Holden votes “no” on the city budget

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On Tuesday night, the New York City Council passed an $88 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2021.

The budget process was particularly difficult this year given the billions of dollars the city is losing in revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic and economic lockdown.

Among the more contentious parts of the budget was the decision to cut nearly $1 billion from the NYPD’s $6 billion operating budget.

For weeks, activists have marched and protested calling for defunding the NYPD by at least $1 billion. While the budget falls short of that, it reduces overtime pay for police officers, transfers school safety to the Department of Education and cancels two cadet classes.

In the late hours on Tuesday night, 37 members voted for the budget, while 12 rejected it. Councilman Bob Holden was among those who voted no. Here’s why.

“As one of the very few Council members who has lived through several crime waves in our great city, I am very concerned that the protest-driven moment to defund the NYPD will lead us toward another high-crime era,” he said.

“While the intention of diverting more funds toward education and services for those who need it most sounds noble, supporters of this movement seem to be unaware of the billions this city has already wasted with no tangible results.”

Ultimately, nine members of the City Council voted no because they believe the cuts don’t go far enough. Eight members said no because they opposed cuts to the NYPD.

Holden noted that the budget has soared $25 billion under de Blasio’s tenure.

“So will taking $1 billion from the NYPD accomplish anything other than appeasing this movement while damaging the morale of police officers?” Holden said. “As legislators, we cannot create policy based solely on what’s trending at the moment.

“We must maintain balance, order and logic while holding public safety as the highest priority,” he added.

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Free mask giveaway in Glendale this afternoon

Councilman Bob Holden’s office is hosting a free mask giveaway this afternoon.

The event will take place from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. in front of Community Alliance Initiative, located at 60-35 Myrtle Avenue.

Holden’s office says participants should also bring an empty hand sanitizer bottle that can be refilled.

Participants should also wear a mask and practice social distancing during the giveaway.

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Rajkumar leads in Assembly race, Richards on top for Queens BP

Assembly candidate Jenifer Rajkumar is leading the Assembly race for District 38.

Assembly candidate Jenifer Rajkumar is leading the Assembly race for District 38.

Glendale Assemblyman Mike Miller is in the fight of his political career as he trails challenger Jenifer Rajkumar after last night’s primary.

With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Rajkumar has collected 2,624 votes, or 52 percent, while Miller has only 1,300 votes, or 26.8 percent.

Another challenger, queer poet and activist Joey De Jesus, received 1,108 votes, representing 22 percent of the vote.

Should Rajkumar, an attorney, adjunct professor and former state government official in the Cuomo administration, wins, she would be the first South Asian American elected to the Assembly.

A little more than 5,000 voters cast their ballot in person for this Assembly race, which indicates low voter turnout in a non-presidential cycle. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused even fewer voters to turn out than usual.

Like many other primary races, this contest will not be decided until all of the absentee ballots are counted, which could take more than a week.

Miller has represented the 38th Assembly District, which includes Glendale, Woodhaven, Richmond Hill, Ozone Park and Ridgewood, since a special election in 2009.

In the race for Queens borough president, Councilman Donovan Richards is leading all candidates with 41,915 votes, good for 37.2 percent, with 96 percent of precincts reporting. Richards and Rajkumar cross-endorsed each other in their respective races.

Trailing Donovan is former Glendale Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley, who has 31,781 votes, or 28 percent.

Other Democratic candidates include Councilman Costa Constantinides with 17,164 votes (15 percent), Anthony Miranda with 16,613 votes (14.7 percent) and Dao Yin with 5,028 votes (4.4 percent).

Though Richards is leading by a decent margin, we will wait until all ballots are counted to declare a winner.

The Democratic nominee will likely face Joann Ariola, the Republican’s pick, in the general election in November.

In the 6th Congressional District, which includes Glendale, Congresswoman Grace Meng defeated challenger Melquiades Gagarin and Sandra Choi.

With 98 percent of precincts reporting, Meng, who is seeking re-election to her fifth term in office, received 15,181 votes, nearly 61 percent of the district.

Gagarin, a progressive activist, won 5,261 votes, or 21 percent. Choi, another first-time candidate, received 4,318 votes, good for 17 percent.

 

Though the district leans heavily Democratic, Meng will still face Republican nominee Thomas Zmich in the general election in November.

State Senator Joe Addabbo, who represents Glendale, did not face a primary challenger.

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Catholic Charities programs continue to serve most vulnerable

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Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens is asking the Glendale community to support their programs that assist neighbors in need.

Since 1899, CCBQ has helped build communities and serve neighbors in need with mercy and compassion. The organization sponsors more than 160 programs and services for children, youth, adults and seniors.

Their programs have helped those who are mentally ill, isolated or have developmental disabilities. CCBQ is also one of the largest faith-based providers of affordable housing in the country.

CCBQ is affiliated with organizations such as Catholic Charities Neighborhood Services, Catholic Migration Services and Saints Joachim & Anne Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, all of which provide a range of services to the most vulnerable in our communities.

The impact of CCBQ’s programs can be felt across the boroughs, from behavioral health center clinics to immigration integration programs and senior housing.

Lately, some of the most important work has been providing food assistance through food pantries at parishes, home-delivered meals and even pop-up events. From Corona and Elmhurst to Bensonhurst, CCBQ has provided thousands of meals to people suffering at home from the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown.

