The October Gerritsen Beach Property Owners meeting was all about the PS 277 crossing guards But first it began with a couple of candidates running for office.
First up was Mike DiSanto who is running against Marty Golden:
Then we have Bob Turner who is running against Anthony Weiner
This is where we would usually give you the report on what the 61 reports back to the community. But the 61 has decided that they are disallowing anyone from filming them at meetings they attend. There was a bit of hullabaloo as most did not care either way but the 61 refused.
We were originally told a few weeks ago via Sheepsheadbites that the 61 received orders that they cannot answer questions on camera. Which is a fair statement. Officers should not be making statements to a camera as it could be construed that they are making statements for the entire department. This should not be a problem, as we just tape the meeting. Their position was then boiled down to that they do not want to be filmed during a Questions and Answers portion of them speaking at any meeting.
At this GBPOA meeting, they announced they would be taking questions in the back privately because they fear for the safety of the people asking questions. They did not mention that they had orders not to be on camera – but instead saying they wanted to protect people. Now, if John Doe, wants to announce to the world he has a drug dealer next door, that’s on him. He should not announce it to the world especially in Gerritsen Beach where you never know who’s related. It should be discussed privately. This meeting happened to be packed with PS 277 parents who wanted to talk/yell/vent publicly about the crossing guard issue. They could care less about the presence of a camera, they wanted answers.
Back to the meeting…
Bottom line the community and parents wants police ENFORCEMENT. There are way to many speeders, double parkers, and drivers making U-Turns during arrival and dismissal times. The community asked the 61 specifically for and a police officer at the school during 7:45 – 8:15 AM every now and then. The 61 was not willing to promise any enforcement and we as a community should not plan on getting anytime soon.
The community and parents that were in the room were angry and desperate to get any answer from the 61 and to get this issue resolved. They started to offer many other different solutions such as giving the guards a stop sign. However, the meeting was told that the guards are not allowed to have those signs because then they would be impeding traffic. Just their presence alone is supposed to slow traffic.
Apparently, the crossing situation has gotten so bad that the guards fear for the lives, and the principal has sent out letters to parents saying not to let your kids cross the intersections. The 61 said “They do not endorse what that kind of talk”.
Even IF the 61 was able to offer enforcement, parents brought up the last time an officer was present at the school. They explained that that officer did absolutely nothing to stop any of the speeding, double parking or U-Turns. When asked why that was – the topic was changed.
At the end of the discussion the 61 had not promised anything either way and it frustrated many people. At one point someone yelled out “Just tell us what we have to do and we will do it”. The 61 replied “give your children to the crossing guard”. Which just made everyone angry. They eventually said to the crowd that it would be difficult to spare the man power and that they might be able to give a little extra presence.
But take it with a grain of salt people because without the video we can’t use their own words against them.
I don’t know if I am more disgusted by: no one speaking up in my defense or that I was literally told after the meeting by an officer “If I say I will get enforcement down here and months down the road we don’t – you have me on tape and my feet are put to the fire.” Wow! Isn’t that the point?!