Queens Gazette Coverage: CB 1 Cabinet Meeting

Commercial Board 1 Holds Cabinet Meeting, Hosts New 114th Police Precinct Commander

October 18, 2017 

By Thomas Cogan 

In October, the Community Board 1 cabinet meeting proceeded briskly at first and might have been finished early, except that a missing speaker finally showed up, apologized for his lateness and soon had listeners deeply interested in a talk about personal finances.  Before that, Florence Koulouris, district manager of CB 1 and conductor of the meeting, introduced the new chief officer of the 114th Police Precinct; a couple of representatives publicizing job opportunities at La Guardia Airport; a speaker from New Yorkers for Parks, talking about a “living memorial” to 9/11; more than one speaker promoting relief efforts for Puerto Rico; and a woman advocating the positive aspects for teenagers of staying in school and working part-time.

The new man in charge at the 114th Precinct is Commander Captain Oswaldo Nuñez, who has been a police officer for nearly 22 years, mainly in the Bronx and Manhattan, though most recently he was stationed at 1 Police Plaza.  He was willing to answer questions, but surprisingly, no one had any, though one man said he hoped the captain would be a deputy inspector soon.

The Council for Airport Opportunity was next, and the first of its two representatives to speak was Joanne Feltman, who is a community outreach specialist for the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey and its LGA Redevelopment Program.  The other speaker was Andrew C. Campbell, executive director of the CAO, which calls itself a source for qualified employees and advertises that it is currently working with employers at all three metropolitan airports to fill more than 400 positions in passenger service, security, food service, warehouse work, management and other positions.

For the purposes of the meeting, Campbell and Feltman were concerned only with La Guardia Airport and said they were trying to extend work opportunities to unemployed and under-employed residents of communities near it.  They said CAO stages job fairs in partnership with Urban Upbound.  Campbell said CAO representatives consult with applicants to assess qualifications and try to link qualified persons with the right job opportunity.  Any applicant should have a résumé; a high school diploma or equivalent; a valid driver’s license or non-driver’s ID; a non-laminated Social Security card; a birth certificate or passport if a U.S. citizen; a Green Card or Work Authorization Card if a non-citizen.

Koulouris said this information should be circulated locally.  Feltman and Campbell said they had visited Ravenswood Houses and Queensbridge Houses this month.  Koulouris said they should pay a visit to Astoria Houses too.

Emily Walker, of New Yorkers for Parks, came to the meeting to talk about the Daffodil Project, which planted more than a million daffodils in the year after the 9/11 attack and has since then brought more than 7 million of them to parks, playgrounds, streets and community gardens in all the boroughs.  Kalouris said that last year, she and others got together for local plantings, notably in Fort Totten’s McLaren Park, a memorial to 9/11.  She said it’s a great opportunity for those who like daffodils, whose onion-like bulbs are normally expensive yet are issued for free by the Daffodil Project.

A representative from the Office of Emergency Management said that OEM is raising funds and goods for Puerto Rico.  Koulouris urged that diapers for seniors should be included along with diapers for infants and feminine hygiene products.  A representative from City Councilman Costa Constantinides’s office, 31-09 Newtown Road, said it is a donation site for Puerto Rican relief.  Diapers and baby food that does not need refrigeration are requested.

Kiesha Keith from Youth Connect, Department of Youth and Community Development, spoke of part-time jobs available to high school students who will work six to10 hours per week at $11 per hour.  Koulouris said she had a girl from Youth Connect working in her office for 10 hours per week, “and she was wonderful.”

George Espinal, financial counselor, NYC Financial Empowerment Center, Urban Upbound, finally arrived after enduring some confusion while trying to find the meeting.  He said former Mayor Michael Bloomberg opened Urban Upbound offices throughout the city to help persons whose credit scores might be damaged, seemingly beyond rescue, because of past financial trouble.  The way back to financial stability might come through classes lasting eight weeks that are aimed at achieving Tier 1 credit level.  A certificate from this course can be presented at one’s bank in the effort to obtain loans for housing.

Espinal said that the prime financial concern for city residents is student loans and how one might go through a cancellation and forgiveness procedure.  He emphasized that those bearing such debt should ask about what might be done.  Don’t think for one second about evading the debt, he said, because in New York, federal government debt collectors register with the Department of Consumer Affairs and will search tirelessly for delinquents.    

Read the article.