GOTHAM GAZETTE: SEARCHLIGHT 2002: District 30 JUMP TO YOUR DISTRICT
 
 

District 30
Ridgewood, Middle Village, Glendale



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District 30 - Dennis Gallagher
78-25 Metropolitan Avenue, Queens 11379
City Hall: (212) 788-7381
District: (718) 366-3900
Fax: (718) 326-3549
Email: gallagher@council.nyc.ny.us

Committee Assignments:
Aging, member
Civil Service & Labor, member
Finance, member
Youth Services, member


The Council Needs Its Republicans

By Dennis Gallagher

I am one of only four Republican members of the New York City Council and the only Republican representative from Queens. I wear that distinction as a badge of honor because I believe government needs the two-party system. When all sides of the issue are heard, it encourages dialogue and produces better policy.

Although New York is dominated by Democratic voters, I think there is a growing acceptance of Republican legislators. For the first time in the history of the city, we have had two consecutive Republican mayors. I am confident that our Republican governor is going to be reelected, and we have a Republican president.

In eight years, Rudolph Giuliani did a tremendous amount to put the city on the right track: reducing crime and welfare dependency, cutting taxes and spurring tourism. Mayor Giuliani, Governor George Pataki and Mayor Michael Bloomberg have done a tremendous job advocating Republican principles, making sure that government is responsive and helping improve the quality of life for New Yorkers.

As a result, more and more people recognize that Republicans can be effective legislators, executives and leaders. And that's good. In my district, the registration is overwhelmingly Democrat, but someone like myself can still get elected because the voters realize that Republicans can do an effective job.

The Republican members usually vote together as a block. And philosophically on most issues I believe we are on the same page. The Republican delegation influences debate and helps all of New York City. That is something each and every member of the Republican delegation is very proud of.

All four of us have something that a lot of our Democratic colleagues do not have -- access to Mayor Bloomberg. Having the ability to deal with both the council staff and the mayor's staff effectively and efficiently only benefits us as legislators in the communities that we represent.

We have introduced legislation that has been accepted and even cosponsored by a number of my Democratic colleagues, just as I have cosponsored legislation proposed by Democrats. For example, the Republican delegation sponsored a bill to increase the oversight of not for profit organizations that receive large grants from the city. Many Democrats have signed on to that bill. My predecessor, Tom Ognibene, worked on a measure to restrict sport utility vehicles and vans from parking within 15 feet of an intersection. This would improve visibility of oncoming traffic for drivers in the intersection. Just recently that bill was reintroduced by one of my Democratic colleagues.

Speaker Gifford Miller respects us as a delegation and affords us the opportunity to make sure that our voices are heard. I disagree with some of the positions he advocates, but that's OK. That's what the process is about.

I do not, for example, agree with his ideas on taxation, although I am in favor of the commuter tax. The state legislature made a mistake in repealing that tax. If people come in and use our services on a daily basis, they should help defray the costs for some of those services.

The proposals to increase some of the other taxes, however, are unwise. The 25 percent increase on absentee property landlords is a bad idea because it would affect one, two and three family homes that are not covered by rent control guidelines. So any tax hike would only be passed onto tenants, many of whom cannot afford an increase. In my district, there's a substantial senior population who live in apartments. They already have a hard time making ends meet.

I've had numerous dealings with this mayor. He is a consensus builder, a hard worker, and is committed to doing the job to the best of his ability. While he has different skills than the previous mayor, I think he has the ability to be just as effective. Certainly, Mayor Bloomberg has done a tremendous job of reaching out to the City Council and to all communities throughout the city of New York. And this is a gentleman who has only been in office for a little more than 100 days. In the council, there is a great deal of respect and admiration for Mayor Bloomberg.

Overall, the mayor has offered a financial plan that is very sound. It will help us not only this fiscal year but will establish a strong base for us to be more fiscally responsible in the future.

One of the key points is the $1.3 billion in reoccurring cuts, cuts that will be felt this year and in future budgets. This year, we are facing a deficit of nearly $5 billion. The next several years unfortunately do not look much better. So, the $1.3 billion in reoccurring cuts is a courageous step to make sure that we become fiscally responsible and start the process of not spending more than we take in.

And Mayor Bloomberg managed to attain those numbers without layoffs, although obviously that could change if he is forced to resort to his contingency budget. It is difficult, if not impossible, to close a $5 billion gap without feeling some pain. But some of the proposed cuts do concern me.

For now, my primary focus is our aging community, particularly cuts to senior programs and services. Reverend Ruben Diaz, who chairs the Aging Committee, has taken the committee from community to community. He has already had one speak-out for the Bronx and one in Brooklyn.

This is a great opportunity to bring government to the community and let our senior population speak out on issues that concern them. It's very difficult for many seniors to travel to City Hall to voice their objections to, and questions about, the city budget. However, earlier this month the commissioner of aging sat in on the a committee meeting and listened as seniors discussed their worries about some of the programs and some of the cuts. I think that's important. It's important that elected officials understand how the decisions we make as a council are going to affect the lives of the people we represent.

With our youth services, I'm extremely concerned about the funding of after-school programs. There is a scheduled $10.5 million cut in money for the After-School Corporation (TASC), a nonprofit organization that funds and oversees such programs, many of which provide excellent activities and services. This jeopardizes federal matching money and private partnership money.

Another issue I feel very strongly about is staffing levels at police precincts. Geographically, the 104th Precinct, which is part of my district, is one of the largest police districts in New York. As a result, it is very difficult for the police to be able to respond to all corners of the district within a reasonable amount of time. In fact, our response time has been deplorable and that's a major concern.

The precinct was just assigned 10 new officers. I believe that number is insufficient. Further, often the police department assigns officers to our precinct but then reassigns them for special detail, perhaps at Shea Stadium, the beach or even Manhattan during a parade. This leaves our community with insufficient manpower. The Police Department must address this problem.

Crime is always a top issue for the people of my community. While crime numbers have gone down and we're very pleased about that, I think if we had more police, the crime numbers would even be reduced more dramatically. Quality of life crimes from graffiti vandalism to desecration of parks are priorities in my district.

Certainly, we have the ability to "civilian-ize" police department jobs and put some officers who are doing civilian type duties back out on the streets patrolling. So, there are ways to maintain headcount and stay within the budget.

The council does not really have a budget per se. Instead, it responds to the mayor's financial plan, and then works with the mayor to develop a consensus budget The real work begins now. We will work toward negotiating the budget and doing what needs to be done to make sure that this city is fiscally responsible and helping its citizens.

Dennis Gallagher represents the 30th council district. Posted April 22, 2002


Community Boards for District 30
Community Board No. 5
61-23 Myrtle Ave., Glendale, NY 11385
(718) 366-1834
Mr. Frank Principe, Chair
Mr. Gary Giordano, 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

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