had no enforcement power.

They still don’t.

According to the new regs, only signs that are at least seven inches wide by five inches tall and include the words, “Do Not Place Unsolicited Advertising Materials On This Property,” can trigger $250 fines for litterers.

But those fines kick in only if homeowners are willing to follow some rules themselves: If you want to press charges against a culprit who has ignored your seven-by-five warning, you must fill out a complaint form with the city’s Sanitation bureau. Should the defendant plead not guilty, you may need to appear in court to attest to the violator’s wrongdoing.

Nonetheless, city pols were crowing.

“We finally have an enforcement mechanism in place that allows the city, property owners and tenants to hold violators of the law accountable,” said Councilman Vince Gentile (D–Bay Ridge).

Of course the elected officials support the “No flier” law. Their newsletters and fliers are exempt from any property owner’s desire to stop being inundated by them.

Updated 1:11 pm, August 7, 2008
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Reasonable discourse

Rob from Bensonhurst says:
I cannot tell you how many menue's, business cards, and value packs are left on my steps. One idoit decided to fling the packet of papers on my porch, hit my plant and knocked it over! When I tried to say something, the guy just looked at me like I had 3 heads. Of course I said, he doesn't understand or speak english.

I am yet to use any of the business cards, or value packets that are left on my steps, and yet they keep it a coming!
Aug. 7, 2008, 4:03 pm
Dena Libner from Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst, Dyker Heights says:
Hi Rob,

We have heard the same complaint from many, many people in the area. While the new enforcement mechanism does require a small amount of cooperation on the part of property owners, I believe the new law will be effective in deterring advertisers from flooding stoops and doorways with ads.

For each item an advertiser leaves at your home (assuming you post a sign that is at least 5x7 banning those items), the advertiser can be fined $250. If they dump a whole packet on your porch - let's say 100 items bound together - each item is fined individually. These fines can really add up.

If you are ever in the Bay Ridge area, please don't hesitate to stop by Councilman Vincent Gentile's office to pick up complaint forms and signs (8703 3rd Avenue), or print off your own on the DOS Web site.

Dena Libner
Director of Communications
Office of Councilman Vincent Gentile
Aug. 8, 2008, 10:52 am

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