2012-02-08 / Features

UCCA Holds Annual Breakfast

BY JASON D. ANTOS


(L. to r.); District Leader Costa Constantinides, Assemblymember Aravella Simotas, UCCA President Rose Marie Poveromo, state Senator Michael Gianaris and Councilmember Daniel Dromm. 
Photos Jason D. Antos (L. to r.); District Leader Costa Constantinides, Assemblymember Aravella Simotas, UCCA President Rose Marie Poveromo, state Senator Michael Gianaris and Councilmember Daniel Dromm. Photos Jason D. Antos The United Community Civic Association (UCCA) held its third annual Legislative/Executive Breakfast on February 3. Civic and community leaders, community board representatives, major commercial, industrial and hospital chief executive officers and administrators were invited to speak on various topics from the city budget, hydrofracking, garbage pick up, education and quality of life issues.

The panel of city and state elected officials included City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, City Comptroller John Liu, state Senator Michael Gianaris, Assemblymembers Aravella Simotas and Michael DenDekker, Councilmembers Daniel Dromm and Peter Vallone Jr. and District Leader Costa Constantinides.

UCCA President Rose Marie Poveromo brought the meeting to order and Breakfast Chair Maureen Allen introduced the guests.


(L. to r.); Dromm, City Comptroller John Liu and UCCA Board Member Maureen Allen. (L. to r.); Dromm, City Comptroller John Liu and UCCA Board Member Maureen Allen. Gianaris began the meeting by discussing the recent victory over the gentlemen’s club Gypsy Rose which was denied a liquor license. The senator also spoke about JetBlue in Long Island City. Gianaris discussed the issues facing LIC and Bryant H.S. questioning the Department of Education’s policy. Redistricting was also a topic of concern for the senator.

Simotas spoke about the potential impact that changes at the Westway Hotel might have on the community. She also addressed the problem with EPIC’s prescription plan and its affect on many of her constituents.

Quinn began her remarks by discussing public health issues including conflicts with the city’s restaurant grading system.

“Almost three quarters of the city’s restaurants have an A grade rating yet more than $10 million in fines has been collected since the grading was put into affect,” she said.


(L. to r.); State Senator Michael Gianaris, Assemblymember Aravella Simotas and Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr. (L. to r.); State Senator Michael Gianaris, Assemblymember Aravella Simotas and Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr. Quinn touched upon the fact that some restaurants are heavily fined for offenses that are either out of the owners’ control or not detrimental to one’s health.

According to the city council speaker a woman restaurateur was fined in Long Island City because health inspectors observed a few flies buzzing around her café which was located outdoors.

She is currently calling for reform of the grading and fine issuing policy.

Dromm reported on several new schools opening in his district and DenDekker discussed the current economic crisis in the country and city.

“Working men and women are not the problem,” he said, the real problem rests with the banks.


(L. to r.); Mary Damakos, District Leader Carol Scarano, Assemblymember Michael DenDekker and Irene Vasiliakos. (L. to r.); Mary Damakos, District Leader Carol Scarano, Assemblymember Michael DenDekker and Irene Vasiliakos. Vallone Jr., talked about crime in the 114th Precinct, the steady decrease of police officers and the issuing of erroneous parking tickets. The councilmember is calling for an investigation into the matter to see where the problem originates, whether it’s bad training, unprofessional behavior, etc.

Liu addressed the growing problem of New Yorkers being unable to retire.

Claudia Coger, representing Astoria Houses, addressed the issue of improving the community center for seniors.

Also present at the meeting were representatives of the Department of Sanitation, the NYPD, Mount Sinai Queens Executive Director Caryn Schwab, Greek American Homeowner’s Association of America President George Kitsios and Gazette Publisher Tony Barsamian.


City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. Mary Damakos, Donald Lizzul, Kathryn Lizzul, District Leader Carol Scarano and Irene Vasiliakos were in charge of the breakfast committee.

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