Group Slams Open Letter Bashing Pol, Area
Though a widely circulated letter attacking a local lawmaker claims to represent “Ridgewood/Glendale Property Owners,” the opinions expressed in the piece are not those of the Glendale Property Owners Association (GPOA), ranking members of the organization informed attendees at their meeting last Thursday night, Mar. 7, at St. Pancras Pfeifer Hall.
GPOA President Brian Dooley and Assemblyman Mike Miller publicly blasted a letter sent recently to hundreds of Glendale residents which blamed Miller for failing to address a host of quality-of-life problems in the neighborhood.
The letter charged that “the Glendale/ Ridgewood communities are in the worst shape that they have ever been in with many community areas in Glendale/Ridgewood now holding slum status.” It was also claimed that Miller allowed the continued operation “of an active 24/7 freight and garbage dump relay station and stor- age facility within operation through the confines and center of the residential communities of Glendale- Ridgewood,” which has caused a host of health and quality-of-life problems for nearby residents.
Miller stated that the letter-and similar ones published over the years-was distributed by two individuals related to one another whom he claimed owned property in Glendale but lived in Nassau County.
“Their opinion is that because of the railroad, our community is a slum, and because I can’t get them to go out of business, I’m no good,” said Miller, who mentioned that the operation of the train facility mentioned in the letter-the Fresh Pond Railyard-falls under federal jurisdiction.
Though he and his colleagues in state government have made efforts to regulate how operations take place at the freight railyard, Miller noted, the Federal Railroad Administration supercedes any such state action.
Miller also pointed out that the letter included images of graffiti on train cars which travel through the area as well as garbage on the streets. “They could have called me and we could have had the Sanitation Department come out here” to collect the trash, he said.
In a related note, Miller stated he secured funding to have the Department of Sanitation make an additional collection of public trash baskets along Myrtle Avenue in Glendale. At last month’s GPOA meeting, residents mentioned that the corner receptacles are often overflowing with garbage, much of which is the result of nearby residents illegally depositing their household trash.
He added that the Sanitation Department has also agreed to increase enforcement efforts alongMyrtleAvenue and issue summonses to violators.
The assemblyman said he found the letter personally “disheartening,” but mentioned that the organization behind the letter have previously distributed similar pieces criticizing other area activists and lawmakers.
“They consider Glendale a slum, and I don’t,” Miller added. “We fight hard to make this a great place to live.”
Dooley later concurred with Miller’s statement, adding that he’s lived in the neighborhood for 44 years and “cannot be convinced Glendale is a slum.”
“I dispute that claim to the core,” he said. “I’m not going to let people walk all over” the neighborhood.
Boro prez candidate stops by
City Council Member Peter Vallone Jr. introduced himself to Glendale residents and asked for their support in his campaign to become the next Queens borough president.
“I have a record of fighting for Queens,” he told the crowd, citing that he publicly criticized Con Edison during the Northwest Queens blackout in 2006, the city’s response to the after-Christmas blizzard of 2010 and the renaming of the Queensboro Bridge in honor of former Mayor Ed Koch. Though he was a friend and admirer of Koch, Vallone explained, the renaming deprived Queens of its identity.
“They never would have renamed the Brooklyn Bridge or the Manhattan Bridge,” he said. Pointing out that he was the only City Council Member from Queens to protest the Queensboro Bridge renaming, Vallone claimed that he was “punished” by having his City Council discretionary funding cut 60 percent in the aftermath of the controversy.
Vallone, who has represented the Astoria/Long Island City area for three terms in the City Council, called himself a “conservative Democrat” known during his political tenure to be a “law and order” politician. Citing his background as a former prosecutor and current chair of the Council’s Public Safety Committee, he vowed-if elected-to used the borough president’s office as a “bully pulpit” to secure resources in Queens to fight crime and maintain a good and safe quality of life.
Bringing additional officers into the Police Department is critical, Vallone noted, as crime is beginning to increase citywide while the total NYPD roster is down from its peak in 2001. More criminals are also on the streets, he claimed, as a result of more lenient laws including the elimination of the Rockefeller drug laws.
Vallone added that he is the only borough president candidate supportive of the NYPD’s “stop-and-frisk” policy, which he charged has proven to be successful in taking guns off the streets and preventing more serious crimes. Some have called the policy discriminatory since many of the individuals questioned by the Police Department through this method are minorities.
“It’s the one way to get the guns off the streets before the drive-by shooting happens,” he said. Vallone went on to state that “Stop-and-frisk is not racist. It uses the best instincts and tactics of NYPD officers to stop suspects.”
Turning to business, Vallone railed against what he called “overaggressive enforcement” and “crazy fines and taxes” levied by the city against small businesses. A partner in his family’s law firm, the lawmaker noted that “I know what too much government does to business” and pledged to be an advocate for small businesses in the borough, if elected.
Miller mentioned that the Assembly recently passed a bill to declare a two-year moratorium on the issuance of permits for hydraulic fracturing (also known as hydrofracking) in upstate areas. As previously reported, the drilling method involves the highpressure injection of a chemical slurry into the earth in order to extract natural gas.
“We need to stop the hydrofracking and protect our water supply,” he said, urging local residents to contact the State Senate in support of bringing the Assembly bill up for a vote.
Miller added that he has also provided funding from the state to the Glendale/104th Precinct Civilian Observation Patrol and the Glendale Volunteer Ambulance Corps.
Last Thursday’s meeting also served as a membership drive for the GPOA. Dooley provided a brief history of the organization for first-time attendees, noting that the group was founded in 1911 and incorporated in 1928 as the Glendale Taxpayers Association.
The group’s initial mission statement still from 1928 still fits the organization’s current objectives, Dooley said. The mission statement, as he read, was to “promote the general welfare of Glendale and foster civic spirit,” promote a cooperation between the association and government officials, “cultivate the interest of people in matters of civic and government welfare” and advocate for Glendale to receive its fair share of services.
In recent years, Dooley explained, the GPOA has participated in a number of projects including the renovation of Dry Harbor Playground, contextual rezoning of residential blocks, advocacy of a separate ZIP code for Glendale and a host of charitable events.
Community Board 5 Chairperson Vincent Arcuri credited the organization for being instrumental in bringing concerns regarding hydrofracking to the forefront.
John Perricone, president of the 104th Precinct Community Council, invited residents to attend the organization’s next meeting on Wednesday night, Mar. 27, at 7:30 p.m. at St. Pancras Pfeifer Hall. Identity theft will be the focus of the session.
* * *
The Glendale Property Owners Association is scheduled to hold a joint meeting with the 104th Precinct Civilian Observation Patrol on Thursday night, Apr. 11, at 7:30 p.m. at St. Pancras Pfeifer Hall, located at the corner of Myrtle Avenue and 68th Street. For more information, visit www.glendalepropertyowners.org.