Vandals Worry Woodhaven Residents

School safety officers Suzanne Catoggio (right) and Sharisse Sexton from the 102nd Precinct talk with people at the Woodhaven Residents Block Association on Saturday, April 21. Residents expressed their concern to the officers about students from Junior High School 210 who have been damaging property after they are let out of school. Forum Newsgroup Photo by Luis Gronda.

Residents at last week’s Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association meeting (WRBA), raised concerns about kids from Junior High School 210 causing trouble, including standing near moving cars in the street, after they get out of school. Two politicians in the running for a seat in congress also stopped by to speak with residents, who they would represent should they win that seat.

Suzanne Catoggio and Sharisse Sexton, two school safety officers from the 102nd Precinct, spoke to residents regarding problems after dismissal at JHS 210 in Ozone Park. According to Catoggio, the kids have been destroying property and causing mischief after they are done with their school day.

Residents complained that the kids are hanging out around where the Burger King is on 92nd Street and Atlantic Avenue and destroying people’s property and fighting.

In addition to sending officers to patrol that neighborhood after the school’s dismissal time, Catoggio said that she plans on going to Parent-Teacher Association meetings and speaking to a room full of the kids themselves, to tell them that what they’re doing is wrong and is considered a crime.

“We don’t want to incriminate these kids, but we want to educate the kids and let them know what kind of crimes they’re committing,” Catoggio said. “Our kids don’t know that fighting one another could be an assault or damaging property could be criminal mischief.”

But some residents raised their concern that the police should patrol past where the Burger King is because the kids continue down past where the fast food restaurant is and damage property.

According to WRBA member Steve Forter, after the kids get their food at Burger King, they continue up 92nd Street and do things like get close to a moving car, daring the driver to hit them, banging on cars as they cross the street, knocking down garbage pails and breaking windows.

Forter’s biggest concern regarding the kids is how they interact with people that are driving their cars.

“We’re really concerned that these one of these kids is going to get killed one of these days,” Forter said. “They have no fear when it comes to cars. They run right in front of them.”

In response, Catoggio said that they will do their best to patrol past Burger King in hopes of catching the junior high school kids.

Congressional Candidates Visit Woodhaven

Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez and Dan O’Connor, two democratic candidates that are running for the 7th congressional district seat, which includes Woodhaven and stretches across parts of Brooklyn and lower Manhattan, including Chinatown, appeared at the meeting to speak with Woodhaven residents about their campaigns.

First to speak was O’Connor, a first-time candidate who has not held a political office before.

One of O’Connor’s main points was that he wants to introduce policies that will promote growth in the economy. According to O’Connor, that includes legislation that will rebuild the waterfront in Brooklyn, which he says will bring jobs and manufacturing back to New York City.

He also spoke out against the National Defense Authorization Act, which, in part, allows the United States government to arrest US citizens and put them in jail without a trial if he or she is considered a terrorist threat.

O’Connor said that over 90 percent of American citizens are against this act, yet over 80 percent of the people in Congress voted for that legislation.

“It essentially turns our rule of law upside down,” O’Connor said. “It goes against everything that I was taught as a child.”

Velazquez took center stage after O’Connor was finished. She has been Congresswoman for the 12th Congressional District since 1993, but because of the redrawn district lines, she will seek reelection in the 7th Congressional District.

Velazquez spoke on balancing the national budget and cutting spending so that the US can close the national deficit.

She said that it’s important to balance the budget and create jobs to help reenergize the struggling economy.

“We have to look at spending and we have to look at those programs and make them more efficient,” Velazquez said.

She added that small businesses aren’t able to create jobs like they did in the past three decades and that job creation would help revitalize the economy.

The Democratic primary will be on June 26.

WRBA’s next meeting will be on a Wednesday night, instead of its usual Saturday afternoon meeting time. It will be Wednesday, May 23 at 7:30 p.m. at the Emanuel Church of Christ at the corner of 91st Avenue and Woodhaven Boulevard.

By Luis Gronda

Still quiet here.sas

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