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Gennaro criticizes Albany’s “soft on crime” policies

By Evan Triantafilidis

[email protected]

City Councilman James Gennaro voiced his displeasure with the governor and the state legislature, claiming that Albany’s “soft on crime agenda” is to blame for not addressing rising crime and public safety concerns.

Gennaro pointed to a spike of major crimes in New York City, citing a nearly 60 percent jump in February compared to the same month last year. He expressed concerns with how the state has failed to allow judges to consider dangerousness when deciding whether or not to remand a defendant.

“New York State is the only state in the country whose judges cannot consider dangerousness with regard to defendants,” Gennaro said at a press conference held at Pomonok Houses on Monday morning. “And that has led to many defendants perpetrating repeat violent crimes.”

Gennaro, who represents portions of Kew Garden Hills, Pomonok, Electchester, Fresh Meadows, Hillcrest, Jamaica Estates, Briarwood, Parkway Village, Jamaica Hills and Jamaica, gave Governor Kathy Hochul a failing grade in regards to public safety.

“This failure of leadership on critical safety imperatives has led me here today to state that this represents a gross failure of leadership on the part of the governor and the state legislature,” Gennaro said. “And now that the state legislative session is over for the year, we have to wait for next year’s legislative sessions to hope for a functional and effective criminal justice system that the city and state needs and deserves.”

Joining Gennaro at the press conference were Tamika Williams-Moore, president of the Pomonok Houses Association, and Michael Nussbaum, president of the Queens Jewish Community Council.

Nussbaum stated that the criminal justice system in the state is, and has been, broken.

“It’s been broken for years,” Nussbaum added. “There has been a failure from the city level as well as the state level.”

He called upon Governor Kathy Hochul to call a special session of the state legislature in September to deal with the singular issue.

Williams-Moore said that two recent shootings in the NYCHA complex last month has residents fearing for their safety.

“As far as crime goes in our communities we see a lot of robberies, we see people breaking into cars, we see vandalism, but we don’t see a high incidence of murders, which we’re very proud about,” Williams-Moore said. “We want to keep it that way. And we would be happy if we had no shootings at all. So there has been years where Paumanok hasn’t had any shootings or murders. And we want to go back to those days. Those were the golden days.”

Gennaro makes last-minute push for clean energy projects

Councilmember Jim Gennaro was joined by local union representatives and climate activists to make a last-minute push for the approval of two statewide clean energy investments.

The New York State Public Service Commission is slated to decide the fate of both the Champlain Hudson Power Express and Clean Path New York later this week.

With the state of New York on its way to achieving the mandated goal of zero-emission electricity by 2040, including a 70 percent renewable energy generation by 2030, the combined projects of Clean Path NY and CHPE would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 77 million metric tons over the next 15 years.

“I urge the New York State Public Service Commission to approve both of these projects,” Gennaro said at the members of Local 3 IBEW. “By investing in clean energy, creating new green jobs in our communities, and reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, these projects represent a crucial step towards meeting New York’s energy goals.”

Combined, the two projects in the pipeline also have the potential to bring 2,500 megawatts of clean power into the community, which could lead to the closure of peaker plants in Astoria.

The hydropower CHPE project would see a buried transmission line run 339 miles from the U.S.-Canadian border, south through Lake Champlain, along and underneath the Hudson River, before ending at a converter station in Astoria.

Adrienne Esposito, the executive director of The Citizens Campaign for the Environment, spoke in favor of the project and the renewable energy it would bring to New York. She responded to questions concerning environmental concerns with the project, saying that the benefits outweigh the negatives.

“It will have minimal impact for the maximum benefit,” Esposito said. “All large-scale energy infrastructure has some impact on the environment. But we have a moral and ethical obligation to choose energy infrastructure with the least impact to our environment.”

Both projects are part of the newly-created Tier 4 program, which aims to reduce reliance on fossil fuel energy.

Local 3 IBEW Business Manager Chris Erikson Jr. said that marginalized communities across New York have been bearing the brunt of pollution. He added that he is committed to giving union workers opportunities for “green jobs,” which could see workers go through the union’s apprenticeship program and become full-time electricians.

“I think the worst thing that can happen to me is that my granddaughter is going to look back and say, if things are still messed up, why didn’t grandpa fix it up and he had a chance? So, I am a climate warrior, along with many that stand here with us today,” Erikson Jr. said.

