One-on-One with NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer

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A Rockaway Primetime Reporting Exclusive

By Jeffrey Williams-Maisonet

Rockaway Primetime Reporting recently sat down with New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer to discuss several topics, including how money is spent and controlled throughout New York City and the Rockaways.

RPR: What is your most important role as Comptroller?

Stringer: “With the Comptroller’s job, you have to be able to do two things at once. There’s a lot to this office. The budget is $100 million a year and there are over 700 employees. I am the fiduciary in charge of protecting a $160 billion dollar pension fund that protects the retirement security of 70,000 people. I am also the auditor for all city agencies. I am also the chief account of the city.” 

RPR: So, the city can’t function without you, right?

Stringer: “It is also about protecting the people, especially when we have people out in the Rockaways that go to work every day and play by the rules. They want to be safe. They want better jobs, and they want a decent living for them and their families. Our job is to make sure people’s voices are heard.”

RPR: Rockaway residents are concerned about the budget for the Rockaways and want to know how the money is being spent. What are you doing to make sure this community receives the right amount of funding?

Stringer: “Well, I have to give a lot of credit to Councilman Donovan Richards for his advocacy, as well as the other elected officials. I think the city’s response to the Rockaways has not been good. I have to continue to urge the city not to forget about the Rockaways and help people to get back what they lost from Sandy.”

RPR: Speaking of Councilman Richards, he allocated $96 million dollars toward downtown Far Rockaway, an area that is projected to have the largest economic growth on the peninsula. What is the money going to be used for?

Stringer: “I think it’s important that when you allocate money to a project, there has to be a community planning component to everything. I have every confidence that Donovan, Assemblywoman Stacey, Joe (Addabbo, Jr.) and Ulrich will work together to get what’s needed. Again, I am the watchdog. I will continue to monitor the situation to make sure it’s done right for the people of the Rockaways.”

RPR: Do you think that’s a fair amount of money for Far Rockaway?

Stringer: “I don’t know. That’s a local… that’s a Donovan question.”

RPR: What is your vision, as far as New York City is concerned?

Stringer: “I am very concerned about the Trump budget that’s being purposed. The city is looking at cuts of up to $400 million dollars in funding; funding that is targeted for people that need the most assistance, such as SNAP, public housing, Meals on Wheels and so forth. We seem to be going backwards, with respect to immigration, helping people, and other things that made America great and, most importantly, made this city great. I want to make sure everyone in the Rockaways has a fair shot at making it in this city. I am blessed to be 56-years-old with two children, a 5-year-old and a 3-year-old. They are not my grandchildren. They are my children, and I want to make sure they live in a city with people of all demographics and religions. Kids should grow up in a diverse city.”

RPR: We have a shelter crisis here in the Rockaways. Even though the mayor has affordable housing programs, many still believe not enough is being done to get them out of their situations. Where is the funding for Section 8 programs and other housing?

Stringer: “The housing plan and the homeless plan have to be linked together. Let’s face it, 69,000 people are going to sleep in homeless facilities, and thousands will be sleeping at hotels that are costing the city $300 million dollars a year. I think the mayor’s plan has to be better for the children and families that are homeless. To say we are going to reduce homelessness in five years is just not good enough. I was the one who blew the whistle on the dangerous conditions in the shelters. We have children living in these facilities with rats and other rodents. It angers me to no end. I think the community wants to see more low-income affordable housing, and that’s what we need to focus on.” 

RPR: Some Rockaway residents don’t want additional housing, according to recent published reports. They want more recreational activities for the youth and programs to help people avoid the shelter system. What’s your response?

Stringer: “I think the first step is prevention. Thirty percent of people working can’t find affordable housing. That’s pretty unbelievable. Working people are living in homeless shelters. So, I think the need for more low-income housing is necessary. But I do think we need a more robust education system. I want our kids to be able to enter special training programs and get prepared for city jobs that give them a chance to make $85,000 dollars a year. But if they don’t have the education or resources, it will be hard for these young people to find jobs in New York City.”

RPR: Rumor has it that you’re seeking higher office. If so, what office have you set your sights on?

Stringer: “My next move is to continue doing my job as Comptroller for New York City. Whatever happens after that is for another date and time.”

RPR: Sounds like a re-election bid.

Stringer: “Sounds like it to me.”

RPR: Thank you, Comptroller Stringer, for granting this interview and being so generous with your time.

Stringer: “My pleasure, and I look forward to following your career.”  

