NYC Bed Bug Task Force / City Council Update

by nobugsonme on February 8, 2007 · 10 comments

in activism, bed bug task force, bed bugs, canada, government, information and help, new york, new york city council, united kingdom, usa

The reader known as Wantmyskinback has an update on what’s happening vis a vis the NYC bed bug situation, via his/her city council member’s office. The NY City Council Hearing on Bed Bugs was back in September 2006, and there has been no report of a follow-up in the media since then. (NYTimes subscribers and others with access to old NYT articles can click here to read the original NYT report on that meeting.)

Wantmyskinback writes:

At the end of December, when I first began communicating with the Bedbugger Yahoo support group, and also reading the Bedbugger Blog, I was struck by two things. 1. the wealth of excellent information being brought to me and 2. the lack of attentiveness to this problem by my city. Many of us were/are asking, “where is Bloomberg? where is the government? what happened after the september meeting with council member Brewer and the Bed Bug Task Force? ” I wanted to know these answers too. So, I asked.

I went on the NYC.Gov link, and looked up City Council, and found my district council member who’s email address was prominently displayed. I wrote an email, anonymously from this email account (which isn’t my real one, obviously), describing my situation in detail. Within a few days I received a thoughtful and courteous response from the assistant to the council member who was assigned to follow up with me. She said in her email, that the Bed Bug Task Force from last September was still being forumed and that she would “investigate the scope of the current legislation and see if we can work on the prevention aspects (do more than just ban the sale of used mattresses). ”

My continued communications with her have led her to the Bedbugger Blog website, to the NYTimes article written by Bonnie Friedman, and then, to my delighted surprise, I recieved this reply from her saying:

I just spoke with CM Brewer’s office and they have begun having focus group meetings regarding the legislation they proposed. While the legislation is still in Committee, the focus group consists of several agencies, including Dept of Health, Dept of Consumer Affairs, and Dept of Sanitation; as well as a representative from the Mayor’s Office. The main focus of this group at this time is the formulation of an education campaign.

I suggested they invite a PCO to this focus group and a victim of bed bugs.

I immediately got on the phone with her, and exposed who I was to her (the undue shame associated with Bed Bugs as Bugalina put it is probably what stops alot of us from reporting our cases publicly). She was surprised, she told me, that only two people from my district contacted them during the month of January. That is appalling! I happen to know from my PCO that my district is literally “crawling” with bed bugs! She also spoke to me about NYCHA, which is the New York City Housing Authority which has a bed bug office, and helps people in NYC housing.

I personally urge all of you to contact your political representatives, whether you are in NYC, or elsewhere. Otherwise they do not know how many constituants in their districts are suffering. Please write your council members. Please use your government to make things happen. The only way we can get the information and to get things done is to SPEAK UP. It was quite easy to reach them via email (they have phones too), and they ARE interested in what we have to say. Unfortunately, NYC takes longer than other cities to get on it, but once we voice ourselves, they may move faster!

Notes from Nobugsonme:

Many thanks to Wantmyskinback for the update and for the reminder that we need to keep contacting government officials who may remain unaware of the scope of this problem, and who generally don’t take action unless their constituents tell them to. Use your name, tell them you’re a voter, and describe the toll bed bugs have taken on your life. You do not have to be the best writer in the world, you just have to take a minute and send an email or a note. If you want to point out information in the media, like the article by Bonnie Friedman, October’s major article in the NY Times, an article in your local paper (if you’re not in NYC), or a link to, then it might help them begin to see what all the fuss is about.

If you’re my neighbor, in NYC, you can look up and correspond with your New York City council member by clicking here. State senators: click here to search via zip code.

Don’t forget to alert national government representatives too. US citizens can find and correspond with state senators here. (Click the wee “Find your senators” drop down menu at the top right of the screen. “Write your congress” by using the zip code searching tool on the left of this screen.

If you are not in NYC–please comment below with a link to your Chicago alderman (is it alderperson, now, Jess?) or other local government.

I can’t include local governments around the world, but if you have the tech skills to find us, you can find them by googling–most are online. Let your city and regional government know you need help with bed bugs. There is more that can be done–legislation, and perhaps even funding for better treatment of this quickly spreading problem. If you live in a country that did not see bed bugs much for 30 years, don’t take this lying down. (Sorry, I am entitled to one pun per day.) Insist politicians do anything they can to help us get good, safe, quick treatments, and necessary research.

And while you’re at it, state and US senators, Canadian, British and Australian MPs, and so on. This is not just a blog for US Bedbuggers. We get lots of readers daily from Australia, NZ, South Africa, the UK, Ireland, Canada, Malaysia, Singapore, India, Columbia, France, and around the world. Tell us how you get in touch with your government officials (local, regional, national), and I’ll add the links to a FAQ on activism.

