Weiner Speaks To Locals
Congressman Anthony Weiner (center) talks to residents after his town hall meeting. Pictured to the left of Congressman Weiner are Democratic District Leaders Lew Simon and Geraldine Chapey.
By John McLoughlin
Kicking off a series of town hall meetings throughout his district, Congressman Anthony Weiner fielded questions from locals on Sunday afternoon, October 24. Hosting the meeting at P.S. 114, Weiner spoke about some of his accomplishments since taking office 10 months ago and engaged in a discussion of local, national and international topics.
Weiner started the meeting discussing Rockaway’s need for a "permanent solution" in keeping sand on the beaches. Since winning approval for an additional $3.32 million in beach replenishment funds, Weiner informed the crowd that the Army Corps of Engineers will use a portion of the funds to begin designing plans for the installation of jetties and groins.
"Each year funding for sand becomes harder and harder to win," Weiner said. "We have to ensure that we begin to take steps to protect the peninsula for the long-term."
Transportation was a key concern for many Rockawayites, and they voiced their opinions to Weiner on topics ranging from reactivation of the LIRR Rockaway line to ferry service.
Calling the Airtrain proposed for the Van Wyck expressway "a set back," Weiner said "hundreds of millions of dollars could have been used to make Rockaway accessible." Weiner said that residents did not have to choose between wanting ferry service and reactivation of the LIRR Rockaway line, but should aim for both.
Sharing the floor with other community leaders, Weiner introduced Captain Scirica, commander of the 100 Precinct, and Matt Bromme, the acting interim superintendent of School District 27.
Scirica touted the 11 percent decrease in crime within the 100 Precinct, saying that his officers have been "very responsive to quality of life issues."
Bromme talked of new school construction on the peninsula in anticipation of overcrowding and restructuring the curriculums of local junior high schools.
Residents were thrilled to hear that Weiner secured one million dollars in federal funds for Riis Park. "Gateway has been neglected…it is a massive park with an enormous amount of need," Weiner said. Money is earmarked for the ballfields, lighting and refurbishment of other parts of the park, but Weiner made it clear that there is presently "no money for a swimming pool."
After the town hall meeting, residents swarmed around Weiner, taking pictures and asking more questions. One residents summed the meeting up when she said, "the congressman is the only local elected official willing to hear our concerns and then do something about them. He is a great catch for Rockaway."