Saturday, November 8, 2008

Shame of city's littering pols

Friday, November 7th 2008

Milton Tingling
This probably wasn't the race Milton Tingling was hoping to win.

The Manhattan judicial candidate - who lost a September primary battle - can call himself New York's Litterer in Chief after he led the list of politicians caught putting up illegal posters.

Tingling's campaign for Surrogate's Court judge was hit with 1,757 summonses for hanging the forbidden signs, according to the Department of Sanitation.

And at $75 a pop, those tickets will cost the campaign a whopping $131,775.

He lost a bitter primary fight to Nora Anderson - but she followed him on the list of litterers.

Anderson came up No.2 with 1,538 summonses - which earns her campaign a $115,350 bill.

Kevin Wardally, Tingling's campaign consultant, wrote off the fines as the cost of doing business in the city.

"The campaign tried to do the best job it could to get Milton's name and face out there," said Wardally.

"I wouldn't say Nora Anderson had fewer signs," he said, adding that enforcement is a "very selective thing."

"Sometimes you get very few fines, and other times you get a lot," Wardally said.

Anderson could not be reached for comment.

Other top campaign sign offenders were Councilman Miguel Martinez (D-Manhattan) with 1,121 summonses, Councilman Simcha Felder (D-Brooklyn), who ran for state Senate, with 500 summonses and Rep. Charles Rangel (D-Harlem), with 284 summonses.

City law prohibits signs from being posted on virtually every public surface, ranging from trees and lampposts to bus shelters and traffic medians.

Sanitation spokesman Vito Turso said enforcement agents respond to 311 complaints about signs. They also remove signs they spot along their regular routes.

"We have a poster squad," he said. "If we see them, we pull them."