G-COP Swears in A New Board Committee

Senator Joseph P. Addabbo Jr. addresses the G-COP members at the monthly meeting

By Clare Baierl | cbaierl@queensledger.com

A large room filled with women and men of the 104 District G-COP group stood together, hands raised to their hearts and said the pledge of allegiance. At the monthly meeting of the largest G-COP force in the city, members gathered together to hear from city officials, discuss changes, and welcome the board members. 

The 104th Precinct Glendale Civilian Observation Patrol has been around since 1976. The group works with the local police department, as their “eyes and ears,” said GCOP President, Elizabeth Delacruz. Without weapons of any kind, the group helps with a variety of tasks from patrolling the neighborhoods, finding suspects, to blocking off intersections during car accidents, natural disasters, parades, and even church processions. 

The monthly meeting started off with a surprise guest in tow, Senator Joseph P. Addabbo Jr. of the 15th District. Addabbo spoke to the group with updates on the legislative session. Addabbo spoke about his office’s plans to give money to the MTA, but “not before a forensic audit”, he urged. His department will hire an outside expert to look at their expenses, and “see if we can cut some fat,” Addabbo explained. 

Addabbo also answered an audience member’s question about a new cannabis store opening near his office. While the senator was against it, he emphasized that keeping these stores away from schools and young children is crucial. “Whether you are for or against it, you must think of placement,” said Addabbo. “Placement is essential.” 

Continuing off the night, a representative for Councilman Robert Holden’s office gave a few remarks. The representative started off by thanking the group for all their work and support within the community.

“The councilmen appreciates GCOP,” he said. The representative also gave a few updates on Holden’s current agenda. “We are making sure the NYPD is funded, and funded properly,” he said. “We want to show that the police are good, they are necessary.”

To end off the night, the group held their annual Board of Directors swearing in ceremony. Addabbo had each board member place their right hand in the air and repeat the GCOP pledge. Afterwards, the group president took the stage and expressed her thanks to the community of members and supporters. 

“You are the backbone of this community,” said Delacruz.

Meet The Man Fighting for Flushing’s Small Businesses

John Choe, Director of the Flushing Chamber of Commerce stands on the corner of Northern Blvd in Flushing

By Clare Baierl | cbaierl@queensledger.com

John Choe, arrived on the corner of Northern Boulevard and Main St. with a bike, big smile and a t-shirt that said ‘Flushing.’ If you are looking for the neighborhood’s biggest fan, look no further. 

As Director of the Flushing Chamber of Commerce, Choe has spent decades fighting for the rights of his neighborhood. His current work focuses on protecting small businesses, a cause that hits especially close to home. 

Growing up in Korea, Choe felt first-hand the importance of investing in citizen-first care. 

“I grew up malnourished,” he said. “Housing is a right. Being able to feed your family is a right. That’s what’s motivated me for many years helping this community.”

After living in over 100 countries, Choe eventually made his way to Flushing, a neighborhood he has now called home for over two decades. His work at the Chamber focuses on issues of equity.

 “We’re a community organization that helps to boost Flushing,” he said. “To really tell the story of all the people and businesses that make Flushing so unique and amazing as a destination.”

There is a high rate of new development projects entering the neighborhood, Choe explained, causing local businesses to be pushed out. Many residents that have lived here their entire lives are now gone. “We have one of the highest concentrations of bank branches in the entire country,” said Choe. “Probably because they’re the only ones that can afford rent.”

Throughout his time in the Chamber, Choe’s administration has secured over $1.5 million in funding to support the neighborhood. Providing everything from customized marketing consulting for businesses to creating the first ever local Community Supported Agriculture Program in the neighborhood. 

Though the Chamber is currently struggling with a loss of resources after the pandemic, Choe isn’t giving up. “Even though I feel like we’ve struggled against the Goliath here, I feel like we’ve built a sense of community,” he said. “This country has given so much to me, that if I can leave it better than I found it, I would say that I was able to achieve a great deal, that’s my legacy.”

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