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Gotham Gazette

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Queens Borough President Helen M. Marshall 2007 State of the Borough Address

by Gotham Gazette Staff, Feb 19, 2007
 

GOOD MORNING! WELCOME TO YORK COLLEGE AND THE 2007 REPORT ON THE STATE OF THE BOROUGH. PLEASE JOIN ME IN THANKING OUR HOST, DR. MARCIA KEIZS. UNDER HER CREATIVE LEADERSHIP, THIS COLLEGE IS QUICKLY BECOMING ONE OF THE PREMIER INSTITUTIONS OF THE CITY UNIVERSITY SYSTEM.

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LET'S TAKE A MOMENT TO ACKNOWLEDGE SOME OF OUR DISTINGUISHED GUESTS WHO HAVE JOINED US HERE TODAY:(NAMES) .

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2007 HAS JUST BEGUN, AND ALREADY IT IS A VERY EXCITING YEAR.

AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL, CONGRESS HAS NEW LEADERSHIP AND FOR THE FIRST TIME IN HISTORY, OUR HOUSE SPEAKER IS A WOMAN, AND BETTER YET, A GRANDMOTHER! AT THE STATE LEVEL, OUR NEW GOVERNOR HAS OUTLINED AN IMPRESSIVE AGENDA OF REFORMS.

AT THE CITY LEVEL, WE HAVE A FORWARD THINKING MAYOR, WHO IS NOT ONLY TAKING CARE OF TODAY'S PROBLEMS, BUT IS ALSO PLANNING FOR THE WELL-BEING OF OUR GREAT CITY FOR DECADES TO COME.

HERE IN QUEENS, WE ARE MAKING OUR OWN HISTORY WITH A CONTINUING FAITH IN THE UNIQUE CHEMISTRY OF WHO WE ARE---THE MOST DIVERSE COUNTY IN THE NATION. THIS YEAR, WE WILL CELEBRATE THE ANNIVERSARY OF AN EVENT THAT OCCURRED IN THE DISTANT PAST, BUT WHICH CONTINUES TO DEFINE ONE OF THE FUNDAMENTAL IDEALS OF OUR NATION.

LED BY JOHN BOWNE, 350 YEARS AGO, A GROUP OF CONCERNED FLUSHING CITIZENS, SENT A LETTER TO THEIR GOVERNOR, PETER STUYVESANT, PROTESTING HIS INTOLERANCE OF RELIGIOUS FREEDOM. AND SO, THE FLUSHING REMONSTRANCE, WAS BORN MAKING QUEENS THE BIRTHPLACE OF RELIGIOUS FREEDOM INAMERICA AND SET THE STAGE FOR THE BILL OF RIGHTS.

THE ORIGINAL DOCUMENT IS HOUSED AT THE STATE LIBRARY IN ALBANY. SINCE IT WAS WRITTEN IN QUEENS, IT BELONGS IN QUEENS. THAT IS WHY I HAVE ARRANGED FOR IT TO COME HOME TO THE FLUSHING LIBRARY FOR DISPLAY DURING THIS ANNIVERSARY YEAR. THIS IS PART OF MY EFFORT TO BRING IT HOME PERMANENTLY.

ADDITIONALLY, I HAVE ALLOCATED FUNDING TO MAKE THE MESSAGE OF THE REMONSTRANCE PART OF THE CURRICULUM IN ALL QUEENS SCHOOLS. AND, JUST AS JOHN BOWNE OPENED HIS HOUSE TO THOSE NEW AMERICANS - INCLUDING BLACKS IN SEARCH OF FREEDOM, IRONICALLY, NOW THREE AND A HALF CENTURIES LATER, QUEENS REMAINS THE GATEWAY TO AMERICA . I HAVE CREATED THE QUEENS GENERAL ASSEMBLY TO EXPLORE THE RICH EXPERIENCE OF OUR FANTASTIC DIVERSITY. THOSE MEMBERS INVOLVED TELL ME THAT IT HAS TAKEN THE HUMAN EXPERIENCE TO ANOTHER LEVEL. THEY HAVE NAVIGATED THE WORLD AT BOROUGH HALL'S CONFERENCE TABLE. I AM PROUD THAT MY IMMIGRATION TASK FORCE BRINGS TOGETHER MORE THAN 100 SERVICE PROVIDERS, WHO GUIDE NEWCOMERS ON THEIR PATH TO CITIZENSHIP.

TO HELP HONOR THE FREEDOM WE ENJOY IN OUR GREAT COUNTRY, AND THOSE WHO PROTECT IT, LET US TAKE A MOMENT TO REMEMBER THAT QUEENS HAS LOST 17 OF ITS SONS IN THE WAR IN IRAQ .

(moment of silence)

WE PRAY FOR THEIR FAMILIES AND THE SAFE RETURN OF THOSE STILL SERVING. ALSO, WE SALUTE OUR CITIZEN SOLDIERS WHO ANSWER THE CALL TO SERVE. Let's recognize THE 77TH REGIONAL READINESS COMMAND ARMY RESERVES, REGULARLY DEPLOYED FROM FORT TOTTEN IN BAYSIDE, MANY OF WHOM DO MULTIPLE TOURS IN IRAQ .

They join us here today. (pause)

AS I BEGIN MY SIXTH YEAR AS YOUR BOROUGH PRESIDENT, I AM PROUD TO REPORT OUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS FROM THE PAST YEAR, AND SHARE MY VISION FOR THE FUTURE OF QUEENS.

HEALTH

OUR MISSION IS TO PROVIDE FOR THE WELL-BEING OF THE MORE THAN 27,000 CHILDREN WHO WERE BORN IN QUEENS LAST YEAR AND THEIR FAMILIES. THAT'S WHY I AM COMMITTED TO ENSURING ACCESSIBLE QUALITY HEALTH CARE FOR EVERYONE.

KNOWING THAT THE STATE BERGER COMMISSION ON HEALTH CARE WOULD RELEASE ITS REPORT IN DECEMBER, I HIRED THE RESPECTED FIRM OF PRICE WATERHOUSE COOPERS ON YOUR BEHALF TO HELP CREATE A VISION FOR A COMPREHENSIVE AND SUSTAINABLE HEALTHCARE DELIVERY SYSTEM IN QUEENS.

OUR STUDY UNCOVERED SOME SERIOUS DEFICIENCIES:

- THERE ARE NOT ENOUGH HOSPITAL BEDS IN QUEENS TO SERVE OUR POPULATION.

- GAPS IN SERVICES RESULT IN RESIDENTS LEAVING THE BOROUGH TO SEEK CARE.SHOCKINGLY, WITH TWO OF OUR NATION'S BUSIEST AIRPORTS, OUR BOROUGH DOES NOT HAVE A CERTIFIED BURN CENTER. WHEN CIVILIANS, AND HEROIC FIREFIGHTERS WHO SAVE LIVES, ARE BURNED, THEY SHOULD HAVE IMMEDIATE BURN TREATMENT AND NOT HAVE TO TRAVEL INTO MANHATTAN. IN FACT, AS I SPEAK TO YOU TODAY, 1400 QUEENS RESIDENTS ARE LYING IN HOSPITAL BEDS OUTSIDE THE BOROUGH. IT IS NOT ACCEPTABLE FOR US TO BE TOLD, "GO TO MANHATTAN"!

- AND, THE HEALTH CARE SYSTEM IN QUEENS IS NOT FINANCIALLY SUSTAINABLE IN ITS CURRENT STATE. COUNCILMEMBER HELEN SEARS AND HER WORK ON THE CITY COUNCIL HAS HELPED TO HIGHLIGHT THIS PROBLEM AS WELL.

BUT, THERE ARE WAYS TO RECTIFY THIS SITUATION AND OUR REPORT PROVIDES FOUR CRITICAL STEPS TO DO IT.

1. PRESENTLY NEW YORK CITY IS INCORPORATED INTO ONE HEALTH REGION, THOUGH DISTRIBUTION OF SERVICES IS NOT EVENLY BALANCED AMONG THE BOROUGHS. THE POPULATION OF QUEENS IS 2.3 MILLION PEOPLE. WE HAVE 1.4 BEDS PER THOUSAND. MANHATTAN HAS Only 1.5 MILLION PEOPLE WITH 7.4 BEDS PER THOUSAND. THIS CLEARLY SHOWS THAT QUEENS SHOULD BE ITS OWN HEALTH REGION.

2. AS THE BERGER COMMISSION STATED, THERE MUST BE ONE, NEW, STATE-OF- THE-ART HOSPITAL BUILT IN The ROCKAWAYs. BUT, I SAY ANOTHER MUST ALSO BE BUILT IN WESTERN QUEENS. BOTH OF THESE AREAS ARE RAPIDLY DEVELOPING COMMUNITIES. SOON THERE WILL BE MORE THAN 10,000 UNITS OF NEW HOUSING BUILT IN THESE TWO COMMUNITIES ALONE--- AND SORELY NEEDED MEDICAL SERVICES MUST BE PART OF THAT PLAN.

3. SPECIALTY PHYSICIANS SHOULD BE BROUGHT INTO QUEENS. QUEENS RESIDENTS SHOULD NOT HAVE TO LEAVE THE BOROUGH FOR MORE COMPLEX PROCEDURES AND SERVICES.

4. TO ATTRACT NEW PHYSICIANS TO QUEENS, A CLINICAL CAMPUS FOR THE SOPHIE DAVIS SCHOOL OF BIOMEDICAL EDUCATION SHOULD BE ESTABLISHED ON THE CAMPUS AT QUEENS HOSPITAL CENTER. THE NEED IS GREAT AND THE LAND IS AVAILABLE --- WHAT ARE WE WAITING FOR?

