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With representatives from a number of city departments sharing the stage with him at Holy Cross High School on Francis Lewis Boulevard, City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) hosted his second annual town hall meeting, where he sharply criticized the city for what he characterized as either neglect, malfeasance or outright targeting of his northeast Queens district.
The city Departments of Finance and Education, Water Board and Board of Standards and Appeals were all targeted by the councilman.
He took umbrage with Finance’s over-assessment of co-ops earlier this year and the DOE’s handling of yellow bus service to College Point Junior High School and its failure to provide more seats despite growth and over-saturation in his district’s schools.
He called the Water Board’s rate increase a back-door tax that fills the city’s coffers and railed against the BSA for granting unpopular variances at the Oct. 25 meeting.
As for Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Halloran said he held him accountable for the reduction of 6,000 police officers and 900 firefighters since he took office, for the over-budget overhauls of 311 and 911, the CityTime scandal and for a focus on Manhattan at the expense of the outer boroughs.
“There are some things about this position that bother me, and there are some things that I really love. I don’t love hearing about city waste,” he said. “I’m going to be critical of the mayor. It is what it is.”
Halloran also invited 109th Precinct Commanding Officer Brian Maguire to update the community on crime. He said major crime in the precinct was down nearly 5 percent over the previous year, but noted that robberies, especially of rims and tires, were on the rise.
He said his precinct had successfully closed five problem bars in the area, to which Halloran quipped that Bell Boulevard in the 111th Precinct has 600 bars on one block.
The 111th precinct’s commanding officer, Capt. Ron Leyson, said robberies were up, especially among students at the precinct’s large high schools.
“They’re after the iPhones, the iPads and the iPods that are out there,” he said.
Leyson was satisfied, he said, with the precinct’s crime statistics on stolen cars for the year.
“We have 85 stolen cars for the year, which unless it’s your car is a great number,” he said.
Halloran also invited his constituents to bring their questions and concerns before representatives from some of the city’s departments.
Henry Euler, of the Auburndale Improvement Association, wanted to know what the city Department of Buildings did with all the money in fines issues for violations at construction sites. A DOB representative said the city Environmental Control Board collected the fines and that the DOB was working on a plan to place liens on property owners.
Halloran said he was working on legislation that would impose escalating fines for violations.
Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4574.
©2011 Community Newspaper Group
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