 

Redfern Community Center Has A New Operator

Child Center of New York

I am thrilled to announce that The Child Center of NY will serve as the new provider for the Redfern Community Center in Far Rockaway, Queens.

For years, children and adults alike have looked to the Redfern Community Center, a Cornerstone program of the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development, for a safe and fun place to come together. Last week, they were understandably shocked and upset to find the doors literally closed to them.

As a provider of Cornerstone programs in Flushing and elsewhere in Far Rockaway, we at The Child Center know that they play an invaluable role in the communities they serve. This is a wonderful opportunity for us to serve a dynamic and dedicated community, and we couldn’t be more excited. I felt this way before I met with residents last Saturday, and I left the meeting feeling even more strongly. The youth with whom we met were very engaged, and the parents passionate advocates for their kids. Far Rockaway, and the area surrounding the Redfern Houses in particular, may be underserved, but it is not undeserving.

The Child Center will continue to offer the afterschool enrichment, adult programming, and sense of community that the Redfern Community Center has been known for, and we will make certain that the revitalized center reflects the proud and vibrant spirit that is palpable throughout the neighborhood.

While our role is effective immediately, it will be a couple of weeks before we can fully reopen Redfern’s doors. In the meantime, we are investigating facility issues that must be addressed, hiring qualified staff, and building programming that meets the needs of the community as expressed by its members. We are grateful to have the strong support of Council Member Donovan Richards, Senator James Sanders, Jr., and DYCD, and we look forward to working with the people of Redfern.

Senator James Sanders, Jr. Responds to Abrupt Closing of Far Rockaway Community Center

By Garry Toms

NY1 News reported that “for the many children who call the Redfern Houses home, this community center has been a safe haven during after school hours.”

While the majority of those contacted did not response, State Senator James Sanders, Jr. issued the following statement.

“We are aware of the situation and we are working with the appropriate agencies to see that service is returned to the Redfern site as soon as possible. We don’t care how it’s done, but we insist that the people are served. It is sad that a reputable organization like the P.A.L. would withdraw at a moment’s notice. We are going to work with NYCHA to get a new organization in there.”

Source

http://fromthegman.blogspot.com/2017/03/senator-james-sanders-jr-responds-to.html

 

 

Far Rockaway RBI to open 3rd Season in April!

Far Rockaway RBI is starting it’s 3rd Season! In 2016, we made big strides…Vincent Coleman came on, bringing years of RBI experience with him to the peninsula. Major League Baseball noticed our good work and invited a team of youth out to San Diego to represent Far Rock at the All Star Classic. Our players and coaches spent a week in dorms…learning about the game and developing character with kids and adults from all over the country!

Over 120 scholar-athletes joined us last year and we increased our attendance rate by nearly 25% to nearly 80%. We spent 2016, improving our quality and safety and the increase in our regular attendance means that the kids/parents keep coming back!

What’s in store for 2017?

1. We made a simple investment in fundamentals. Recognizing that many are still learning, we went indoors and offered ongoing clinics through the winter months at The Child Center of NY’s B40 NYCHA Cornerstone Program. Our participants kept working out and are looking to make bigger steps this Spring. Workouts and registration continue through March, with an eye on April 29 for Opening Day.

2. Far Rockaway RBI is now a lead sponsor for the Boys Baseball and Girls Softball Teams at the Far Rockaway HS Campus. WE intend to bring older youth into the movement through this effort by working with MLB and our stakeholders to bring baseball, youth development, academic support and workforce opportunities to all students attending any school on the Far Rockaway HS Campus.

Our parent organization, The Child Center of NY, is invested in creatively finding ways to engage all young people going to High School in Community School District #27 with an eye of building mentoring options that improve attendance and support completion of High School. We are engaged in multiple strategies toward improving the quality of life in Far Rockaway and recognize that #baseball can build #equity. We need your contribution to help us build this vision into reality.

https://www.crowdrise.com/fundraiser/campaign-updates/1230703#!/status/1

Senator Sanders to Host Immigration Clinic / Mobile Office – Double Event

State Senator James Sanders Jr. (D-Rochdale Village, Far Rockaway) will be offering free immigration services while simultaneously hosting his Mobile Office in Far Rockaway on March 23, 2017.

The Immigrant Resource Informational Clinic will work to address the needs and concerns of Rockaway’s undocumented population. The areas of focus for the clinic will include free legal assistance, housing related inquires, and more.

