Sunday, October 14, 2007

Mr. Mayor, Sir, Why Not Obey the Law ?

Ruby Washington/The New York Times

Dear Mr. Mayor,

Nice picture of yourself here, don't you think ? And all those law enforcement officers applauding ! But there is a little matter that I need to bring to your attention about of law-abiding, or rather the opposite, on the part of the city.

I have this little blog called BQEWatch, in which I try to point attention to a dangerous entrance to the BQE. How do I know it's dangerous ? Well, to be perfectly honest, I cannot be sure that it's more dangerous than it should be (although I have documented quite a few accidents on it within a period of weeks). I don't know EXACTLY how many people have died at this spot, and I don't know its safety record in comparison with other, safer BQE entrances.

For this reason I have requested the New York Police Department, which is charged with patrolling this highway and with keeping records of accidents on it, to give me the relevant figures. I have made this request under the Freedom of Information Law, FOIL. You will find all the details of my request on my blog.

Well, to get back to obeying the law. FOIL requires a response within five days. My FOIL request, according to Post Office records, was delivered at 8:01 a.m. on Wednesday, August 22, 2007. Today it is October 15. I have not heard from the NYPD at all. Not a word. I phoned the relevant bureau one day and was told that the request is undoubtedly in the building somewhere, and that, no doubt, it will be found soon and properly taken care of. When I volunteered to send a duplicate request, I was told no no no, absolutely do not do that, it would duplicate and complicate matters no end.

So, Mr. Mayor, can you help out on this ?

Many thanks.

Werner Cohn

N.B. The version of this letter submitted to the Mayor had to be somewhat shortened because the Mayor's e-mail arrangement limits messages to 300 words.

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