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If It’s Good for Our Families, It’s Good for Queens

QUEENS, NY – Borough President Melinda Katz shared some of the milestones reached in the first year in office and touched on her priorities for the future of Queens during her first State of the Borough Address delivered this morning at Colden Auditorium on the campus of Queens College.

With a theme of “If It’s Good for Our Families, It’s Good For Queens,” the Borough President’s address touched on the milestones that have helped make Queens a better place to raise a family and discussed her goals for furthering her agenda to help Queens families live better lives. Among the areas touched on in the speech were Economic Development, Education, Housing, Tourism & Culture, Infrastructure and Sandy Rebuilding.

A copy of the State of the Borough Address as prepared for delivery can be found by clicking here.

The key points of the speech included the following:

  • The Borough President noted that her two children help keep her grounded when it comes to shaping our City’s polices and planning for the Borough’s future. That’s why the motto of the Borough President’s Office is “If It’s Good for Families, It’s Good for Queens.”
  • The Borough President said she has been working the School Construction Authority, led by Lorraine Grillo, to set real dates for moving children out of the “temporary” trailers that have been used as classrooms due to school overcrowding.
  • The Borough President also asked audience members and all Queens residents to help identify community-based organizations that would be willing to host pre-K programs to help avoid overcrowding at existing pre-K locations.
  • While affirming the need for educational standards, The Borough President said she is “not a fan” of Common Core and said the standards need to be revamped so that its instructional methods are no longer so needlessly complicated for students and parents. The Borough President said she and other parents are dismayed by Common Core because they are often unable to help their kids figure out the “correct” Common Core answer to a question even if the actual answer is readily apparent.
  • The Borough President praised the work of the borough’s 14 Community Boards, which are made up of nearly 700 dedicated, civic-minded residents who serve a critical role in shaping city policies.  She also stated she is opposed to term limits for Community Board members, noting that the expertise of the long-standing members balances well with the many new members who are being appointed. Over 26 percent of all members currently on Queens Community Boards have been serving for less than three years.
  • Building on the success of last year’s celebrations of the anniversaries of the 1939 and 1964 World’s Fairs, the Borough President announced that her office will sponsor an annual “Queens Day” event that will celebrate our diversity and help unite us as “The World’s Borough.”
  • The Borough President said she looked forward to working on the panel appointed by Governor Cuomo that will advise him on the efforts to redesign LaGuardia and Kennedy airports so they can reach their full potential as economic engines for the region.
  • The Borough President praised the current membership of the Queens Library’s Board of Trustees for their work toward helping to restore public trust in the Library, which is now being governed with greater transparency.
  • The Borough President proposed creating a specific zoning designation to protect neighborhoods that are primarily defined by single-family row houses, such as in Maspeth and Ridgewood. This designation would help preserve the character of places that many families have called their home for decades.
  • The Borough President expressed disappointment with New York City Housing Authority’s proposal to allocate only 750 public housing apartments annually for homeless families.  The Borough President is urging the administration to increase this annual allocation to at least 2,500 public housing units.
  • The Borough President reiterated her call for a permanent ferry service connecting the Rockaways to the rest of New York City and called for more free standing emergency rooms to be opened in the borough to help alleviate the overcrowding found in the borough’s existing emergency rooms.

Immediately following the State of the Borough Address, guests enjoyed a brief reception featuring a sampling of “A Taste of Queens”, an annual culinary and networking event held every spring by the Queens Economic Development Corporation that highlights local businesses.  The sampling reception featured Aron’s Kissena Farms of Flushing, Bittergreen Catering of Long Island City, Coffeed of Long Island City, Redwood Deli of Forest Hills, Richi Rich Palace of Richmond Hill and Youcake Bakery of Astoria.

The State of the Borough Address was filmed by Queens Public Television (QPTV) and will be aired on the following dates and times on the following channels:

Day                 Date                                           Time               Time Warner      RCN      Fios

Friday             January 23, 2015                  3:00 PM             79 & 1998              83           35

Saturday        January 24, 2015                   11:00AM             56 & 1996             84           36

Sunday           January 25, 2015                   8:30 PM              79 & 1998              83           35

Monday          January 26, 2015                   5:30 PM              79 & 1998              83           35

The 2015 State of the Borough event was partly sponsored by JetBlue Airways Corporation, headquartered in Long Island City, Queens..

Follow Borough President Katz via @melindakatz or www.facebook.com/queensbpkatz