By Barbara Morris
However, “usual” is a term that certainly did not fit the Town Hall meeting sponsored by Assemblyman William Scarborough in Rosedale's VFW Hall. In his invitation we were told that representatives from various city agencies would be present to try to answer questions and provide solutions to problems. The representatives were there, as was Borough President Helen Marshall. Well before the meeting was to begin, the hall was so crowded there was only standing room left.As the meeting progressed, the door kept opening for people hoping (unsuccessfully) to be admitted. A large number of the people in the audience were new faces to our local meetings. Unfortunately, some of those folks were unaware of an important no-no. We feel we should, therefore, stress that no one should, at any public meeting, give specific information about drug activities, or any information about major crimes.Public meetings are just what the name implies – public. Anyone may attend. We may not know who is there, whether it is someone directly involved in the crime, or even someone who might innocently repeat information gleaned from the meeting to someone else who might be involved. The best practice is to give any crime-related information directly to a police officer, in private.There were, indeed, representatives of the NYPD in attendance: Sgt. Penn Walthall, P.O. Pete Dwyer, and P.O. Janice McDaniel. The Police Department was high on the list of topics aired by the audience. Like other southeast communities in Queens, residents and business people wonder why the recently opened Task Force building in Rosedale was not expanded during building to give us the long fought for, and promised, additional precinct.The 105th Precinct folks do a great job, but with that precinct location being up north in Queens Village, and our precinct being the longest in the city, our officers are often endangered trying to reach southeast Queens communities in time when required. As with one voice, the people said they want to see more police – on foot, in cars, every way, everywhere.Unfortunately, the city has serious money problems. We were advised to contact Community Board 13 within the confines of the 105th Precinct at 7l8-464-9700 (incorrectly published in this column related to CERT volunteers, on Nov. 11, 2004) and tell them additional police should be a priority budget item. That same message should also be sent to Borough President Helen Marshall at 120-55 Queens Blvd, N.Y., phone 718-286-2870; City Councilman Leroy Comrie, District 27, at 718-776-3700; or Councilman James Sanders, Jr., District 31, at 718-527-4356.If you are willing to make a three-minute speech on the subject, ask any of those folks to let you know when and where their budget hearings will be held.The first hot topic that was brought up after the meeting opened was that of runaway over-building and other housing problems. The conversion of single-family houses in our communities to multi-family dwellings has been causing uncontrollable problems here for years. Small houses are being demolished (sometimes without permits) and are being replaced by huge, multi-family, illegal dwellings.Please be alert to any such activities and notify any of the above city officials with whatever pertinent information you may have, such as the information posted on any permits, location, etc. If permits are posted too high for you to get the information, tell that to the official you call about the problem.Try to stop these illegal activities before they get out of hand. All aspects of our community lives are being impacted by these problems, including overcrowding of schools, damage to infrastructure, traffic and parking problems, etc.Let's all try to make things better – and legal – for 2005. Happy new year to everyone and please pray for our protectors.