Brooklyn journalist muses on value of NYC spending money to fight bed bugs

by nobugsonme on February 24, 2008 · 8 comments

in bed bugs, gale brewer, new york city

Dennis Holt of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle wrote in an editorial Friday that he and his wife got a mailing from HPD, Diana Reyna and Gale Brewer, inviting him to one of the city’s bed bug seminars. And, since he has never seen a bed bug, though he has heard talk of them since being a child during World War II, he assumes they can’t be much of an issue. He admires the city for trying to tackle such a minor problem.

It might be considered ridiculous, but I have been pondering this attention being paid by the city on bedbugs … not to giggle at the thought … but to sort of admire that the arcane subject should reach the level of spending city resources.

Here, the mayor has launched an enormous undertaking to think about planning for the year 2030 with the staggering prediction that we will have one million more residents. And plans are for planting thousands of trees, reducing pollution, building more schools, getting cars off our streets, being 10 minutes from a playground or a park — an enormous number of things to do. And we have the time to think of bedbugs.

One could say, “Only in New York,” and that’s probably true. One can’t suspect that such a gathering would be held in Olathe, Kan., for example.

This could lead some cynics to complain that with all the “real” problems in New York, why spend time on a rather piddling subject? But most of the “real” problems are understood; it’s the solutions that seem to escape us.

For example, look how long it has taken this city to figure out how to create public toilets in places where crowds gather — a “problem” that hasn’t seemed to perplex other major cities — and we still don’t seem to have hit on a logical answer.

So maybe we should commit resources to something we might be able to master, like the forlorn bedbug, and let the think tanks concentrate on such things as improving commuter ferry service.

Perhaps Olathe, Kansas, is not holding any bed bug seminars, but Mr. Holt might be surprised to find that cities like Cincinnati and Lexington, Kentucky have concerns about bed bugs. Cincinnati is doing far more than New York to deal with the problem. And they’re right to do so. Bed bugs are a lot harder to “master” than Holt thinks.

And, sadly, bed bugs become less arcane every day, here in New York. If more isn’t done–yes, more even than hosting a few seminars on the topic–New York City in 2010, let alone 2030, is going to be a nightmare for many, many more people.

You can read the rest of Holt’s editorial here. And consider sending a letter to the editor, perhaps?

1 lieutenantdan February 25, 2008 at 12:07 pm

What can I say but ingnorance is bliss. Here is yet another example of a person who has the priveledge of the power of his words that reach great numbers of people not using this power in a responsible positive way instead uses his power to breed more inaccuracy overlooking the facts that some research would have proven to even the ignorant that our great city along with our country are in the midst of a bed bug explosion that is escalating at great spead and putting the health and well being of all involved at risk.
To me this is another fine example of some transplant deciding to leave the town or city of origin and come to the big apple so as to reinvent themselves and make it big. This type of person may eventually become a true New Yorker like my Mother has become, never to leave the greatest city in the U.S. and who eventually develops the understanding that this city has a great history, a history that one must understand and embrace, only then when this transformation happens they could consider themselves a true New Yorker. My point is that with this great transformation an super intelligence develops that the transient never had, a New York intelligence. How does one know when this trasformation happens? One way is that once a person has developed this understanding of New York city I can assure you that that person would never be so shortsighted that they would find themselves writing an article such as this.

Now this may ruffle a few more feathers. It figures that this person would write for a Brooklyn newspaper since Brooklyn has experienced a great population increase of transplants and transients many who never stay long enough to understand New York and become true New Yorkers and many who do stay a long time but still never get it.
New York is not just about the latest trend or place to be seen it is about much much more.

Well, I can only say it appears to me that the only way this writter will understand how BAD a bed bug infestation can be is to experience a bed bug infestation first hand in what once was to many of us the comfort of our own home. Wishful thinking on my part and I am positive many of my fellow Warriors after reading the article are doing some of their own wishful thinking.

2 nobugsonme February 25, 2008 at 1:07 pm

To be fair, Dan, I don’t think Dennis Holt’s ignorance can be tied to his not being a native New Yorker. Though he mentions being a child in Chicago, that was during World War II (the last time anyone thought Germans might bomb the City of Broad Shoulders). I have a hunch he’s been here a while and is well and truly New Yorkified. Mayor Bloomberg himself does not appear to be taking bed bugs seriously, and if he ain’t a New Yorker, who is?

3 lieutenantdan February 25, 2008 at 1:55 pm

In my opinion I question the current Mayor to be a true New Yorker after all it has been stated that he is a Red Sox fan and I wonder if the writer of the article in mention is still a Cubs or a White Sox fan.

Anyway, fair would be the showing of some responsible writing about bed bugs. It does not take a chrystal ball to see that this is a big problem in New York and it has cost some of the people of New York a ton of money. Bed bugs cost me thousands!
Why is this city not taking the proper precautions and start to take an aggressive approach to remedy the current bed bug epidemic? The mayor plays the fiddle as this great city burns.

