Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A Crime To Be Poor

Just about everything is illegal these days.

Fat Paulie – who works at a building on Gerard Avenue – was on the 2 train this morning telling how the system took down his friend Carl.

Carl is a South Bronx guy who gets by on odd jobs that he usually picks up because he happens to have an old delivery van. The van came to him through a roommate who couldn’t make rent one month because he had to go away for three to five years.

“That van is the only thing Carl ever owned,” Fat Paulie explained. “And it’s the only way he ever made a living.”

But Carl lost the van and his living and was fined because of Local Law Number 50 of 2007 that was signed by Mayor Bloomberg in October. The law allows the city to seize vehicles and write tickets for up to $5,000 for “the unlawful removal of recyclables.”

Carl’s crime was picking up old bed frames and pipes that were dragged to the curb with the trash. He was planning to haul it to a scrap yard in Queens to hustle up extra money for his bleacher seats at Yankee Stadium.

“Carl borrowed some money to pay his ticket bill (which was due on January 11),” Fat Paulie said. “He was just trying to get even.”

But he got busted by undercover Sanitation Police Officers.

“It was right in front of my building,” Fat Paulie said. “I told the cops that it was okay for him to take the stuff, but they said it was some sort of crackdown.”

Beautiful. New York City is cracking down on people who pick up garbage.

“I didn’t understand at first,” Fat Paulie said. “But now I’ve got it figured out: They made it a crime to be poor since rich people don’t pick up trash.”

7 comments:

Donna said...

This has to be a joke, right?

Todd Drew said...

Donna,
This ridiculous law is very real. Twenty-five of the 28 people who had vehicles impounded in December by the New York City Department of Sanitation were nailed for “removing recyclables” from curbs. Check out the city’s press release and list of violations:

http://nyc.gov/html/dsny/html/
pr2008/10408.shtml

Charlie D said...

Just want you to know that i really enjoy your writing. Your words are touching and sincere, and expose what most people would never get a glimpse of.

Thank you.

Pete said...

I never know whether to cry or laugh or scream, but you always make me think.

JoeyBoy said...

No one is even surprised by this stuff anymore. The world is built for the rich and the rest of us are here to serve them.

James said...

Wow, I just can't believe this is true. Just wow. Thanks for keeping everything in perspective for us Todd. I just started reading your blog after your guest post at Pete Ab's blog and now read it everyday. Keep up the good work.

Todd Drew said...

Thanks for stopping by, Charlie D and James.