District 25
Jackson Heights/East Elmhurst/Corona

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District 25 - Helen Sears
37-32 75th Street, Queens 11372
City Hall: (212)788-7066
District: (718) 803-6373
Fax: (718) 803-9832

Committee Assignments:
Standards & Ethics, Chair
Finance, member
Health, member
State & Federal Legislation, member
Transportation, member

Uncovering Waste and Corruption

By Helen Sears

In 1999, a police officer named Yvette Watkins testified before the City Council that the Street Crimes Unit was regularly stopping and frisking people based on their race. Because she feared retaliation, Officer Watkins chose to wear a disguise at the hearing. Even with such a precaution, she was still identified and fired from her job the next day.

Although a federal judge later ruled that she should be reinstated, I believe the law could have provided greater protection for Officer Watkins.

That is why I have introduced a bill that would broaden the city's whistleblower law and ensure that those who bring such information to light will not be fired, suspended, or censored.

The current whistleblower laws only apply to cases of crimes, corruption, and conflict of interest, not incidents of gross mismanagement or waste of public funds. My legislation would change that and also broaden the definition to include people who work in any government position supported by city funds, not just mayoral agencies.

Whistleblowers perform an important service to the city. They should be encouraged to report both criminal and wasteful activities without fear of reprisal. This bill supports those who demonstrate such courage and helps city government maintain its integrity.

Of course, there are everyday incidents of waste that can be avoided simply by coordinating the efforts of government in the best interest of New Yorkers.

After many years serving as a community activist, I now have the honor of serving the people of district 25 in Queens, which is one of the most diverse areas of the city, and also one of the most crowded. As a result, we face many quality of life issues like traffic, noise, graffiti, and garbage. Citizens do not know where to go to get help.

When I first took office I was faced with such an issue when two newsstands wanted to open on 37th Avenue on 74th and 76th Street in Jackson Heights, an already crowded area that could not handle new businesses.

Three separate city agencies were involved in this process and each had different understandings of their role. The Department of Consumer Affairs said the applications should be handled by the Department of Transportation and the Arts Commission. I met with the Department of Transportation who denied the newsstand proposals, but they then said that it was Consumer Affairs who must make the final decision.

Many people in the area want to open small businesses, and clearly here we have an example of city agencies not working together and communicating.

I have also held a series of meetings about traffic and noise on 37th Avenue between 70th and 84th Street. I brought community residents together with representatives from the local police precinct, the Department of Transportation, the Taxi and Limousine Commission, and the Department of Environmental Protection. As a result of the meetings, the police have begun issuing more tickets to people who double park, honk their horns, or speed through the area. The Taxi Commission said they would notify cab drivers to ring doorbells when they pick someone up, rather than sitting in their car and honking.

I believe that a council member must continually work to bring city agencies and citizens together.

Posted April 25, 2002

Community Boards for District 25

Community Board No. 2
43-22 50th St., Woodside, NY 11377
(718) 533-8773
Mr. Joseph Conley, Chair
Ms. Dolores Rizzotto, District Manager
Community Board No. 3
82-11 37th Ave., Jackson Heights, NY 11372
(718) 458-2707
Ms. Theresa Obradovich, Chair
Ms. Giovanna Reid, District Manager
Community Board No. 4
104-03 Corona Ave., Corona, NY 11368
(718) 760-3141
Mr. Richard Italiano, Chair
Ms. Rose Rothschild, District Manager
Community Board No. 5
61-23 Myrtle Ave., Glendale, NY 11385
(718) 366-1834
Mr. Frank Principe, Chair
Mr. Gary Giordano, District Manager
Community Board No. 6
73-05 Yellowstone Blvd., Forest Hills, NY 11375
(718) 263-9250
Mr. Joseph Hennessy, Chair
Ms. Kathleen H. Reilly, District Manager

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)