TO HELP US ACHIEVE OUR GOALS, I AM ESTABLISHING A HOSPITAL TASK FORCE COMPRISED OF HEALTH CARE LEADERS IN QUEENS.

THE COMMISSION IGNORED ITS OWN REGIONAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE's RECOMMENDATION TO EXPAND CAPACITY AND INCREASE ACCESS TO NEEDED SERVICES IN WESTERN QUEENS. THERE IS NOTHING IN THE COMMISSION'S REPORT TO EXPAND MOUNT SINAI OF WESTERN QUEENS, OR TO EFFECTIVELY ADDRESS THE INCREASING DEMAND FOR COMPLEX CARE FOR THE RESIDENTS OF THIS GROWING SECTION OF THE BOROUGH.

I AM PLEASED THAT THE COMMISSION CALLED FOR 40 ADDITIONAL BEDS AT QUEENS HOSPITAL CENTER. WHILE THE BERGER COMMISSION GAVE US THESE ADDITIONAL BEDS HERE, IT PROPOSED THE ELIMINATION OF MORE THAN 400 BEDS IN FOREST HILLS AND ON THE ROCKAWAY PENNISULA. LET ME SAY IT EMPHATICALLY - I AM OPPOSED TO THE LOSS OF ANY HOSPITAL BEDS IN QUEENS.

BUT, WE HAVE MADE IMPORTANT STRIDES IN HEALTH CARE:

FREE STANDING HEALTH FACILITIES SUCH AS

- THE UNIQUE JOSEPH P. ADDABBO FAMILY HEALTH CENTER OPENED ITS NEW, STATE-OF-THE-ART FACILITY IN FAR ROCKAWAY, CONTINUING ITS MISSION OF PROVIDING PREVENTIVE CARE FOR THOSE WHO COULD LEAST AFFORD IT.

- QUEENS HOSPITAL CENTER OPENED THE DOORS TO ITS NEW AMBULATORY CARE PAVILION. THE HOSPITAL NOW HAS THE MOST MODERN CAT SCANNER… A POWERFUL DIAGNOSTIC TOOL.

- THE RENOVATED ELMHURST HOSPITAL CENTER CLINIC AT JUNCTION BOULEVARD IN CORONA PROVIDES FAMILY MEDICINE AS WELL AS PRIMARY CARE. LAST WEEK THE HOSPITAL PERFORMED ITS FIRST ELECTIVE ANGIOPLASTY.

- JUST THINK, NOT TOO LONG AGO, A PRIOR MAYOR TRIED TO PRIVATIZE OUR PUBLIC HOSPITALS. I WAS VERY MUCH PART OF THE FIGHT AGAINST THAT PROPOSAL. LOOK AT HOW THESE FACILITIES HAVE FLOURISHED AS PREMIER HOSPITALS!

- THIS SPRING, PENINSULA HOSPITAL CENTER, IN COLLABORATION WITH ITS AFFILIATE, THE LONG ISLAND JEWISH MEDICAL CENTER, WILL OPEN THE FIRST CARDIAC CATHERIZATION LAB ON THE ROCKAWAY PENINSULA.

- MEANWHILE, MARY IMMACULATE HOSPITAL AND ST. JOHN'S QUEENS HOSPITAL EMERGED FROM BANKRUPTCY. BOTH HOSPITALS CONTINUE TO PLAY A VITAL ROLE IN THE COMMUNITIES THEY SERVE.

HERE IS SOME MORE EXCITING NEWS NEW YORK HOSPITAL QUEENS WILL SOON BREAK GROUND ON ITS MAJOR MODERNIZATION PROJECT. THIS WILL ADD 80 ADDITIONAL BEDS, A NEW AMBULATORY SURGERY CENTER, FIVE NEW OPERATING ROOMS AND A NEW PARKING GARAGE.

- AS QUEENS RESIDENTS, WE CAN ALL BE PROUD OF LONG ISLAND JEWISH MEDICAL CENTER BEING RECOGNIZED BY THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH LAST YEAR, AS HAVING NEW YORK'S BEST SUCCESS RATE FOR ANGIOPLASTY. THIS YEAR, LIJ WILL COMPLETE THE FIRST PHASE OF ITS EXPANSION PROJECT wITH 40 ADDITIONAL BEDS FOR CARDIAC PATIENTS, AND AN EXPANDED EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT.

- SCHNEIDER'S CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL, AT LIJ, WAS RANKED AS THE SECOND BEST PEDIATRIC INSTITUTION IN THE NEW YORK METRO AREA. HOW ABOUT THAT?

- LAST YEAR, FOREST HILLS HOSPITAL'S EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT HAD THE BUSIEST YEAR IN ITS HISTORY. THIS YEAR, IT WILL ESTABLISH A MUCH-NEEDED ORTHOPEDIC HOSPITAL WITHIN ITS FACILITY.

- JAMAICA HOSPITAL MEDICAL CENTER IMPLEMENTED A 24/7 EMERGENCY CARDIAC ANGIOPLASTY PROGRAM. THIS YEAR, CONSTRUCTION WILL BEGIN ON A SKILLED NURSING FACILITY TO REPLACE THE OLD TRUMP PAVILION NURSING HOME.

- FLUSHING HOSPITAL MEDICAL CENTER FULLY IMPLEMENTED ITS COMPASSIONATE HOSPICE PROGRAM. THIS YEAR, IT WILL BEGIN PROVIDING MRI SERVICES ON SITE.

- THE MOUNT SINAI HOSPITAL OF QUEENS OPENED A NEW IMAGING SUITE WITH AN MRI AND A POWERFUL CAT SCANNER. THIS YEAR, IT WILL ADD A MUCH-NEEDED DIGITAL MAMMOGRAPHY UNIT.

- LAST YEAR, ST. JOHN'S EPISCOPAL HOSPITAL SOUTH SHORE CELEBRATED ITS 100TH ANNIVERSARY AND RAISED FUNDING TO RENOVATE ITS EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT.

IN THE WAKE OF THE BERGER COMMISSION RECOMMENDATION, THE NEW PARKWAY HOSPITAL IS NEGOTIATING WITH A MAJOR HEALTH SYSTEM TO CONTINUE ITS MISSION TO PROVIDE HEALTH CARE TO THE RESIDENTS OF FOREST HILLS.

POLICE/CRIME

KEEPING OUR CITIZENS SAFE FROM PHYSICAL HARM IS JUST AS IMPORTANT AS HEALTH CARE. BUCKING THE CITY-WIDE TREND, MURDERS IN QUEENS DECREASED BY 11% IN 2006. BUT WE HAVE A LONG WAY TO GO TO REDUCE MAJOR FELONY CRIME. IN QUEENS SOUTH, WE NEED TO ADDRESS THE TROUBLING INCREASE IN ROBBERIES AND RAPES. IN QUEENS NORTH, FLUSHING MEADOWS CORONA PARK NOW HAS THE DUBIOUS DISTINCTION OF BEING THE MOST DANGEROUS PARK IN THE CITY, WITH 44 CRIMES IN 2006, INCLUDING 12 BRUTAL ATTACKS AND ONE MURDER SINCE NOVEMBER.

WITH ITS PREMIER CULTURAL INSTITUTIONS AND WORLD RENOWNED SPORTS FACILITIES ATTRACTING TENS OF THOUSANDS OF VISITORS, A POLICE PRESENCE IN THE PARK IS LONG OVERDUE.

SINCE THE CITY HAS CONSISTANTLY REFUSED TO PLACE A PRECINCT IN THE PARK, I CALL ON THE MAYOR AND POLICE COMMISSIONER RAY KELLY TO IMPLEMENT THEIR PLAN FOR A NEW POLICE ACADEMY TO BE IN FLUSHING MEADOWS PARK. WHY NOT?

WE OWN THE LAND AND IT WOULD GIVE US THE PROTECTION WE DESPERATELY NEED THERE.

AS YOU KNOW, LAST NOVEMBER A YOUNG MAN WAS SHOT BY UNDERCOVER POLICE OFFICERS AND DIED WITHIN HOURS OF HIS PLANNED WEDDING. WHILE WE WAIT FOR THE DETERMINATION OF A GRAND JURY, WHICH BEGAN HEARING EVIDENCE YESTERDAY,

WE MUST ENSURE THAT SEAN BELL'S DEATH WILL RESULT IN MEANINGFUL CHANGES.

POLICING IS A TOUGH PROFESSION THAT REQUIRES SPLIT-SECOND DECISIONS. AS SUCH, I BELIEVE THAT THESE LIFE AND DEATH DECISIONS ARE BEST MADE BY OFFICERS WHO ARE WELL TRAINED IN POLICING AND DIVERSITY. LET'S START TREATING POLICING AS THE PROFESSION IT SHOULD BE.

IT IS DISTRESSING TO ME THAT INVARIABLY WHEN I SPEAK TO NEW RECRUITS WHO WILL PATROL THE STREETS OF AMERICA'S MOST DIVERSE BOROUGH, I FIND THE OVERWHELMING MAJORITY ARE NOT CITY RESIDENTS. WE NEED TO CREATE INCENTIVES THAT WILL INSPIRE MORE CITY RESIDENTS TO JOIN THE RANKS OF NEW YORK'S FINEST.

THESE INCENTIVES INCLUDE:

- RAISING THE ENTRY SALARY FOR POLICE OFFICERS SO THEY CAN AFFORD TO LIVE HERE.

