During her first State of the District Address to the Flushing community on Wednesday, Dec. 14, Councilwoman Sandra Ung discussed her accomplishments in her first year in office and her legislative agenda for the new year.
In a room filled with supporters at the Glow Community Center, located at 133-29 41st, Ung outlined the challenges she faced throughout the year in regard to quality-of-life issues, transportation, housing and public safety.
As the community is amidst a public safety crisis, with crime increasing at one of the highest rates in New York City, including anti-Asian hate crimes, Ung said public safety must be the no. 1 priority.
“We do not have enough officers in the 109th Precinct. They’re one of the largest precincts geographically, in a major commercial hub with a large amount of foot traffic and people buying goods, which attracts crime,” Ung said.
The councilwoman recently wrote a letter to Mayor Adams requesting more officers and resources to be assigned to the 109th Precinct.
“Every elected official who represents this district co-signed the letter. I’ll be working closely with the mayor’s office to ensure we get the resources we need to keep our families safe,” Ung said.
In regards to another ongoing challenge, which includes sidewalk congestion along Main Street, Ung said the proliferation of vendors in Flushing has become a public safety issue, as sidewalks are blocked and sanitation is piling up.
Despite more than a year of outreach efforts by the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection, the sidewalks continue to be blocked, Ung said.
According to Ung, she will push for more enforcement in the new year.
The councilwoman discussed other challenges such as the five-alarm fire that tore through a building in Main Street in March, the impact of the Mainstreet Busway on small business owners, the closure and reopening of the Flushing Library, severe flooding around Kissena Park, and NYCHA Bland Houses residents who were without gas service for months.
According to Ung, bringing back resources to the district is just one of her responsibilities as a representative of the community. By the end of the year, she is slated to pass nine pieces of legislation into law, which would be the highest number of bills passed in the City Council.
Of the five bills she has already passed this year, Ung said many of them are focused on improving language access in city government for New Yorkers.
“The City Council recently passed two of my bills that would require 311 to implement protocols to quickly identify the language of a caller who requires translation services, as well as report on the length of time it takes to be connected to a translator,” Ung said.
Recently, the City Council voted to approve two bills introduced by Ung. The first bill would simplify ballots used in ranked-choice voting (RCV) elections and the second bill would facilitate recruitment of top talent to work at city agencies.
In the new year, Ung said she will continue to bridge the divide between the immigrant community and government.
After successfully bringing a Gifted and Talented Program to P.S. 24Q, which is the only G&T program in District 20, Ung said she will continue to work with the Schools Chancellor and the city Department of Education to secure more G&T classrooms for students.
Another top priority of hers is to build more affordable housing, with a focus on senior affordable housing, she said. Ung will be working with community nonprofits to secure more housing for seniors so that “they can age gracefully and with dignity in their own neighborhoods.”
“I’ve spoken with developers from across New York City and made it clear — Flushing is open for business and we need housing,” Ung said. “As I negotiate with developers, I’ve had a particular focus on ensuring that new buildings include affordable housing and public amenities.”
Lastly, as the community has the largest Asian American population of any district in New York City, with over 70% of residents identifying as Asian, Ung said she wants the community to reflect its diversity.
“Whether it’s an arch on Northern or lanterns on Main Street, I want our community to reflect our beautiful diversity, and I look forward to continuing conversations with all of you on how best to approach that,” Ung said.