Katz Holds Public Hearing On FY19 Queens Budget Priorities

    Queens Borough President Melinda Katz/via Facebook

    Queens Borough President Melinda Katz (D) and the Queens Borough Board on Monday will hold a public hearing on the Mayor’s Fiscal Year 2019 Preliminary Budget.

    The purpose of the public hearing will be to obtain the views and recommendations of Queens Community Boards, residents and stakeholders on the proposals contained in the Mayor’s FY 2019 Preliminary Budget. This input will be used to develop the Borough Board’s budget priorities for FY 2019.

    Members of the public are encouraged to testify. Representatives from local organizations will present requests for City funding during the hearing.

    Anyone wishing to deliver verbal testimony during the hearing is advised to pre-register online at www.queensbp.org/budget to secure a speaking time slot (limited to three minutes for each speaker). For anyone unable to attend the hearing, written testimony will be accepted via email at budget@queensbp.org until 5 p.m., Feb. 5.

    The public hearing is slated for 10 a.m., Monday Feb. 5 at Queens Borough Hall, 120-55 Queens Boulevard in Kew Gardens.


    Meng Calls On USPS To INstall Anti-Theft Collection Boxes

    U.S. Rep. Grace Meng

    U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Bayside, Flushing, Forest Hills, Rego Park, Fresh Meadows, Glendale, Kew Gardens, Maspeth) yesterday sent a letter to the United States Postal Service (USPS) urging it to replace all postal collection boxes in Queens with new anti-theft boxes.

    The anti-theft boxes will combat mail fishing, a growing mail theft crime throughout the borough in which thieves “fish” mail out of blue collection boxes.

    Usually acting late at night, these criminals place string connected to a sticky material into collection boxes. The sticky substance attaches to the mail and the crooks pull out the envelopes. They then open the letters and steal people’s personal information such as bank, credit card, and Social Security numbers. These criminals also engage in check washing, a scheme in which they wash ink off of checks they stole and rewrite the name of the payee and/or the amount, a crime that recently cost one of Meng’s constituents $4,000.

    Anti-theft collection boxes have smaller slots that make it more difficult for thieves to steal the mail that is inside.

    “It is absolutely unacceptable that Queens residents cannot safely leave their mail in USPS collection boxes due to the danger of mail fishing, which can result in identity theft and bank fraud,” said Meng. “Many of the victims of mail fishing are seniors who are particularly vulnerable to these reprehensible schemes and have no means of protecting themselves. USPS must act at once to stop this unconscionable crime. The agency must replace all collection boxes in Queens with anti-theft collection boxes to prevent continued mail fishing in our borough.”


    Lancman Praises Manhattan DA Vance’s Decision to End Prosecution of Subway Fare Evasion

    City Council Member Rory I Lancman

    City Council Member Rory I. Lancman (D-Fresh Meadows) yesterday praised Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance’s decision to end prosecution of subway fare evasion cases.

    Lancman is chair of the council’s Committee on the Justice System and author of the law requiring the NYPD to report fare evasion arrest and summons data quarterly.

    “The decision by District Attorney Vance to no longer prosecute subway fare evasion is a critical step forward for our justice system. We know that fare evasion arrests have disproportionately impacted brown and black New Yorkers, and the consequences can be significant: a criminal record, time on Rikers Island, and potentially deportation for some. The thousands of arrests that are made every year for subway fare evasion waste valuable law enforcement resources and clog our court system,” said Lancman.

    “New York City can hold people accountable for fare evasion without running them through the criminal justice system, by issuing an MTA civil summons, similar to a parking ticket. I applaud DA Vance for implementing this smart policy,” he added.


    Addabbo Reads To Ozone Park Students

    Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr.

    State Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. (D-Kew Gardens, Kew Gardens Hills, Forest Hills, Rego Park, Elmhurst, Woodside, Middle Village, Maspeth, Glendale, Ridgewood, Ozone Park, South Ozone Park, Richmond Hill, Woodhaven, Howard Beach, Hamilton Beach, Broad Channel, the Rockaways) yesterday took part in World Read Aloud Day by reading to students at P.S. 316 Queens Explorers Elementary School in Ozone Park.

    Addabbo read “The Happy Faces Leave Home” which follows a mother Happy Face Spider and her seven children as they grow up and go on their own adventures in the rainforest. The children were excited to hear the story and asked Addabbo questions throughout the reading.

    “To be able to come out to an elementary school like P.S. 316 and read to the students is truly a pleasure,” Addabbo said. “Not only is it a great way to engage with the children and get them more interested in reading, but doing it on World Read Aloud Day helps shed a light on the importance of reading and literacy in our society.”

    World Read Aloud Day is an initiative created by LitWorld, a nonprofit organization advocating for literacy as a human right, which encourages people to read aloud together to promote literacy.


    Avella Helps Disabled Veteran with Defective Stair Lift

    Sen. Tony Avella

    State Sen. Tony Avella (D-College Point, Whitestone, Bayside, Little Neck, Douglaston, Floral Park, Beechhurst, Malba, Auburndale) today will stand with a local disabled veteran to call on the company who sent him a defective stair lift, AmeriGlide, to answer the repeated calls to repair the lift at no cost to the constituent.

    Local Korean War Veteran Stanley Robin has been trying to get the company to replace the stair lift for some time. If AmeriGlide continues to ignore the Senator’s calls, Avella said he will ask the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs to step in and help.

    Avella will shed light on the issue at 1 p.m. today, Feb. 2 at 13-01 Michael Court, in Bayside.

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