- RE-ESTABLISHING THE CUNY CADET PROGRAM AT JOHN JAY COLLEGE OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE THAT PREPARED COLLEGE STUDENTS FOR PROFESSIONAL CAREERS IN THE NYPD. THE CUNY CADET PROGRAM ATTRACTED CITY RESIDENTS. COMBINED WITH THE VALLONE SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM THAT PROVIDES HALF THE COST OF TUITION ASSISTANCE FOR STUDENTS WHO MAINTAIN AN AVERAGE OF B OR BETTER, THIS PROGRAM ALSO AWARDED ADVANCED STANDING IN THE NYPD FOR ITS GRADUATES WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR BEST OFFICERS ON THE STREETS TODAY.

I BELIEVE THAT POLICE OFFICERS WHO KNOW THE YOUTH, SENIORS AND MERCHANTS IN THEIR NEIGHBORHOODS CAN'T HELP BUT BE MORE EFFECTVE IN CRIME PREVENTION AND LAW ENFORCEMENT. THE TIME TO REESTABLISH COMMUNITY POLICING IS NOW. ACCORDING TO THE MAYOR'S MANAGEMENT REPORT OF FISCAL YEAR 2006 WE HAVE LOST MORE THAN 1100 OFFICERS SINCE FISCAL YEAR 2002. OUR POLICE FORCE HAS BEEN DRASTICALLY CUT. I URGE ALL CITIZENS TO DEMAND NOT ONLY RESTORATION OF THE POLICE FORCE, BUT AN INCREASE IN ITS RANKS.

CESAR BORJA, ONE OF NEW YORK'S FINEST WHO WORKED 16-HOUR SHIFTS FOR MONTHS AT GROUND ZERO IS IN CRITICAL CONDITION AT MOUNT SINAI MEDICAL CENTER WAITING FOR A LUNG TRANSPLANT. HE IS A BAYSIDE RESIDENT, WHO NEVER MISSED A DAY OF WORK IN 20 YEARS AS A CITY COP. PLEASE, LET'S SPREAD THE WORD THAT OFFICER BORjA AND THE LIVES OF OTHERS CAN BE SAVED THROUGH ORGAN DONATIONS.

EDUCATION --

THE BEST CRIME PREVENTION TOOL IS A QUALITY EDUCATION. AS A FORMER EDUCATOR AND NOW AS THE BOROUGH PRESIDENT I CONTINUE TO WORK TO ENSURE THAT THOSE 27,000 CHILDREN WHOM WE WELCOMED INTO THE WORLD LAST YEAR, AND THOSE THAT PRECEEDED THEM, WILL RECEIVE THE QUALITY EDUCATION THAT IS THEIR BIRTHRIGHT.

AMERICA IS THE GREATEST DEMOCRACY IN THE WORLD. AND A DEMOCRATIC GOVERNMENT REQUIRES THE PARTICIPATION OF ITS CITIZENS, WITHOUT WHICH IT CANNOT SURVIVE.

THAT IS WHY I CREATED THE FIRST PARENT ADVISORY COUNCIL WITH A MISSION TO GIVE EVERY PARENT A MEANINGFUL VOICE IN THEIR CHILD'S EDUCATION.

DIALOG TAKES PLACE BETWEEN PARENTS AND EDUCATORS INCLUDING DR. GERALDINE CHAPEY, THE QUEENS MEMBER OF OUR NEW YORK STATE BOARD OF REGENTS, WHICH DETERMINES EDUCATION POLICY FOR THE ENTIRE STATE OF NEW YORK. MICHAEL FLOWERS, MY QUEENS APPOINTEE TO THE PANEL ON EDUCATION, co-CHAIRS THE COUNCIL with me. GUEST SPEAKERS HAVE INCLUDED CHANCELLOR JOEL KLEIN -THREE TIMES AND THE DEPUTY MAYOR OF EDUCATION FOR THE CITY OF NEW YORK - DENNIS WALCOTT.

LAST YEAR, WE OPENED THE HIGH SCHOOL FOR CONSTRUCTION TRADES, ENGINEERING AND ARCHITECTURE WITH ALMOST 1,000 SEATS. UPON GRADUATION, ITS STUDENTS WILL BE READY LITERALLY TO SHAPE OUR CITY IN THE 21ST CENTURY.

WE ALSO OPENED A SCHOOL ADDITION IN THE CITYLIGHTS BUILDING AT QUEENS WEST, AND TWO NEW SMALL SCHOOLS THAT OFFER QUEENS STUDENTS UNIQUE OPPORTUNITIES TO GROW AND REACH THEIR POTENTIAL.

MEANWHILE, ANOTHER 12,000 SEATS ARE IN DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION. WHEN I LEAVE OFFICE, EVERY CHILD IN QUEENS WILL EITHER HAVE A SEAT OR A SEAT ALLOCATED FOR THEM IN THE CITY'S CONSTRUCTION PLAN. BOY DOES THAT MAKE ME HAPPY!

THE FIVE CUNY INSTITUTIONS IN QUEENS CONTINUE TO PROVIDE UNIQUE OPPORTUNITIES TO A VERY DIVERSE STUDENT BODY.

IN HER FIRST YEAR HERE AT YORK COLLEGE, DR. KEIZS HAS INCREASED FRESHMAN ENROLLMENT STANDARDS, CREATED THE YORK COLLEGE/FDA HONORS PROGRAM, AND HAS WON APPROVAL TO INITIATE A BACCALAURATE OF SCIENCE DEGREE IN AVIATION MANAGEMENT. HOW'S THAT FOR CREATIVE LEADERSHIP!

AT QUEENS COLLEGE, I WORKED WITH DR. MUYSKINS TO BOLSTER ITS PROGRAM FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SURVIVORS SEEKING AN EDUCATION. RECENTLY, I WORKED WITH COUNCILMEMBER DAVID WEPRIN AND DR. MARTI TO DEDICATE THE NEW KUPFERBERG HOLOCAUST RESOURCE CENTER AT QUEENSBOROUGH COMMUNITY COLLEGE. THE GENEROSITY OF THE KUPFERBERG FAMILY IS STUPENDOUS.

LAST FALL, I JOINED DR. MELLOW TO OPEN THE NEW YORK DESIGN CENTER THAT LITERALLY TRANSFORMED A FACTORY BUILDING INTO THE REGION'S FIRST BUSINESS INCUBATOR FOR THE DESIGN INDUSTRY AT LAGUARDIA COMMUNITY COLLEGE.

AT CUNY LAW SCHOOL, WE WELCOMED A NEW DEAN, MICHELLE ANDERSON. CONGRATULATIONS TO HER FOR ALREADY INCREASING THE SCHOOL'S BAR PASSING RATE.

YES, YOU TOO CAN BECOME A LAWYER - AT CITY COLLEGE TUITION RATES!

I AM KEEPING MY PROMISE TO THE LATE ASSEMBLYWOMAN PAULINE CUMMINGS TO ESTABLISH A CUNY PROGRAM IN THE ROCKAWAYS.

ON MY MANY TRIPS TO THE PENINSULA, I ALWAYS ADMIRED THE BEAUTIFUL OLD COURTHOUSE AT ITS GATEWAY. AFTER EXPLORING THE POSSIBILITIES, I AM HAPPY TO ANNOUNCE THAT NEXT YEAR, WE WILL BEGIN TO TRANSFORM THAT ABANDONED COURTHOUSE INTO CUNY-BY-THE-SEA.

WE ARE WORKING WITH OUR NEW STATE SENATE DEMOCRATIC LEADER, MALCOLM SMITH, ASSEMBLYMEMBER AUDREY PHEFFER, CONGRESSMAN GREGORY MEEKS, CITY COUNCILMEMBER JAMES SAUNDERS AND DR. GAIL MELLOW TO MAKE THIS A REALITY.

MEANWHILE, ALSO UNDER THE LEADERSHIP OF DR. MELLOW, WE ARE LAUNCHING CUNY-ON-WHEELS WHICH YOU PASSED ON YOUR WAY IN TODAY, AND WHICH I WAS HAPPY TO FUND. IT WILL OFFER INFORMATION ON CREDIT AND NON CREDIT PROGRAMS, CUNY ADMISSIONS COUNSELING AND registration. AND YOU CAN TOUR IT TODAY!

LIBRARIES --

IN ADDITION TO SCHOOLS, LIBRARIES ARE THE FOUNDATION OF OUR NEIGHBORHOODS.

THE QUEENS BOROUGH PUBLIC LIBRARY SYSTEM HAS THE LARGEST CIRCULATION IN THE WORLD... WITH 17 MILLION ITEMS.

SINCE BECOMING BOROUGH PRESIDENT, I HAVE PROVIDED MORE THAN 30 MILLION DOLLARS IN FUNDING FOR OUR LIBRARIES. LAST YEAR ALONE, I ALLOCATED ALMOST 7 MILLION DOLLARS TO UPGRADE SEVERAL BRANCHES, INCLUDING FAR ROCKAWAY, REGO PARK, KEW GARDENS HILLS, ELMHURST AND JACKSON HEIGHTS. WE HAVE OPENED A NEW BRANCH IN CAMBRIA HEIGHTS EQUIPPED FOR THE 21ST CENTURY WITH ITS ARCHITECTURAL STYLE ENHANCING LINDEN BOULEVARD. MANY OF OUR BRANCHES NEED TO EXPAND, AND WE ARE WORKING TO PROVIDE THEM WITH NEW, LARGER FACILITIES.

NEXT YEAR, WE WILL BREAK GROUND ON THE CHILDREN'S DISCOVERY CENTER AT THE CENTRAL BRANCH IN JAMAICA . FUNDED WITH 8 MILLION DOLLARS BY MY OFFICE AND SUPPORT FROM THE NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION, THIS UNIQUE FACILITY WILL BRING TOGETHER MY GREATEST PASSIONS -- CHILDREN, SCIENCE AND LIBRARIES.

I AM DETERMINED TO BUILD A NEW LIBRARY AT QUEENS WEST.

