Ridgewood community group discusses local concerns, welcomes Civil Court candidate Sandra Pérez

Sandra Pérez talks with RPOCA and residents on Thursday, June 1.
Photo by Anthony Medina

The Ridgewood Property Owners and Civic Association kicked off the start of the month with a full meeting inside the basement of the Ridgewood Presbyterian Church, on 59-14 70th Ave., in Ridgewood, on Thursday, June 1. 

More than 50 guests, including the civic association’s board, occupied the intimate space and voiced a number of community concerns, including poor parking situations, rat infestations, improper garbage disposal, and bad landlords. 

“We’ve always said that we believe that we have to fight for tenants as well, because we believe in equitable treatment and ethical relationships between landlords and tenants,” said Charles Ober, president of the RPOCA.

Quality control regarding the ownership of longtime properties in Ridgewood remains paramount for the civic group and property owners shared concerns over landlord abuse. The construction of new multifamily dwellings was one issue discussed by community members because of the existing parking and garbage issues. 

The lack of parking spots in the neighborhood was another main issue discussed. Residents blamed the Citi Bike stations for taking up essential parking spots and noted issues with car owners parking in front of fire hydrants. What was suggested by civic members was the installation of an offsite parking lot, to help ease parking related issues — a request needed to be further emphasized to elected officials.

The main guest of the night was Sandra Pérez, a runner-up for the special democratic primary for New York City Civil Court in Queens County. Pérez took the time to thank the civic group for their patience and emphasized the importance of the judicial race to residents. 

“There’s so many issues and so much perspective that you can gain and that I believe judges should have before taking the bench. It shouldn’t be a little bubble of being in the back or not going into the community,” Pérez said. “It should be knowing Ridgewood, knowing Elmhurst, knowing Rego Park, knowing St. Albans, knowing what the issues are in each community that are important to each individual from Queens County. And I think that people haven’t been paying too much attention to judicial races. I ask you to please change that.”

Pérez will run against Marianne Gonzalez in the primary election on Tuesday, June 27. Pérez’s parting words to the room of Ridgewood residents emphasized her own roots in the community and what could be expected from her win. 

“The support that I’m getting is not based on politics, it’s not based on any favoritism,” Perez said. “I’m a first generation attorney. My parents didn’t have the luxury to go to a college or law school, so for us, it’s very personal. It should be based on experience, and not popularity, or anything else because a judge is charged with a very delicate responsibility, which is to be fair and neutral.”

Representatives from Assemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar’s office and State Representative Nydia Velazquez spoke at the meeting, encouraging RPOCA to continue advocating for the community.

The Ridgewood Property Owners and Civic Association meets once a month. More information can be found on their website at rpoca.net or through email at ridgewoodownersNY@gmail.com.