September 21st, 1999

Honorable Mayor Thomas Menino
One City Hall Plaza, Fifth Floor
Boston City Hall
Boston, MA

Re: City of Boston, Ordinance number 16-38
Placement and Maintenance of Newsracks

Dear Mayor Menino,

Please review our newest feature, HOT ISSUES - Can The City Beat The Clock, which can be found on our home page.

Our first HOT ISSUE pertains to city ordinance 16-38.7 Installation and Maintenance.

Sir, according to (Ord.16-38.1) each Newsrack should have a "newsrack sticker," for identification purposes. "Newsrack Sticker shall mean a sequentially numbered sticker issued by the Commissioner for placement on individual newsracks in accordance with provisions in this section." None of the newsracks have such stickers affixed to them, when talking to Code Enforcement about enforcement (Ord.16-38.8) I was told that they donít check each box for the newsrack stickers. Section 16-38.8-C-1 (a) says, "the newsrack sticker and location of the newsrack," shall be included on all violations.

Section 16-38.7-A says, "Each newsrack shall prominently display the newsrack sticker issued by the Commissioner pursuant to the provisions of this section."

How soon before all newsracks have their assigned sequentially numbered stickers?

Sir, according to (Ord.16-38.7-B-2) "Each newsrack shall be of a type that is completely enclosed, with a self closing door that is either self-latching or otherwise requires manual or mechanical release at each use." All of the FREE newsracks don't comply to this section of the ordinance, except for those marked COMPLIMENTARY, provided by TAB Community News.

I'm enclosing a copy of a letter which I received from the Bank of Boston who identifies the FREE newsracks as the main reason our sidewalks are littered, as many of these newsracks are made of plastic-not metal, and are easily tipped over. Not having a latch or mechanism on the door is the # 1 reason all streets with FREE newsracks are littered.

Will you please recall all FREE plastic newsracks that fail to comply to (Ord.16-38.7-B-2), and replace them with metal newsracks, similar to those in use by the TAB Community News, yes or no? If yes, when will these newsracks be replaced?

Sir, (Ord.16-38.4) refers to the Standards, many intersections are not in compliance of this section of ordinance 16-38. In addition, no where in entire ordinance does it say how many newsracks can be together on the sidewalks, I was told (5) by Code Enforcement.

Is five newsracks the correct number that can be placed side-by-side on any sidewalk?

Please visit HOT ISSUES feature located on the home page, there you will find our HOT ISSUES procedures, which I hope youíll find to be a reasonable amount of time (challenge or goal) to correct the issue in question.

Respectfully yours,
Stephen A. Puibello

Friends and Neighbors of the Back Bay NAG
Boston's Community Think Tank, est. 1992

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