THAT'S WHY I HAVE TOLD MAYOR BLOOMBERG THAT THE 5 MILLION DOLLAR PENALTY LEVIED AGAINST METLIFE FOR PULLING JOBS OUT OF QUEENS MUST BE ALLOCATED FOR THIS LIBRARY.

PARKS --

WHILE OUR LIBRARIES EXERCISE OUR MINDS, OUR PARKS AND RECREATIONAL FACILITIES EXERCISE OUR BODIES.

SINCE BECOMING BOROUGH PRESIDENT I HAVE ALLOCATED 62 MILLION DOLLARS TO IMPROVE OUR PARKS AND PLAYGROUNDS.

THIS PAST YEAR, I WAS PROUD TO HAVE CONTRIBUTED FUNDS TO UPGRADE QUEENSBRIDGE PARK IN LONG ISLAND CITY; SOUTHERN FIELD IN OZONE PARK; MARTIN'S FIELD IN FLUSHING; BROOKVILLE PARK IN ROSEDALE; CUNNINGHAM PARK IN FRESH MEADOWS AND TO ALLOCATE FUNDS FOR A NEW BOATHOUSE IN FLUSHING MEADOWS CORONA PARK. WE ARE WORKING WITH COUNCILMEMBER JIM GENNARO ON VON DOHLEN PARK IN JAMAICA , COUNCILMEMBER TONY AVELLA ON THE NEW SPORTS COMPLEX IN COLLEGE POINT, AND COUNCILMEMBER THOMAS WHITE ON THE RENOVATION OF BAISLEY PARK IN SOUTHEAST QUEENS. WE ALSO DEDICATED A NEW FIELD FOR THE BAYSIDE RAIDERS FOOTBALL CLUB WITHIN THE KISSENA PARK CORRIDOR. I JOINED THE TEAM AS AN HONORARY MEMBER.

A NEW CHAPTER WAS WRITTEN IN THE HISTORY OF FORT TOTTEN WHEN state senator padavan and i OPENED THE RENOVATED HISTORIC STRUCTURE'S BATTERY. WITH THE HELP OF 850,000 DOLLARS FROM MY OFFICE, THE FORT'S MUSEUM WILL SOON BE TRANSFORMED INTO A WELCOME CENTER. TO TRANSPORT VISITORS AROUND THE BEAUTIFUL WATERFRONT GROUNDS ON THE FORT, I HAVE ALSO PROVIDED $300,000 FOR TWO ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY ELECTRICALLY POWERED TRAMS.

RECENTLY, WE TOPPED OFF THE INDOOR POOL AND RINK IN FLUSHING MEADOWS CORONA PARK, THE LARGEST RECREATION FACILITY EVER BUILT IN A CITY PARK. IMAGINE, NINE MONTHS FROM TODAY, QUEENS RESIDENTS WILL SWIM IN THE PARK'S OLYMPIC SIZE POOL OR SKATE ON ITS NHL HOCKEY STANDARD ICE RINK. THIS WILL SERVE AS A YEAR-ROUND RECREATIONAL FACILITY.

WORK HAS ALSO COMMENCED AT RAINEY PARK LOCATED IN LONG ISLAND CITY FOR A NEW TODDLER PLAYGROUND. IN LATE SPRING, WE WILL SEE THE CREATION OF A NEW 3 MILLION DOLLAR SPORTS COMPLEX AT VICTORY FIELD IN FOREST PARK.

BUT THE PROJECT THAT HAS PROBABLY ATTRACTED YOUR ATTENTION THE MOST IS THE NEW BALLPARK FOR OUR METS. "CITIFIELD" WILL BE A SPECTACULAR NEW FACILITY AND I'M HAPPY TO SAY THAT RACHEL ROBINSON WAS ON HAND AS IT WAS ANNOUNCED THAT THE STADIUM'S CENTRAL ROTUNDA Will HONOR THE LEGACY OF HER LATE HUSBAND JACKIE ROBINSON. WE BROKE GROUND FOR THIS 45,000 SEAT STADIUM IN NOVEMBER AND I WILL BE THERE FOR THE START OF A CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON ON OPENING DAY IN 2009!!!

MEANWHILE, AS CHAIR OF THE CITIFIELD ADVISORY COMMITTEE, I HAVE INVITED COUNCILMEMBER AND QUEENS DELEGATION LEADER LEROY COMRIE TO CO-CHAIR THE COMMITTEE WITH ME.

ASSEMBLYMEMBERS JEFF AUBRY AND JOSE PERALTA, STATE SENATOR JOHN SABINI AND COUNCILMEMBER HIRAM MONSERRATE ARE ALL PART OF THE TEAM.

OUR TASK IS TO ENSURE EQUAL PARTICIPATION IN CONSTRUCTION AND EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES FOR ALL SECTORS OF THE QUEENS BUSINESS COMMUNITY, ESPECIALLY WOMEN AND MINORITIES. WE ARE ALSO WORKING TO MITIGATE ANY POTENTIAL CONSTRUCTION IMPACTS ON THE SURROUNDING COMMUNITIES.

HOUSING --

MY HUSBAND DONALD AND I MOVED TO QUEENS FIVE DECADES AGO. WE MOVED TO QUEENS BECAUSE THIS WAS A WONDERFUL PLACE TO LIVE AND RAISE OUR CHILDREN.

TODAY, QUEENS IS STILL AN AMAZING PLACE DEMONSTRATED BY HOW OUR POPULATION CONTINUES TO GROW BY LEAPS AND BOUNDS.

WE NEED TO ENSURE THAT THERE IS ADEQUATE AND AFFORDABLE HOUSING FOR EVERYONE.

FROM THE VERY BEGINNING OF MY ADMINISTRATION, I HAVE ASKED DEVELOPERS AND THE CITY TO INCLUDE AFFORDABLE AND MIDDLE-INCOME HOUSING IN NEW PROJECTS. I AM HAPPY TO REPORT THAT MAYOR BLOOMBERG HAS MADE INCLUSIONARY ZONING HIS PRIORITY. AND THIS IS HAPPENING IN SEVERAL PLANNED DEVELOPMENTS.

WE CONTINUE TO TRANSFORM THE FANTASTIC BEACHFRONT IN THE ROCKAWAYS INTO THE WONDERFUL COMMUNITY THAT IS TODAY.

FROM THE BEGINNING, MY REACTION TO THIS SPECTACULAR WATERFRONT WAS TO DUB IT " HAMPTONS WEST," BUT IT'S MORE CONVENIENT AND AFFORDABLE THAN THE HAMPTONS.

" ARVERNE EAST" IN THE ROCKAWAYS IS MOVING FORWARD WITH 1600 UNITS OF MIDDLE- INCOME HOUSING AND MORE THAN 500,000 SQUARE FEET OF COMMERCIAL SPACE.

COMBINED WITH ARVERNE-BY-THE-SEA, WE WILL HAVE A NEW WATERFRONT COMMUNITY WITH ALMOST 4,000 UNITS OF NEW HOUSING, NEW COMMERCIAL SPACE, A HOTEL, SCHOOL, A YMCA AND EVEN A MOVIE THEATER.

AS BOROUGH PRESIDENT, I REALIZE TIMES ARE OFTEN HARD AND IT CAN BE DIFFICULT TO MAKE ENDS MEET. PROPERTY TAXES CAN ESPECIALLY BE TROUBLESOME. I AM PLEASED THAT THE MAYOR WILL SOON MAIL TAX FORMS TO FAMILIES WHO WERE ELIGIBLE FOR EARNED INCOME TAX CREDITS, YET NEVER CLAIMED THEM.

RECENTLY, I DISCOVERED THAT APPROXIMATELY 70,000 QUEENS PROPERTY OWNERS HAVE NOT APPLIED FOR PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTIONS THAT THEY MIGHT BE ENTITLED TO RECEIVE. OUR CALCULATIONS INDICATE THAT QUEENS RESIDENTS MIGHT BE PAYING MORE THAN 28 MILLION DOLLARS IN PROPERTY TAXES THAN NECESSARY.

WE'RE GOING TO HELP!

WE ARE LAUNCHING A PROPERTY TAX INITIATIVE TO ENROLL EVERY ELIGIBLE QUEENS HOMEOWNER BEFORE MARCH 15TH IN THE STAR PROGRAM. IT IS A VERY SIMPLE PROCESS THAT CAN PUT MONEY IN YOUR POCKET SO DO IT.

APPLICATIONS ARE IN THE LOBBY -- DON'T FORGET TO PICK ONE UP.

RECOGNIZING THAT HOMEOWNERS IN SOUTHEAST QUEENS WERE PARTICULARLY TARGETED BY PREDATORY LENDORS, MY OFFICE HELPED PROVIDE LEGAL SERVICES, LOAN PROGRAMS, COUNSELING AND COMMUNITY EDUCATION. WE HELPED MANY HOMEOWNERS AVOID FORECLOSURE ON THEIR HOMES.

WE ALSO ADDRESSED THE NEED FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING AT AN ALL-DAY CONFERENCE AT CITIBANK. SHORTLY AFTER, I JOINED THE MAYOR FOR THE ANNOUNCEMENT THAT NEW YORK CITY WAS PURCHASING 25 ACRES AT QUEENS WEST IN LONG ISLAND CITY TO BUILD UP TO 5,000 UNITS OF MIDDLE INCOME HOUSING.

IN FLUSHING, I ALSO WORKED TO ENSURE THAT THE HISTORIC MACEDONIA AME CHURCH WILL BE THE DEVELOPER OF APPROXIMATELY 140 UNITS OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING AS PART OF THE MUNICIPAL PARKING LOT 1 DEVELOPMENT.

