State Lawmakers Address Wdvhn. Civic
Local lawmakers briefed residents on a variety of topics during the monthly Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association meeting (WRBA) on Saturday, Mar. 15, at Emanuel Church of Christ.
State Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. and Assemblyman Mike Miller spoke about issues that affect the Woodhaven community directly, with Addabbo focusing on state budget issues and Miller on public safety.
Addabbo spoke about the upcoming New York State budget and how it will affect Queens communities.
He focused on tax relief, localized funding, expanding bus and train service in the borough and tax relief. He also wants constituents to know that delivering a timely budget is a priority.
Past squabbles in Albany led to budgets being delivered well after the new fiscal year’s April start, but Addabbo was hopeful state lawmakers would pass the budget well before the Mar. 31 deadline.
“I am optimistic it will be our fourth on-time budget,” Addabbo said. He added that he believes the city doesn’t receive the lions’s share of state funds based on tax revenue and that Albany should not be allowed to control the purse strings for the entire state.
To drive the point home he related an anecdote about his colleague, former City Council Member Peter Vallone Jr. who-at every yearly opening council session-would introduce a bill that would separate New York City from the rest of the state.
“We want more localized funding back for the state budge,” Addabbo said. He added that his office wants local groups to be able to apply directly to the state for funds.
Addabbo also wants control of New York City schools to remain in the hands of the mayor and not revert to state control.
Concerning the partially collapsed building which may force the closure of the Woodhaven Volunteer Ambulance Corps., (WVAC) he said it should be demolished.
Addabbo is aware of the safety hazard and told the group his office is working to find a solution.
“We’re constantly at the building department about the collapsing building,” said Addabbo. “Enough with the action, enough with the talking, we want the building down.”
Miller spoke to the group as well, but focused on local issues in the Woodhaven community.
He related the details of a recent meeting he took with Department of Transportation officials, specifically concerning the intersection at Jamaica Avenue and Woodhaven Boulevard.
Woodhaven Boulevard is the main transport artery through the neighborhood with the same name and has been problematic for the community for many years.
“I asked for a whole bunch of things … to make it safer,” Miller said. These include a flashing red light that would alert drivers they should begin to stop and a stand-up speedometer on traffic islands adjacent to the road.
At the DOT meeting he told officials he wants to widen the islands along the road, install more and brighter lighting on the strip, provide better signage and alter pedestrian crossing lights so that people have a dedicated time to traverse intersections without the danger posed by turning vehicles.
Some sparks flew when Robert Pumarejo, a local businessman who worked on Wall St. spoke to the group about his primary candidacy for Miller’s 38th Assembly District seat.
His candidacy received a tepid response from many at the meting and he was grilled by WRBA members on several fronts. Pumarejo answered all queries and defended his candidacy, repeatedly saying that as a resident of Woodhaven he is well positioned to advocate on the community’s behalf in Albany.
Pumarejo is running on a platform of economic development, jobs creation, job readiness and skills development and public safety.
Martin Colberg, WRBA president advised the group that a graffiti cleanup event is scheduled and asked volunteers to sign up to paint over tags on mailboxes and light posts.
He also asked for donations to support local little league baseball teams, one of which is sponsored by the WRBA
The next WRBA meeting is scheduled to take place on Thursday, Apr. 24, at 7 p.m. at Emanuel Church of Christ, located at the corner of Woodhaven Boulevard and 91st Avenue.