“Certainly, a transition out of fossil fuels has to happen,” he continued. “The tier four projects are key to making that happen. It wasn’t easy to agree to plug your extension cord into Canada. I’ve come to grips with it, and we really need to get it done.”

Queens Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Tom Grech said that there is no better time than now to approve the two tier four projects for the state. The Chamber’s “Queens is Green” initiative, he says, aims to make Queens County the greenest of the 62 in the state.

“At the end of the day, this product seems to be a no-brainer,” Grech said. “We hope to have a very good outcome from this project.”

If approved, the projects are expected to start delivering power to New York City in 2025 for the CHPE project, and 2027 for the CPNY project.

Beautifying Briarwood: collaboration targets trash, graffiti

A series of cleanup initiatives will aim to rid Briarwood of unsightly litter and graffiti.
Councilman James Gennaro announced that new partnerships with the Department of Sanitation (DSNY), Wildcat Service Corporation and The Doe Fund will spearhead the effort.
“I am confident that these partnerships will make a visible difference in our communities and be greatly appreciated by people who love clean streets,” said Gennaro, speaking from the median on Queens Boulevard in Briarwood. “I am committed to making this district the cleanest it has ever been. “
Funding secured for the cleanup initiative includes $185,000 for Wildcat, $150,000 to The Doe Fund and $95,000 for the DSNY, totaling $430,000 in this year’s budget.
The money for DSNY will be used for additional cleaning services from 164th Street to 188th Street along Union Turnpike. Two additional service days will be added for trash pick-up, and the median along Union Turnpike will be maintained as well.
“There are so many tools in creating a clean city,” said DSNY Commissioner Edward Grayson. “This influx of support and leadership in keeping Queens clean is so critical to how we achieve this mission.”
Grayson said residents of Queens try to keep their neighborhoods clean, but the choices of a “few bad actors” are the biggest culprit.
“It takes the village to clean the village,” he said..
Wildcat Service Corporation, a Bronx-based social services organization, will provide snow removal for elderly and disabled residents in the district.
The company will also provide sanitation services to Hillside avenue from Sutphin Boulevard to 173rd Street three times a week. Areas on the Grand Central Parkway Service Road between 188th Street and Utopia Parkway will also be cleaned once every two weeks.
Workers from The Doe Fund will be cleaning the Main Street business corridor and areas of Queens Boulevard twice a week.
“With the effort of Wildcat and The Doe Fund and the sanitation department, we expect to see things looking much better,” said Community Board 8 chair Martha Taylor. “We are delighted to know that our streets will be much cleaner.”

Beautifying Briarwood: collaboration targets trash, graffiti

A series of cleanup initiatives will aim to rid Briarwood of unsightly litter and graffiti.
Councilman James Gennaro announced that new partnerships with the Department of Sanitation (DSNY), Wildcat Service Corporation and The Doe Fund will spearhead the effort.
“I am confident that these partnerships will make a visible difference in our communities and be greatly appreciated by people who love clean streets,” said Gennaro, speaking from the median on Queens Boulevard in Briarwood. “I am committed to making this district the cleanest it has ever been. “
Funding secured for the cleanup initiative includes $185,000 for Wildcat, $150,000 to The Doe Fund and $95,000 for the DSNY, totaling $430,000 in this year’s budget.
The money for DSNY will be used for additional cleaning services from 164th Street to 188th Street along Union Turnpike. Two additional service days will be added for trash pick-up, and the median along Union Turnpike will be maintained as well.
“There are so many tools in creating a clean city,” said DSNY Commissioner Edward Grayson. “This influx of support and leadership in keeping Queens clean is so critical to how we achieve this mission.”
Grayson said residents of Queens try to keep their neighborhoods clean, but the choices of a “few bad actors” are the biggest culprit.
“It takes the village to clean the village,” he said..
Wildcat Service Corporation, a Bronx-based social services organization, will provide snow removal for elderly and disabled residents in the district.
The company will also provide sanitation services to Hillside avenue from Sutphin Boulevard to 173rd Street three times a week. Areas on the Grand Central Parkway Service Road between 188th Street and Utopia Parkway will also be cleaned once every two weeks.
Workers from The Doe Fund will be cleaning the Main Street business corridor and areas of Queens Boulevard twice a week.
“With the effort of Wildcat and The Doe Fund and the sanitation department, we expect to see things looking much better,” said Community Board 8 chair Martha Taylor. “We are delighted to know that our streets will be much cleaner.”

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