REDEVELOPMENT OF THE FORMER JAMAICA FAMILY COURT BUILDING, WITH ITS CREATIVE DESIGN, WILL PRESERVE THE OLD BUILDING'S FACADE AND CREATE 350 NEW UNITS OF HOUSING. APPROXIMATELY 70 percent OF THESE UNITS WILL BE SET ASIDE FOR AFFORDABLE AND MIDDLE INCOME HOUSING.

AT EDGEMERE, CONSTRUCTION WILL BEGIN ON THE NEEDED INFRASTRUCTURE THAT WILL ENABLE THE BUILDING OF ADDITONAL, AFFORDABLE HOUSING UNITS IN 2008.

WORKING WITH THE MAYOR, WE WILL DEVELOP A JOB RETENTION AND BUSINESS RELOCATION PROGRAM AS WE TRANSFORM THE 55 ACRE WILLETS POINT AREA INTO A VIBRANT ENCLAVE. IT WILL RECONNECT FLUSHING TO ITS WATERFRONT AND INCLUDE HOUSING, RECREATION, RETAIL, RESTAURANTS AND A NEW CONFERENCE CENTER, LONG-REQUESTED BY OUR QUEENS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE.

WE'RE ALSO LOOKING FORWARD TO THE LONG AWAITED REDEVELOPMENT OF THE RKO KEITH SITE, THE GATEWAY TO FLUSHING, WITH 200 RESIDENTIAL UNITS. THIS PROJECT WILL RESTORE THE LANDMARKED INTERIOR WHICH WILL BE VISIBLE ON THE SIDEWALK THROUGH A GLASS CURTAIN WALL. WE ARE HAPPY TO HAVE PARTNERED WITH COUNCILMEMBER JOHN LIU TO ENSURE THE SITE WILL INCLUDE A NEW SENIOR CENTER.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT --

OUR TRANSPORTATION AND COMMERCIAL HUBS-- FLUSHING, JAMAICA AND LONG ISLAND CITY-- ARE UNIFORMLY MARKED BY CONSTRUCTION SITES, MACHINERY AND SCAFFOLDING. THESE ARE SIGNS OF PROGRESS AND GROWTH. IT TAKES TIME FOR ZONING CHANGES, MARKET CONDITIONS AND ECONOMIC IMPERATIVES TO CONVERGE, BUT INDEED, THAT IS WHAT IS HAPPENING IN THESE AREAS.

WE ARE IMPLEMENTING THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE DEVELOPMENT FRAMEWORK FOR DOWNTOWN FLUSHING. THE TDC/ROCKAFELLER DEVELOPMENT TEAM WILL BREAK GROUND NEXT YEAR ON MUNICIPAL LOT #1 TRANSFORMING IT INTO FLUSHING COMMONS. IT WILL INCLUDE A ONE-ACRE TOWN SQUARE, A HOTEL, 500 RESIDENTIAL UNITS, COMMERCIAL SPACE, COMMUNITY RECREATIONAL FACILITiES AND PARKING.

IN A FEW MONTHS, QUEENS CROSSING, A NEW RETAIL AND OFFICE BUILDING - INCLUDING COMMUNITY SPACE - WILL OPEN AT MAIN STREET AND 39TH AVENUE. WITH ITS SETBACK DESIGN, IT WILL MAXIMIZE VISIBILITY OF THE NEW OPEN SPACE AT FLUSHING COMMONS FROM MAIN STREET.

ON THE BANKS OF THE FLUSHING RIVER, MUSS DEVELOPMENT IS PREPARING THE FORMER CON ED SITE FOR THE FLUSHING TOWN SQUARE PROJECT THAT WILL INCLUDE 800,000 SQUARE FEET OF RETAIL, PARKING AND MORE THAN A THOUSAND NEW HOUSING UNITS.

LONG ISLAND CITY IS SEEING RAPID RESIDENTIAL AND COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT.

LAST FALL, WE TOPPED OUT THE SECOND CITICORP TOWER AND SHORTLY, WE WILL DEDICATE THE NEW U.N. FEDERAL CREDIT UNION BUILDING.

PLANS ARE ALSO BEING FINALIZED TO TRANSFORM QUEENS PLAZA AND JACKSON AVENUE INTO ENTICING GATEWAYS TO OUR BOROUGH. WE CAN THANK CONGRESSWOMAN CAROLYN MALONEY FOR 19 MILLION FEDERAL DOLLARS TO SUPPORT THIS TRANSFORMATION.

RESIDENTS OF LONG ISLAND CITY, INCLUDING QUEENSBRIDGE AND RAVENSWOOD HOUSES, WILL NO LONGER HAVE TO LEAVE THEIR NEIGHBORHOOD FOR THEIR BANKING NEEDS. THE FIRST AMALGAMATED BANK WILL OPEN ON 21ST STREET, IN WHAT IS NOW THE THIRD STATE BANKING DISTRICT IN QUEENS.

THESE DISTRICTS REPRESENT AN INVESTMENT OF STATE AND CITY GOVERNMENT DEPOSITS, ENCOURAGING BANKS TO OPEN IN AREAS NOT PREVIOUSLY CONSIDERED BANKING AREAS. OUR FIRST STATE BANKING DISTRICT, WHICH MOVED FORWARD WITH MY APPROVAL, WAS CARVER BANK LOCATED ON ARCHER AVENUE IN JAMAICA, UNDER THE LEADERSHIP OF DEBORAH WRIGHT. THE SECOND DISTRICT, UNDER COMMUNITY BANK, LED BY JOE FICALORA, IS IN CORONA.

THIS NEW DISTRICT COULD NOT HAVE HAPPENED WITHOUT THE COMBINED EFFORTS OF MY OFFICE, COMPTROLLER BILL THOMPSON AND STATE BANKING COMMISSIONER DIANA TAYLOR, AND THE CHAIR OF THE ASSEMBLY BANKING COMMITTEE AT THE TIME, CATHY NOLAN.COUNCILMEMBER ERIC GIOIA AND BISHOP MITCHELL TAYLOR HAD ALSO BEEN LONG-TIME ADVOCATES FOR THIS BANK.

NOT TOO FAR AWAY, SILVERCUP STUDIOS HAS OBTAINED FINAL APPROVAL FOR ITS PLAN TO BUILD EXPANDED STUDIO SPACE. INCLUDED IN THIS PROJECT ARE 1,000 UNITS OF NEW HOUSING, COMPLEMENTED BY COMMERCIAL AND RETAIL SPACE AND A WATERFRONT ESPLANADE. THE SUNA BROTHERS WILL ALSO PROVIDE APPROXIMATELY 150 UNITS OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING.

JAMAICA --

IN JAMAICA , THE FORMER DUTCH REFORMED CHURCH, NOW KNOWN AS THE LANDMARK PROJECT, WILL OPEN THIS FALL AS A PREMIER MULTI-USE PERFOrMING ARTS THEATER, EXHIBITION SPACE AND BUSINESS CONFERENCE CENTER. THANK YOU COUNCILMEMBER COMRIE FOR YOUR HELP ON THIS PROJECT.

THE INTERNATIONAL MERCHANDISE MART WILL BE A KEYSTONE PROJECT IN THE UPGRADING OF THE JAMAICA STATION TRANSIT HUB. THIS BEAUTIFUL CRYSTAL TOWER, WITH AN ATRIUM INTERIOR HOLDING DISPLAY SPACE FOR WHOLESALERS, IS BEING PLANNED WITH THE GREATER JAMAICA DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION.

OTHER PLANS ARE ALSO UNDERWAY TO IMPROVE THE AIRTRAIN/JAMAICA STATION AREA WITH BEAUTIFUL OPEN PUBLIC SPACES, PUBLIC AMENITIES, NEW SHOPS, UPDATED LIGHTING AND IMPROVED TRAFFIC FLOW--- ALL OF WHICH WILL GENERATE ECONOMIC BENEFITS FOR THE SURROUNDING COMMUNITY.

INFRASTRUCTURE --

ALL OF THIS DEVELOPMENT WILL REQUIRE THE BASIC INFRASTRUCTURE OF SEWERS, ROADS AND PARKING. NOT SEXY BUT VITAL. THAT'S WHY WE CONTINUE TO FOCUS OUR EFFORTS TO PROVIDE MUCH NEEDED STORM SEWERS TO RELIEVE THE CHRONIC FLOODING IN THE LOW LYING AREAS OF SOUTHEAST QUEENS TO TAKE STEPS TO LOWER THE WATER TABLE WITH INCREASED PUMPING FROM MORE WELLS. THE DRAINAGE PLANS ARE SUBSTANTIALLY COMPLETE AND THE TIME TO ACTUALLY BUILD THE INFRASTRUCTURE IS NOW.

LAST WEEK, I MET WITH DEP OFFICIALS AND COMMUNITY BOARD REPS FROM BOARDS 8, 9, 10, 12 & 13. WE LEARNED THAT THIS MAJOR PROJECT WILL TAKE SEVERAL DECADES AND AN ESTIMATED COST OF ONE BILLION DOLLARS. I SAID THIS IS TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE. I SUGGESTED THAT WE TAP OUR QUEENS CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION TO ASSIST US WITH FUNDING. I CONTACTED THE HONORABLE JOE CROWLEY, MY CONGRESSMAN, WHO INDICATED A WILLINGNESS TO WORK WITH THE QUEENS DELEGATION IN RESOLVING THIS PROBLEM.

THIS DEVELOPMENT WILL REQUIRE ENERGY THE KIND THAT KEEPS NEIGHBORHOODS LIT 24 HOURS A DAY. THEREFORE, WE ARE WORKING WITH CON EDISON TO MAKE SURE THAT EVERYTHING THAT-CAN-BE-DONE- WILL-BE-DONE TO AVOID ANOTHER BLACKOUT THIS SUMMER. CON ED REPORTS THAT IT HAS INVESTED 89 MILLION DOLLARS IN EMERGENCY RESPONSE, PERMANENT REPAIRS, AND ONGOING IMPROVEMENTS TO THE LONG ISLAND CITY NETWORK.

