2003-10-01 / Features

Ask the Public

Advocate Betsy Gotbaum
Ask the Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum

My son was erroneously assigned to a far-away high school, but his zoned school is near our house. This happened because his junior high school had an incorrect home address. I have tried numerous times to obtain from the Department of Education a transfer to his zoned school, but nobody will make the transfer. I visited the Learning Support Center, the High School Placement Office, and both high schools, only to be told that he would have to attend the far away high school. How can I get my child transferred to his rightful school?


Given the Run Around

Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum’s office called the Regional Director of Student Placement and obtained the transfer.

In response to all of the recent changes to the school system, the Public Advocate has published a guide entitled "Educators Helping Parents" to help parents navigate their way through the newly restructured system. The Office of the Public Advocate has also established a parent helpline to answer all school-related questions. The helpline is open Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and help is available in any language. To obtain a guide, or if you have a question for the helpline, call 212-669-7250.

I have lived in my apartment for nearly 30 years. Recently, the restaurant near me changed hands. The new owner installed an exhaust fan that is so loud it sounds like a jet engine. I called the owner to ask him to turn it off, as I was unable to sleep. He responded that shutting down the fan would hurt his business. I called the police and made flyers and passed them out to my neighbors. Neither approach did any good. Can you help me?



Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum’s office contacted the owner of the restaurant and recommended some adjustments that his servicemen could make to the fan and pulley in order to lower the noise level. The owner followed the suggestions, and 72 hours later, the noise level of the fan was markedly reduced.

Earlier this year, Mayor Bloomberg launched Operation Silent Night, a New York City Police Department initiative to reduce noise levels in the loudest city neighborhoods. All noise complaints should be reported to the Quality of Life hotline at 888-677-5433.

My van was recently towed by the city due to unpaid parking tickets. Both my son’s walker and his medication were in the van. Because I do not have the $511 to get my van back, the Sheriff’s Office refuses to tell me the whereabouts of my van so that I can retrieve the walker and medication. I have also been told that my van will be auctioned unless I get a sales hold. What can I do to get my son’s belongings back and keep my van from going on the auction block?


Hold the Sale

Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum’s office contacted the Sheriff’s office on the van owner’s behalf. The Sheriff’s office advised the owner to report to Parking Violations Operations, where she could obtain the address of the storage company that was holding her son’s belongings. The Sheriff’s office also provided the owner with a sales hold for two weeks. The owner of the van was able to get her son’s belongings back, as well as her van.

For all questions related to parking violations, call the Parking Violations Office helpline at 718-422-7800.

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