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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Of Ph. D.'s and Civil Service

My wife is a college professor. Constantly I find myself in the company of scholars and intellectuals and I know I am not one of them. I am a mason, and not the kind that knows the secret handshake either. Rather, the kind who sets stone, lays brick, and places stucco. As a building inspector, I bring my lifetime’s worth of expertise to the duty of enforcing codes in an effort to keep people safe. As I sit with the citizens of New York in a social setting, I am keenly aware of their perception of city workers in general, and of building inspectors in particular. As I embark on a new season of training rookie inspectors, my goal is to ensure that how we are perceived by the public ranks alongside the stellar reputations of Fire Fighters, Police Officers, and Teachers in the pantheon of well regarded, if not heroic, civil servants.

Bad apples are the exception, not the rule, in all walks of life. They garner the most attention because punishment must be public, while praise, it seems, is relegated to a quick sound bite on a slow news day. These are just the facts of life in Gotham and it’s taken me a long time to develop the thick skin required to press on.

I want to take this opportunity to honor all the diligent grunts in the trenches making a difference day to day by paying serious attention to the details of how our city works. The blood and guts of a modern metropolis; its plumbing and electricity, boilers and elevators receive notice only when they fail to work properly and are otherwise taken for granted. The people who work on these systems, designing them, building them, and maintaining them, know better.

The public of this great city, from the mayor to the commissioner of buildings, to your family, co-workers and neighbors, to the homeless people on the streets, are demanding of excellence and insatiable in appetite for a greater New York City. They are tough customers. We owe them and each other our best.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

"Port Richmond" 1st 200 words.

"It was a bright, clear Saturday morning...they always seem to be bright, clear mornings. The kind of day when we may forget for a split second that evil could ever exist in the world. Forty five year old Miguel Gonzalez stood by the schoolyard fence at first light. His jet black hair just beginning to be streaked with strands of gray framed his tan face and wicked wind blown tears from his chilled brown eyes. A well worn, insulated Carhardt hooded jacket kept the cold from freezing his bones. He did not like heights, but work had slowed to almost nothing in the past six months, and the weather was just starting to break on this crisp fifteenth of April. The long, bitter winter reluctantly began to loosen its grip. A cantankerous, dirty, dented, old red Ford F 250 rumbled to a stop in front of him. It was laden with the platforms and rope-falls; steel hooks and irons for hanging a scaffold over a parapet wall. Miguel Gonzalez scanned the rig, and the name on the side of the truck: Ceilencio Restoration, and just shook his head in resignation before climbing into the back of a smoke-filled club cab."

Still looking to land an agent, so if you have any leads...give me a shout.