Southeast Queens was host to a town hall meeting this Monday at August Martin High School in Jamaica, NY. Mayor Bill De Blasio was standing front and center ready to answer questions of residents on a variety of issues. The meeting was attended by a crowd of concerned citizens to put forward their concerns for their community.
Accompanied by Senator James Sanders Jr. (D-South Ozone Park, Rochdale, Rosedale), and Queens Borough President Melinda Katz the mayor started off the meeting with introducing his whole staff that has been working on community issues and as well as the leaders of NYPD.
De Blasio, who was shy of town hall meetings in his initial days of being the mayor of New York City, acknowledged the presence of the people of the community that had come to ask questions.
“Queens as a borough has been a community that is legendarily civic-minded. People get involved and I thank you for that”, said the mayor as he commenced to talk about the issues.
The 28th city council district of Queens, which is home to the resident of southeast Queens, has seen a 53 percent decrease in shootings since last year said the mayor.
“With two thousand more police patrolling the streets and neighborhood policing crime in this borough has gone down 10 percent since last year”, said the mayor.
This claim by the mayor gathered a healthy applause from the people and then he moved on to the next issue. But on the other hand, there were some passionate folks putting forward their problems to the mayor.
On the question of New York City being a sanctuary city the mayor asserted that New York City will not accept any cuts from the federal government despite President Trump threatening to cut funds. He also said that the city will help people who are facing deportation legally. The crowd cheered at this as Senator Sanders of Albany, NY moved on to the next person for the next question.
With rising costs of living in the city, the next question was about affordable housing. Senior citizens in southeast Queens need more affordable housing which raised a lot of ears in the meeting. “The City Council and me have approved approximately 150 new apartments at the north eastern annex”, said the mayor.
The tone of the meeting was non-confrontational with people raising issues ranging from scaffolding on the streets to LGBTQ rights in the communities they live in. With his accommodating style of conversation, the mayor cast himself as the advocate of his constituents by putting forth his staff so that the constituents themselves get an answer from the concerned authorities.
This happened when one constituent frustrated with the scaffolding in their neighborhood was demanding answers. De Blasio quickly introduced his general manager Michael Kelly to answer the question.
“Scaffolding drives me crazy”, said the mayor as the general manager answered the constituent’s question and the constituents applauding at the way the mayor was answering the questions.
The town hall ended with a big thank you from the mayor as the constituents applauded started to leave the meeting.