OUR RESIDENTS AND BUSINESSES CANNOT ENDURE ANOTHER 10-DAY BLACKOUT.

I CONGRATULATE MAYOR BLOOMBERG FOR HAVING THE FORESIGHT AND VISION TO INITITIATE THE 2030 PROJECT. AND, I THANK HIM FOR ANNOUNCing this project IN QUEENS, WHERE ALL THE ISSUES AND CHALLENGES OUTLINED ARE SO READILY VISIBLE. I LOOK FORWARD TO WORKING WITH HIM TO RESTORE OUR ENVIRONMENT, TO IMPROVE THE INFRASTRUCTURE, AND HOUSE OUR PEOPLE.

THERE WILL BE MANY CHALLENGES AHEAD. ONE OF WHICH WILL BE HOW TO LIMIT CARS ON THE EAST RIVER CROSSINGS. SOME HAVE RAISED THE SPECTER OF CONGESTION PRICING. i BELIEVE WITHOUT ALTERNATIVE MASS TRANSIT ALREADY IN PLACE, CONGESTION PRICING WILL HAVE AN UNINTENDED NEGATIVE IMPACT ON QUEENS AND BROOKLYN.

I ALSO BELIEVE THAT THERE ARE MANY OPPORTUNITIES TO GREATLY REDUCE THE VOLUME OF CARS DRIVING INTO MANHATTAN. WE MUST ENSURE THAT THE SUNNYSIDE RAILROAD STATION, PART OF THE JUST-FUNDED EAST SIDE ACCESS PLAN, IS MAXIMIZED BY MAKING IT A TRULY INTERMODAL FACILITY WITH DIRECT CONNECTIONS TO THE NEARBY SUBWAY LINES.

IF WE ARE SERIOUS ABOUT RELIEVING TRAFFIC CONGESTION BY 2030, WE MUST FINALLY REOPEN THE MORE THAN 20 STATIONS CLOSED IN QUEENS BY THE LONG ISLAND RAILROAD. THE RAILROAD MUST FINALLY TAKE THE RESPONSIBILITY TO IMPROVE SAFETY AND TO PREVENT FUTURE TRAGEDIES.

FERRIES ARE GREATLY UNDERUTILIZED IN NEW YORK CITY. WE FOCUS ON FERRY SERVICE BETWEEN MANHATTAN AND NEW JERSEY, BUT NEGLECT TO TAP THE WATERFRONT RESOURCES RIGHT HERE IN OUR BACKYARD. WHEN IS THE CITY FINALLY GOING TO HEED THE CALL FROM MYSELF AND COUNCILMEMBER JOE ADDABBO AND ASSEMBLYWOMAN AUDREY PHEFFER TO APPROVE FERRY SERVICE FROM THE ROCKAWAYS TO MANHATTAN?

THE RESIDENTS OF THE PENNISULA HAVE BEEN WAITING ON THE PIER FOR MORE THAN A GENERATION! WE ALSO NEED OUR FERRY SERVICE FROM LONG ISLAND CITY TO MANHATTAN RESTORED.

AVIATION --

THE BOROUGH OF QUEENS IS A TRANSPORTATION HUB FOR THE ENTIRE world. OUR TWO AIRPORTS PROVIDE BILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN REVENUE, AS WELL AS THOUSANDS OF JOBS. ALONG WITH THE ECONOMIC BENEFITS COME SOME COSTS, INCLUDING, AIR POLLUTION, NOISE AND TRAFFIC CONGESTION. WITH A NEW GENERATION OF AIRCRAFT ON THE HORIZON, WE NEED TO ADDRESS THESE ISSUES now.

AS A MEMBER OF THE CITY'S AIRPORT BOARD, MY POSITION IS CLEAR. WE NEED AIR MONITORING AT THE AIRPORTS, A RESIDENTIAL SOUND PROOFING PROGRAM, AND IMPROVED AIRPORT ACCESS. WE ARE WORKING WITH THE PORT AUTHORITY AND THE CITY TO MAKE THAT HAPPEN. ADDITIONAL HELP WILL COME FROM THE 100 MILLION DOLLARS FOR QUEENS PROJECTS FROM THE RE-NEGOTIATED LEASE AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE CITY AND THE PORT AUTHORITY.

OUR AIRPORTS CONTINUE TO SEE MAJOR CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS. AT KENNEDY, OUR QUEENS-BASED NEIGHBOR JETBLUE AIRWAYS IS CONSTRUCTING A NEW 26-GATE PASSENGER TERMINAL BEHIND THE LANDMARKED TWA FLIGHT CENTER, WHOSE UNIQUE WING DESIGN MANY OF YOU REMEMBER.

AT LAGUARDIA, AIR TRAFFIC WILL NO DOUBT BE MORE EFFICIENT AND SAFER WHEN WE BREAK GROUND THIS YEAR FOR ITS NEW AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL TOWER, THANKS TO THE LEADERSHIP OF CONGRESSMAN JOE CROWLEY.

ALSO, A 15 MILLION DOLLAR STUDY WILL BEGIN THIS YEAR TO PLAN IMPROVEMENTS AT THE AIRPORT. FAR FROM ITS HUMBLE BEGINNINGS IN 1939, LAGUARDIA HANDLED MORE THAN 25 MILLION PASSENGERS LAST YEAR.

COMMERCIAL CORRIDORS --

KEEPING OUR STREETS ATTRACTIVE AS PLACES WHERE PEOPLE WANT TO SHOP IS IMPORTANT TO ME. THAT IS WHY I CREATED MY COMMERCIAL CORRIDOR PROGRAM. UNDER THE PROGRAM, MORE THAN 1,000 TREES HAVE BEEN PLANTED ALONG WITH OTHER IMPROVEMENTS, INCLUDING LIGHTING AND LANDSCAPING ALONG MAJOR SHOPPING THOROUGHFARES THROUGHOUT THE BOROUGH.

WORKING WITH COUNCIL SPEAKER CHRISTINE QUINN AND THE QUEENS DELEGATION, GREENSTREETS HAVE BEEN CREATED IN DOUGLASTON, ALONG BEACH CHANNEL DRIVE AT 71ST STREET, CROSS BAY BOULEVARD AND NEW ENTRIES TO QUEENS AND YORK COLLEGES.

WE HAVE PLANS TO DO SIMILAR WORK IN SUNNYSIDE, BAYSIDE AND RIDGEWOOD.

AND, THANK YOU COUNCILMEMBER PETER VALLONE JR. FOR YOUR RELENTLESS PURSUIT OF GRAFFITI VANDALS.

IN 2006, REZONINGS FOR SEVEN QUEENS NEIGHBORHOODS WERE APPROVED. AS WE SPEAK TWO MORE REZONINGS ARE NEARING FINAL APPROVAL.

MY ZONING TASK FORCE WILL CONTINUE WORKING CLOSELY WITH COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS AND THE DEPARTMENT OF CITY PLANNING UNTIL EVERY QUEENS NEIGHBORHOOD IS ZONED APPROPRIATELY.

AT THE SAME TIME, WORK ON THE JAMAICA REDEVELOPMENT PLAN IS UNDERWAY.

THE 368 BLOCK PLAN INCLUDES THE AIRTRAIN STATION, THE COMMERCIAL CORRIDOR OF DOWNTOWN JAMAICA , AND SEVERAL LOWER DENSITY NEIGHBORHOODS.

TOGETHER WITH THE COMMUNITY AND THE DEPARTMENT OF CITY PLANNING, WE WILL ENSURE THAT ANY NEW DEVELOPMENT WILL BE APPROPRIATE, COMPLEMENT THE EXISTING RESIDENTIAL AREAS, AND PROVIDE NEW OPPORTUNITIES FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING AND INCREASED ECONOMIC ACTIVITY.

PHYSICAL IMPROVEMENTS ARE IMPORTANT. BUT, I AM ALSO GLAD TO SUPPORT THE EFFORTS OF SOME OF OUR LOCAL BUSINESS AND COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS THAT WORK SO HARD TO MAINTAIN THEIR COMMERCIAL AREAS.

CULTURAL/TOURISM

OUR BOROUGH IS BLESSED WITH A WIDE SPECTRUM OF CULTURAL VENUES, UNIQUE PLACES OF INTEREST, AND VISITOR ATTRACTIONS. INDEED OUR MANTRA IS "VISIT QUEENS AND SEE THE WORLD."

I AM PROUD THAT QUEENS HAS BECOME A PROMINENT TOURIST DESTINATION CAPTURING A BIGGER SHARE OF THE RECORD 44 MILLION TOURISTS WHO CAME TO NEW YORK CITY LAST YEAR.

EVENTS SUCH AS THE U.S. OPEN, THE METS PLAYOFF SERIES, JAMAICA JAMS, THE HONG KONG DRAGON BOAT RACES AND THE ROCKAWAY KITE FESTIVAL CONTINUE TO ATTrACT INTERNATIONAL AUDIENCES AS WELL AS LOCAL FANS.

OUR CULTURAL INSTITUTIONS CONTINUE TO ATTRACT TOURISTS. THE NEW YORK HALL OF SCIENCE SET A RECORD FOR ITS ATTENDANCE LAST YEAR. IT IS NOW THE CITY'S LARGEST PROVIDER OF GRADUATE, PROFESSIONAL AND METHOD COURSES IN THE PHYSICAL SCIENCES. WITH A 2.7 MILLION DOLLAR GRANT FROM MY OFFICE, THE HALL IS PUTTING THE FINISHING TOUCHES ON A SCIENCE PLAYGROUND FOR PRE-SCHOOLERS.

