There's clamor of an upcoming garbage-dump crisis rising from the city's waterfront neighborhoods, but New York's top trashman apparently doesn't want to hear about it.
As the city plans to shut down the Death Star-sized Fresh Kills dump on Staten Island, officials are gearing up to begin shipping 13,000 tons of resi-dential waste out of state each day. But a new coalition of waterfront communities says those plans will likely result in the opening of additional privately-owned waste transfer stations in neighborhoods that already house most of the city's small, smelly waste stations–including Greenpoint-Williamsburg, Red Hook, the South Bronx and southeast Queens.
The Organization of Waterfront Neighborhoods is calling for a mora-torium on the opening of new transfer stations.
In early April, representatives of OWN's 20 member organizations filed into the City Council chamber, taking advantage of a hearing on the privatization of the Department of Sanitation's South Bronx marine waste facility to air their broader concerns.
Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty was invited to testify, but refused to attend or send any of his aides. Calls by City Limits to the sanitation department were not returned.
Doherty had good reason to skip the hearing. In early 1996, his deputy, Michael Carpinello, admitted at a Council hearing that the city had failed to comply with a law requiring that new transfer stations not be placed in overburdened neighborhoods. And last March, a state Supreme Court judge quoted Carpinello's own testimony in an order forcing the Giuliani administration to obey the law. The city is expected to appeal the ruling.
In Doherty's absence, environmentalists directed their complaints at his empty chair. Rising to testify, Carlos Padilla of the South Bronx Clean Air Coalition squeezed a squeak from a foot-long black rubber rat “Look, I've brought along the commissioner of the sanitation department,” he quipped.
“Now, now, don't be picking on rats,” responded Councilmember Kathryn Freed, the Manhattan Democrat who chaired the hearing.