I live in our community and see certain issues, but YOU also live here and have your own concerns. Our voices, needs and interests can come together and receive answers and action from the city and state, when we act as one. Remember: “We Are One”
Great kids need a Great Education
We need better schools and a better future for our children. Distance Learning can help some children during city health emergencies, but not all children can benefit from the system we have at this time. Sadly, in spite of the efforts of our teachers, local leaders, schools in Jackson Heights, Elmhurst, East Elmhurst, and neighboring communities like Woodside and Corona, are behind in needed improvements after years of mismanagement and policies that favor private and charter schools over those that most of our children use. As City Council Member I will continue to push for better classrooms, schools and systems that address the needs of all our children and families, not just the interests of a few very vocal activists.
As a former teacher I insist we need to plan for more classrooms, better school management, more community and parental involvement, and a greater focus on preparing our children with knowledge and skills that will be needed in our changing city and nation.
Expand Safe Public Transportation
I no longer drive nor ride a bicycle to work. I now walk and use public transportation. Yet our community has narrow streets, broken sidewalks and a highway system set up before most of the community was born. Our subways and bus systems are even older and are now packed and unreliable when the city is open to business. We also have limited access and signage for the elderly and disabled, and public safety at NW Queens stations and trains needs to be improved.
Once the pandemic ends and the city opens up to business as usual we will need our buses and subways safe and available. But the Elevated 7 line along Roosevelt Avenue has deteriorated in spite of emergency repairs. The MTA is not serving the public properly in our community, and the City needs to ensure that public transportation remains a viable alternative for our people.
Safety and Justice for All
When crime and violence come into our streets, fear and anxiety takes over and neighbors hide from and criticize everyone, including the police. Abuse and injustice break the trust we, the people of Queens, NY and the US have with our institutions and this is simply wrong.
As a Latino who grew up facing discrimination and prejudice I understand how minority groups and individuals need leaders to step up and speak for equality, civil rights, and justice for all while promoting empowerment and economic opportunity that breaks the cycle of poverty and despair that affects some of my neighbors.
Our community is a treasure trove of small businesses that incorporate immigrants from over 200 nations as well as long term residents and people who both generate income and work at local jobs that stimulate and maintain our neighborhoods. But I’ve observed that fear for our safety and health, that of our children, elderly and friends, can stifle our local economy and our future. The COVID-19 lockdown demonstrated how much we depend on city services for our safety. This is unfair to our residents and to our businesses. “We are One” and we must all be safe as equals under the law.
Environment and Recycling
Having volunteered to clean up beaches, helped the NY 5 Boro Bike Tour at their Astoria rest stop for 8 years, cleaned up streets in our community, promoted composting and supported many similar green efforts, I believe that we need to protect not only our community but our regional environment and surroundings, and understand our responsibility as residents of a huge metropolis to reduce our negative impact on our country and world.
As a humanist progressive, I understand that we cannot hurt the poor, infirm, disabled and
seniors with the excuse of reducing harm as defined by the 1%. Hurting people is something I want to avoid at all costs, since poverty and fear are the source of
much environmental damage, in spite of what we hear from marketing campaings financed by huge economic interests. I applaud grass roots efforts to eliminate clearly unnecessary plastic wastes (packaging by major retailers comes to mind) and to protect our resources (wasting paper costs millions of gallons of needed fresh water in the US and the world).
NYC needs to improve its waste management systems. Our sewage system regularly dumps waste in our waterfronts and rivers due to its 1800’s design. And it will fail once ocean water levels rise due to climate change.We recycle garbage that is not processed at recycling centers, causing much of our recycled waste to end up in landfills.
We need to review and rewrite city regulations to allow new technology and new initiatives to reduce plastics and other recyclables from our garbage. Finally, I offer my experience here and overseas to help our communities find solutions to our
environmental problems that actually help us all.