UCCA Holds Annual Legislative Breakfast
UCCA President Rose Marie Poveromo started the meeting by mentioning the passing of former Mayor Ed Koch, who died earlier that morning, indicating that he was “her kinda guy”.
Poveromo mentioned her concerns about hydrofracking. “We the people of New York state are deeply concerned that our Governor, Andrew Cuomo will be pressured into allowing a potential environmental disaster known as hydraulic fracturing that will allow toxic chemicals to enter our pristine drinking water.”
UCCA Chair Maureen Allen then introduced City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who spoke about the current status of Hurricane Sandy victims and recovery efforts. Her main focus was on the widespread power outages caused by the storm and she called for an immediate re-evaluation of the city’s power line system. “We don’t have a well thought out power system,” she said. “Manhattan has underground power lines, and so should Queens and the rest of the boroughs.”
Quinn then shifted gears to education, calling for the creation of a deputy mayor of education, while saying that she believes one of the main ways to improve overall education would be the creation of comprehensive literacy practices in the city’s public school. “Literacy should be taught in all subjects, even gym and sciences,” Quinn said. “Students should have to write about gym and write about what they’re doing in science. This should be the literacy capital of America.”
Following Quinn was City Comptroller John Liu. “There are a lot of issues facing our city,” Liu said, citing hydraulic fracturing, or hydrofracking, as one of them. “We don’t want to ruin our water supply,” Liu said.
Liu also discussed small business owners who, he feels, are not getting their fair share in this troubling economy.
The comptroller also spoke briefly on the current administration and its spending habits which he feels could be more conservative and put toward other projects, like helping businesses that are not corporate to thrive and prosper.
Congressmember Carolyn Maloney was next to speak and shared some brief stories about Koch before addressing the issue of aid for Hurricane Sandy victims.
She also addressed gun safety, urging that the use of assault rifles be limited or banned altogether.
Councilmember Daniel Dromm spoke about the improvements that need to be made to public education and about the teacher evaluations saying, “Evaluations for our public school teachers will not be the end all, cure all for our educational sys- tem.”
Dromm also touched on two murders that occurred within his district, one in Lefrak City and the other of a gay man in Corona.
Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr. praised the NYPD for the lowest crime rate in Astoria’s history but remarked that overall, crime was up in the borough by 4 percent.
Vallone, chair of the anti-crime committee, mentioned that stricter gun control laws nationwide are needed because 80-90 percent of illegal firearms that are confiscated in the city come from out of state.
He also spoke of the dangers of adding fluoride to the city’s drinking water.
Assemblymember Aravella Simotas was up next, discussing Sandy aid. She also announced that she had successfully helped close down the Queen of Hearts establishment in Astoria.
State Senator Jose Peralta spoke about gun control in his district, which includes Jackson Heights. Peralta expressed concerns about life on Roosevelt Avenue, vowing to reduce the amount of crime and prostitution to make the corridor a safe place for families to eat and shop.
State Senator Michael Gianaris was also present and spoke about the current redistricting in his area.
Queens Borough President Helen Marshall spoke about how Sandy brought the borough together in an amazing outpouring of support.
UCCA will be holding a mayoral candidates night at the Lexington School for the Deaf on May 16, at 6 p.m.