It is being conducted in Partnership with Queens Law Associates and Reverend David Cockfield of the Battalion Pentecostal Assembly Church of Far Rockaway.

Executive Orders signed by the administration have generated confusion and fear among many individuals and families within the 10th Senatorial District. Senator Sanders’ offices have been inundated with calls from families requesting information on how these orders would affect them and their loved ones. Senator Sanders has created this sub-office to meet the needs of these constituents regardless of their legal status and language barriers.

The address for the clinic is 430 Beach 67th Street Arverne, NY. This is not the same address as the main church campus. The clinic will be held out of the Battalion Youth Ministries House located directly next door to the church.

In addition to the Immigration Clinic, Senator Sanders will simultaneously be hosting his Mobile Office at the same location, where residents can meet one-on-one with him and share their ideas, thoughts, suggestions and concerns

For more information feel free to contact Lisa George at the Far Rockaway office, 718-327-7017.

EDC Queens Update

CFDA and NYCEDC Partner on Graduate Showcase

NYCEDC and The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) are partnering to present the Fashion Future Graduate Showcase. This Made in NY: Fashion showcase—taking place during NYCxDESIGN 2017—will feature up to one hundred top fashion graduates from leading New York City colleges and universities, as well as two design institutions.

The central aim of the showcase is to provide elevated exposure, create instrumental networking opportunities, and to engage and educate fashion graduates through curated panels, roundtable conversations, workshops and mentorship opportunities.
News of the Week

Citywide Ferry Service

This week, Citywide Ferry vessels hit the water for sea trials in Alabama! Check out these seaworthy photos in WorkBoat and here.

Want to join the Citywide Ferry team? Job seekers can apply through the Department of Small Business Services’ Workforce1 Centers, at citywideferry.nyc, or through the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s Employment Center.
Applications Now Open for Neighborhood Challenge

This year’s Neighborhood Challenge 5.0 kick-off event will take place on Tuesday, March 28, from 3:00pm – 6:00pm at The Hub @ Grand Central Tech. The competition will provide up to $100,000 to fund innovative ideas that use data-driven solutions to improve operations, target services, or address local public policy challenges. Join us to learn about the application process and connect with nonprofit community organizations and tech companies. RSVP here.
SolarizeNYC

Interested in going solar? We’re looking for community partners, businesses, and community development corporations to participate in Solarize NYC, a citywide solar initiative. The NYC Solar Partnership is led by Sustainable CUNY who works with the New York City Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, NYCEDC, and CUNY.

Sign up for the public information session being held on Thursday, March 23, at the National Urban League, 7th Floor. For any questions email us at nysolar@cuny.edu.

Councilman Eric Ulrich says it’s ‘ridiculous’ for President Trump to punish sanctuary cities

By Erwin Durkin

Potential Republican mayoral contender Eric Ulrich said it’s “ridiculous” for President Trump to punish sanctuary cities like New York — but said he would let Immigrations and Customs Enforcement back onto Rikers Island.

The Queens City Councilman, who has positioned himself as an anti-Trump Republican, said in an appearance on the Brian Lehrer show he would expand the crimes that trigger city cooperation with deportation, but otherwise maintain policies to shield the undocumented.

“I think that’s ridiculous,” he said of Trump signing an executive order to withdraw federal funding from cities that don’t fully cooperate with federal immigration enforcement.

The city booted ICE from Rikers two years ago, with legislation that also dramatically narrowed which detainer requests from the agency it would honor.

Read More here

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/queens-pol-trump-punishing-sanctuary-cities-ridiculous-article-1.2997866

Rockaway May Need To Brace For More Shelters!

By Jeffrey Williams-Maisonet (Source Daily News)

Low-income neighborhoods predominantly Black and Hispanic are struggling with poverty bear the brunt of the battle to shelter the homeless, not affluent white communities according to the Daily News.

Critics around Rockaway say homeless plan can target our neighborhood again and could be likely reinforced by Mayor de Blasio’s new plan to house homeless individuals in the communities where they become homeless.

Rockaway currently holds over 130,000 residents on the peninsula. It’s unclear in the number of homeless that reside here on the peninsula.

City Councilman Donovan Richards who serves the eastern part of the Rockaways stated, “This basically comes down to segregation”.

“I like the ideas of keeping people in their communities,” said Richards. “But at the end of the day, you can find places where there are adequate schools, where there are opportunities and housing that’s affordable.”

