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CB11 clean up campaign

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They say they’ve won the first round, but they’re not through with “him” yet.

Members of Community Board 11 report that they are making headway in their crusade against a dreaded neighborhood enemy—that “cheap moving guy.”

“Depending on the neighborhood, it might be a $19 guy, or a $16 guy,” reported Community Board 11 chair Bill Guarinello, speaking at the board’s May 7 meeting at Holy Family Home at 1740 84th Street.

“We’ve been on a campaign to rip them off poles,” Guarinello said.

“I call it graffiti.” he added.

We’ve all seen “his” ugly fliers, vigorously taped to utility poles and street lights. The signs boast inexpensive moving rates, per man and per truck and per hour.

Local leaders in Bensonhurst say the handbills are an eyesore and they want them gone.

Last month, Community Board 11 took their campaign to the streets.

In conjunction with the Keep America Beautiful Great American Cleanup, a team of about 30 volunteers swept through Bensonhurst on April 12.

The event was organized with help from Community Board 11 and local cops from the 62nd Precinct.

Cleaners went street by street, ripping down every illegal poster in sight.

Literally hundreds of signs came down, according to Community Board 11 Assistant District Manager Marnee Elias-Pavia.

Volunteers paid special attention to 18th Avenue, Bath Avenue and Benson Avenue.

“It’s not as bad as it was,” Elias-Pavia told attendees at the meeting. “People are aware and they’re taking responsibi­lity.”

At the May 7 meeting, Guarinello presented cleanup volunteers with certificates of appreciation.

Boy Scouts from Troop 20 were thanked for their efforts, as were members of the Neighborhood Improvement Association.

Guarinello also recognized 62nd Precinct Community Affairs Police Officer Steve Agosta and Assemblymember Peter Abbate.

Abbate not only participated in the cleanup, “he did one step better,” Guarinello told the board.

“As I was driving down 78th Street, I caught the guy putting them up,” Abbate told the group.

When Abbate witnessed the person sticking up the signs, he confiscated the posters and their duct tape.

Abbate brought the seized “evidence” to the board meeting, elicited cheers from the audience.

Posting any kind of sign or advertisement on public property is a violation of city law.

The Department of Sanitation “Digest of Codes” spells out the rules and warns of fines of $75 to $200 for first offenses and steeper tickets for subsequent crimes.

But the threat of penalties has done little to stem the problem. That is why Community Board 11 launched the neighborhood campaign earlier this year.

The board publicized their campaign through local media reports and at monthly board meetings.

“We’d like each block to adopt their own block,” Guarinello said at the most recent meeting.

Residents from each street are being encouraged to take pride in their block and their neighborhood. When they notice an illegal handbill, they’re being asked to immediately remove it.

Over time, the belief is that the pesky advertisers will cease as their efforts will no longer be profitable.

“Board 11 is still on the campaign and we’re hoping that other community boards will do the same,” Guarinello reported.

Elias-Pavia said she hoped to plan future group cleanup events. Interested participants should contact the board office at (17) 266 8800.

Updated 3:48 pm, October 19, 2011
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