Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio Creates Fan Club to Save Kensington G-Train Service

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio
Mayoral hopeful and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio joined the grass-roots call to maintain the service of the G-train to the Kensington neighborhood in Brooklyn.

De Blasio announced the creation of a new organization to fight for the subway service, called “5 Stop Fan Club,” referring to the five train stops which the MTA is threatening to shut down. This new group joins an on-line petition submitted by the Working Families Party demanding that the present G-train service be maintained.

“These extra five stops are a lifeline that Brooklyn residents and small businesses have come to depend on,” said de Blasio. “Ending this service will have a profound effect on the community and the mom and pop stores along these five stops. I encourage every New Yorker who wants to see the G train service preserved to join the 5 Stop Fan Club and let your voices be heard.”

The five train stops in question were only added to the G-train’s route by the MTZ in 2009 to help deal with the disruptions caused by the repair of the Culver Aqueduct, a bridge over the Gowanus Canal.

Since the work on the aqueduct is almost finished, the MTA is planning on closing down the extension, which was only put in place to allow commuters from Greenpoint to travel all the way to Kensington without being forced to change trains.

Last Friday the Working Families Party inaugurated their petition on the internet, which will eventually be submitted to the MTA, hopefully dissuaded them from cancelling the train service. De Blasio is affiliated closely with the Working Families Party, which helped get him elected to his present office of public advocate.

De Blasio’s “Fan Club” has a website with several elected officials joining the movement, including Representative Nydia Velazquez, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, State Senators Eric Adams and Dan Squadron, Assemblymen James Brennan and Hakeem Jeffries, and City Councilmembers Brad Lander, Sara Gonzalez, Stephen Levin and Letitia James.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Councilman Greenfield and Residents Demand Investigation Into Outlandish Water Bills

Councilman David Greenfield

Ever since the installation of automated meter readers (AMRs) the water bills of residents and businesses have been unexplainably high. After receiving complaints about the problem from many residents, New York City Councilman David G. Greenfield, along with six of his fellow council members took to the steps of City Hall to demand an investigation into why water bills are so high.

AMRs Causing the Trouble?

Beginning in 2009 AMRs began to be installed into homes and businesses throughout the city as part of a $250 million project whose goal was to make it easier to measure water usage and bill residents for that usage. Instead it appears the AMRs are causing havoc; not only in New York, but in other cities there have been complaints of major problems with the technology as well, in some cases leading to huge audits and customer refunds.

New York customers have complained about getting bills many times greater than their bills immediately prior to the AMRs installation.

“These meters are unquestionably producing suspect readings that need to be investigated immediately. Like many of my neighbors, the new bills show my family using water in amounts far in excess of what is actually taking place in our home, and the city urgently needs to get to the bottom of this situation. In addition, the process to determine if we had a leak was frustrating and onerous. I am relieved that Councilman Greenfield is fighting on our behalf, and I am hopeful that he can help get some answers on this issue,” said Kensington resident Mordechai Lev, who was overbilled by approximately 400% after his new meter was installed.
 Fix the Problem Before it Gets Worse
“After I received a bill that was much higher than ever before, I was told only that all charges were valid after I requested the city review my case. We need real answers concerning this problem before more residents receive incorrect bills, especially since we don’t know how many other people are impacted by this. My thanks to Councilman Greenfield for demanding that the city address this problem instead of simply insisting that its meters are functioning correctly,” said Borough Park resident Toby Schwartz, whose bills tripled as a result of her new water meter.

“This issue has caused me and my family much frustration as we tried to get answers from the city. I am pleased that this ongoing problem is getting the attention it needs, and I am hopeful that as a result of Councilman Greenfield’s efforts, we will finally get to the bottom of this. The city needs to take these concerns and complaints regarding water bills seriously so that the public is assured the meters are functioning correctly,” said Borough Park resident Joseph Reichberg, whose bill spiked to $2,800 according to the new meter.

Demanding Investigation

Councilman Greenberg and his colleagues went to City Hall to request from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) an immediate investigation into the issue with a thorough examination of the meters and the overpriced bills, including a complete explanation of what is causing the spikes in the bills and other inconsistencies and irregularities.

“The complaints I have been hearing from residents and business owners regarding their water bills are shocking and need to be investigated immediately. We need to be sure that this technology is reliable and that customers are not being overcharged. I urge the DEP to take these complaints seriously and look into this matter so that the public can be confident that the bills they receive are accurate. I thank my colleagues and constituents for joining me today, and look forward to resolving these issues with the DEP,” said Greenfield.