Now, CCBQ is asking the Glendale community to support the work they do through donations. Thanks to the donation of a benefactor, Catholic Charities is matching gifts up to $400,000.

Donations of $50 will become $100, and $100 donations will become $200, and so on.

According to CCBQ, 91 cents of every dollar will go straight into programs that “reduce poverty, bring food and comfort to those less fortunate, uplift our youth and assist our elderly neighbors.”

To donate to CCBQ, visit their donation page here: www.ccbq.org/give-donate/.

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Holden calls for closing Cooper shelter permanently

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Following a report of another assault at the Cooper Rapid Rehousing Center in Glendale, Councilman Bob Holden is calling for the homeless shelter to be shuttered for good.

Holden issued a statement last week that his office was informed of an another assault at the site.

 

DHS has informed the Glendale pol that they plan to remove all 120 men from the shelter and relocate them to hotel rooms during the COVID-19 pandemic.

While he called the temporary move “welcome news” for the men who live at the shelter, Holden wants the location closed permanently. 

The Glendale representative also asked Comptroller Scott Stringer to not approve the contract and “put an end to the fraud, waste and abuse” of the homeless shelter system.

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Borough president announces appointments to community board

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Acting Borough President Sharon Lee appointed 339 people to serve in Queens’s 14 community boards on Tuesday.

Of the 399 appointees, 76 are first-time members who have never served on the board, but have shown a commitment and understanding to the community’s needs.

The two-year term for these appointees run from May 31, 2020 to March 31, 2022.

The office received 595 applications, including 252 from applicants who had never served on a community board. More than 340 were from those who were reapplying at the end of their 2020 term.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Lee announced in late March that community board members whose terms end on March 31 would continue for an additional 60 days.

Here are Borough President Lee’s appointments for the 2020-2022 term for Community Board 5, which serves Glendale:

  • Bhubaneshor Adhikari
  • Antonetta Binanti
  • Eric Butkiewicz
  • Robert Cermeli
  • Patricia Crowley
  • Dmytro Fedkowskyj
  • Shawn Fisch
  • Sukh Gurung
  • Frederick Heller
  • Frederick Hoefferle
  • Richard Huber
  • Kinga Kurzyna
  • John Maier
  • Edgar Mantel
  • Eileen Moloney
  • Margaret O’Kane
  • Michael O’Kane
  • Michael Porcelli
  • Kelvin Rodriguez
  • Luis Rodriguez
  • Dennis Stephan
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Meng hands out PPE at Glendale Veterans Triangle

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Although the COVID-19 curve has flattened, community members still need to wear face masks, stay six feet apart with social distancing and frequently wash their hands with soap.

Today, Congresswoman Grace Meng, in partnership with Community Board 5, the 104th Precinct Civilian Observation Patrol and Glendale Kiwanis, provided 1,000 mask to Glendale residents.

Meng distributed them at the Glendale Veterans Triangle, located at Myrtle Avenue and Cooper Avenue. She also delivered masks to nearby St. Pancras Church.

“As we continue our efforts to combat COVID-19, it is vital that local residents have the PPE they need,” Meng said. “Having a face mask is essential and I encourage other houses of worship in my district to contact my office if they need access to masks.”

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Check out this gallery of the Ridgewood Reservoir

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While programming is shut down for the Ridgewood Reservoir, that doesn’t mean community members can’t engage with this important part of our community.

NYC H2O has curated a new exhibit at the Queens Museum about the reservoir, including an incredible new video.

And while the museum is closed during the pandemic, you can view the online gallery here.

Hopefully, this gallery will inspire you to look forward to visit the reservoir soon!

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SHELTER WATCH: Pol says Cooper site feels like a jail

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At last week’s Community Board 5 meeting, Councilman Robert Holden detailed his March 6th visit to the Cooper Rapid Re-Housing Center at 78-16 Cooper Avenue.

Holden, who toured the site along with Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi and representatives from other elected officials’ offices, said when he walked in he immediately saw a security station and a metal detector.

They walked to the second floor and ran into another security station. On the other side of the hallway was another security checkpoint with monitors and security guards. They found the same set-up on the third floor.

The elected officials then visited the dormitories, which had ten beds to a room. Holden noted that he felt the space was tight, and that the men were “on top of one another.”

“To me, I felt, this is not a place to live,” he said. “This looked more like a minimum-security jail.

Read more of this week’s shelter watch in the Glendale Register newspaper.

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Pol wants investigation into police response at Sacred Heart

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Screen shot via Google Maps

After a concerning incident involving a stranger trying to enter Sacred Heart Catholic Academy, a local politician is calling for an investigation into the NYPD’s poor response.

Councilman Bob Holden wants the 104th Precinct to be probed for its four-hour response time after staff members at the Glendale school called 911 to report a suspicious man lurking around the facility.

Holden says that a man knocked on the door of the school at about 12:30 p.m. on February 25 “while holding a stick-like object” in his hand and wearing a bag over his shoulder.

A faculty member answered the door, followed by the man asking for directions. The faculty member, who felt uncomfortable, closed the door. The man lingered for a few minutes.

Sacred Heart faculty then called 911 twice to report the incident, but no officers arrived until after 4 p.m., according to Holden.

The 104th Precinct’s response was that a car accident with injuries took priority over the situation at the school.

“I am extremely frustrated with the lack of response and urgency from the 104th Precinct,” Holden said.

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