PassaicJews Moderator’s Car Towed in Passaic – Newborn Infant Stranded

12 09 2008

Full letter with links to photos can be found at the end of this post.

Passaic, NJ — Forget to move your car for alternate side parking in Brooklyn, Newark, Monsey or Clifton – you will pay a moderate fine.

Forget to move your car in Passaic – you will pay a fine, have your car towed, run around Passaic for half-a-day, get the run-around at the police station, then pay towing and storage charges.

File photo of a car being towed.

File photo of a car being towed.

Recently, the moderator of PassaicJews.com, a popular yahoo group with the Passaic Jewish community, had his car towed as it was parked outside a pediatricians office in Passaic, stranding his mother with his newborn baby. Their crime? Failing to notice an alternate side parking sign 200 feet down the street.

As the moderator of PassaicJews, Michael Feigin was able to immediately post an urgent message on PassaicJews and secured a ride for his mother and newborn daughter. However, Mr. Feigin questions what someone without access to the resources he had would have done.

About a year ago, the Passaic community was up in arms about the alternate side towing, and tried to get the policy changed, without any success. At that time, this reporter was present when Passaic City Councilman Chaim Munk was asked what it would take to stop alternate side parking in Passaic.  Councilman Munk’s exact answer was: “when (then mayor) Sammy Rivera stops taking bribes from Raineri’s.”

So we ask the obvious question: Does Counciman Munk’s previous quote mean that the towing will stop when current Acting Mayor Gary Schaer “stops taking bribes from Raineri’s?”

Maybe this incident and this article will cause Acting Mayor Gary Schaer to stop the outrageous towings in Passaic. Dare we hope?

The letter from the PassaicJews moderator, as posted on PassaicJews.com:

Dear PassaicJews members,

Yesterday, my mother borrowed my van with the car seat to take my newborn baby to the doctor. She parked on Pennington Ave in front of a sign that said not to park when it’s snow covered. She is from out of town and didn’t realize she had to walk all the way to the other end of the block to look at a second sign, facing the other direction, which looked identical to the first sign, to realize that it said it was street cleaning day.

The visit took five minutes. Yet, when she came out, the car was gone. My new baby daughter was stranded without a car seat while her mother was busy trying to recover from surgery.

While I have the ability to post my urgent messages directly to hundreds of subscribers on PassaicJews and my baby was soon brought home by a very generous person with a car seat, what if someone doesn’t have these resources?

To make matters worse, when I finally was able to secure another car and go to city hall, I specifically asked a police officer if I could park on a street where the signage was unclear (covered in stickers). He told me, “Well, the sign says no parking, but we really don’t enforce it around here. You’re on your own.” Just in case, I found another parking spot… but as I drove around I saw cars of city employees parked:
– in front of fire hydrants
– in front of crosswalks
– in front of driveways
– in front of within 25 feet of corners

Pictures of all of this with license plates of offenders are online at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PassaicJews/files/Selective_Enforcement_in_Town/

If you have trouble with the link, go to PassaicJews.com and click on “Yahoo Message Group” and then “Files” and then “Selective_Enforcement_In_Town” and then each individual picture.

… and don’t try and get your car back too quickly. The city won’t have the tow report! Missing a document? Go figure out where your car was towed to, get the document, and come back again. Driving someone else’s car? Better have them come to Passaic!

The towing of first time offenders, selective enforcement, and corruption in Passaic must be put to an end.

– Michael J. Feigin, Esq.
Moderator, PassaicJews.com
Patent and Trademark Attorney, PatentLawNJ.com

Advertisements




Squad leader claims ‘harassment’

22 05 2008

Letter says Jewish group not up to code

PASSAIC — The city has told one of two Passaic-based Orthodox Jewish volunteer ambulance squads that it must shut down because the squad isn’t up to city code.

But the squad’s founder called the city’s action “harassment” and questioned why the other Jewish squad wasn’t scrutinized.

On Monday, the city sent a letter signed by its law firm, Scarinci & Hollenbeck, to David Kaplan, 26, founder of Hatzolah EMS of North Jersey, saying the squad wasn’t in compliance with city law.

The letter said Hatzolah must shut down operations by the end of the day on May 19 if it did not fulfill the requirements of proving that all volunteers are qualified and that the squad has insurance that covers any legal action against the city up to $2 million. The requirements are outlined in a 2004 ordinance.

Kaplan said his squad does meet city requirements and showed necessary proof to the city last September. A letter to Kaplan from former Mayor Samuel Rivera, dated Sept. 12, states that Hatzolah is qualified to provide emergency medical services in Passaic and that a certificate remains in effect for two years from that date.

But Acting Mayor Gary Schaer said to the best of his knowledge Hatzolah had not met all the city’s requirements.

Hatzolah is licensed to operate by the state’s Department of Health and Senior Services, although a license is not necessary to operate, said spokeswoman Marilyn Riley.

As of Wednesday, Hatzolah had not provided documentation to the city, Kaplan said. But Hatzolah is continuing operations anyway, he said, because Kaplan believes the city’s letter is unfair and unfounded.

To complicate matters, a second Hatzolah ambulance service with a similar name — Hatzolah of Passaic/Clifton — has never been used informally by the city and is not on the list of squads the city uses. Hatzolah means “rescue” in Hebrew. The squads are local chapters of a worldwide organization that has volunteer ambulance squads in Jewish neighborhoods.

Greg Hill, the business administrator, said the city has not checked whether the second Jewish squad is violating city law. Schaer, an Orthodox Jew, said he asked Hill on Tuesday to verify that all private ambulance squads comply with city law. Passaic has only the two Hatzolahs as private squads.

The city’s paid squad, which has two ambulances, is overseen by the Police Department. When both vehicles are in use, the city calls other municipalities and private squads to ask if they can dispatch an ambulance immediately. Andy White, police spokesman, said Kaplan’s Hatzolah has been called in recent months after the Clifton squad and a private company based at Hackensack University Medical Center.

Last week, the City Council entertained a resolution that would formally add Kaplan’s Hatzolah to the city’s list of mutual aid services. But the resolution was defeated by a 3-3 tie vote. A tie means the measure is rejected.

The three Orthodox Jewish council members voted against the resolution, while the three Hispanic members voted in favor.

Schaer, who proposed the resolution, said he voted against it because he believes Hatzolah was stoking ethnic divide in the city.

“Picking up an ambulance group that’s working primarily in one part of town — I don’t think it’s a good idea, if we’re continuing our fight to unite Passaic,” Schaer said.

Kaplan said Hatzolah serves the entire city, not just Jews.

“It’s ludicrous, because the whole point of doing 911 is we service anybody. We don’t ask them, ‘Are you Jewish? Are you Orthodox?’ when someone calls,” Kaplan said. “Gary Schaer has furthered the stereotype that we only want to help ourselves.”

Hatzolah gets an average of 600 calls a year to its direct line, Kaplan said. He did not know what percentage was Jewish.

Councilman Gerardo Fernandez said he supports the squad.

“We never had a problem before. We voted for it. I voted ‘yes’ because they’re providing a service with the community. They’ve been doing it all along,” Fernandez said.

On Tuesday, Schaer said that the letter sent to Kaplan was purely out of concern for public safety.

“It’s not my personal feelings at play here. This affects the health and welfare of city residents,” he said. “What’s relevant is what’s in compliance.”

Reach Karen Keller at 973-569-7158 or kellerk@northjersey.com myheraldnews.com