ANOTHER 12 MILLION DOLLAR GRANT FROM MY OFFICE WILL ALLOW THE QUEENS BOTANICAL GARDENS TO COMPLETE CONSTRUCTION OF ITS SUSTAINABLE LANDSCAPES AND BUILDINGS PROJECT. WITH ITS WATER RECAPTURE AND RE-USE FEATURES, CRAIN'S NAMED THE GARDEN "AN INTERNATIONAL LEADER IN GREEN BUILDINGS."

QUEENS MUSEUM OF ART, WITH THE SUPPORT OF A 21 MILLION DOLLAR GRANT FROM MY OFFICE, RELEASED ITS SPECTACULAR DESIGN PLANS FOR ITS LONG-AWAITED EXPANSION THAT WILL LITERALLY DOUBLE ITS SIZE. THE MUSEUM'S WORLD-FAMOUS PANORAMA IS SET TO REOPEN AFTER UNDERGOING AN UPGRADE THAT WILL TRANSFORM THE WAY VISITORS EXPERIENCE THIS ONE-OF-A-KIND TREASURE. iF ANYONE HERE HAS NOT SEEN THE PANAROMA, DO YOURSELF A FAVOR AND SEE THIS UNIQUE MODEL OF NEW YORK CITY WHERE YOU CAN EVEN FIND YOUR OWN HOME.

THE HISTORIC HOUSE TRUST MUSEUMS IN QUEENS HAD A VERY ACTIVE YEAR. KING MANOR IN JAMAICA AND KINGSLAND HOMESTEAD IN FLUSHING INTRODUCED NEW EVENTS. QUEENS COUNTY FARM MUSEUM DREW CROWDS OF ALMOST A HALF MILLION PEOPLE. OPERATING SINCE 1697, THIS SITE IS THE LONGEST CONTINUOUSLY FARMED PARCEL OF LAND IN THE ENTIRE STATE OF NEW YORK.TO PRESERVE ITS PAST AND PROTECT ITS FUTURE, MY OFFICE IS WORKING WITH OTHER ELECTED OFFICIALS TO FUND ITS MASTER PLAN.

THE TRUST IS ALSO PARTNERING WITH MY OFFICE TO BRING THE HOME OF NOTED AFRICAN-AMERICAN INVENTOR, LEWIS H. LATIMER, WHO WORKED WITH THOMAS EDISON TO INVENT THE LIGHT BULB FILAMENT, UNDER ITS UMBRELLA. THE TRUST WILL ALSO BRING THE JOHN BOWNE HOUSE IN FLUSHING, UNDER ITS UMBRELLA, AS WE RENOVATE IT AND OPEN IT AS A MUSEUM.

WHILE IT PLANS ITS MAJOR EXPANSION PROJECT, THE MUSEUM OF THE MOVING IMAGE LAUNCHED ITS OPEN COLLECTION DATABASE THAT WILL PUT THE MUSEUM'S ENTIRE 125,000-ARTIFACT COLLECTION ONLINE. DID YOU KNOW THAT BEN HUR'S CHARIOT IS ONE OF THOSE ARTIFACTS?

FLUSHING TOWN HALL BEGAN ITS PROGRAM THAT EXCHANGES DANCE COMPANIES AND VISUAL ARTISTS WITH TAIWAN. THE U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT HAS CHARACTERIZED THIS PROGRAM AS A "NATIONAL MODEL FOR BUILDING BRIDGES THROUGH ART."

QUEENS THEATRE IN THE PARK CELEBRATED THE TENTH ANNIVERSARY OF ITS LATINO CULTURAL FESTIVAL. THE THEATRE, WHEN EXPANDED NEXT FALL, WILL FEATURE A FULL SERVICE CAFE, EXPANDED PERFORMANCE SPACE, AND A SPECTACULAR NEW LOBBY WITH THE SUPPORT OF AN 8.6 MILLION DOLLAR GRANT FROM MY OFFICE. QTIP WILL RIVAL ANY BROADWAY THEATER!

P.S.1 CONTEMPORARY ART CENTER CELEBRATED ITS 30TH ANNIVERSARY. ALSO WITH A GRANT FROM MY OFFICE, IT IS PLANNING A NEW VISITORS CENTER THAT WILL ALSO MARKET THE MANY ARTS VENUES IN LONG ISLAND CITY.

QUEENS GENERAL ASSEMBLY/IMMIGRATION TASK FORCE –

AS YOU KNOW, I HAVE TAKEN GREAT PRIDE IN CREATING A QUEENS GENERAL ASSEMBLY WHERE PEOPLE OF ALL NATIONS CAN LEARN ABOUT ONE ANOTHER AND THEIR CULTURES. MY QUEENS GENERAL ASSEMBLY HAS GROWN TO INCLUDE MORE THAN 70 CIVIC LEADERS OF DIVERSE RACIAL AND RELIGIOUS BACKGROUNDS WHO SHARE THEIR EXPERIENCES ABOUT LIVING IN THE MOST MULTI-ETHNIC COUNTY IN THE WORLD.

I AM PROUD THAT MY IMMIGRATION TASK FORCE BRINGS TOGETHER MORE THAN 100 SERVICE PROVIDERS, WHO GUIDE NEWCOMERS ON THEIR PATH TO CITIZENSHIP.

SENIORS/YOUTH/HUMAN SERVICES --

THE SACRIFICES AND CONTRIBUTIONS OF OUR SENIORS HAVE HELPED TO BUILD OUR GREAT BOROUGH. SO WE CONTINUE TO INVEST IN PROGRAMS THAT MEET THE NEEDS OF OUR OLDER RESIDENTS. I HAVE ONCE AGAIN PROVIDED APPROXIMATELY 3 MILLION DOLLARS TO SUPPORT OUR SENIOR CENTERS, ADULT DAY CARE PROGRAMS, TRANSPORTATION, MEALS-ON-WHEELS AND OUR SENIOR FILM SERIES AT THE MUSEUM OF THE MOVING IMAGE-- A PROGRAM THAT GREW OUT OF MY TOURISM SUMMIT BETWEEN OUR SENIOR DIRECTORS AND THE DIRECTORS OF OUR CULTURAL INSTITUTIONS.

AND WITH A FUNDING BOOST FROM MY OFFICE, THREE SENIOR CENTERS WILL BEGIN EXPANSION PROJECTS THIS YEAR - - SNAP OF EASTERN QUEENS IN GLEN OAKS, ELMCOR IN EAST ELMHURST, AND THE PETER CARDELLA SENIOR CENTER IN RIDGEWOOD.

WHILE WE PROTECT AND EXPAND SERVICES FOR SENIORS, WE ALSO FOCUSED ON OUR YOUTH-- 22% OF OUR POPULATION AND 100% OF OUR FUTURE. THIS PAST YEAR, WE INITIATED THE BOROUGH PRESIDENT'S YOUTH BOARD, COMPRISED OF YOUNG PEOPLE FROM ACROSS THE BOROUGH. THEY PUT TOGETHER OUR FIRST YOUTH CONFERENCE, AND DEVELOPED AN AGENDA TO IMPROVE CONDITIONS FOR THEIR PEERS, ESPECIALLY IN THE SCHOOLS. IT WAS A GREAT SUCCESS!

THE CHILD CENTER OF NEW YORK, IN PARTNERSHIP WITH MY OFFICE, RECEIVED A HALF MILLION-DOLLAR GRANT FROM THE STATE FOR MY YOUTH INITIATIVE IN QUEENS. THROUGH THIS PROJECT, OUR YOUNG PEOPLE WILL LET THEIR VOICES BE HEARD AND PROVIDE A VENUE FOR COMMUNICATION WITH OTHER QUEENS TEENS.

WE ARE WORKING WITH OUR YOUTH ORGANIZATIONS TO PROMOTE POSITIVE DEVELOPMENT PRINCIPLES IN YOUTH PROGRAMMING. I AM WORKING WITH THE CITY TO BRING A SERIES OF WORKSHOPS TO QUEENS TO PUBLICIZE WAYS TO ACCESS GOVERNMENT AND PRIVATE FUNDING FOR YOUTH PROGRAMS. QUEENS IS THE HOME OF 17 PUBLIC HOUSING DEVELOPMENTS.

ONE WAY THAT WE CONTINUE TO BETTER THE LIVES OF YOUNG PEOPLE IS THROUGH SPORTS AND EDUCATION. MY TENNIS PROGRAMS AT NYCHA, TOGETHER WITH SCOUTING PROGRAMS, TEACH CHILDREN THE VALUES OF TEAMWORK, PHYSICAL FITNESS AND LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT. AND, TO MAKE PLAYING TENNIS A FREE, YEAR-ROUND ACTIVITY FOR OUR YOUNG PEOPLE, I HAVE ALLOCATED FUNDING FOR A TENNIS BUBBLE OVER THE COURTS AT ROY WILKINS PARK.

THIS SUMMER, OUR BOROUGH WILL BE PROUD TO HOST THE AMERICAN TENNIS ASSOCIATION NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS. THIS IS THE COUNTRY'S OLDEST AFRICAN AMERICAN SPORTS ORGANIZATION AND THEY WILL MEET RIGHT HERE IN QUEENS FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE 1946!

IN ROCKAWAY, I HELPED FUND AND BREAK GROUND FOR THE NEW YMCA THAT WILL GIVE CHILDREN FROM THE ENTIRE COMMUNITY A NEW FACILITY IN WHICH TO EXERCISE THEIR MINDS AND BODIES.

