Candidates' Night At The WRBA

Queens Courier - September 10, 2009

by Tonia N. Cimino

With only weeks to go before the September 15 primaries – and possibly the Special Election -- it was Candidates' Night at the most recent meeting of the Woodhaven Residents Block Association (WRBA).

WRBA President Vance Barbor, whose birthday was celebrated at the meeting on Wednesday night, August 19, had the unfortunate job of informing attendees that the newsletter will not be produced, due to budgetary constraints.

"The reality of the times is that there is not enough money to go around," he said, urging everyone to become more civically involved. "We need to show strength in numbers."

He and board member Ed Wendell of www.projectwoodhaven.com also noted that they would be handing out pamphlets on various topics – the first was on noise, and received a good response, they said.

Maria Thomson then informed those gathered that the Cease and Desist Order, which had been in place for five years, expired on August 1, meaning that real estate agents can call homeowners with solicitations.

She encouraged everyone to call or email the New York Secretary of State in order to get the order replaced. "We need the protection of our government," said Thomson.

The meeting also drew elected officials.

Senator Joseph Addabbo addressed the recent stalemate in Albany, saying, "As we go forward, I'm hopeful we can restore the faith of people in what we were elected to do."

He also announced that a mobile mammography van will be outside the Woodhaven-Richmond Hill Volunteer Ambulance Corps (78-15 Jamaica Avenue) on Saturday, October 17, and that he has been in touch with the MTA regarding the improvements to the elevated line along Jamaica Avenue.

The next speaker, City Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley, also addressed this issue, saying it is part of the MTA's five-year capital plan.

She then spoke about her discretionary funding – $33,000 in computer technology to P.S. 254 on 101st Street; $140,000 for air conditioning and auditorium renovations at P.S. 97; $200,000 for self check-out at the Queens library; $300,000 for protective/decorative fencing for the Forest Park Bandshell and $3,000 for the Woodhaven Richmond Hill Volunteer Ambulance Corps on Jamaica Avenue.

Five thousand dollars will also go to the WRBA, she said.

City Councilmember Eric Ulrich then spoke about his recently-launched anti-graffiti initiative, to which he allocated $30,000 – free to residents.

"We know the damage graffiti does to a neighborhood," he said. "It's tax money well spent."

A FDNY Lieutenant, with free smoke detectors to be given out, then told the crowd about fire safety, including having an escape plan and testing those detectors.

"Seventy percent of people that die in fires did not have working smoke detectors," he said.

The next meeting of the WRBA will be on Wednesday, September 16.