If any local politicians (NYC or anywhere) are reading this (and come on folks, we all google ourselves, don’t we?) please leave a comment below. We’d love to know that you care about us, voting citizens with bed bugs.

1 deblynn February 8, 2007 at 9:20 pm

There is so much shame and stigma associated with a bed bug infestation that most people will not reach out to the politicians. NYC officials know that the bed bug problem is bad and getting badder ! Hotels and Real Estate owners have reasons for wanting to keep it hushed up, but Schools and Police / Fire Stations are not going to sit back and allow active infestations to fester in their environments. We all know the truth.

2 buggedinbrooklyn February 9, 2007 at 12:00 am

shame or no shame, it looks like I have alot of work to do….
you can count on me to write some brief letters to my local officials and others to maybe get the word out.

just give me a day or two as my lady and I are quite busy and need to get a few things in order.
I may have a few questions, or ask others for examples as to what to say…but I’ll at least let you ladys know what happens.

wish me luck, and thanks WMSB


3 Geoffrey Day February 9, 2007 at 6:20 am

Dear WMSB,

Good work.

You will get your skin back!

Just the other night I ran into a waitress (also student at Fletcher School for Diplomacy at Tufts) who had indeed beat bedbugs. I don’t quite know if she’d become an anti-bed bug activist (ABBA?) or not, but you can bet in the right circumstances I’ll move that conversation along.

Readers, please read the post:

Keep up the excellent work and don’t forget to come back and give us updates and tell us about the ongoing ever-after (as in they all lived happily ever-after). It can happen.

4 WantMySkinBack February 9, 2007 at 8:45 am

I hope so!!! All we have to do is tell them our stories. Just the way we do here. And voice our concerns. It takes very little time and it attracts lots of attention. My “catchy” subject line when I wrote my council member the first time read “I have Bedbugs and I live in YOUR district”.

5 deblynn February 10, 2007 at 9:09 am

WantMySkinBack, Thank you for your efforts to bring much needed attention to the bed bug epidemic. This has been suggested before by NBOM, but I would like to bring it up again. The people who have the true numbers on real bed bug infestations are the exterminators. How hard is it for the NYC officials to go to the exterminators and get the facts straight ! And, I might add, aside from the people who are getting PCO exterminations, there are probably thousands of other borough residents who are doing self exterminations. I sincerely hope that they, our elected government officials, hurry up and form a task force and when they do, they do it right !

6 Creepy Critters' grim reaper February 12, 2007 at 9:37 am

“Information spreads faster than Bed bugs” that is true, but too much talk and no action doesn’t work either. Waiting for the Senator to come take care of the world’s problems isnt a viable solution. The responsibility starts from within and not letting licensed professionals like myself extend his services to help because its against the rules of the site is rediculous..there are not enough PCO’s out there who can get the results when it comes to dealing with these problems to be picky..But hey sometimes We’re too smart for our on good. All I can say is I’m handcuffed here…can’t help you even if you wanted me to because nobugsonme said no way.

7 Creepy Critters' grim reaper February 12, 2007 at 9:47 am

These problems exsist because people are either trying to resolve it themselves or not allowing a
professional to resolve it for them…no one can be forced to do the right thing. This site is just like a lot of people I see out here everyday talking about the problems they have, speculating, trying to reason with it, but doing nothing about it. Maybe we should send out a messege to the world saying “got Bed bugs? Lets talk about it until they go away!” lol

8 nobugsonme February 12, 2007 at 12:51 pm

Richard “Creepy Critters”,
Yesterday I deleted all your previous comments on your request.
You are hardly “handcuffed” if you have information that will help us. All I said is that I am not willing to provide free advertising in the form of your phone number and email address. I said that if you were a licensed PCO, you were welcome to post the name of your firm, and our readers could call you (they can look you up). Since you claim to have fabulous results, I am not sure why you won’t do that.
However, you should also read our site more carefully before you imply that we are not doing anything about bed bugs. We tell everyone who comes here to call a licensed PCO with experience with bed bugs.

9 Creepy Critters' grim reaper February 12, 2007 at 4:27 pm

A licensed PCO is what is required, we carry our licenses given to us by the DEC as individuals, regardless of what Company we may or may not represent. As Technicians and Applicators duly certified by the Dept. of Environmental Conservation we are solely responsible for any misapplications, vapor drift, run off, etc.

Anyway good luck to all out there, 2007 promises to be a very tough year, I hope we start to get more qualified PCO’s out there to get this problem under control and get more media attention so the public can get a better idea of what we need to do to combat this problem.

10 nobugsonme February 13, 2007 at 12:15 am

Thanks for the clarification, Creepy.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: