Weiner: ‘No Full Time’ District Offices In Queens

  In his first appearance in Queens after winning election to the Ninth Congressional District, Anthony D. Weiner in response to a question from The Queens Courier, said last week that he will not open full time district offices in the borough.
Weiner announced that he would follow the example of his predecessor and install a call-forwarding system so that Queens constituents can reach his staff based in Eammons Ave. in Brooklyn.
"I don’t have the wherewithal to maintain staffed offices in Queens," he said.
Like Charles Schumer before him, Weiner said he would install phones in the offices of Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz in Forest Hills and Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer in Rockaway to stay in touch with his Queens constituents.
The Queens Courier revealed last year during the Senatorial primary race that Schumer listed two Queens offices on his letterhead and informational materials when, in fact, they were "phantom" offices with phone links to Schumer’s Brooklyn offices.
Asked if his Queens constituents were being shortchanged if the only functioning offices were in Brooklyn, Weiner said that 95 percent of constituents call in rather than visiting them.
Weiner, addressing community weekly editors in Howard Beach, assured Queens constituents that he would be accessible to them.
"My Brooklyn office is centrally located so that it is easily reached," he said. "I will hold meetings when necessary in the Queens location."
The press briefing last Friday was the start of a whirlwind weekend tour of his new district that concluded on Jan. 24 with an appearance in Kew Gardens with newly-elected Senator Charles Schumer.
Weiner announced that he had been appointed to the House Judiciary Committee traditionally held by 9th District Congressmen including Schumer. He has also been named to the House Science Committee.
"The Judiciary seat has been held by such luminaries as Emanuel Celler, Elizabeth Holtzman, Geraldine Ferraro and, of course, Chuck Schumer."
What was the biggest surprise experienced by the freshman Congressman?
"It’s the lack of comity and civility in the House," he said. "I was in Washington in 1985 and 1988 (as an assistant to Schumer) and found it a very different place.
He said the absence of legislative activity in the House because of the impeachment process has left him with little more than ceremonial duties," he said. "My committee chairmen are tied up in pressing the impeachment case."
Weiner promised he’d seek an improvement in cost of living increases under the Social Security System.
"As a result of high New York City costs for food, clothing and housing the COLAs are wholly inadequate," he said. "They’re the same whether you’re a senior in the west or south where prices are much lower."
The Congressman also called the City’s school system among the most crowded in the nation.
"We have to invest in the educational infrastructure and improve the condition of our schools," he said.
He also took aim at the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA), charging that it was time to decide whether or not to increase Concorde flights or take into account the concerns of residents who are affected by a host of environmental problems.
Weiner plainly felt that residents have legitimate complaints against the FAA and promised to represent them in their battle with the agency.
On another pressing local issue, Weiner predicted that the Port Authority plan to build a train link from JFK Airport to the City will never come to pass. He called the P.A. "non responsive."
Weiner made a joint appearance with Schumer last Sunday at the Kew Gardens Community Center.
Schumer told an enthusiastic audience of community leaders that he was "worried" about the outcome of the impeachment trial.
"This move for impeachment was started by a small group of House Judiciary Committee zealots who are pro NRA and pro life," Schumer said.
The freshman Senator said that Chairman Henry Hyde said to him, "Charlie don’t worry the impeachment won’t really happen."
Schumer indicated that the issue quickly got out of hand.
Asked if Hillary Clinton might run for the Senate, Schumer said he had spoken to the First Lady and indicated that her candidacy is "still on the table."
Schumer, a close confidante of Hillary Clinton, said that she would make a decision after the impeachment issue is concluded.

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