Woodside issues discussed at town hall


| nkarimi@queenscourier.com |

Assemblymember Michael DenDekker explained the different issues that New York faces during a Woodside Town Hall meeting on October 26.
“Our everyday problems mean absolutely nothing to legislators that represent Rochester, Buffalo, Tonawanda and Niagara. We talk about parking, sanitation, noise and train issues, while their issues are jobs, agriculture and property taxes,” said DenDekker.
Earlier this year, DenDekker passed a bill regarding unused paper ballots. Under federal law, all paper ballots have to be kept in storage for at least two years. The Board of Elections (BOE) has to print 110 percent of voter enrollment in the district, when only six percent of voters usually show up, he noted.
“The BOE of Queens actually approached me and said, ‘If we have to keep on retaining all these unused ballots, then we’ll have to rent out warehouse space for the papers,’” DenDekker said.
The bill basically states that if a ballot has not been touched or marked by a voter, then it shouldn’t be considered a ballot. After the election, the unused ballots will be certified through the BOE and then be demolished, said DenDekker.
He also has another bill that would make all municipalities in the state – including New York City – pay $100 to motorists who are wrongly ticketed.
Senator Michael Gianaris mentioned the number of recent groping incidents, which have escalated citywide. Young men on bicycles ride around and inappropriately grab and touch women in the neighborhood.
“One thing that we’re all concerned about is that these gropers could be tomorrow’s rapists or even someone worse,” said Gianaris.
Legislation that Gianaris introduced about a month ago deals with making the groping of a child a felony requiring mandatory jail time, since it’s currently a misdemeanor.
Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer then discussed the anti-graffiti hotline and program, which runs for $30,000 a year through the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce.
“Mike mentioned the groper incidents and a couple did happen in Woodside; on 55th Street and around 39th Avenue, which is why we’re having a self-defense class for young women at P.S. 11 on November 6 from 2 to 4 p.m.,” said Van Bramer.
He also allocated $125,000 for the Woodside Library to create a new teen reading room and announced P.S. 152 as the citywide champions for ballroom dancing.
Van Bramer also discussed how the city raised $42 million through the Department of Health (DOH) this past year.
“We want small businesses to make money because they are the hearts and souls of the neighborhood,” said Van Bramer.