Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Code Enforcement Comes To Hempstead Town?

Those Dirty Little Words: "Code Enforcement." Can Election Day Really Be That Far Behind?

There she goes again! Town of Hempstead Supervisor, Kate Murray, spewing forth the oft regurgitated catch phrases. "Hempstead Town is a beautiful and safe place in which to live," and Kate wants to keep it that way.

Of course, what she really wants is to keep her job as Town Supervisor for another two years, and for the GOP, which has singularly held court at Hempstead Town Hall for more than 100 years, to maintain its stranglehold over town taxpayers.

And so, those two little words, hidden away most of the time by town officials, but brought out of the broom closet every two years or so, dusted off for display at the town meeting pavilion and driven into homes from Elmont to Wantagh as part of Kate Murray's Mobile Campaign & Passport Office, are in the news again -- CODE ENFORCEMENT.

Code enforcement? In the Town of Hempstead? Yeah, right! As soon as they enforce the code provisions that ban illegal accessory apartments, excessive noise, and provide for the timely removal of nuisances and blight from our communities.

"Overgrown grass and rubbish on properties can present hazards to public health and safety," Ms. Murray tells us.

In Hempstead Town, overgrown grass and rubbish, which appear in abundance, particularly in the unincorporated areas (too bad they haven't found a way to tax them), are essentially the least of our problems.

As Kate sees it, "...the accumulation of other litter attracts pests and vermin."

Talk about pests and vermin. Maybe they need an exterminator to clean out the 4th floor at 1 Washington Street in Hempstead.

The campaign season has definitely begun at Hempstead Town Hall, and look for Supervisor Kate Murray to keep the presses rolling, and the "trash," by way of Murraygram, piling up in our mail boxes!

Meanwhile, back to Code enforcement, such as it never was...

New law? Hmmm. Hempstead Town has always -- or at least as far back as anyone here can recall (which dates back, for some of us, to when Hempstead Town Attorney, Joe Ra, was in dirty diapers) -- had code provisions prohibiting overgrown grass and rubbish strewn about the property, with the punch of summonses and imposition of fines, should the town choose to look rather than overlook.

Code enforcement, as a weapon in the arsenal to promote and restore our quality of life, would be a good thing.

Code enforcement, as bi-annual rhetoric signaling the coming of lawn signs and bumper stickers affixed to utility poles, but signifying little more, is decidedly not!
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Hempstead code to get tough on violations
By Eden Laikin

Hempstead residents, if you let your grass grow higher than 8 inches or let too much garbage accumulate on your property, you could get a bill from the town if they have to clean it up for you.

According to a new law, adopted by the town board on June 19, homeowners are first issued a notice that such violations exist and are given 5 days to either mow the lawn or pick up the garbage.

If residents don't get the message, town code enforcement officers can issue summonses.

And if that doesn't get the attention of the homeowner to spruce up the property, town sanitation officials will do it for you and bill the homeowner - with interest.

"Overgrown grass and rubbish on properties can present hazards to public health and safety," said Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray in a news release. "Unattended lawns can be breeding grounds for mosquitoes and ticks while the accumulation of other litter attracts pests and vermin."

Murray said that the law, one of several new building codes adopted by the board this month, is the result of complaints from residents about unsightly and unsafe conditions in their neighborhoods.

"Hempstead Town is a beautiful and safe place in which to live," Murray added, "and I want to ensure that we keep it that way."

Copyright 2007 Newsday Inc.

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