Looks like Rockaway may need to prepare for another shelter to pop up and be dumped on the peninsula. The big question here should be, Where will the new shelter(s) be placed on the peninsula? Maybe there will be none at all?

Are you ready Rockaway?

According to the Daily News, when de Blasio tried to turn a hotel into a 110-unit men’s shelter in predominantly white, middle income Maspeth, Queens last fall, the neighborhood erupted. Protestors ultimately forced the provider who was going to run the shelter to pull out.

Last week, furious residents of Crown Heights, Brooklyn, cited the Maspeth reversal as they contested a new men’s shelter set to open soon in their neighborhood during a public hearing. Residents of Brooklyn’s Community Board 8, which is 67% black with a poverty rate of 26%, railed against what they called an oversaturation of shelters in their neighborhood. They have 679 beds.

If it happened to them, it can happen here. Where do you stand on the issue?

Photo and Source by Daily News.

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/rich-white-neighborhoods-spared-de-blasio-homeless-plan-article-1.2995360

 

 

 

 

JOBS and Resources for Veterans! We Have Huge Opportunities Awaiting You

New York State Senator and Marine Corps Veteran James Sanders Jr. (D-Rochdale Village, Far Rockaway) will host a Veterans Job & Resource Fair on March 20, 2017 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. at the Daniel M. O’Connell American Legion Post 272 (Knights of Columbus), 330 Beach 90th Street, Rockaway Beach, NY 11693.

This event is conducted in cooperation with Assembly Member Stacey Pheffer Amato and is co-sponsored by Veteran Movers NYC.

All members of the U.S. Armed Forces are invited to attend.

Space is limited, so please RSVP, by calling Senator Sanders’ District Office at 718-523-3069.

Featured vendors will include:

Alliance Computing Solutions
American Legion (Daniel M. O’Connell Post 272)
Black Veterans For Social Justice
Calverton National Cemetery
Combined Insurance
COCOON Homecare Reborn
CVO Home for Female Veterans Inc.
CVS Health
Defender Security Services
Department of Justice – Federal Bureau of Prisons
Easter Seals
Electrical Contractors of New York (Local union #3 I.B.E.W, AFL-CIO)
FDNY
Helmets to Hardhats
Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
Jericho Project
Knights of Columbus
Metropolitan Transit Authority
Non-Traditional Employment for Women
NYC Board of Elections
NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS)
NYC Department of Correction
NYC Department of Veterans’ Services
NYS Division of Veterans’ Affairs
NYPD
NYS Comptroller’s Office of Unclaimed Funds
NYS Department of Civil Service
Queens College
Queens Legal Services
Richmond Hill Army Recruitment Center
Royal Care
Skanska Walsh
U.S. Border and Customs Patrol
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
United States Postal Service (USPS)
Veteran Movers NYC
Vets Inc.
Special Features:

Tax Tips & Advice from the IRS
Search for Unclaimed Funds on the Spot
Legal Assistance from a VA-Certified Lawyer
FYI

Lunch will be served
Bring your resume and DD-214 form
Onsite parking is available
Venue is handicapped accessible

Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato Tours Schools in Rockaway Park, Joined by Borough President Melinda Katz

Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato toured two separate school complexes today in Rockaway Park, hearing from Channel View School for Research Principal Denise Harper Richards and Scholars’ Academy Principal Brian O’Connell about the unique journeys and successes of both schools. At Scholars’ Academy, she was joined by Borough President Melinda Katz.

“We have some incredible teachers, parents and administrators in our district who labor every day to make sure our students receive a world-class education,” Pheffer Amato said. “It’s always great to get out and meet them, see what innovative new programs they’re rolling out, and hear what challenges they’re facing, so I can try to help where I can.” Pheffer Amato is a former PA president at Scholars’ Academy, and has taken a keen interest in education as both a legislative and a community issue.

Both schools are operating in the unique environment of modern public education. Channel View’s building (Q410) already contains six schools in one building and is slated to receive a seventh “co-located” school in the fall, which Pheffer Amato is investigating ahead of a public comment period Wednesday night. Scholars’ Academy runs as an accelerated school, catering to gifted students between grades 6 and 12.

“I’m so impressed by our district’s diversity and resilience,” said Pheffer Amato. “Education is the cornerstone of our democracy. I appreciate the Borough President for joining me. I especially want to thank Principals Richards and O’Connell for taking time to brief me on the state of their schools, so that I can be the best advocate for our children, teachers and families that I can be.”