2016-02-10 / Features

UCCA Holds Meeting, Calls For Community Unity

BY JASON D. ANTOS

(L. to r.); UCCA Breakfast Chair and Board member Maureen Allen, UCCA President Rose Marie Poveromo and Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. Photos Tony Barsamian(L. to r.); UCCA Breakfast Chair and Board member Maureen Allen, UCCA President Rose Marie Poveromo and Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. Photos Tony BarsamianOn February 5, the United Community Civic Association (UCCA) held its annual Legislative/Executive Breakfast, where many social and political issues concerning the residents of Queens were discussed.

The meeting began with a greeting by UCCA President Rose Marie Poveromo, followed by UCCA Breakfast Chair and Board Member Maureen Allen’s introduction of the guest and keynote speakers, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and Congressman Joe Crowley, as well as Assemblymembers Michael DenDekker and Aravella Simotas, state Senators Jose Peralta and Michael Gianaris and Councilman Costa Constantinides.

Poveromo opened the meeting with her address saying, “UCCA and myself as president have not wavered or hesitated to publicly and candidly address what we consider to be serious concerns and major issues unique to environmentally sensitive Northwest Queens at each and every opportunity.” Poveromo added that she and UCCA “have and will continue to advocate for community unity, believing that civic leaders and activists must bond together as a uniting force, for the greater good, strength and survival of all our communities, irrespective of individual districts, to elevate awareness of environmental injustice, toxic air noise, water and traffic pollution and continue to highlight and promote awareness of the seriousness of Global Warming caused by carbon pollution from power generating plants and toxic jet fuel emissions.”

State Senator Jose Peralta. State Senator Jose Peralta. Poveromo applauded the signing of the Compassionate Care Act by Governor Andrew Cuomo, which legalized medical marijuana to cover painful and destructive conditions including cancer, epilepsy and AIDS. She also acknowledged the brand new six-floor, $150 million 140,000-square-foot state-of-the-art expansion to Mount Sinai Queens. In attendance were Mount Sinai Queens Executive Director Caryn Schwab and COO Judy Trilivas.

(L. to r.); Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas, state Senator Michael Gianaris, Congressman Joe Crowley, UCCA Rose Marie Poveromo and Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. (L. to r.); Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas, state Senator Michael Gianaris, Congressman Joe Crowley, UCCA Rose Marie Poveromo and Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. Also in attendance were members of the 114th and 115th Police Precincts and Community Board 1, as well as the city Departments of Sanitation, Environmental Protection and Environmental Conservation, the NYPD and area civic and community groups.

Next up was Katz, in her second appearance, who made a brief statement saying that she pledges to improve the quality of life in Queens. The borough president commended UCCA for bringing everyone together to talk about the community; informed attendees that she has recently been assigned to the design committee for LaGuardia Airport; and praised the success of the new IDNYC municipal ID card program, which so far has received more than 210,000 applicants.

DenDekker spoke about the cuts in veterans’ services. Veterans, according to DenDekker, make up five percent of the state’s population (900,000) but the governor has put aside only $18 million for them in the budget.

Constantinides spoke on the importance of improving the waterfront of Western Queens and was happy about the major improvements coming to the area.

Gianaris spoke about the newly proposed trolley system, which will cost $2.5 billion and provide direct access between Brooklyn and Long Island City, saying that he feels it would be a positive addition to the city and provide much-needed public transportation to the area.

Simotas thanked UCCA for organizing the annual breakfast. Simotas spoke on the budget and approved of the governor’s proposed Paid Family Leave Act. She stated that Papua New Guinea and Surinam are the only other countries aside from America that do not provide for people taking time off in order to have a child or care for that child. She also stressed equal pay for men and women.

The NYPD commended UCCA for holding these kinds of meetings, saying that the NYPD will help with any quality of life issues.

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