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Meng Meets The Neighbors – QNS.com

Meng Meets The Neighbors

Assemblyman Jimmy Meng met with community members from District 22 Thursday after winning in a landslide election November 2.
Local residents pelted Meng with tough questions about how he would handle inter-racial violence, clean dirty streets and preserve after-school programs in the sanctuary of Macedonia African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Flushing.
"The people have spoken and we welcome you here," said Bernard Sydnor, Northeast Queens vice president of the NAACP and moderator of the question-and-answer session. But Meng faced a challenging series of questions from the diverse group who represented tenant associations, businesses and community organizations. Concerns ranged from how to support small after-school programs with shrunken budgets to cleaning up the Flushing River and removing illegal street vendors.
By far the biggest worry was inter-racial youth violence, however.
"Weve been having a lot of violence with our children," said Monique Minnus, PTA president of J.S. 189. "We have to come up with something viable."
"This is not Chinatown. This is not Koreatown. This is multicultural town," said Meng in response. Though he said he had never witnessed racial divisions in the area, he promised to bring the issue up with Councilman John Liu and local business leaders.
In answers to several questions, he reiterated his connections with local business owners developed while he served as president of the Chinese Business Owners Association.
Meng, the owner of a bookstore and a lumber company, expressed faith that the business community could help in solving many of Flushings problems. Meng said he would encourage business owners to contribute funding and resources to support after-school programs and help in city clean-up efforts.
Several questions seemed to stump Meng, who said he would not know what role he could take in dealing with them until after his inauguration in January. These included concerns about heavy traffic on Main Street, dilapidated local parks and insufficient public transportation.
In nearly every response. Meng promised to continue building a close relationship with Councilman John Liu, who now has a strong base of support among his Flushing constituents after three years in office.
While Liu initially supported incumbent Barry Grodenchik during the primary race, Meng assured Thursdays audience that he and Liu had communicated frequently since the election.
Sydnor closed the meeting by asking Meng to continue the dialogue with his constituents in the future. Sydnor said one of the best ways to do that would be to choose a diverse staff and find an office which is easily accessible to senior citizens and always open to everyone.
"I like when people come and see me," said Meng. "And call me Jimmy. It makes me feel comfortable."
sarah@queenscourier.com

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