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CB 11 meets amid flap over flags on Bell

Jack Oshier (l.) addresses Community Board 11 about unlawful business signs being posted in Bayside as CB 11 Chairman Jerry Iannece looks on. Photo by Phil Corso
TimesLedger Newspapers

Retired Bayside businessman Jack Oshier did not need a microphone when he waved American flags to make his point in the 46-35 Oceania St. school cafeteria where Community Board 11 was holding its last formal gathering Monday before a two-month summer recess.

According to Oshier, the Bayside Village Business Improvement District has been reluctant to agree to fund the placement of flags along Bayside’s train station fencing on Bell Boulevard — a decoration he and other business owners had previously paid for themselves. He said BID leaders said they first needed approval from the city.

“These flags don’t cause any problems and they are staying up there no matter what,” Oshier said. “Doesn’t the BID have other things to be concerned about?”

Oshier also reminded the board that businesses advertising by placing unauthorized signs on the railroad bridge was illegal and should be brought to the attention of city Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan.

A year-end school ceremony forced Community Board 11 to meet in the MS 158 cafeteria Monday, which prompted a wry comment from East Bayside Homeowners Association President Frank Skala. He said the group should change its location come June 2013 to avoid hosting another meeting in the school’s cafeteria for the sake of more comfortable seats.

Iannece, who is running for the 25th state Assembly District seat currently held by Assemblyman Rory Lancman (D-Fresh Meadows), said if he is elected, he will no longer chair the community board.

The community board’s June meeting also featured visits from area politicians and two candidates for the 6th Congressional District seat, who stopped by to provide updates on their work.

Assemblywoman Grace Meng (D-Flushing), who is running for the seat that will be vacated by U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Bayside). said her office was working on legislation to mandate that all signs include English among many other issues.

City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village), another contender, updated the community on her office’s campaign to protect the anticipated list of 20 FDNY engine companies that may be slated for closure to balance Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s budget for next year.

Though they kept their public addresses non-political, their presence came in the home stretch of a heated Democratic primary campaign to determine which candidate will face Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) for Congress.

Representatives from other political offices, including Halloran and Mark Weprin (D-Oakland Gardens) and Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Little Neck), also addressed the board with updates on their work and availability throughout the summer.

The commanding officer of the 111th Precinct, Jason Huerta, said overall crime rose slightly for the 28-day period ending May 20 compared to the same span last year, with the biggest recorded increases in robberies and misdemeanor assaults out of the seven major categories. He said an ongoing problem that officers have continued to face has been vehicle break-ins.

After the public participation session, Iannece announced that the Waldbaum’s in nearby Flushing would be closing, costing 77 employees their jobs. District Manager Susan Seinfeld said an H-Mart Asian supermarket may move into the location near the intersection of 47th Avenue and Francis Lewis Boulevard.

Before moving to the next agenda item, Ianecce called for a moment of silence to remember TimesLedger Newspapers political columnist Dee Richard, who died at the age of 86 last month.

Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at pcorso@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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