District 23

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District 23 - David Weprin
205-07 Hillside Avenue, (Suite 16), Queens 11423
City Hall: (212) 788-6984
District: (718) 465-8202
Fax: (212)608-6382

Committee Assignments:
Finance, Chair
Cultural Affairs, Libraries & International Intergroup Relations, member
Rules/ Privileges & Elections, member
Sanitation & Solid Waste Management, member
Standards & Ethics, member

Beyond The Budget Gap

By David Weprin

As the new chairman of the Finance Committee, I am well aware of the fiscal crisis that confronts us. In the coming months, the committee will review the budget from the mayor and suggest possible changes. .I anticipate a much better working relationship between the mayor and the council as we confront these difficult issues.

The financial problems are undoubtedly important. But there are a number of other issues in my district and in the city that need attention as well.

Our educational system needs a significant increase in funding. One of the keys to educational success is smaller class size. Teachers with fewer pupils per class and with fewer of the accompanying papers to grade can concentrate more on individual student development.

To avoid "the brain drain" that is drawing teachers our of the city into the suburbs, it is vital that we give our teaching and administrative staffs salaries that are competitive. Losing large numbers of experienced teachers and being unable to attract talented novice educators will negatively affect any attempt to provide our school system with effective educators and leaders.

Putting resources in the classroom must be a priority. I am optimistic that the city wi1l win the Campaign for Fiscal Equity law suit challenging the state1s funding of education. If Governor Pataki loses his appeal of the initial ruling that the state illegally shortchanges its cities, there will be money that we can use to significantly reduce class size. Also, much of the fat at Board of Education headquarters at 110 Livingston Street can be cut, and that money can go toward hiring more teachers or paying our teachers more so that we can keep them in the system

School district 26, the highest performing district in the city, is in my city council district. Many times it is shortchanged by the central Board of Education because it does well, and money goes to districts that are in trouble. I don1t think you should be penalized for excellence. I think you should be rewarded for excellence. And so, that district should get money that it presently does not get for special programs, such as honor programs and after school activities.

Lack of police presence in middle-class communities and current levels of police retirement threaten the city1s ability to maintain a low crime level. The formula developed at One Police Plaza favors precincts with high violent crime rates and leaves those precincts in my district (107th, 111th, 105th and 103rd) that have middle class constituents without an adequate police street presence. Mayor Rudolph Giuliani stressed "the broken window syndrome," which holds that if minor acts of vandalism and harassment go unpunished, more violent crime will occur in its wake. More police are needed in Eastern Queens1 precincts to provide this early intervention.

We must address this issue with changes in the formula by raising the "floor" for the minimum number of police placed in each precinct, especially in middle class areas. That may mean, in the wake of recent retirements, increasing our police force and making better use of civilian employees to free up more uniformed police for street patrol.

For the past several years, the residents of my district have been victimized by a blatant disregard of zoning regulation. Builders and residents have expanded existing homes or erected new ones, far exceeding the law. This changes the character of the community and drives down the value of existing homes as they suddenly become overshadowed by enormous, new buildings.

The creation of illegal two-family homes with basement apartments not only violates the zoning codes, but, as evidenced by countless newspaper reports, creates dangerous living conditions. Since these residences do not have Buildings Department approval, there is shoddy wiring and ventilation systems that have caused a loss of life. The Buildings Department1s budget should be increased so that it can deploy more staff to stop these illegal expansions and conversions.

The City Council should have the power to review mayoral appointees. Only nine city departments are subject to the City Council1s advice and consent power. Police, Fire, Sanitation and Environmental Protection commissioners do not receive City Council review. Neither do mayoral appointments to the Family and Criminal Courts. But on the state and federal level, legislative bodies have broad power in the selection of heads of the various governmental departments and in approving the selection of judges. In order to gain a voice in the selection of those department heads and judges who will have an enormous impact on the daily lives of New Yorkers, the council must dare to follow its contract with the people by screening virtually all mayoral appointees.

All of these issues will be considered as we confront a fiscal crisis that we can compare only to the one in 1975. In this situation, we have to work together, we can1t play the old political games. For one thing, I would like to move with the united City Council, with the labor movement and the private sector to restore the New York City commuter tax, which will generate close to $600 million in revenue each year.

Back in 1975, we had a coalition of labor, private sector and government working together that basically bailed out New York City. We have to build the type of coalition again.

David Weprin is City Council Member from District 23 in Queens and chair of the Finance Committee.

Community Boards for District 23
Community Board No. 8
81-26 150th St., Jamaica, NY 11435
(718) 591-6000
Mr. Alvin Warshaviak, Chair
Ms. Diane Cohen, District Manager
Community Board No. 11
213-02A 42nd Ave., Bayside, NY 11361
(718) 658-3308
Mr. Bernard Haber, Chair
Ms. Anne Marie Boranian, District Manager
Community Board No. 12
90-28 161st St., Jamaica, NY 11432
(718) 658-3308
Mr. James Davis, Chair
Ms. Yvonne Reddick, District Manager
Community Board No. 13
Queen Reform Church
219-41 Jamaica Ave., Queens Village, NY 11428
(718) 464-9700
Mr. Richard Hellenbretch, Chair
Ms. Sally Martino-Fisher, District Manager

Community Plans for District 23 (PDF format)
197-a plan (Queens Community Board 11)

Ethnic Makeup and Political Registration

Ethnic Makeup

Political Registration

Public Schools

Elementary Schools

Middle Schools

High Schools

To find out what school district you live in, call the Board of Education at 718-935-2000 or link to Public School Reports

Police Precincts

Although many precincts cover areas solely within one City Council district, there are many which overlap with other districts. In most cases the overlap of precincts among districts is no more than a few blocks. Wherever there is overlap, we have made sure to alert you.

City Parks
Click thumbnail for larger image of parks in this district

Learn more about the condition of the city parks in your district at the New Yorkers for Parks (PDF file).

Community Gardens

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Find out more about community gardens from
the Council on the Environment of New York City

Historic Districts and Landmarks
Learn more about the historic districts and landmarks in this area.

The Waterfront

map listing suggestions for use and improvement of the waterfront in this district from the Metropolitan Waterfront
Alliance. (pdf format only)