The BPCA “Town Hall” was a farce

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November 19, 2011

A letter by M. Kamau

A major problem within our society is in our media. Our corporately controlled media is now used more to steer the mass public with Jackass news stories than play their designated role as “watchdogs” and expose the corruption within our municipal and federal governments. This can be fixed, but only if the masses of educated people in our society ask the right questions.

When the people want a chance to air their issues, a town hall meeting sounds like a great forum, but what happens when people spend more talking about animal defecation (both rat and canine) and public art installations than the real issues we all as a community need to address? The public deserves answers to the hard questions, such as where our additional taxes as Battery Park residents are spent. We considered the upcoming tax hike as a “victory” because, and I quote, “it could have been a lot worse.”

Battery Park residents pay additional taxes that are used to fund a miniature private government that exists solely to govern Battery Park City. The Battery Park City Authority uses our hard earned money on PEP officers to patrol our neighborhood. To prove their need in our community they also help us address pressing issues such as placement of bike racks and field complaints from residences. The last time I checked residents in other neighborhoods have found avenues to accomplish this without having to incur extra property taxes. This extra layer of bureaucracy might help us noise our complaints about stop signs and D.O.T violations, but our complaints are then lost in their designated departments as soon as they are aired.

This so called “authority” taxes us because we let them! As a people we have a right to know how our money is spent. If transparency existed with the Battery Park City Authority there would be no Battery Park City Authority. They have marketed their need with our money. They condone unlawful behavior. The Parks Department officers who are contracted to protect us and enforce New York City law have been involved in numerous lawsuits involving assault and harassment, yet we still knowingly and willingly pay their salaries. The contract we pay for as residents of BPC to the parks department exceeds $2.5 million for their services rendered. We could go the Goldman Sachs route and hire four NYPD officers to sit in our neighborhood 24/7 and pay less than half of the contract price with the Parks Department. Taking this approach would also conceivably cut police response time as well. This sounds like a win-win. We can stop the waste of our hard-earned money!

New York City is full of problems. Deal with it. Why do we feel the need to pay extra taxes (which make every apartment that less desirable to a property across the highway with much lower taxes yet access to our neighborhood) to gain the privilege for another public forum? Community Board 1 could handle the issues of the residents with the help and oversight of our congressman and senator. Why do we need to contract the Parks Department officers when the good ol’ NYPD is good enough for the rest of the 7,000,000+ residents of New York City? But we don’t want to complain about wasted taxes and gross negligence in the governing body of our neighborhood, we want to complain about the rats (NEW YORK HAS RATS!), the dog defecation on the sidewalks, the delivery men (WHOM YOU ORDER FOOD FROM AND EMPLOY!) and speed bumps for bikes. Democracy can only work if the people are informed, ask the right questions and can see past all of the dog$h!t.

Adam Pratt explaining his grievances

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