Nobugsonme, I ask you this. What is fair? Is it fair that we are not getting the support that we need from the Mayor and some of the press? Come on talk about fair! If the writter believes in other ways to spend our money as in public toilets that is OK but do not take away the possibilities of some of our tax money going to fight bed bugs as well. Do not even mention bed bugs in the article and if you do and it is posted for comment than you know enough about me that I will comment. Last I looked that is part of what this country is about. Isn’t it? Freedom of speech.

I am just frustrated by writting that is obvious to me that little thought and research if any has been done. Just get a bunch of words out without proper research. I see much of this happening these days. And why defend it?

4 nobugsonme February 25, 2008 at 2:04 pm

Oy vey!

Dan, where exactly did I defend Dennis Holt’s opinions in any way? Point it out to me, please.

I very clearly and simply opposed your assumption that Holt’s ignorance of what matters in NYC is derived from his not being a “true New Yorker.”

I saw the man’s photo and I think it’s safe to say he’s getting on in years. The fact he was a child in the midwest (in the 1940s, Dan) hardly means he hasn’t spent as many as 58 years in NYC. Have you, Dan?

Many of the New Yorkers suffering in our forums were not born here. By your definition, and litmus test, I’m not a true New Yorker either.

You do not have to be a Yankees or Mets fan to admit NYC has a bed bug problem.

Not interested in arguing this point further.

5 lieutenantdan February 25, 2008 at 5:55 pm

I wish to say one more thing. Yes you must be a Met or Yankee fan to be a true New Yorker and also someone who does have enough common sense not to put public toilets in front of bed bugs.
I am second generation New Yorker my father was born and raised here and lived here until his death at 80 yrs old, he died here and is buried here. He lived through the gangs of Hell’s Kitchen way before Hell’s Kitchen had become chic. My father struggled through the great depression here in NYC He also saw the Empire State Building built.
He swam the East River when it was clean and I lived through the Lindsay years and the Beame years and was around when much of the public school system was unsafe as well as much of our neighborhoods and our transit system. I defended myself from local gang members one member coming at me with a large knife and If ever I moved to another city I would always still consider myself as being a true New Yorker. That will give you a clue to my age. You can take the boy or girl out of his town but you cannot take the town out of the boy or girl.

I am frustrated by people who come in like locus and instead of grooving on a city and understanding it and enjoy its wonderful little Mom & Pop shops etc…the locus will turn a New York neighborhood into something that is not New York. This has happened to my neighborhood.
Now if I wrote professionally then I would research before I publish. I am having a hard time with how a professional cannot get it, the bed bug epidemic that is. How could some people be so out of touch with what is going on in New York and especially Brooklyn where bed bug numbers are growing at an alarming rate and how could any bed bug Warrior not be upset with such an article especially fellow Warriors from Brooklyn.
If this was written by a Queens reporter I would have been on the phone in no time.
A true New Yorker would have more understanding and would have been in touch with the community and stood up for the suffering of its people many who are suffering from a vampire bug that eats its way into your heart and soul and pocket, the bug we call the bed bug. As far as getting on in years a time comes when one should and does retire I will not sympathize because of age.
Now I am not interested in arguing this point any further.

6 nobugsonme February 25, 2008 at 6:18 pm

Some of my best friends are locusts, Dan. And they are so, completely grooving on the city.

Seriously, though, you must chill. I am not the enemy, nor was I defending Dennis Holt’s article, which if you had actually READ my post above, I was very critical of.

All I am saying is, you cannot say he does not understand New York’s problems because he is not a native of the city. That’s just ridiculous. Think about this.

I have declared I wasn’t born in NYC. For that reason, do you doubt my credentials as someone who cares about the city, and gets the importance of the bed bug issue?

This is distracting from the real issue: Dennis Holt, like many native-born New Yorkers whose families have been here for generations (I know because I meet these folks all the time), does not get the bed bug issue. Period, end of story. Had he been born in Bensonhurst or the Upper West Side, he could still be as clueless.

7 lieutenantdan February 25, 2008 at 7:10 pm

Many times many people are effected by the many numbing abilities that New York City has on people. If an issue manifests in small town USA the issue can receive attention at a faster pace and with less complexity. Many people that I have come to know and like that are from some other place eventually vacated New York City to go to some other place or in many cases back to their home town which can be hard for me to understand. I do not have that priviledge because this is where I was born and raised.
Have you ever tried to voice your opinion in a town that you are just visiting on a subject that has to do with that town in some place other than New York or LA when the recipients of that community know that you are not a native of that community. You can be shot down very quickly. One who cannot comprehend this is a perfect example of what I am saying. Trying to find one word to sum something up is always hard but a word that comes to mind is arrogance. I do not find it ridiculous that one may not understand NYC’s problem if they are not a native. It takes a long time to understand this city which is very complex and at times abstract and much more complex and abstract than most places.
nobugsonme I do enjoy our heated discussions and I do value your opinion as I do every bed bug warrior. This is what I appreciate about this city we all have our opinions and we all feel free to be able to voice our opinions. I do think that journalist do have a greater responsibility though and they need to realize that. We need to be critical because criticism helps keeps them on their toes.

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