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In his second annual town hall meeting, City Councilman Dan Halloran took aim at the city government, which he, of course, is a part of. He accused various elements of the government of neglect, malfeasance and outright neglect of his district.
In particular, he targeted the Departments of Finance and Education, the Water Board and the Board of Standards and Appeals.
Among the doom and gloom, there was some good news at this meeting. Brian Maguire, the commanding officer of the 109th Precinct, said major crime in the precinct was down nearly 5 percent over last year. Capt. Ron Leyson, the commander of the 111th Precinct, said the number of stolen cars is down.
But thefts were on the rise. College Point and Whitestone are just a short ride over the bridge to the Bronx, with its many chop shops. The rims and other equipment can be taken from cars in a matter of seconds in the middle of the night. The profits are good and the risks are small.
Leyson conceded that robberies were up, in particular 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.
Overall, northeast Queens remains one of the safest places in the city to live. At a time of financial crisis, the local police are doing an outstanding job.
Nonetheless, Halloran also took a swipe at the mayor for the reduction of 6,000 police officers and 900 firefighters since he took office. We are unhappy about that, too, but we are not sure we have a better plan for balancing the budget. We would like to hear the councilman’s.
Halloran also went after the DOE for cuts in busing to College Point students. Although we have been strongly critical of this agency, it should be noted that, despite painful cuts, Halloran’s district continues to be home to some of the best schools in the public education system.
Halloran deserves credit for holding the town hall meeting, as do the people who attended, but he needs to be careful not to oversimplify complex problems. The sky is not falling on New York City and it is definitely not falling on northeast Queens.
©2011 Community Newspaper Group
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