Rare is right, this asshole Mayor never comes to one of the worst areas in queens, the dirty southeast Queens where people and businesses do whatever the fuck they want, right under the noses of the powers that be with little consequences. The Mayor goes to, of course, the nicer areas of the Greater Jamaica area, but why not come to the downtown Jamaica area or the wild wild west of South Jamaica, which pretty much resembles a shit hole third world country slum.
The Jamaica area has tons of quality of life issues that are not getting addressed by elected officials, city agencies, Queens Borough Hall and the you Mayor (get out of your fucking bubble once in awhile and see what the fuck we deal with here on a daily basis).
Illegal truck driving on residential streets, illegal commercial parking of huge tractor trailers on residential streets and inside several of the LIRR tunnels in downtown Jamaica, junked & unlicensed cars scattered all over residential streets by the hundreds from all the thug auto body shops making our community look like one big junkyard, constant illegal garbage dumping, noise issues, crimes, shooting, tons of garbage strewn vacant lots and vacant homes, squatters, drug dealing on corners and in front of delis, homeless shelters dumped by the dozens in the area as well as all the poisonous waste transfer stations dumped here which poison the air, not too mention the hundreds of waste trucks polluting the air as well, making noise and destroying streets.
So Mayor, come the fuck out to Downtown Jamaica and South Jamaica and see what a lack of leadership and a lack of proper enforcement with quality of life issues looks like. I will give you a sneak preview.
BY TRONE DOWD
Mayor Bill de Blasio made a rare but meaningful visit to Southeast Queens on June 16, participating in a Public Town Hall at the Springfield Gardens High School gym. The three hour affair marked the first time residents of Council District 31 had an extended chance to ask the Mayor just about anything they wanted, ranging from issues specific to their community to citywide concerns that affect all five boroughs.
The town hall was hosted by Councilman Donovan Richards (D-Laurelton), who worked on getting the Mayor to come out to Springfield Gardens. More than 300 residents from Laurelton, Rosedale, Springfield Gardens and the Rockaways were in attendance, many of whom came prepared with questions for de Blasio. In addition to residents, the head of all major city departments, including the city Department of Education, the Department of Transportation, the New York City Economic Development Corporation, Department of Environmental Protection, as well as the Commanding Officers Inspector Jeffrey Schiff of the 105th Precinct and Deputy Inspector Frederick Grover of the 113th Precinct.
A more than two dozen questions were asked during the town hall, covering a number of different topics.
Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks at last week’s town hall meeting in Springfield Gardens as Councilman Donovan Richards, seated, listens. Photo Courtesy of NYC Council.
Education and Youths
One of the main concerns of the public at the town hall was the Mayor’s stance on supporting local youths.
One resident asked about addressing the needs for certain resources including bookbag and supply giveaways in Southeast Queens neighborhoods. The mayor, along with DOE Deputy Chancellor Elizabeth Rose and Richards were able to bring attention to local bag giveaways organized in conjunction with the NYC Parks Department scheduled for this August. Last year, at similar giveaways in the Councilman’s district, 300 kids were able to get the supplies needed for school.
The mayor also highlighted a number of successes that the education system has had in the last couple of years.
“We have a huge extensive list of priorities in terms of education,” de Blasio said. “We’re very proud of the things that we’ve invested in.”
He called out full day prekindergarten and the guarantee of after school programs for middle school kids as two of his favorite of the successes. He also urged residents to tell parents unaware of the free pre-k offered to young children to get enrolled as soon as possible.
Another resident asked the Mayor what would be the best way of exposing students from schools who may not have access to certain arts related programs to the vast cultural offerings of the city. The mayor pointed to partnerships that the city has made with many on-Broadway plays.
“We recently received 20,000 tickets to the Broadway hit Hamilton for our public school kids across the city,” de Blasio said. “We’re doing that with a lot of other plays more and more. We’re finding partners on Broadway who want to open the main floor of their seats to our public school kids.”
He also pointed to the free IDNYC program as a way of giving public school kids in Southeast Queens access to all 40 of the cultural institutions across the city for a full year.
Mental Illness and Suicide
Mental illness has been a concern of New Yorkers in all five boroughs. Residents in Southeast Queens asked the mayor directly about an issue pertaining to mental illness: growing suicide rates, particularly in the black community.
“This is not something we take lightly,” de Blasio said. He mentioned that identifying these illnesses early in the city’s kids as well as getting parents involved in talking about it free of shame are key to dealing with it.
The Mayor also said that First Lady Chirlane McCray plans to announce NYC Support in October. NYC Support will work as an open line where New Yorkers can call on behalf of any individuals who may be in danger or trouble and need mental health based support. The reported individual will be given a specialist to help and follow up with their progress, ensuring that they get the attention that they need. De Blasio said that this initiative will be for both young and old New Yorkers.
The mayor commended the First Lady on her work in mental illness and combating the stigma that often times comes with talking it. Just last year, Thrive NYC, an initiative to identify and address mental illness in a more productive way, was unveiled.
“Chirlane likes to say, if someone has a broken leg, no one would look at them and say ‘there’s something wrong with you because you have a broken leg.’ No one will say ‘you shouldn’t go to the hospital.’ We have a huge societal stigma where we separate physical health problems from mental health problems in our minds, even though they’re both a part of us and a part of being human.”
Priorities in the 105th
Schiff gave an update on the 105th, a precinct known as the largest in the borough. Schiff took over as commanding officer on March 1 of this year and was able to address a number of questions pertaining to local quality of life issues residents brought up to the Mayor. Nearly all of the queries brought up at the town hall were on the commands radar and were in progress of being addressed.
One of these issues was the operation and parking of commercial trucks on residential streets, many of which have been known to block driveways. This issue has not only been a concern of residents in the 105th Precinct but Southeast Queens as a whole.
“[This] has been a complaint of every community in the 105th,” Schiff said to one resident. “I can tell you up to right now, we’re up 58 percent in truck enforcement summonses. We also did a heavy duty tow operation on April 14th. We also were able to jump ahead of the line […] and we have another heavy duty tow operation coming June 24th. We’re very much on top of it.”
Queries were also brought up about response times in the 105th, many of which will be adhered to as the NYPD and the Mayor’s office inches closer to the building of the 116th Precinct
Progress on the 116th Precinct
The recently announced 116th Precinct was a blessing for community leaders who have been fighting over forty years to split the massive 105th Precinct into two distinct regions. The $70 million project will seemingly solved long standing issues with response times as well as the resources that were often stretched thin across the 12.7 miles of land of the 105th.
The Mayor spoke further on what’s next for the proposed project.
“The fight for the precinct went on for a long time and we were very proud to announce it,” the Mayor said. “We need the community’s help working with the Councilman and with the NYPD in figuring out the right location. My goal is that we will determine the location hopefully by the end of the summer, and then get to work on building the actual building.”
Richards said that he was happy with how the town hall turned out overall. He thanked his constituents for showing out in great numbers to raise concerns that the Mayor should be aware of.
“While the Mayor was not able to provide an immediate solution to every question, he was attentive to the needs of the district and representatives from all city agencies took the time to listen to residents to ensure that the city follows up on many of the local issues,” said Richards in a statement released Friday morning. “I’d […] like thank all of the District 31 residents who came out to respectfully challenge the Mayor to bring more victories back to our neighborhoods. Their efforts truly make me a better representative.”