WE ARE WORKING WITH COUNCILMEMBER MELINDA KATZ TO EXPAND THE JEWISH CHILD CARE ASSOCIATION IN FOREST HILLS. WE ARE ALSO WORKING WITH COUNCILMEMBER DENNIS GALLAGHER TO TRANSFORM THE CATALPA "Y" INTO A MODERN FACILITY FOR RECREATION.

PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES

LAST YEAR, I EXPANDED MY ADVISORY COUNCIL FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES WITH NEW COMMITTEES ON EMPLOYMENT, HEALTH SERVICES, EDUCATION AND PUBLIC INFORMATION.

LAST OCTOBER, MORE THAN 300 PEOPLE ATTENDED MY ANNUAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CONFERENCE. THAT CONFERENCE, HELD HERE AT YORK, FOCUSED ON THE DEVASTATING EFFECTS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ON CHILDREN. I THANK JEAN PHELPS, DIRECTOR OF STUDENT ACTIVITIES AT YORK, FOR HER DEDICATED SUPPORT OVER THE YEARS ON THIS EFFORT. AND WE CONTINUE TO WORK WITH DISTRICT ATTORNEY RICHARD BROWN, PERHAPS THE MOST RESPECTED DISTRICT ATTORNEY IN THE NATION.

FORTUNATELY, THE QUEENS CHILD ADVOCACY CENTER, A PLACE FOR CHILDREN WHO HAVE BEEN VICTIMS, IS FULLY OPERATIONAL. I AM PROUD TO HAVE PROVIDED FUNDING FOR THIS IMPORTANT FACILITY. tHIS FACILITY IN A CHILD FRIENDLY ATMOSPHERE, ENABLES THE CHILD TO NOW SPEAK OF THEIR TRAUMA ONLY ONCE -- INSTEAD OF NINE TO TEN TIMES OVER A PERIOD OF SEVERAL YEARS, WHICH HAD BEEN THE PREVIOUS PRACTICE.

AND, OUR INNOVATIVE QUEENS COURTS, UNDER THE LEADERSHIP OF ADMINISTRATIVE JUDGE LESLIE LEACH, HAVE EXPANDED ITS SPECIALTY COURTS.

THE NEW QUEENS MENTAL HEALTH COURT WORKS WITH DEFENDANTS WITH CRIMINAL CHARGES AGAINST THEM WHO ARE CLEARLY AFFLICTED WITH MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES -- OFFERING THE ALTERNATIVE OF MEANINGFUL TREATMENT IN PLACE OF INCARCERATION.

THIS YEAR, WE WILL WORK WITH THE MAYOR'S OFFICE TO CREATE THE FIRST FAMILY JUSTICE CENTER IN QUEENS TO PROVIDE INTEGRATED LEGAL AND SUPPORT SERVICES FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE VICTIMS AND THEIR FAMILIES.

WE ARE DOING OUR PART AT BOROUGH HALL TO BRING GOVERNMENT CLOSER TO THE PEOPLE IT SERVES. THANKS TO A GRANT FROM CON EDISON, EVERY COMMUNITY BOARD IN QUEENS WILL SOON HAVE A WEB SITE WITH INFORMATION ABOUT MEETINGS, AGENDAS, LAND USE AND BUDGET ISSUES, THAT ANYONE WITH ACCESS TO A COMPUTER CAN VISIT.

SINCE COMING INTO OFFICE, I HAVE ALWAYS BELIEVED THAT QUEENSBOROUGH HALL IS THE PEOPLE'S HOUSE. I HAVE WORKED HARD TO MAKE IT USER-FRIENDLY. THAT IS WHY TODAY I AM HAPPY TO UNVEIL THE PLANS TO CONSTRUCT AN ADDITION TO BOROUGH HALL THAT WILL SERVE AS A CENTER OF CIVIC ACTIVITY. IT WILL PROVIDE A MULTI-PURPOSE SPACE IN THE HEART OF QUEENS. THIS INNOVATIVE PROJECT - TO BE KNOWN AS THE FORUM - WILL PROVIDE A 21ST CENTURY VENUE FOR LARGE PUBLIC MEETINGS, COMMUNITY PERFORMANCES, CULTURAL AND ARTISTIC EXHIBITIONS, PUBLIC HEARINGS AND ETHNIC CELEBRATIONS.

AWARDS --

AS WE PURSUE OUR GOALS, IT IS ALSO GOOD TO PAUSE AND PAY RESPECT TO THOSE WHO HAVE MADE ENDURING CONTRIBUTIONS TO OUR BOROUGH. THIS YEAR I WANT TO HONOR TWO INDIVIDUALS WITH QUEENS LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS:

THE FIRST IS:

-CECIL WATKINS - - A KOREAN WAR VETERAN AND FORMER LONG-TIME PARK ADMINISTRATOR WHO TURNED OUR CITY PARKS AND PLAYGROUNDS INTO A TRAINING GROUND FOR FUTURE ATHLETES. HE WENT ON TO FOUND ELMCOR YOUTH AND ADULT ACTIVITIES. ONE CANNOT MOVE TOO FAR AROUND THE CITY WITHOUT FINDING SOMEONE WHOM CECIL HAS HELPED. TODAY, THEY ARE LAWYERS, THEY ARE TEACHERS OR THEY ARE MAKING GREAT CONTRIBUTIONS TO OUR CITY. AND CECIL WENT ON TO CREATE AND BECOME PRESIDENT OF THE 26 NBA/PRO-AM CITY LEAGUES ACROSS THE NATION. CECIL, YOU HAVE CONSISTENTLY USED YOUR TIME, ENERGY AND TALENT TO IMPROVE THE LIVES OF YOUNG PEOPLE. IT IS A TRIBUTE TO CECIL THAT LOU CARNESECA, ST. JOHN'S LEGENDARY BASKETBALL COACH, IS HERE TODAY. ALSO HERE IS BERNARD RENCHER, A PROTEGE OF CECIL. ON BEHALF OF THE PEOPLE OF QUEENS, I TAKE GREAT DELIGHT IN PRESENTING THIS QUEENS LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD TO MY LONG-TIME FRIEND AND PARTNER IN MANY VENTURES - CECIL WATKINS. I WOULD LIKE LOU CARNESECA AND BERNARD RENCHER TO JOIN ME AND SAY A FEW WORDS ABOUT HOW CECIL AFFECTED THEIR LIVES.

-GRACE NIERENBERG, YOU HAVE DEDICATED YOUR PROFESSIONAL LIFE TO OUR SENIORS, PROVIDING HOUSING AND SERVICES TO THOSE IN NEED ACROSS THE BOROUGH THROUGH THE SELF HELP COMMUNITY SERVICES ORGANIZATION. YOUR INNOVATIVE AND CREATIVE APPROACH TO SERVICES AND PROGAMS FOR OLDER ADULTS HAS MARKED YOUR LIFE-LONG DEDICATION TO THE INDEPENDENCE AND DIGNITY OF SENIORS. ON BEHALF OF THE PEOPLE OF QUEENS, AND ITS 375,000 SENIORS, I TAKE GREAT DELIGHT IN PRESENTING THIS QUEENS LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD TO YOU.

CITIZENS OF DISTINCTION

WILL THE FOLLOWING INDIVIDUALS PLEASE JOIN US AS I CALL YOUR NAME.

AIDA BARTOLME: IS THE DIRECTOR OF THE FOUNDATION FOR FILIPINO ARTISTS, A FOUNDING DELEGATE ON THE BOROUGH PRESIDENT'S QUEENS GENERAL ASSEMBLY, AND A MEMBER OF COMMUNITY BOARD 2. SHE HAS DEDICATED HER LIFE TO PRESERVING THE RICH CULTURAL HERITAGE OF THE FILIPINO COMMUNITY.

ERNEST CURY: A BUSINESSMAN AND LONG-TIME ADVOCATE FOR SCHOOL CHILDREN AND EDUCATION. HE HAS BEEN MY APPOINTEE ON THE COMMUNITY EDUCATION COUNCIL FOR DISTRICT 24 SINCE ITS INCEPTION AND HAS SERVED WITH DISTINCTION. HE IS ALSO THE FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE HISPANIC CHAMBER OF COMMERCE.

HARBACHAN SINGH: HE HAD A DISTINGUISHED CAREER AT THE UNITED NATIONS AND ALSO FORMED THE SIKH AMERICAN FRIENDSHIP FOUNDATION. HE SERVES AS AN ALUMNI DELEGATE TO THE QUEENS GENERAL ASSEMBLY, AS A MEMBER OF COMMUNITY 8, AND AN ADVISORY BOARD MEMBER OF THE HOLOCAUST RESOURCE CENTER AT QUEENSBOROUGH COMMUNITY COLLEGE.

LAMONT BAILEY: AN ATTORNEY HERE IN SOUTHEAST QUEENS WHO LENDS HIS TIME AND EXPERTISE PRO BONO TO MANY PROJECTS AIMED AT IMPROVING THIS COMMUNITY.

CONCLUSION --

IN CONCLUSION, LET'S REMEMBER THAT 350 YEARS AGO IN THE LITTLE VILLAGE OF FLUSHING A GROUP OF CITIZENS WROTE AS PART OF THE REMONSTRANCE,

THAT "WE ARE BOUND BY THE LAW OF GOD AND MAN TO DO GOOD TO ALL AND EVIL TO NONE."

TODAY WE MUST CONTINUE TO PUT THESE WORDS INTO PRACTICE --- BECAUSE WE ARE NOT ONLY THE DESCENDANTS OF THESE WISE CITIZENS, BUT ALSO THE ANCESTORS OF FUTURE GENERATIONS.

THANK YOU FOR ALLOWING ME TO BE YOUR BOROUGH PRESIDENT.

 


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