My family and I will be approaching 20 years this summer in the Rockaway Park area of Queens. My wife Linda, my son Scott and I relocated to the Rockaways because of the beautiful beach, ocean front and we have family members residing in the area.
There is a saying here, once you get the sand in your shoes it’s there forever.
As a young man I served in the United States Coast Guard for four years; first at Floyd Bennett Field, Brooklyn, and then Governors Island, New York. Before we moved to the Rockaways, we resided in Brooklyn, New York. I worked 34 years for Con Edison and retired in 2008.
Were you involved in community or civic affairs before joining Community Board 14?
Yes, one of the first meetings I attended was the 100th Precinct Commu nity
Council, which was held at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Rockaway Beach. I found the meetings to be very interesting and something I wanted to get involved in. As time went on, I attended more of the Community Council meetings and then ran for a position on their board of directors.
When Council elections were held, I ran for the position of recording secretary and was elected. As time went by, the then-President resigned, and I was elected as the new Council President. It is the position I still hold today.
What committees are you currently on?
I’m the Co-Chair of the Transportation Committee. This Committee meets to discuss Transportation issues when needed. To give you some examples, some past Transportation Committee meetings included topics like the proposed traffic safety plan for Goldie Maple Academy, usage of bike lanes and concerns with MTA bus service. The Committee meetings are also open to the public. In addition, I serve as a member on the Parks and Public Safety Committee.
How long do you intend to stay on the Community Board?
I see myself as being on the Community Board as long as I can remain an active member. What I mean by this is: rarely miss meetings, and be able to serve on Committees and take my obligation seriously. Most importantly, an active member must take the role of “Community” seriously as well. I feel when you take a position like this, it should apply for everyone on all community boards, citywide.
Do you believe there should be term limits for the Community Board?
That’s debatable. All Community Board members should be capable of governing themselves. You know if you are contributing to your Community Board, and if you are “Community.” If your answer is, “Well, years ago I did, but now I leave it up to the others,” maybe it’s time to step aside and make room for new active people within the community so they can serve on the board.
Tell us about your role on the 100th Precinct Community Council.
I’m going on eight years now as the President of the 100th President Community Council. My role as President of the Council along with my presence on the board of directors is to establish a positive and productive police and community relationship. Communication between the people of a community and their local police department is vital and beneficial for all. I say it all the time at my Community Council meetings, get involved and ask questions. My council also holds different events such as National Night out Against Crime, an annual Chili Cook-off contest, Chess in School Program, food drives for the entire peninsula and prior to Superstorm Sandy, a six-week volleyball program for the children of our community on the beach. As Council president, I have a very large email listing which I hope is benefiting our community. It enables me to send out Community Council news as well as community information and events. How long do I see myself being President? I will say the same thing as I did on being a board member of Community Board 14; as long as I can remain an active member of my Community Council board, I will serve.
What is the most important issue facing Rockaway today?
The most important issue is the protection of our shorefronts and bay wall. We can do everything we can to rebuild, but without adequate protection, another storm like Sandy could devastate our community. Yes, things are being done as we speak, but in my personal opinion, it is taking much too long. There is no need to go into this any further. Instead, I will simply say there is too much red tape.
What’s the best thing about living in Rockaway?
The people who live around me who care about their community and who step up to the plate when necessary. As a person who gets involved in many different causes for our community, that’s one of the things I love about living here.
I spoke about the people who care about this community, but my biggest complaint is the people who complain and do nothing at all. These are the people who leave it up to other people and at the same time, often criticize. What you always hear or see at meetings, rallys, or press conferences are the same faces. What I would like to say to those who criticize, instead of using all your energy on that, get out there, be part of the process, build and improve your community.
What advice or suggestions do you have for people who are not currently involved in things but want to help Rockaway?
My advice to anyone interested in getting involved in the Rockaways is simple, get involved. Local civic groups, Police Community Councils, youth groups, Community Board meetings and any other organization can benefit by you becoming an active member. Last but not least, read the Happenings page in the Wave to see what’s going on in the community, and check out the different meetings held by different organizations.